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Do We Love Our Pets More Than Our Children?

05/17/2013 01:54 pm ET | Updated Jul 17, 2013

Do we care for our pets more than our children?

To my dear readers, please forgive my deviation from writing about addiction and recovery. I have been struggling, since the death two days ago of my wonderful Golden Retriever, Lucy, to come out of the fog, and in trying to heal from the inside out, I have mulled over some emotional concepts. My baby girl Lucy had been with me since she was 8 weeks old and was going to be 13 in August.

In all honesty, I wanted to title this column "Do We Love Our Pets More Than Our Children?" but thought the hues and cries would be global and not politically correct. What prompted me to write this were all the tears and emotions that not only came from my friends and family, but total strangers that could relate with their own stories of pain and anguish when their four-legged loved one passed on.

Below is the little obituary I sent out:

Two days ago I lost my beautiful, sweet companion of 13 years. Lucy died with dignity and peace with her head in my lap at Hearts Therapeutic Riding Academy where I have taken her and Dylan (my other Golden) every Sunday for years while I fed and cleaned the horses. She didn't suffer and wasn't even sick, just old and her time had come.

I held her close and whispered my love for her until her last breath and we were surrounded by the beauty of the trees and nickering of the horses.

Since it was very early, we were alone (other than Dylan, my other Golden) and I could wail aloud to the sky as no one could hear me. Eventually, her vet, who is also my dear friend, came, and a few minutes later she slipped up to heaven. Needless to say, I'm broken hearted, but so very grateful that she passed naturally in a serene setting with her head in her mommy's lap.

Lucy was a beautiful Golden and was married to her best friend, Dylan. Lucy loved to watch TV, especially if a dog was on a commercial or show, she loved to chase trucks (not cars), she did not like men with hats, she did not like skateboarders, she loved to chase her ball and then keep it, she loved to splash in the ocean, not really swim, she loved to sleep either on the bed or with her head on Dylan's butt. Lucy had a wonderful life and I'm so fortunate she graced mine. If there are any condolences, direct all your wonderful thoughts to my 11-year-old Golden, Dylan... he lost his best friend, too.

So why do we love our pets so much? Let me answer as a dog owner, even though this list may attest to cats, birds, hamsters, snakes, horse, chickens or whatever other pet they may share their life with.

1) The unconditional love that a dog presents to its mom or dad is 24/7, 12 months a year. No matter what your mood -- or theirs, for that matter -- they are always happy to see you. Even if they ate the bread off the counter, their tail wags (maybe a bit slower) when you walk in the door.

2) They are extremely good listeners and never, ever tell anyone what you've shared.

3) They are so easily pleased. A little food, water, toy and a treat now and then and they are happy.

4) They hold your gaze when you look or talk to them and say quite a bit without having to utter a single word.

5) They are adorable in our eyes. Whether a mutt or fancy purebred, they are fabulous in all their glory.

6) They enjoy the same food for breakfast and dinner. Never really picky or finicky. It's all good to them.

7) They keep you company in the car or on a walk or on the couch watching TV.

8) They never talk back or argue or tell you you are wrong.

9) They never sport an attitude or stay angry at you.

10) They don't judge you or your friends or your clothes or your job or your haircut or what kind of car you drive or what you look like. Everything you do is perfect to them.

11) They protect us in ways we can't even imagine.

12) Their lifestyle is simple. They have no idea what an allowance is, have not use for a cell phone or IPad.

13) They are never late to an engagement or dump you because something better comes along.

14) More proof? As we all know, "dog" is "God" spelled backward.

So, when things are quiet and you are alone, compare these doggie (pet) concepts to that of your human children and see whether your two-legged offspring or four-legged ones come up with a bigger and more comforting smile on your face.

I had four daughters (three human, one hound) -- all adopted. I loved them all. However, today I only have three daughters left since the passing of my Golden, Lucy. Who says that our children can only have two legs and not four?

For more by Carole Bennett, MA, click here.

For more on love, click here.