Pets are good for your health. They provide companionship, love, and even exercise. It’s not surprising at all that people who pets live longer and healthy lives. I have loved animals and dogs for my entire life, but I didn’t understand the profoundness and depth of the canine human bond until we adopted Bea Arthur last year.
Bea is a 7 year old fearful shelter dog from Puerto Rico (where there is a huge problem with homeless dogs). We immediately took to her. She’s perfect for an NYC apartment dweller. She’s 20 pounds, she sleeps a lot, she’s older, and doesn’t need much exercise. I thought she would be a great first dog for my husband who, lets face it, only agreed to get a dog because I wanted one so badly (It probably also helped that I offered that we name her after a comedian). I had never owned a dog before, but animal rescue is truly one of my passions. I was a volunteer dog walker at the shelter in Manhattan and I fostered a dog in grad school. I have a very special place in my heart for older dogs, pit bulls, and shelter mutts.
Bea has been with us just over a year and it’s been absolutely amazing to see her transformation. She couldn’t look us in the eye when we first got her. She didn’t know any commands other than sit. She had separation anxiety. She would get nervous and reactive towards other dogs on walks. She’s really come a long way. She knows many commands, she loves belly rubs, she has doggie playdates, she sleeps for the most part when she’s home alone, and she does zoomies. She’s still got a couple of issues we’re working on, and will probably never be a therapy dog, but she’s perfect for us. She is truly the heart of our home.
She’s in tune with us. When I had surgery last year, she was the perfect therapy dog, laying in bed with me while I recovered. While I was packing last night to leave for England, Miss Bea knew something was up. She was following me around the house and giving me extra kisses. She knows we love when she sits so if I stopped moving for just a second she would sit and wait for attention.
I’m having a minor (major) anxiety attack about leaving her for 2 weeks. That’s a long time to be away. Normally while we are away we leave Bea with our neighbors who’s dog Leah is best friends with Bea. But they decided to get knocked up with a due date during our trip. How inconsiderate.
So instead of a prolonged Leah playdate, we are having our fabulous dog walker stay at our apartment. He knows Bea and her needs and we couldn’t ask for a better caretaker while we are gone. Intellectually, I know she’ll be fine, but I feel such sadness to leave her. She’s a part of our family and I wish I could communicate with her that we’ll be back in a couple of weeks.
I left this morning as I usually do, and our walker is coming today to stay. It will be much easier to go about my day once we are actually in England where she will be on my mind but out of sight. I know she will be fine, well exercised, and get lots of attention.
And I’m really looking forward to the best part of leaving our beloved pet at home. When we return, Bea will perform the most fantastic butt wiggle tail-wagging dance of happiness that will almost make leaving her worth it. Almost