Although I grew up on a farm and was surrounded by farm animals, I was not particularly attached to any of them as pets. It was a known fact that sooner or later, the steer you showed in 4-H would likely end up on the dinner table as hamburger or steak. The dogs were more for alerting us when the ‘cows are out’, which meant the cows had gotten out of their pasture and were on the road. Those three words would immediately cause everything to come to a halt in order to round up and secure them back in the fenced pasture since they presented a hazard to drivers. The cattle are still my favorite of the farm animals, and in a future article, I’ll share the story of running inside a burning barn in …
order to rescue 15 or so of them before the roof caved in. On the other hand, the cats on the farm were my least favorite animal. They were mean and were known to attack you if approached. But, they were barn cats whose sole purpose was to catch mice and rats in the barn. Thus, my view of animals while growing up on a farm had always been one of commodity versus pet.
In my book, Lifetime Legacy Planner, I have a ‘Pets’ chapter along with the personal story which explains how pets came to be included in the book. This chapter specifically addresses the questions of who would take care of your pets if something happened to you. It documents such things as: age, gender, veterinarian, shots & vaccinations, groomer, pet sitter, and meal preparation or special diet. Over the years, I’ve actually shared living space with several pets and have numerous relatives whose pets are like family. I now have much more compassion for those who have lost their pets and the grief they experience. It’s been quite the journey to get to this different viewpoint when it comes to animals, but I must admit … I still really enjoy a great medium-rare steak.
If something unexpected happened to you today, who would step in to care for your pets? Would that person know how to care for them with regard to their health or diet? Would this be a temporary arrangement or permanent? What about the financial cost someone incurs when they assume responsibility for your pets? My answers to these questions can be found in the ‘Pets’ chapter story. How would you answer these questions?