Shaddup Already!


Destiny and Jarrod

Written on 2/27/01

My family loves animals. We always have. It’s my parents that taught me (through example) that animals are part of the family. They are there in the good times and the bad—you never give up on your pet, just like your pet will never give up on you. I wouldn’t exchange my animal experiences for anything-even money!

When I found out my sister was pregnant, I felt like I was fulfilling a role in my life. I’ve never really wanted to be a parent, but I’ve always wanted to be an aunt. My aunt played such an integral role in my childhood and I wanted to be able to do that for someone. The best thing about being an aunt would be passing on all the useless information I’ve collected over the years.

I dreamed of becoming Nutty Aunt Chelle. You know, the strange relative that no one understands, but everyone loves. I dream of having a farm someday and, more than anything, I want to share my future farm with my nephew, Jarrod. I want to show him everything I know about animals and I want to learn from him.

For now, I settle on teaching Jarrod what I know about the animals we see now. Primarily that is my dog, my parents’ dog, my cat and two rats. He loves them all and I love watching his respect for them grow. Jarrod is only two, but he is (almost) always gentle with the animals and treats them well. As he is growing, his sensitivity is growing too. He learns quickly what he should and should not do where the animals are concerned. It’s these interactions that have taught him how to deal with people as well. It really is a beautiful thing.

I was privileged enough to witness one of those lovely moments today. I’ve been taking Jarrod and Destiny for a walk in the afternoon. I put two leashes on Des and give one to Jarrod. They both love it—Des gets out of the house and Jarrod gets that sense of control all 2 year olds need. Jarrod and I talk about many things while on these walks (okay, I talk-he listens). Mostly I give him guidelines on how to treat an animal. I let him know that his first concern is the dog—he needs to watch out for the dog’s safety and comfort. I also let him know that he can’t let the leash go—the dog may run out in the street and get hurt. Today I taught him the most important lesson of all.

As we were nearing the house I stopped a moment and petted Destiny on the head. I turned to Jarrod and said “Pet Destiny, tell her she’s a good dog.” Jarrod, ever so gently, ran his hand down her head and over her back. Destiny was quite pleased with this attention and Jarrod learned another wonderful lesson. While most of the interaction between the dogs and Jarrod is rough housing, it was obvious that they both gained immeasurable benefits from a small gesture of friendship today.

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