Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for December 28th, 2011

In Praise of Dogs and Cats (Friends, all)

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As we’re in the winter doldrums now — caught between two holidays, where everything seems both surreal and pointless — it’s grown harder for me to come up with blog subjects that have some meaning.  And thus, might strike a chord with someone else.

But there’s one thing I am always grateful for, and that’s the companionship of my Mom’s three dogs.  They’re my friends; they have personalities all their own.  Even though they have the typical dog faults — they love food to distraction and will gladly eat themselves sick over and over again, for just one — and they’re not “shining beacons of light,” it’s still a joy to be around them.  They enjoy life for what it is: they get fed, they’re warm and out of the cold, they get affection and told they’re loved quite frequently.  And they are content.

Lest you think I only feel like this about dogs, think again.  Cats, too, are very special creatures.  They definitely have personalities, in some ways stronger ones than many dogs.  Their reasoning can be easier to follow by human beings — or at least, by me — and while cats can be aloof, if they like you, they let you know it.  And they, too, are a joy to be around because they know what’s important: companionship and caring.  Anything else just doesn’t register for cats, being profoundly irrelevant to their lives.

I keep thinking what are the most important qualities in a friend, and I think “companionship and caring” about sums it up.  This is why pets are so important to many human beings, because it gets harder every day to reach out and keep trying to make a connection with another living soul.

I know that in the strongest human friendships, these same two things — companionship, and caring — are what count the most.  Then comes communication — something you don’t need to worry about as much with a cat or dog, as they read nonverbal clues far better than most humans — and shared experiences, among many other things that go into making up a strong friendship with a human being.

Friends are vitally important.  In the end, it doesn’t matter so much what kind of friends we have, though it’s much easier for human beings to have a human friend or two as that’s really the best way we have to be fully understood, as a companion animal, no matter how wonderful it might be, cannot reason on a human level.  (Nor should it be asked to do so.)

So at this time of year, where it’s cold and dark and dreary over the Northern Hemisphere, do your best to celebrate your friends, near and far.  If they’re still alive, tell ’em you appreciate them; if they’re dead, celebrate their lives as best you’re able.  And please do remember to pet your cat or dog a few extra times, too.  They’ll appreciate it, and it might actually help you out, too.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Posted in friendship, Writing

Tagged with , ,