Monday, April 16, 2007

Kids and Animals

Still no foster kids, still no adoption news (although reader Mary did point me to a new avenue to chase--thanks!) but I feel like writing about SOMETHING I think I'll enthrall and delight you with my thoughts on kids and animals.

As a kid, I was fascinated with animals. I'm not sure what it was, their attitude, their love or just the fact that they're so different from us and yet in some ways exactly the same. I just know I loved them, and dogs in particular are my favorite. I resolved long ago that if I ever had kids in my house it was my constitutional duty to provide them with animal companions.

Some people don't want their kids to be around animals too much, or at all. They're afraid their kids will get bitten, or catch some kind of disease, or they just think animals are filthy and bad for hygiene. All of those things could happen, and certainly dogs are disgusting at times. I know for a fact that I have kissed a dog on the lips that has eaten his own excrement. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, I guess, and the devil take the hindmost (pun unintended, heh).

But kids in general, and foster kids in particular, get an inordinate amount of good stuff from animals. Imagine you're a foster kid. Imagine you've been physically or sexually abused. You've never known a safe haven in your life. Never known people you could trust or a part of your life that was SAFE. Now you land in a house you don't know with people that, while they seem nice, are unfamiliar and it's going to take some time before you're comfortable with them. You have no real expectations of ever being able to trust them either, come to that.

Now here comes a dog. He's a big, goofy Saint Bernard. You don't think dogs really smile, but you'd swear that was a big, goofy grin on his snout, and he always, without fail, is overjoyed when you walk in the door. He practically dances while you take your coat off, and almost dies of pleasure, rolling over and soaking it in when you start to pet his tummy. He's bigger than you, and more gentle than a feather. He then proceeds to sit next to your feet while you eat supper, hoping for a scrap and gazing on you with lovestruck doe eyes when you give him a piece of bread. He follows you around, hoping for some attention. You are the center of his world.

And that's what it comes down to, I guess. You're an abused kid. You're used to nasty adults basically being the center of everything, and now suddenly--for at least one creature--you are the center of everything.

That's therapy. It's pure goodness, even if the dog did just do something that makes you not ever want to touch a dog again. And make no mistake...they do many things like that. But they're worth it.

Chewy is therapy for me right now as I go through foster-withdrawal symptoms. It's a wonderful thing to have a monsterdog by your feet. Yes. Yes, it is. Good boy.


At 12:56 PM , Anonymous AuntieJ said...

MONSTER dog is right...i want to take a tape messure to his legs to see if he can compete with the worlds tallest dog..LOL But what a sweet lovable big lug he is..after you get over the OMG! that thing is going to chew my arm off...


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