I have a 10+ year old dachshund mix named Jamaica. I say 10+ because I have had her for almost ten years and when I got her they said she was between 1-3 years old. She is black with white tuxedo stripe at her neck. She is really the love of my life! Her and I make up a tiny family and she is always there for me. She is sweet, loyal, docile and cute. She is loyal and she is so dedicated to me. She LOVES food and always begs for whatever people food I happen to be eating at any moment. She also can be slightly stubborn and prone to melancholia. She definitely throws shade when I leave for the day but I can understand why. She has periodic tummy problems and she is definitely a couch potato just like her human/parental unit. I can’t imagine life without her and hope she lives to 20 at least.

As someone recently said: the problem with animals is tha they don’t live as long as us. In 2012, I experienced the devastating loss of a dog. He was Jamaica’s best pal and a sweet but nervous little guy. He was a bichon frise and just as cute as you might imagine with his soft, fluffy white fur with a slight curl. He got sick quickly and severely. I brought him to the vet and he died on the examining table right in front of me. I never found out what his diagnosis was. It was one of the devastating things I have ever gone through. He was only around 6 years old. He came from a puppy mill and his first year was a sheer horror show. When I got him he was understandably terrified and it took him a long time to come around as a more friendly and secure dog. I will never forget Simon and hope he is up in doggy heaven playing with other pups without a care in the world.

Pets are magical. I am thankful for all the pets I had growing up and for the ones I have had as an adult. I am a total fan of little lap dogs. I also like cats very much. What is so difficult is when they leave us. I try to remember that this is why it is so important to love them why they are still with us. We live in a society that is filled with speciesism. Humans are seen as superior and as having dominion over the earth. This is especially rich given how human beings have royally fucked up the entire world. Animals are the innocents. And they have had to deal with the horrific treatment they have received from humans.

Jamaica came from Ohio. I got her when I was a graduate student out there. They tell me she came from an animal hoarder that had up to 100 dogs. They were all rescued and adopted out. I wonder sometimes if Jamaica misses having a sibling given that she used to have 100 brothers and sisters. I know though that she is my little princess and it would probably be hard for her to adjust to a new dog at this advanced age.

For those of us who have pets, we are blessed beyond words. They bring so much to our lives and yet they are generally treated so poorly by society. Give your pooch or kitty an extra squeeze and thank them for all that they give you. And remember that they will not be around forever so to enjoy them and treat them well while they grace this planet.