Leslie Tourish, LPC
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When I entered the house I was greeted by a silent foyer and the distant sounds in the kitchen of bottles clinking and papers rustling. Not good.
Rounding the corner, I was treated to the sight of my purebred, AKC-verified miniature-greyhounds, Rosie and Toonces, treating themselves to an overturned garbage pail. Shoulder-to-shoulder, they were neck-to-neck happily rooting through the glorious cornucopia of yogurt containers, Lean Cuisine boxes, egg cartons, soup cans and (joy!) a half-N-half pint with at least two tablespoons of cream still inside the waxy box. This apparently, a canine Holy Grail, was their quest. Tails beat the air like torqued-up metronomes, such was their Nirvana.
“Hello girls,” I said.
Resembling gazelles startled from their drink at a Sudan watering hole, the dogs snapped to attention and two pair of brown eyes stared up at me. Toonces, the auxiliary Whippet, had a piece of egg shell stuck to her nose. All that was lacking was one of those thought balloons, the kind you see in cartoons, in which they would have filled it with a collective, “Oh, no.”
For at least three seconds no one moved, until a tomato paste can tumbled from its perch atop a paper towel tube and crashed behind them. The spell was broken and the hounds scrambled for daylight. Their claws dug into the kitchen tiles as they rounded past me while making their getaway, spewing coffee grounds into the living room carpet in a vacuum cleaner defying arch. And then, like a reverse rabbit in a magician’s hat trick, all I saw was their behinds disappearing out the dog door.
Leaning against the door frame I closed my eyes and thought, “Pets are good for me, pets are good for me, pets….”
And pets apparently are good for us, though it’s a toss up as to who gets more attached in the Rover and Fluffy relationship; us or them.
“Humans pay all the bills in the person-pet relationship, but both sides profit. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides and, consequently, a lower risk of heart disease than petless people. Indeed, Purdue University veterinarians Andrew Rowan and Alan Beck have written that if pet ownership could be ‘patented and sold as a drug,’ it would be the subject of ‘enormous research’ by pharmaceutical companies.”
George Eliot wrote in the 1800’s, “Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” And therein may be why we go to such great lengths to endure vet bills, groomer bills, food bills and silly, squeaky toy bills; because we’ll pay top dollar for that unconditional love.
When relationships in families are difficult, and friends prove to be more fair-weathered than true-blue, having a pet place her head on your knee and gaze into your eyes with complete trust and acceptance is powerful stuff. If pharmaceutical companies could bottle that feeling, chances are good that Prozac stock might take a dive. And besides, what are a few coffee grounds in the carpet between best friends?