Home Lifestyle RAMBLINGS: Pets are a gift from God

RAMBLINGS: Pets are a gift from God

We often hear that our cats and dogs are like family. No greater truth, especially when we look back and remember the pets we had during our lifetime.

I did not know life without my collie Shag until he wandered off to die when I was 10 years old. That was probably the most traumatic event of my childhood.

There were no leash laws in the small town of Aberdeen where I grew up. We all knew the neighborhood dogs that passed through our yard but they mostly stayed in their own yards without benefit of fences.

Shag was my constant companion whenever I was outside. I remember how terribly upset I became when my dad told my brother and me that he thought Shag would be happier living out in the country with a family he knew. Turned out that a neighbor complained to my dad that Shag had snapped at his daughter.

Needless to say, my brother and I were thoroughly distraught. But like Lassie in the movies, Shag came home in a few days to the great joy of my brother and me.

My dad then told us that Shag was home to stay. He put up a wire fence that separated our lot from the neighbor who had complained about Shag.

I have had many dogs since Shag, but my rescue dog Frazier has been a special blessing to me.

I think every retired person needs a pet, preferably a dog or cat. Being retired gives one a chance to give a pet the time and attention they deserve.

I doubt if my dad would have accepted the pit pup his sister offered him if he had not been retired. My dad knew this breed of dogs needed special attention because of horrible breeding practices.


Interesting to note, my parents never had a break-in or vandalism on the rural property on which they retired when many of their neighbors had during those years.

Dad’s pit, Mandy, was well known in the community. As a constant companion and passenger in his El Camino, she received lots of treats at his “window stops.” Being black and white, she matched the colors of Dad’s El Camino perfectly.

A friend swore to me that while he was stopped behind my dad at a stop sign, he observed Mandy turning her head back and forth in perfect synchronization with my dad’s head. Boy, I would have loved seeing that!

My “retirement dog” turned five this week. Frazier’s paperwork from the shelter disclosed his birth date. I do not know if his original owner died or just had to surrender him, but regardless, his first owner obviously took good care of him. He was the only dog that did not bark when my son and I walked down the aisle looking at available dogs.

We were told by workers he had shut down since being left at the shelter … not eating or barking. We could tell he warmed up to us in the reception room and I quickly made up my mind that he was the one.

Frazier has turned out to be a perfect fit for me. Whoever had my Frazier during his first year of life taught him a lot. He was completely housebroken, never destructive of property, understood quite a few words and phrases but best of all, very loving.

He is my perfect retirement companion … my angelic fur baby, a precious gift from God.

Helen Cox is a former journalist and educator in Richmond County.