I honestly trust animals more than humans. I would even go as far as saying I would probably be more comfortable in a room with a carnivore than some of the fake people I’ve met in my life. In hindsight, it would be a ridiculous suggestion because I would be torn to shreds, but at least I would perish in dignity.
I’ve loved animals ever since I was a child. My first pet was a dog called Jessie. She was a black Staffordshire bull terrier with the most beautiful face imaginable. I would join my grandad at the weekends to take her for walks around the woods and lakes. Such peaceful times. I miss them badly.
My second pet was a rabbit called Rosie. However, we only had her for a couple of years before she died because a virus in the area killed many of the pets in the neighbourhood. I was distraught when my mum told me. I remember coming home from school and breaking down in tears. How can something so sweet and innocent (even though she was quite a vicious little thing!) suddenly be taken away? You begin to have thoughts in your head of it being in pain - why weren’t I there? What could I have done? etc.
I struggle when I lose a pet. Rosie died when I was 8, so it’s pretty traumatic to cope with death at a young age because you don’t understand how to control your emotions. Yet when I was 21 and saw my cat Millie die in my grandad’s arms, I broke down just as badly as I did when I was 8.
I also had 4 cats in my 20s – Millie, Sid, Tabby & Patch. My grandparent’s back garden was like a pet sanctuary. All 4 cats came from nowhere, but none were microchipped. We assume they were abandoned, but we certainly gave them a life full of love and joy afterwards. We lived by the woods, so I’ve seen all types of wildlife in the garden. I’ve also witnessed a fox catching prey, and it wasn’t pretty – luckily, it wasn’t any of my cats!
Growing up with pets teaches you many life skills that can be used both personally & professionally. The most important is responsibility. Other skills include compassion, empathy, respect & patience. I don’t want to sound morbid, but having a pet also teaches children about the meaning of dying & bereavement.
My childhood is full of happy memories, mainly from growing up with animals. I hope to share the same experiences as I did with my future children one day.