When I was little, I remember asking my mother:
“Mom, if ever they would tell you that there was a mistake in the hospital and I am not really your child, would you love me just as much?”
She stopped her knitting for a moment and looked at me in amazement. She then smiled, reached out to pat me on the head and replied:
“Son, it’s not the brief pain of birth that counts, it’s the long lasting pain of a lifetime”.
Years went by and there I was with my newly acquired puppy. I watched her grow with me as we shared the same food, the same bed, the same days and nights. She was my friend, my companion. She jumped around and played and she made me very happy. She was sick and I felt sick as well. She got better and I was feeling better too.
And one day when she was grown I looked at her straight in the eyes and realized how deeply I would miss her when she will be gone. It was then that I understood my mother’s words, that it’s not the brief pain that counts but the pain of a lifetime.
It was for me to take care of her, to pet her, to buy her toys, to feed her, to make sure she has everything she needs, to watch her grow strong and play happily, to worry every moment that something bad might happen to her, to fear any illness.
And when the time came that the circle of her life was complete, I knew it in my heart that she would be irreplaceable, because every creature is unique and unrepeatable. Her lovely trace was indelibly printed on my soul.
What difference does it really make whether my child is human or canine? Wasn’t she raised with the same amount of love? Wasn’t she nurtured as if she was my own baby? Didn’t she make me feel unprecedented feelings? Didn’t I worry and cried for her? Didn’t I feel guilty at times for not providing for her as much as I should have?
Or is there any doubt that she didn’t love me in return? That she adored me and stood beside me in my every moment, be it good or bad? That she never betrayed me, criticized me or hurt me in any way? Did she ever deny me of her affection? Didn’t she wake me up with licks and kisses every morning? Didn’t she always respond to my call for play? Didn’t she stand quietly beside me in my times of sorrow? Is there any doubt, whatsoever, that she loved me any less than I loved her?
How can one describe the life with a dog? What one offered and what one received in return? Sometimes words are very poor, not enough, to specify, to reflect the feelings one experiences.
Now it’s my turn to add to my mother’s words:
“It’s not the brief pain of a moment that counts but the long lasting pain of the lifetime you spend with every furry friend you raise, you nurture and you love…Adopt a dog and adore him as if he were your own child. Treat him as if he were your baby. And remember that he will always love you very much more in return!”