Writer’s Block: Our Pets, Our Family

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Wednesday was National Pet Day. As such, you may have seen an uptick in pet pictures while scrolling through your social media feeds this week. I know I did.

Sure, it seems like just about every day is National Something Day, or International Something Day. There are days to celebrate everything, it seems. For example, earlier this month I posted on Facebook about National Hug A Newsperson Day and jokingly invited anyone to join me in a hug or high five.

Then there was National Siblings Day and suddenly my Facebook feed was filled with photographs of my friends and their siblings — ancient photographs that showcased the height of fashion from the 1980s, 1970s and beyond. I may have had a few chuckles looking at those photos. All I can say is the hairspray industry must have been doing quite well back then.

Heck, there’s even a website that lists all the upcoming national and international “days.” Some of them are serious, but most are whimsical. According to the site, next Monday is National Wear Pajamas to Work Day. It’s also National Eggs Benedict Day. And later this month is National Lima Bean Respect Day. I mean, I guess lima beans do get more hate than Brussels sprouts. Maybe? Personally, I like them both.

But, back to Wednesday and National Pet Day. As with most of these humorous “days,” it was a chance for friends to share photos of their favorite fur friends. I shared some photos of my cat, which prompted another friend to reply with a photo of his dog.

Scrolling through my feed, I saw so many photos of well-loved pups and kitties. Photos of them hanging out with their humans, or their human’s kids. Photos of pets on couches, or sprawled out on rugs. Photos of sleepy pets and photos of wakeful pets. Photos of pets making silly faces and somber faces.

And although some scientists would argue that the emotions we humans think we see on our pets’ faces are merely us anthropomorphizing our four-legged friends, I think there’s no denying that our pets can feel and reciprocate love.

So many of those photos I saw showed pets smiling, looking utterly content and at home. One of the photos I shared of my cat showed him soaking up the attention as I scratched just underneath his ear. Similarly, in his photo, my friend’s dog smiled in closed-eyed abandon as my friend patted his head.

For most of the folks I know, our pets are rescue animals saved from the streets or an animal shelter. I’ve written before about how I first met my cat at the Palm Valley Animal Shelter almost three years ago.

I think our pets understand that they were taken from a bad situation and placed in one that’s vastly different. It shows in the photographs.

And it has been such a privilege to have this little (fat) ball of fur in my life. He’s not just a pet, he’s become family. I know lots of you feel the same way about your own pets. So, in honor of National Pet Day, please give your pets some love from me. And maybe a treat or two.

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