Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a “thing” for all things four-legged and furry. When I was in first grade, we were assigned the task of memorizing a poem. I picked one about animals, and I’m pretty sure it influenced my feelings about them through the years. The one line I still remember: “Animals have feelings too, just the way that people do.” (In my five-year-old brain, this sentiment applied to animals of the stuffed variety as well—the toy kind, not the taxidermy kind, parents.)
Through the years, we always had at least one pet in the family. I was animal-less only briefly in college until I adopted a she-ferret named Oliver (for Oliver Twist.) She belonged to the kids of my literature prof, who clearly had a better grasp on English literature than they did on animal anatomy.
Anyway, in the back of my mind even while pregnant, I had some trepidation about how my little guy would feel about animals. I know plenty of kids who cry and run amok whenever anything four-legged comes their way, and I often thought about how tough it would be if I had kids who didn’t take to animals the way I did.
Fortunately, that fear was unfounded. Jacob has totally inherited my animal-loving genes, and I’m pretty psyched about it. Every time our little munchkin sees a dog, he breaks out into fits of giggles. The closer they get, the more excited he gets. If they come close enough for him to pull feel their fur or their cold, wet noses he breaks out into fits of giggles.
His first interaction with a dog was a month or two back when a stray showed up … at our back door … in the rain. Jacob was in love instantly, and the whole thing had the makings of a great a-boy-and-his-dog type of movie, until the owner showed up to claim “Annie” the next day.
Seeing how much Jacob loves dogs has forced me to make a concerted effort not to run out to our local pet shelter and bring home one (or ten) of the homeless furballs. But, between working, fixing up our new house and taking care of Jacob, I’m not ready to commit to a new family member just yet.
For now, Jacob will have to settle for playing with friends’ pets or the friendly dogs we meet on our walks. When he comes of age, you can bet that a four-legged friend once again will become a fixture around the house. Until then, Tom and I or a stuffed animal will have to do as “baby’s best friend.”