"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive." -- Gilda Radner
Over the last few years, I've been hearing the term "companion animal" used more and more frequently as an alternative to the term "pet." I like this term -- companion animal -- because, for me, it conveys a much deeper sense of the relationship between humans and their domesticated animal friends.
My dog, Jenny, is my companion. My former dog, Jake (the Wonder Dog), and cats, Jelly and Jambo, were my companions. They've been more than just pets. So much more.
My companion animals are/have been a huge part of my life. They're integral members of the family. They love unconditionally. They make me laugh. They are. . . simply. . . my friends.
"There's just something about dogs that makes you feel good. You come home; they're thrilled to see you. They're good for the ego." -- Janet Schulman
I can't really imagine life without a dog. (Even though I love cats. . . I am, down deep, a Dog Person.) Those soul-filled eyes. The wet nose. That wagging tail. I love it all. I love having a dog in my life.
"The little furry buggers are just deep, deep wells you throw all your emotions into." -- Bruce Schimmel
And it's a really hard thing. . . when a cherished dog. . . a beloved companion . . . passes on. And leaves us forever.
My Mom and Dad lost their Nikki, a miniature schnauzer, yesterday.
Nikki was nearly 14 years old, so she has been part of our lives for a very long time. She grew up with Brian. . .
she "sang" with Erin. . .
she visited us at the cottage and enjoyed boat rides. . .
she knew how wheedle extra "treats" from my Mom (here she's showing Jake "the routine"). . .
and she liked wearing handknits. . .
We all have an empty place in our hearts. Because, you see, Nikki was more than just a pet. She was a companion. But we know that Jake was waiting to greet Nikki in "dog heaven" -- that place where all good dogs go -- with his tail wagging; ready to romp and play and bark and show her the ropes.
"God turns clouds inside out to make fluffy beds for the dogs in Dog Heaven, and when they are tired from running and barking and eating ham-sandwich biscuits, the dogs find a cloud bed for sleeping. God watches over each one of them. And there are no bad dreams." -- Cynthia Rylant