Just as I was starting my Junior year of college, my mom bought a puppy. I remember seeing it for the time when I visited over Christmas break. It was strange to me because my youngest brother had just moved out of the house. At first, I couldn’t understand why she got the dog. There were no more children begging for pets. It was just her and my stepdad.
Several times over the course of the next few days, she used this exact phrase, “this is my dog.”
I realized at that moment that my judgment about pets being for children was driven from countless televisions shows, and movies where kids pleaded for pets, and parents had to be overcome. This wasn’t the case with my mom.
She grew up on a farm and all her life she had pets. It was only for a very brief time in my early childhood that we didn’t have pets. The whole time as a kid, I thought we had pets because we just kept asking, but it was only seeing this new puppy that I realized we had pets because she loved them.
From that day forward, any catching up with my mom that took place always included a conversation about her dog. It was the first thing I understood about my mom that had nothing to do with her being a mom. She was an animal lover, always had been, and I was in my twenties when I finally realized it.