Be sure and give your pet an extra scratch behind the ears.
Be sure and give your pet an extra scratch behind the ears.

In appreciation of our furry friends

I was sifting through a pile of the fourth-grader's homework papers last week and came up on Thanksgiving-themed essay in the vein of "Things I'm Thankful For..."

While I was pleased with the handwriting, punctuation, overall execution and mention of our family -- not to mention the grade and teacher's comments written in red at the top of the page -- I was most struck by the Sprout's inclusion of our pets in her essay.

"I am thankful for my dog, because she is always happy to see me come home from school and my cat, who snuggles with me every night."

From the mouths of babes...

In the hustle and bustle of the 24/7, "get it done yesterday" world that adults inhabit, it's easy to overlook the joy that pets bring to a home. Emptying a litter box, silencing a barking dog and removing an ocean of excrement from the lawn aren't particularly thrilling or fulfilling tasks, but they are counterbalanced by the loyalty and unconditional love and affection that pets share with their owners.

In recent weeks, a handful of friends and family members have dealt with the loss of beloved pets and that -- coupled with the child's essay and some Facebook photo of our family pooch playing with friends at Doggy Daycare, reminded me that it's a mistake to take our pets for granted.

Thanksgiving is over, but I think it's appropriate for everyone to thank Fido or Fluffy with an extra scratch behind the ears or a bowl of "special" food tonight.



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