A Reflection on Having Animals

Author | Morgan Paixao

Just a couple days ago I had to say goodbye to one of my family’s dogs, sweet Piper, aka Cookie. She was one of those creatures that found their way into my parent’s house when they were least expecting it. She was a kind and jolly golden retriever. Though she was older and diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, it's never easy to say goodbye.

Me and my husband have our own household of critters now, two cats (Marty & Otis) and our pup, Lola. Piper’s passing got me thinking about the animals we directly care for, the ones that live at my parent’s house, and one very special boy who’s death turned my world completely upside down when he left unexpectedly. All this to say - we are ‘animal people’. They are home.

Marty , Lola, and (baby!) Otis

I’ve lived with dogs and cats my entire life (plus my horse, Lucy - but she doesn’t live with us lol), aside from a stretch in my college/post-college years. My parents instilled a deep love for them while we were growing up, they are part of the family, not auxiliary members that hover in the background. I feel so thankful for all of the animals I’ve been lucky enough to share a household with throughout my life, and most thankful of all for my parents and this beautiful gift they gave to me and my sister. Their home has always been a welcome place for misfit creatures that otherwise didn’t have one. The cat my sister caught with a squirrel trap when she was in college because winter was on the horizon and this feisty kitten was living under a bar. The cat they scooped up from my grandfather’s family farm in West Virginia who was being chased by neighbors' dogs. And of course Piper, the result of a divorce who was left unwanted by either party.

Newton, our special guy

Animals will always be present in our home. Their spirits make our house feel like home. Is there more to clean? Yup. Have I stepped in the occasional accident barefooted? Oh yes - not fun. But would I trade it for anything? No way.

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