My nephew is almost 4, & I’ve had the privilege of watching him grow up from pretty close. When I look at my nephew, I see some of my own blood in a walking talking miracle who I’ve convinced must hold his ears to keep his brains inside his head if he eats his ice cream too fast & gets Brain Freeze (yeah, I got an earful from his mom for that one).
Human children, it should go without saying, are much more complex than dogs. They go through way more stages of life. They might obey a command now, but they won’t next year. They make their own decisions. And one day, they become independent of us. And I won’t even go into how much college tuition is. But they are our own blood, our teachings, flaws, & strengths, our immortality. We live on in them.
Dogs are different. We adopt them. They are not the same as adopted human children because they are not human. However, they are our charges. Our slaves, if you think about it. Our responsibilities.
Certain people will only see the above description as an unnecessary burden. But a nurturing personality knows that these “burdens” come with what are often life saving benefits. I’m not going to go into that, because either you know or you don’t know.
Animals, not just dogs, are innocents. Domesticated dogs are actually genetically tailored to be our companions (watch Dogs Decoded from PBS). Maybe, as a consistent True Neutral, I have a weakness for innocents, & animals in particular.
In the case of my dogs, they are my dependents; they are 100% devoted to me. I make all their choices for them, I provide everything for them, & my well being as well as my approval is the center of their existence. In this way, we are profoundly connected. The perversion of this connection by dog fighters & pet abusers horrifies & astounds me because I am so aware of it. I am so aware of the confusion, despair, & terror a pet must feel when its owner is its abuser that it is always extremely painful to read about it.
This connection is different from that of a parent & child. Human children think their own thoughts. Parents influence them & teach them, but human children are their own individuals. My dogs are extensions of me their entire lives. They worship me, follow me, mirror me, their entire lives. To their last dying moment they will want to be near me. When I’m sad, they’re worried. When I’m happy, they’re happy. They have no selfish thoughts, no resentment, no duplicity. They have no other aspirations than to be together with me. If you could ask my dogs what is best in life, they have no care for vanquishing or driving or wailing. The best thing in life, to them, is me.
My dogs fill up my soul. They keep my heart soft (which has saved the boyfriend’s life on several occasions). They make me a better person. I know children do this too, but pets are different. Those who know, know. Those who don’t are missing out.