“She looks well taken care of”
I may have grown up with dogs but my responsibility for them was limited. It was only after choosing to adopt Cleo that I became a primary caregiver and guardian to another life. Sadly, from the high number of puppies and dogs discarded at shelters, it may not be a big deal for some people, but for me, deciding to have a dog is a decision you don’t take lightly.
The decision to be responsible for another life is big. It’s for keeps. How could you not take it seriously? I made lists to help me figure it all out. I wanted to be sure that I/we were ready. I listed out questions and scenarios testing my preparedness for an addition to our family.
I compared this choice of adding to our household to having a child. Once we made the commitment, we would be all in. We would give all that we could to our furry new family member. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t treat my dog like a baby, but I do take responsibility for her life and her welfare, and it’s paying off.
Being Cleo’s caregiver is clearly important to me and I enjoy the role. I take pride when strangers note how good Cleo looks, especially once they hear her current afflictions and her age. Each time someone says, “She looks good, she looks so well taken care of,” my maternal side grows.
Why is caring important? A man once said the word “love” is the most over used word in our society. He said that people should “care” more, especially when it came to animals. I agree.
To me, when you care, you cherish. Imagine cherishing your relationship with an old childhood friend. There is a tangible bond present. A bond that runs deep because you care. You stayed past the initial adolescent excitement, finding joy in the act of nurturing a friendship year-after-year, because you cared.
After seven years together, I’ll take it as a huge compliment if you think my dog Cleo looks well taken care of…
This article was written by LIFE+DOG editor Sharon Castellanos.