I've written before about my life as a pet person. That is, a life with perpetually hairy furniture and dirty floors. I've always been an "animal person". This is my lot in life. I take care of these creatures, give them a great life, in some cases when no one else would. In return I get unconditional love and companionship along with an occasional dead bird and/or vomit in a weird place. I don't think it's a bad deal.
I once returned a pair of shorts to Wal-Mart that I had bought without trying on. As I handed them to the clerk, she politely asked "Do you have a dog or a cat?". Oops! I have three cats: one orange, one calico, one gray and white, and one dog who is black and white. They've literally got me covered when it comes to hair on my clothes. It doesn't matter what color I'm wearing, one of them will shed all over me before I leave the house. I used to get embarrassed about it but I don't anymore. I have a few lint rollers I use on important outfits and that's about it. I don't stress about the cleanliness of my house as much as I used to either.
My pets have taught me about life. They remind me to be patient, to relax and enjoy each day. They also help me remember that I am not in control. I lost one of my beloved pets this summer as have my parents and my in-laws. I worked in veterinary medicine for over a dozen years, and I witnessed an incredible amount of joy and sadness come into people's lives through their furry family members. What's always amazing to me is no matter how huge that loss, how crippling that grief is, we're almost always willing to do it again. A "pet person" can always find more love in their heart for the next creature that needs it.
I've just started thinking about getting a puppy. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm ready or I dwell on all that comes with a new puppy: chewing, house breaking, crate training plus the huge financial component. Then I think of the last time I got a puppy, eight years ago and what an incredible bond we had. I'm not looking for a dog to take his place, but rather fill the empty space and take on some of the love I have left.