Hello Sweet Peas!
Welcome to day 26 of Blog a Day in May! Today I want to talk a bit about something that is very important to me. Animals. More specifically the animals that have been in my life while growing up.
It was whilst I was led on the floor of my living room, my face pressed into the fur of my dog, that I started thinking about how much my animals have influenced my life and turned me into the person I am. Animals are such an important part of growing up and they teach us lessons that can help us through all stages of life.
Early Years – The first animals I ever had were cats. I had two. My parents got them as kittens before I was born, so right from the beginning, I have had animals in my life. One of the cats hated me as a child, she wasn’t particularly fond of people. But the other was the first friend I ever had. He would sleep next to my head every night and put up with me dressing him up and putting him in the bucket of my peddle tractor. Both of these cats taught me valuable lessons. He taught me to be gentle, to stroke and cuddle softly, which for a kid is something to learn. She taught me to respect animals. She liked to have her own space and when I got into her space, she would scratch me but when I was respectful of her she was very friendly. These are important lessons for young children to learn and will help them grow to be respectful adults.
Primary School – When I was around 5 or 6 I learnt a really valuable lesson from my rabbit. I learnt about death. I loved him, he was a flop-eared rabbit and he was really friendly. I don’t really remember a great deal about him, other than I loved him, but I remember the day he died. I came downstairs and out into the garden as I did every day to feed him. But when I went to the hutch he wasn’t there. I remembered dad talking about building a new hutch around the back of the house so I went to see if he had moved the rabbit around there, but there was no new hutch. I asked my dad where he was and that was when I first learnt about death. It was a horrible day, but it introduced me to the concept so that by the time a member of my family died (a human member) I knew what death was and it somewhat prepared me.
Teen Years – When I was 13 my parents finally let me get my own pet. I had a hamster called Tikka. This was the first pet I was completely responsible for. I had to feed her, clean her out, exercise her. I’ll admit, I wasn’t very good at first. I sometimes forgot to get her out and other times I left her in her ball for too long. She wasn’t neglected, my mum made sure of that. But I taught me a lot about responsibility and by the time she died I was completely devoted to her.
Early Twenties – In my late teens, I bought myself a chinchilla which was soon followed by another one which we rescued. They were my little fur babies. I used to put my face next to them and they would nuzzle my nose and they would climb on my shoulders and use me as a climbing frame. But chinchillas have a lot of health problems and one of them died while I was at University, I was heartbroken but very glad that my mum handled all the vet trips. But nearly a year later, I was home and my parents were away. Our remaining Chinchilla had been sick for a little while and he took a turn for the worst. I had a choice to make, I could see he was in pain and it was killing me. My parents weren’t around and they said it was up to me. I had to make the choice when it was time to let go. I had to make the choice not based on what I wanted, but what was best for him. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and even now nearly two years later, while I am writing this I feel physical pain in my chest. But when you have animals, it is a lesson you need to learn. I see so many people have pets and keep them around when they are old and sick, not because the animal has any quality of life but because they don’t want to let go. It is heartbreaking, but you need to know when it is time to say goodbye. They are completely dependant on you and if you’re not prepared to do what is best for them, you are not ready for the responsibility.
Today – Today I have five animals. Two German Shepards. Two Tortoises and a fish called Keith ( we originally had another one called Lemon). Other than Keith, all of these animals have taught me to get over the fear. Before we got the puppies nine years ago, I was terrified of dogs. These days my mum often yells at me to ‘get my face out the dog.’ I will lie for ages snuggled up to them and they just lie with me, my bitch sometimes licks my head or my hand, my dog is just a big bear who likes cuddles. I wouldn’t say I was afraid of the tortoise’s because when we first got him he fit in the palm of my hand. But I used to be scared that he would bite me, he looked so prehistoric. But over time, and years of looking after him (he was my sisters but I pretty much care for him all the time), I got over my fear and now I scratch him under his chin and when I call him he comes to me and has a cuddle (he really is strange).
I’m sorry if this post was a little emotional. I didn’t intend it to be but once I started writing it all came out. If you hadn’t already guessed I bloody love my animals, my life would empty and incomplete without them.
Please cherish your animals, they are only on this earth for a short amount of time and they deserve the best lives in return for teaching us so many valuable lessons.
What animals do you have? Let me know in the comments, or share your pictures on social media! Links are below.
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Love Ay xx