“Health experts” tell us the 3 pillars of health are exercise, nutrition and sleep. I drink that Kool-Aid, but I also believe our relationships contribute tremendously to our well-being.  I’ve written about some of the relationships I enjoy in my life.  But I’ve not yet written about the four-legged variety.  “Here she goes” ~ I can hear my dad or maybe my friend Valerie.  “Here we go!” ~ my sister Lindsay for sure.  Some of us are Pet People and some of us are not ~ I belong to the former category by the way.

I have loved, lived and slept with 8 pounds of dog and, at a different time, 300 pounds of dog.  This weight doesn’t include my husband Nils who has passively participated in this menage of dog. This weight does not include our feline friends who also sleep on my bed if not my being.  Living with pets is one of the greatest joys of my life.  I would venture to say the same for my daughters, and though he would be loathe to admit it, I know Nils enjoys the animals as well.

Living with pets has daily highlights that are as rewarding as they are frustrating.  Rewarding:  watching our Lions Head bunny finally make a living companion out of our new Brussels Griffon puppy.  About the same size, they leapfrog and frolic for hours.  Our majestic Great Dane Lucy, laying strategically on the sofa so that my tiny girls at 2 and 3 years old could snuggle into her belly.  Frustrating:  where to begin?  Perhaps realizing our rescued fragile Caesar was using the Christmas tree as a fire hydrant the first few weeks we had him.  Or, watching the cat barf from the counter top onto the head of an adoring puppy on the floor below.

We’ve also had our share of animal heartbreak ~ an unsuccessful surgery to repair a bunny’s tiny leg, a cat in the hospital catheterized for a days with a toxic blockage, a Great Dane with such painful joints that he only wanted to get up once or twice a day in the last months of his life . . .

But most days the unconditional love and the absolute hilarity of our animals brings great joy and happiness.  Watching one of the cats drink water with a single paw, our puppy Juno sharing bits of your apple and running madly on the beach, a glance at the life-size portrait of our sweet giant angel Lucy still surveying the scene ~ all these animal behaviors are part of my family’s daily laughter and chatter, and I cannot imagine life without them.