What a shame that the deep feelings we experience for a pet get marginalized by our vernacular. Because as much as I hate his little messes and as many times as I almost trip over him while he waits to see where I’m walking…as much as all of that and more abides a deep love for my little buddy. Nestled next to me much of the day, he provides companionship and unfiltered, unwavering devotion. That’s a tough commodity to find in this world.
Understandably, many seniors are lonely. We need two things: family and friends, and each are proven to be an indispensable part of good mental health. It is true we lose siblings and friends one by one, that we lose some autonomy, and that we are aging in a youth-obsessed culture. No wonder so many report feeling lonely and indeed, are often alone. Having a pet changes the equation.
Charlie may be a mongrel. A pest. A shedding little pooper upon occasion, but he gives in return a love no one else on this planet is able to give. A dog lives in a state of gusto. He eats with gusto, plays with all of his energy, and loves with all of his heart. He lives in a state of grace as well, forgiving me after long absences and expressed annoyance.
Aging people need a companion with a superhuman capacity for grace and gusto. Thankfully, I have Charlie.