published Sunday, August 21st, 2011

My LIfe: Pets can teach us to be better people

By Corin Harp

The other night, as is my routine, I let my dogs outside before I put them up for the night. The two of them are terriers, and they are quite feisty.

They try to talk back to me by howling in different tones when I talk to them.

When I let them back indoors, one of the dogs, Julie, was suddenly very lethargic. She would not look up at me. She tried to walk, but her body was unsteady and she swayed from side to side.

I figured she had eaten something poisonous or been bitten by something. I was extremely worried. I wasn't sure she was going to make it through the night.

I realized that my dogs are so much a part of my life that it would be devastating if one should suddenly pass away.

They are not only important to me as family members, but also because they have become a constant in my life. Every time I arrive home, they are right there to greet me with their tails wagging. When I am watching a movie, studying or reading a book, they are beside me. Sometimes their loyalty seems unmatched by any person I know.

There is an unnaturally quiet feeling when they are not in the house.

We took Julie to the vet, and it turned out that she had been bitten by a snake. Once she received proper medication, she was back to her normal self, which was such a relief.

It was in this moment of panic that I realized how important my dogs are to me. They provide a sense of consistency, trust and love that is rare in human relationships.

It is important to take a moment to appreciate our pets and to understand how the relationships we share with them can affect the trust we create with the people in our lives. Their presence and interactions humble us. We can take this trust and love to share with others through the same feelings and understanding.

Email Corin Harp at corinharpe@gmail.com.

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