I get by with a little help from my friend

The time in my life when Breagha’s path crossed mine was not what I would consider a high point in my life. If I’m being honest, I was becoming something of a misanthrope, cynical, and pessimistic. These are just natural tendencies for me I think, and all of these are still areas where I have to check myself before I wreck myself at times. But I have to credit this weird little derp for honestly changing my life.

From day one Breagha has pulled out all this love I did not know was inside of me, forced me to feel and to be vulnerable, and pulled me out of myself. Watching her approach everything in life with the utmost enthusiasm and reveling in the smallest of things makes me smile every single day. Through her I have been able to see all of the positive things in life I could not (or stubbornly refused to) see before. Life is a lot more fun when you get to see the world through the eyes of a creature who is positively overjoyed at things such as finding a stick or something disgusting to roll in. You realize how much joy there is in life – right there in front of you, yours for the taking – that you’re missing out on when you share your life with someone who seizes every opportunity to be happy about things and doesn’t care a bit whether someone is watching or what people will think. I was totally unprepared for this change, but it’s been a wonderful surprise and one I continue to marvel at every day.

I don’t recommend getting a pet specifically to “fix” the problems in one’s life. And indeed Breagha’s gift to me I think has been more one of self-awareness than turning me into a different person. Also, in the case of actual mental illnesses, I think they can be helped by animals, but a pet is never a substitute for professional help. But for me, whose past self was not so much depressed as simply a budding pessimist, it has made all the difference.

Most people don’t really get why I am so enamored of a mere dog and why I prioritize her in nearly every aspect of my life. I don’t really understand it myself. It’s one of those wonderful things in life that doesn’t have to have a reason. It just is.

I’m not sure what brought about this reflection. Probably the new year coming up. Anyway, just some thoughts I’ve had recently about a certain Border Collie who came into my life and turned things upside down.

Every breath you take

One of the things you get used to when you have a herdy type of dog (especially a Border Collie) is the staring. They stare. And they stare intensely. Your own personal stalker.

One of those things that might be rated “annoying” for some but definitely falls under “endearing” for me.

I love every last weird thing about her.

How much they mean to us

Recently I heard about a website called safeplaceforpets.org , I think it popped up in my Facebook feed or something. They are an organization that helps people trying to escape from domestic violence who also have pets. One quote from their website struck me: “Unfortunately, many shelters do not have the means to house companion animals and many victims are left facing the difficult decision to either leave their pets behind or remain in the abusive environment. Sadly, nearly 50% of victims have delayed leaving abusive relationships out of fear of harm to their animals.” 50 percent. 50 percent have delayed leaving an abusive situation because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind.

Another article that I have read recently discusses homeless people staying homeless because they could not find a place to stay that would allow them to keep their pets.

https://theconversation.com/my-dog-is-my-home-the-need-for-pet-friendly-accommodation-for-homeless-people-140975?fbclid=IwAR1jAXYeBrYryFERBOvLy8ARnq7sRKniQ76RrWPeZ6TanYrHhLQrO8ajW5M

I have long felt that non-pet-owners simply do not understand how much pets mean to the people who love them. It speaks volumes that some would rather remain in an abusive relationship or remain homeless than give up their pets, and IMO it sucks that they have to choose between safety and keeping their pets. Yes, legally, they are property. But to many people, pets are family. And for some people they are the only family they have. The “it’s just an animal” crowd truly have no idea.

Family can also be animals!

It brings to mind as well the outrageous pet fees that are sometimes charged by apartments and hotels which can make it very difficult for non-home-owners with pets to find places to live. One should not be punished for having a pet any more than they should be punished for having a child or a spouse.

Even if someone doesn’t understand this, they should to take into account that many people do in fact make major decisions based on whether they can keep their pets, and be accommodating. I am sad that it is so hard for people in bad situations to keep their pets, but I am glad to see that people are thinking about this and there are organizations to help people stay with their pets.

She’s got a way

“She’s got a way about her

I don’t know what it is

But I know that I can’t live without her.

She’s got a way of pleasin’

I don’t know what it is

But there doesn’t have to be a reason

Anyway

She’s got a smile that heals me

I don’t know why it is

But I have to laugh when she reveals me

She’s got a way of talkin’

I don’t know why it is

But it lifts me up when we are walkin’

Anywhere

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around

She’s got a way of showin’
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin’

She’s got a light around her
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her
Everywhere

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around

She’s got a smile that heals me
I don’t know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me

She’s got a way about her

I don’t know what it is
But I know that I can’t live without her
Anyway”

Oh to be a dog

Imagine if instead of all of the things you wish to achieve and all the things you wish to be, your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations, you had only one goal in life:

to be wet.

Yeah that’s Brèagha. That’s her entire mission in life: just to be wet whenever possible. That’s it. That’s the entirety of it.

Oh to be a dog. Life is so much simpler.

Songs for Brèagha

Prepare yourself for some serious sappiness. I’ve made a playlist of songs for Brèagha.

Some that I think fit her personality, and some that made me think of us together. Starting off with “Believe it or Not” of course, because believe it or not, it’s just Bree!

What songs would you choose for your dog?

Talking About Things We Hate: Why Tho?

Full disclosure I used to enjoy talking about pet peeves and such. Because I was a teenager, and we all go through our I hate everything phase at some point during that whole processes.

Some people, however, seem to never get past that phase.

Sometimes people are oblivious to how their behavior is irritating or even distressing to others, and in those cases, there’s nothing wrong with doing a PSA for the benefit of said oblivious people. That’s not really what I’m on about.

Not talking about people analyzing books/TV shows/etc and giving an honest critique of what could have been done better, either.

I used to be in a Facebook group of Lost fans. Sometimes there were some genuinely good discussions (and memes.) But I swear, 90% of the posts were just people talking about which characters they hated. That was all people seemed to want to talk about.

That’s what I’m talking about.

There is plenty of music I can’t stand or TV show characters I find annoying. But I don’t feel the need to go out and say that I hate them anymore. Because no one cares. No one cares which Lost characters you hate or which music you hate. No one cares that you think dogs are annoying or cats are annoying. It doesn’t bring awareness to a legitimate problem or add anything of value to the world to publicly say so. But aside from that, it’s a turn off. Most people don’t enjoy spending time with someone who constantly complains about unimportant things. So why not do yourself a favor and talk about the things you love instead?

It didn’t take long for me to get tired of post after post about how some random strangers hated certain Lost characters, so I left the group. I joined the group because I love Lost, and to take part in conversations with fellow Losties about why we love the show and all the little details and “Easter eggs” that blew our minds. Not to listen to people whine about the parts they didn’t like.

All this aside, as much as I might privately roll my eyes at certain things, I have come to enjoy seeing people enjoy things, even things I dislike, so long as they are not harming anyone else in the process. There is so much sorrow and sickness and despair in the world. Even if only two people in the world are passionate about rap and derive genuine joy from listening to it, then thank God for rap. If two people genuinely love Jack from Lost and enjoy the show more because of him, then thank God for Jack. I know lots of people who couldn’t stand living with a Border Collie. But everything that others find annoying about them, I happen to love, and Brèagha is the light of my life, so thank God for Border Collies. And while I may not be a huge Chow fan, I am sure there are lots of people who love their Chows, so thank God for Chows. Thank God people continue to find happiness in life. I don’t need to like or appreciate the things they love to be happy for them that they have something to be happy about.

This guy was absolutely overjoyed by this double rainbow, to the point of shouting and crying about it. Look, I don’t understand why he apparently experienced such intense joy over that rainbow, and as pretty as it is, that would not be my reaction to it. But I don’t need to understand to be happy that he was able to derive such joy from the experience.

(Just FYI, the guy claimed that he was not under the influence of any drugs while filming this and that it was just a moment of pure joy.)