I am guessing that many of us learned how to treat our animals from the watching how our parents treated our childhood pets.
Growing up, I never had a dog. Early on, my parents had a dachshund, Dagmar von Sauerkraut, but like many dachshunds, she suffered back problems and my mother thought it was best if Dag was put to sleep to end her misery and before I could get too attached to her.
Too late. I got attached to Dag through my dad’s wonderful stories of her long after she was gone. He loved telling how she would ride in the car and eat Dairy Queen ice cream if they went through a drive through and how she could stick her long dachshund tongue in a beer bottle to get every drop out.
For every story my Dad could spin about his escapades with Dag; my mother would counter with a story about the responsibility of having her; the clean-up of her occasional accidents; and the anguish of watching her back go bad.
Thankfully, my father’s stories won out. So from Dad I learned that pets were privileged members of the family who you could never cherish enough. They were your companions in ice-cream runs and helpmates in temporarily putting aside responsibilities. They were one of the good things in life.
Thanks, Dad for another great lesson and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.