He opened a window in my heart, and the light of the world shined in.
- David Letterman
I’ll have to make this quick—I have an errand to run. I need to pick out a couple of inspirational Mother’s Day cards for Julee. One from me and one from Millie. Unless you knew better you might ask, “Why doesn’t Millie pick out her own inspiring card?” Of course Millie is a golden retriever who won’t even know Sunday is Mother’s Day.
Through the years I’ve always made sure our various dogs have remembered to give Julee inspirational (or sometimes humorous) cards on all the necessary occasions. Yes, I know. It’s a silly charade. Dogs understand a startling number of things about the human lifestyle but holidays and greeting cards don’t register. When I’ve shown them the greetings cards they are going to give “Mom” they’ve generally sniffed them indifferently, apparently disappointed they weren’t edible.
And I must admit that I am sometimes mildly freaked out by people who assume a parental persona when it comes to their animals. The other day in the grocery store a woman charged up to me and said, “I’m Barney’s mom!” It took me a minute to understand she was talking about Barney the beagle. At least I didn’t say anything stupid in the awkward interim like, “Has Barney found a job yet?” or “How’d Barney do on his SATs?”
But Julee and I never had children. I think that’s why I’ve always made sure she has a card from our dogs on Mother’s Day. Maybe they’re not human children, but our pets are as close to us as family. We nurse them when they are sick, train them well so they will behave, praise them when they are good, laugh at their antics, become frantic when they run off on some canine adventure in the woods, hold them close when we need comfort. And we will grieve them when they die. They are not of us, yet they are part of us. Sometimes it is an animal that helps us find our own humanity, connects us to God and heaven. And judging from the stories you share, your pets are really animal angels, angels in disguise. Angels with cold noses.
Okay. So the card thing is still a bit ridiculous, still a charade. But Julee would be disappointed if Millie “forgot” Mother’s Day. And she won’t. God gave us domain over the creatures of the earth but some of them rule our hearts. Mother’s Day, or any other for that matter, wouldn’t be the same without them.
Do your pets give you cards and gifts on special occasions? Post below. I’m off to the card store!
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.
If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.