Tara and me (at about age five or six)
Though I now live in the city, my heart is still firmly planted in the countryside that I grew up in. I grew up in two small towns north of Toronto, both with heavy ties to thoroughbred racehorses, both with wide open fields, both giving me great places to explore and learn.
Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post asked bloggers to write about our pets and what they meant to us.
I often reminisce about my youth – riding horses (I had my own beige pony), talking to the neighbours cows while I waited for the school bus, playing in the grass with my cats, playing with my pet pigeon… yes, I had a pigeon that I named Bernice (after Bert’s pigeon on Sesame Street).
But my closest friend was my dog, Tara. She was a pure-bread German Shepherd that my parents got when I was about two years old. Though my parents were often warned about the dangers of having a Shepherd near such a young child, we bonded almost immediately and were inseparable until the day she died.
Tara was like the older sister I never had, or like a second mother. We could often be found curled up together on the floor, racing each other around the yard, or playing catch with balls and sticks. She protected me fiercely. She once lunged at, and bit, my mom’s boss because he grabbed me. He was only trying to play with me and tickle me, but she saw his movement as a potential threat.
Tara lived longer than she had been expected, lasting until my early teens. We shared so many terrific times together, as did the rest of my family, and she never once caused us any trouble. She will always remain the favorite pet I’ve ever owned… and I’ve owned a LOT of pets (rabbits, rats, horses, various birds, fish, turtles, and many other dogs). It’s hard to think that I could ever love an animal as much as I loved her, and that may be part of my hesitation for owning a dog today.
It’s possible that my boys are missing out on something by not having a dog, but dogs just don’t fit into the family mold at the moment. At least, not our family mold. Maybe this’ll change, maybe one day they’ll have a four-legged best friend to run and play with – and blog about (if blogging even exists when they’ve grown up).
Dogs are fantastic animals, they’re good for the soul, they lift spirits, and they’re loyal. At least, that’s what my dog was like.