I never had a pet growing up. Well, unless you take into account three goldfish called Bold, Ariel and Persil, none of whom tarried long upon this earth. Three days after bringing them home I found them all floating on the surface. I thought they had just come up for some air.
The thing is I don’t actually recall ever being overly bothered about not having a pet. Some children plead with and beg their parents for a fluffy little bunny, a pussy cat or doggy. Not I: I knew there wasn’t a hope in Helsinki that Sandra would be housing any fur-shedding critters in her uber tidy home, regardless of how cutesy and adorable.
So I grew up petless but content to shower my animal-loving affections upon my neighbour’s pets, notably Rex the golden retriever and Tyson the border collie.
Lack of pet may have been to blame for lack of empathy for and understanding of pet owners. I’d watch people coo over their animals and treat them like their own flesh and blood (sometimes better) and I just didn’t get it. That is until this beautiful creature came into my life:
It wasn’t love at first sight. On the contrary, when I went round to Craig’s house for the very first time my initial impression of Sapphie Whippet was that she resembled an oversized rat. Then I stroked her and my hand glided across her velvety fur like a ship upon a waveless ocean. Then I witnessed her running and was awestruck by her power, strength and elegance. Then she lay her soft head in my lap and looked up at me beseechingly with her oversized, chocolate brown eyes. And I got it.
And I still get it. What Sapphie offers is unconditional love, loyalty and dogged devotion and all she wants in return is some food, water, the occasional walk and her hind legs scratched. Scratch those hind legs for Sapphie and she will raise her nose in the air, close her eyes dreamily and smile. I’m convinced she smiles.
You know, I don’t even mind that she prefers her Daddy so much more than me. I have a sneaking suspicion that were we ever to pro-create our children would gravitate in a similar direction, such is his kind and gentle manner. As soon as she hears Craig’s car in the drive she leaps down from the sofa as quickly as her increasingly arthritic joints will allow and when he enters the room, Sapphie's tail rotates frenziedly like one of Craig’s helicopters and I swear she could take off.
And it tugs at my previously untuggable-where-animals-were-concerned heartstrings.
Ginger Warrior, over and out.
P.S. Have you got/did you used to have any pets that are/were well and truly part of the family? Tell me about them and post a picture. Let's pay homage to our furry and not so furry friends!