More than a Pet
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA, MSA
Believe it or not, I was scared of dogs when I was younger. A small bite from a terrier threw me for a loop in first grade and it took until middle school for me to get comfortable around dogs again. We never had a dog, or any pet for that matter (aside from a couple of fish), while I was growing up and I never understood what it meant to have a pet in my life. Then Buddy happened. And if you don’t know Buddy’s story, it is a unique one.
It would be much easier to say that my parents simply went to a breeder and purchased him, but that definitely was not the case. While not a ‘rescue’ dog in the most absolute sense, Buddy grew up under the care of my late mother-in-law. After her passing, Jill and her sister, Amy, split the duties of caring for Buddy for several years. During that time, he traveled back and forth to NYC (where Amy lives and works) until I came into Jill’s life and we finally moved in together. Around the same time, my sister was graduating from college and moving to NYC and my parent’s empty nest seemed only weeks away. By now most of you have figured out where this story is going…
Most days, I was the last one out of the house and had the duty of not only the morning walks, feeding and cleaning, but I also was the one who had the terrible job of locking buddy in the bathroom for the day. I hated doing it and it broke my heart every morning. Realizing how hectic all of our lives were, Jill, her siblings and I all felt like Buddy deserved better. While putting him up for adoption was never an option, bringing him into my parents’ life seemed like a natural fit. Well of course, my mother’s heart melted when she first met him and loved the thought of caring for him. My dad, while resistant at first, knew he didn’t have a shot at saying no and embraced having a pet for the first time since his childhood.
As Buddy grew into a true ‘family’ pet, I learned something that I had already known to be true; and that is the fact that you can grow to love a pet as much as a person. The more surprising thing, at least in my opinion, is the love that the pet has for you. It is unconditional and unwavering, as if you can do no wrong. While we do not have Buddy full-time in our house, we end up babysitting quite frequently. Occasionally, this requires me to put him in the bathroom when I head to work for the day. As hard as it is to lock Buddy in the bathroom in the morning, the best part of the day is letting him out when I get home.
We know that many of you have your own unique bond with your pet(s) and we would love to hear more about it. Please send along a picture of your pet(s) and a little bit about him/her and what makes them special to you and your family.