During the week, I stumbled across this article on the BBC website, stating that children are more likely to confide in their pets than they are their siblings. As I’m an only child who grew up surrounded by a variety of different pets, there was a lot in the article that I could relate to.
I count myself as extremely lucky to have grown up in a house where owning pets was the norm. A number of my friends weren’t allowed pets as they were ‘too messy’ or ‘needed too much looking after’ and I can help but think they missed out. Ironically, many people ask me if I think I missed out by not having brothers or sisters and I can honestly say I didn’t! I was never alone and never lonely. My dog, Mitzi, rarely left my side when I was a child. She arrived at our house an undernourished, scrawny puppy with her twin sister Susie. We were supposed to be fostering them for a local rescue shelter but when it came to sending them back, we were so devastated that they ended up staying!
Despite having a lousy start in life (the rest of the litter and the mother had died) they were both incredibly friendly and outgoing little characters. Like all terriers, Mitzi was full of fun and mischief and particularly delighted in finding odious things to roll in when she was out on a walk. Even as a child, I was an avid reader and would spend hours reading books aloud to Mitzi. She’d sit quietly next to me whilst I poured out all the trials and tribulations of my days at school and was always ready to offer licks, cuddles and unconditional love. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend or confidante.
Mitzi has been gone a long time now. She finally departed after a long battle with illness, around the time I was taking my A levels. Since then, I’ve been lucky to share my life with many different animals. Each one with its own personality, idiosyncrasies and special place in my heart.