Door Diaries | March 2016

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March 26, 2016

When spring arrives, everything seems to come to life. The morning light begins earlier, afternoon sun gets warmer and brighter, and the fragrances and colours of the world become more vibrant. It's a great time to get outdoors - have breakfast on the deck, laze in the mid-day sunshine or nap in a cozy hammock.

If we enjoy springtime, our pets appear to enjoy it even more! Pets are a big part of family life in Canada. Five years ago, we decided to welcome pets into our family home, and things have never been the same. Today we are a very hectic household filled with two adults, three teenagers, two dogs, one cat and an aquarium full of fish!

We felt that pets would be a great way to teach our kids responsibility and time management, and we were definitely right. Our first puppy was a chocolate labradoodle. Our children were still in elementary school when we brought him home, and it was love at first sight! Taking Merlin outside on an hourly basis, getting up when he whimpered in the middle of the night, cleaning up after him, teaching him tricks, keeping him fed and watered - all of these tasks fell to the kids. They embraced them (almost) enthusiastically.

Within a few months of Merlin's arrival, a litter of kittens was abandoned in the garbage dumpster at the kids' school. So - of course - compassion beat our logic, and we added Smokey to our menagerie. Merlin and Smokey definitely have a sibling-like relationship; chasing each other antagonistically one moment, partners in crime the next. Nothing brings a cat and a dog together like the chance to steal and devour a loaf of bread from the kitchen counter together!

As the years passed, one of our daughters in particular became very interested in dogs. She's decided - at least at this point - that she would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She researched dog anatomy, dog training, dog breeds, dog agility, and as she approached her teenage years, began asking for a dog of her own.

Last year on Canada Day, the chance to rescue a beautiful labrador cross fell into our lap, and we took the plunge. Our new puppy, Valentina, who is just over a year now, amazes everyone with her training and agility skills. Our daughter took training Val very seriously, and continues on her quest to make caring for dogs her life's work.

I wouldn't have thought that having pets would make as big an impact in our lives as it has. Embracing pets in our household has truly been life changing. If you haven't yet opened up your door to a pet, maybe it's time!