The only time I've not had a dog in my entire life was the five years we lived in Maryland. When we had to give Clem away when we moved there, I cried and cried and am always on the prowl for a Clem look-a-like. Currently, we have a dog, cat, Boy Child's hamster and a couple of fish tanks. Yep, we love the animals.
The other day, I was watching t.v. and a commercial for dog food came on and said, "If you're a pet parent.........." What? I understand the attachment to a pet and I often talk to mine like they're capable of dispensing advice, but I am not, nor never will be the parent of an animal. You know the difference when you are a parent, because a dog will not roll its eyes at you, does not make fun of you and so far, is not capable of putting you in a nursing home. A sick dog will not make you bargain with God to do anything to make it better, including taking you. A dog wags its tail every time you walk in the door (even if you left a minute ago to take out the garbage) and loves you almost as much as feeding time. A child, however, will take that comfort zone rug you've been laying on all your life, rip it out from under you and while you crawl to get back to it, they'll have tossed it out the door.
And that's o.k., because it is youth that changes things, that questions the status quo and puts a mirror in front of you to examine and defend your beliefs, and then slowly changes everything about your life. While they're doing what they're meant to do, we all get pushed forward, for better or worse, and no dog is going to do that.