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Better off with them in our lives

January 31, 2012 - Linda Lobeck
I’m sure everyone loves their pets, but I come from a family where we treat our dogs as members of the family. My mom treated our dogs like humans, so that’s all I know.

I’m sure that it was pretty evident recently when my younger sister put some pictures on Facebook of the dog birthday party we held for our three small dogs.

I’m sure many people thought we were crazy, but with party hats on them they celebrated Emily’s 13th birthday. Emily is, of course, my older sister’s dog and the matriarch of the dog family which also includes my dog, Gracie and my younger sister’s dog, Gunnar. Sadly we lost her other dog, Tye, at Christmas time.

I’d say that is the hardest thing to think about when you first get a new dog. Even though they are probably a puppy, you know they’ll break your heart someday. And if you love them, you have to be strong enough to make a tough decision if they get sick and are in a lot of pain.

My sisters and I take advantage of each year we have with our fur kids and celebrate birthdays. Emily, also had a special princess birthday crown to wear. It’s only appropriate because she’s the diva dog in our family.

When my husband and I got our first dog, Brandy, after we were married, I’m sure it was a shock to him how different our lives with pets had been. It didn’t take long, but I quickly worked my way around him and our dog was sleeping in bed with us and not in a crate. In my defense, he was just a baby when we got him and he was crying at night. What can you do but bring him in bed with you?

It was good training, because we had our first son two years later and another son nearly three years later. At times, we had quite a group of us in one bed — quickly moving us to get a queen size bed.

You have to understand my husband lived in a very rural area where they had dogs, but not pets. They were mostly outside, and they certainly never slept in beds. It was a bit of a transition to change his way of thinking and that our new addition was part of the family. Now with our dog, Gracie, he is much worse than I am.

There was a story in the USA Weekend recently in The Daily News on “How dogs spread happiness.” Actress Katherine Heigl was interviewed and she has seven dogs of various ages and sizes.

The article goes on to say that the mere act of petting a dog can cause a chain of healthy benefits to people including reducing blood pressure and decreasing hormones that are related to stress and anxiety. “Some doctors have suggested that dogs are sometimes better than Prozac.”

So while some people may shake their heads and think us crazy, the dog and cat lovers know that we are better off with them in our lives than without them.


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Emily the birthday girl!