Everyday you can pick up a newspaper or hop online and read stories about pets being left on doorsteps of shelters or thrown out of cars on the outskirts of towns. These stories always break my heart and make me wish that I could adopt every lonely dog in the world to give them the unconditional love they desire and deserve.
Like any other animal lover, I'm very close to my dog Sadie (Basenji), who we've had in our family for going on nine years and I treat with the same care & compassion I would any other member of my family.
I have always loved her to pieces, but most recently after moving back home I've grown to care about her more in her old age. I buy her treats/glucosamine medicine for her old joints and have even paid close to as much as a used car for a knee surgery that my parents would not have been able to afford otherwise (probably more than my current "hunk-o-junk" is worth).
Whenever it comes to Sadie, there is a soft spot since she's been there for me through thick and thin (just as my wonderful parents and brother have been as well) during my most influential years, 18-27. She was always there when a girl broke my heart or I lost a job, with those puppy eyes and "happy to be around you" attitude.
There are times when she needs to have things done at the vet (shots, checkups, etc) and I feel that I owe it to her to take her sooner rather than later since she can't do it herself, especially when she has been there for me unconditionally in the past.
My dad loves her very much as well, but obviously has seen more in his life than I have and doesn't always feel the same sentement of importance when it comes to these things. So we butt heads at times on when to take her in or not, since we split a lot of the major medical/health bills.
Also I admit that I've been VERY lucky in my short life and haven't had many close family members pass away or a lot of major catastrophe's, so I probably don't have much to base my life importances on.
With today's society, I see more and more of my friends, co-workers, and aquantances placing a larger amount of care and compassion in their pets than they used to. Some people even treat their pets as temporary replacements for a girlfriend/boyfriend, brother/sister, mom/dad, etc.
At the end of this long, drawn-out thought comes a simple question I pose to all pet-lovers:
Are Pets Just As Important To Our Family Structure As You & Me?
Or am I just crazy and need to snap myself back to reality?