Before HER Magazine Editor Molly Morris took her maternity leave to welcome a beautiful baby girl into this world, she shared this issue’s theme was focused on pets. Only the excitement of her family’s newest addition trumped my enthusiasm to be a part of such a fun and meaningful HER edition.
The old adage is true – pets truly become part of the family. In my house, his name is Albert.
The minute our family began looking for our first house, my daughter knew that a dog would make it a home. While on our house hunting adventures, she made sure the backyards had sufficient running space or, better yet, nice fenced-in areas for her soon-to-be best friend.
It wasn’t long after we moved into our Osage Beach raised ranch, the eternal question crept into conversation after conversation – “So, when are we getting our dog?” My husband and I assured it would happen soon, but we also encouraged her to be patient as we all settled into our new digs.
As the holidays approached, we began looking at local shelters and then we saw his picture. A 1-year-old, handsome, red and white Aussie/Retriever mix named after the famed scientist Albert Einstein because of his “intelligent eyes.” My husband and I decided we had to meet him, in hopes we could surprise our pre-teen and deliver on our promise. It only took five minutes, and we knew he was the one.
The next day I picked my daughter up from a friend’s overnight Christmas party, and we surprised her with her very own Christmas gift. Just like with us, it was love at first sight for her and Albert. Three and a half years later, the joy our 60-pound “little puppers” brings to our daughter, to us and to our friends and family is immense every day.
Like any solid relationship, the special bond between a pet and its forever homeowners is grounded in loyalty, trust, companionship and unconditional love.
Take Jess DeFreece. This Jefferson City woman learned the importance this relationship through her involvement in Puppies for Parolees. Now she has her own dog training business, Pawfinesse with Jess that is a nonprofit Muttz to Miracles Rescue. It truly turns pet and owner into forever families.
Then there’s Mindy Craig, an exotic pet owner in Jefferson City. Her son’s surprise friend, a 38-inch ball python, tugged at her heartstrings due to its malnourished state. Her compassion for this slithering creature helped it not only get back to an excellent state of health; it confirmed the snake’s rightful place as part of her family. Now, their pet is part of a trio of exotic creatures, including two loved leopard geckos.
Cats and dogs are more than pets when they live at places like Where Pigs Fly Farm or LU’s three farms - Alan T. Busby Farm, George Washington Carver Farm and James N. Freeman Farm. They offer companionship, pest control, guardians of the grounds and a vital part of each farm’s success.
Whether it is a lizard, parakeet, feline friend or canine companion, pets play important roles in our lives. Volunteer at a local animal shelter, become a dog walker or cat sitter, get involved in a pet nonprofit, or adopt or take in a pet of your own.
Just like all featured in this issue can attest, they will forever give you sloppy kisses and fill your heart with joy and lifelong love.