I've been away on a housesitting/dogsitting job for about a week now. It's nice to get away, nice out to be in the quiet, and since I love animals, it's a lot of fun to visit other peoples' pets. I love dogs and cats, and since I don't have dogs, it can be fun to take them out for walks, talk to them and generally confuse them to death when you zip yourself inside a mummy bag and they have NO clue why any human would do such things.
As nice as that all is, it was nice to be back at home last night. My cat, the furball pictured above, was waiting for me. In fact, she was waiting to intentionally ignore me to my face, because that's what cats do when they're upset that you left. She ran down the stairs like she always does to greet me when I come home from work or being out somewhere else, but as soon as I acknowledged her even a little, she took a haughty little turn on her back paws and marched herself back up the stairs.
I think some people would consider it off-putting. But one thing I like about cats is that they really seem to have many different emotions, and it's easy to read them. Later on when she ran into my closet, I scooped her up for some cuddles, and she protested loudly as though it was torture and she could.not.take.it.any.longer. But at the same time she was letting out her sharp little protest meows, she was nuzzling her face into mine and leaning into the pets she was getting.
And as much as I loved all the tail wagging and balls getting shoved into my hands this weekend...there's something about my strange little ring-tailed drip hunter, and the way she yells about everything and nothing at all. There's something about that nuzzle from your very own pet that lets you know you're loved that you can't replace.
I've always had pets, and I hope I always will. Yes, they cost money. Yes, they chew fences or tear holes in plastic bags you didn't want them to. They track litter onto your floor or barf in the corner or eat the trash. They lick parts of them they shouldn't lick when they're in the center of your living room on Christmas Day...but the love you get from an animal is irreplaceable.
That's one of the reasons I love the picture above- I look at that picture and I see *my* pet. My pet that has travelled cross country with me, and slept like a teddy bear in my arms, and who comes and yells at me every morning when I take a shower. The one who knows when I'm sick or sad and comes and curls up with me, even though she's more of an independent soul most days. The one who loves me just as much as I love her.
People usually don't give their love as easily as animals do. It's harder to know, and you won't always get that "I miss you" that you want to hear so badly (but won't admit, of course). You won't always be able to just look at someone and know. Pets give you something I think everyone actually wants- the feeling of being needed and loved, and more importantly, being needed and loved openly. But then, I always did think we could learn something from our pets.
I think if we're lucky, not only will we find someone who loves us that openly...we'll be open to being loved that way, and to loving someone that way right back.
Now, get out of here and go hug your pet. Unless it's a goldfish...because...I don't think they'd appreciate that too much. But y'know, maybe give em a shake of the flakes?