In Praise of Pets

I tested positive for COVID today, and on top of being soooo sick, it bummed me out. Jack and I were scheduled to head to Florida at the end of the week, but it looks like our departure will have to be postponed. So, on top of feeling sicker than I ever have before, I was suffering from guilt for disappointing my husband who looks forward to our annual trip all year.

So, there I was wallowing in blankets and misery, and along comes Molly, our beautiful long‑haired miniature dachshund. Normally, Molly wants to play, and she’ll poke me and prod me until I get up and toss a ball a few times.

But not today.

Today, Molly came and sat next to me. Yes, she stole half the blanket—maybe even more than half. But she snuggled right up, letting me know that she was there for me. The sympathy in her eyes was almost palpable. And it penetrated my cloud of misery and made me feel better.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Molly can’t defeat COVID. Even Paxlovid can’t defeat it that easily. But she brought a little sunshine and sweetness to my day. And it reminded me of how all the dogs I’ve ever had were almost supernaturally empathetic.

Penny on the couch

A previous dog, Penny, took great delight on sitting on the couch, her head resting on the pillow embroidered with the word “No dogs allowed on the couch.” She’d smile knowingly when I sighed with exasperation. Could she read the pillow? Of course not. But her love for that pillow—and my love that dog—made me laugh every time I caught her on the couch.

Maggie loved to go kayaking with jack

Her big sister Maggie was the smartest dog ever. She could actually plan ahead. Before she would leave for doggy day care in the morning, she always took a few extra bites of food, just in case she got hungry during the day. And she always paused a moment to pee before getting on our boat, so she wouldn’t have to go while we were on the water. She could count treats like a CPA and measure the relative sizes of treats we broke in half with uncanny precision. She always got the big half, even when the difference in size was miniscule. Maggie made every day of her life special.

The thing about my dogs is that they were all special, and they all made me happy. I’m sure everybody who has a pet thinks their own dog—or cat, or gerbil, or goldfish—is the best one ever.

And they are. Every one of them.

Because they exist to make you happy. (And vice versa.)

Molly as a pup

The sad thing about pets is that their lives are so much shorter than ours—unless you’ve adopted a giant tortoise. We’re doomed to say goodbye someday, and then spend the rest of our lives reminiscing about the good times and missing them like crazy.

If you’re lucky enough to have a pet, give them an extra treat today. They deserve it.


  1. As I sit with Salty lying on my foot while she snoozes, I know exactly what you are talking about. Feel better. Your trip is delayed but will happen and anywhere you have your dog with you is heaven!

  2. I’m not a big animal lover, we didn’t have a lot of pets when I was growing up and yet I can’t seem to go very long without one. We rescued a blue Pitt, a runt with a bit of an attitude but she really rescued us. She knows when we need a little extra attention and she is happy to give it. Get well soon.

  3. Feel better, Sharon. I hope this will pass quickly.

    I grew up without pets, but as an adult inherited two dogs almost at once. They turned me around and now I can’t imagine not having a dog in the house. They really do bring a great deal of warmth to life.

  4. I will give my dogs an extra hug today. It always amazes me how they seem to know what I need. Feel better!

  5. Dogs are part of our family, and give that unconditional love you describe so well. We always have one or two helping us on life’s journey. Our two Aussie doodles, Seamus and Fiona, snuggle even more when Doc or I am having a poor day. So glad you have Molly—feel better soon~

  6. Sharon, I’m so sorry to hear you’re feeling sick. Hoping this bout of Covid will vanish as quickly as it came. In the meantime, you have a dog. One of life’s great blessings. I’m like Sherri Hollister. I can’t go very long without a dog. Get well quickly, and give Molly a hug from me.

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