Be My Valentine: The Love of a Pet

Feb 11, 2013 by

Be My Valentine: The Love of a Pet

I hesitate to write a Valentine’s Day post, because it’s either a holiday you’re happy with because you have someone significant whom you love and who (hopefully) loves you, or it’s a holiday you hate because you don’t. Don’t even get me STARTED on the whole card racket.

But there is a kind of love that I have in my life that is so wonderful, so unconditional, that it makes me all gooey inside. And that’s the love I have for – and from – my dog Bernard and my cat Tabitha. Pet love can do wondrous things. It can soothe a troubled soul, lower blood pressure, and just make you feel good. There’s no quid pro quo, no demands of a new cat toy or doggie treat before affection will be given. Their love simply exists. You are their human and they love you.

Bernard is a relatively recent addition to our family. A rescue shihtzu from California, he came into our lives about 4 months ago and wormed his way into our hearts in about 5 seconds flat. Shihtzus are a relatively chill breed, content to lie around and be a slug if you want or willing to run and play and be silly if that’s what you want. And this dog LOVES me. As soon as I appear in the morning, he races to me with his tail slashing the air and jumps into my lap. In fact, if I sit on the couch at any point during the day or night, it is as if a homing beacon has been activated and he must get there immediately. Bernard loves everyone in the family, but has unique relationships with each person. He’s the playmate of my daughter, and recognizes a kindred spirit in my son, who is really the only one whom Bernard bestows doggie kisses. Although I should clarify – the other morning we were all clustered around him and he was in my lap, and I joked that Bernard never gives out kisses. And as soon as I said that, he leaned over to my daughter, save her a single lick on the face, then did the same thing to my son and me. The unspoken “NOW are you happy?” was palpable. But his love is a blessing that I give thanks for every day.

Tabitha is a tougher case to crack. She’s a cat, who as we all know, can be stingy with their affection. And Tabitha especially has been challenged to show her love. We adopted her ten years ago from a shelter, and through all the years, she’s acted almost afraid of human touch. She is not a lap cat and she does not enjoy being held. Her first instinct is to run from most forms of contact. That being said, though, I know she loves us. I have a photo of my daughter lying on the floor, with Tabitha plopped down next to her head. When I go to bed at night, within seconds she jumps up on the bed and begins butting my forehead with her head and purring. She has even allowed me to begin picking her up on occasion, although she isn’t happy with it for longer than about 30 seconds.

So on this Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for a valentine who won’t ask of you, but will only want to give love, consider a pet. And if you’re in the position to be able to care for a rescue cat or dog, then head to or some other shelter or rescue organization. You couldn’t ask for a better valentine.

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