Having a dog in one’s life can be so rewarding. A friend once commented that she would never become “tied down” caring for a dog or cat. She did not want to be “bothered” having to maintain a schedule dependent on needs other than her own. How sad that she will never know the unconditional love and devotion of an exuberant creature who never tires of trying to please. How empty her life must be without knowing the joy that only a companion animal can bring.

Our pets have always been strays or rescue/adopted and the joy they have brought to our lives cannot be measured. Always happy to greet our return at the end of the day with the wag of a tail or a delighted bark there are few things in life more heartwarming. Even our cats have been vocal with their greetings. Despite our moods our companion animals have had a way of brightening the day and, possibly, reaffirming their devotion for the life they found in our care.

Time passes and animals have come and gone in our lives, each one unique and distinct, creating memories lasting well beyond their short span of time on this earth. The difficulty has been in watching them age, living out their days until illness or simply time takes its toll. It is heart-wrenching to stand by, trying to help but never completely knowing how much they might be suffering or when their end could arrive, or when to make the decision for euthanasia. Over the years our various dogs met old age with grace and dignity. A few were euthanized but with the last one we knew that we would not be able to make that decision. Almost as if he knew, that beloved creature spared us by passing quietly in his sleep. Indeed, it was a very sad day and we continue to miss him these many years later in spite of the love we share with our current rescue.

There are so many animals awaiting loving homes and their lives, perhaps ten to twenty years, are so short by comparison to ours. The love that they can give is more than worth whatever “bother” they may cause, and the rewards far outweigh any inconvenience. Consider adoption today!

Pat Jauch is secretary of Caledonia Animal Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 4054, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819.

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