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November 23, 2015

Learn To Love Your Pet

Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my brother and the love he’s shared with his dogs. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’ve started to consider the same love and gratitude I have for my pups. But I quickly realized that love is not the
Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my brother and the love he’s shared with his dogs. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I’ve started to consider the same love and gratitude I have for my pups. But I quickly realized that love is not the same. The journey I’ve shared with each of my dogs is unique and so too is the love. With Eko, the love is that of “firsts.” I had family dogs growing up, but Eko was my first dog as an adult. Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

We showered the little charmer with constant love and affection

And when we hit the road for a trip around the country, Eko was my constant companion.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

Over the course of that year, Eko and I both grew up

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

Eko, my loyal guardian

When I first thought of getting a second dog, I imagined it as getting a second Eko. The math seemed simple, I would love the new dog exactly as I loved Eko and I’d have twice the love.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

At first it was easy. I simply showered my squishable pup with all the love I could

But the obvious quickly became…well, obvious.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

This little squirt isn’t Eko. She’s Penny!

I think it’s important to say there was a period where I did not feel attached to Penny like I was to Eko. I felt guilty at the time but I now see why the comparison was unfair. I had years of experience with Eko, but I barely knew my new puppy.

The love we share with our pets is not a guarantee. It’s the culmination of the effort and time we share with them. As I put in that effort and time with Penny my love and appreciation for her matured.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

The little stinker really grew on us both

These days, I’m just as head over heels for Penny as I am for Eko. Not because my dream of having two Ekos came true, but because it didn’t. I appreciate and love them both as individuals.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

Eko the Regal

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

And Penny… The Karate Kid

This week I’m grateful for the reminder that love must be earned and learned anew each day. I’m also thankful for all the differences between Eko and Penny.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, blog, adventure

Their contrasting personalities make life interesting and fun!

I don’t think the idea of “learning to love” is often discussed in regards to pets, so I’d be interested to hear from you guys.

Does anyone else have an experience where you needed more time/effort in order to bond with your pet?

Comments for Learn To Love Your Pet

  1. dashlilly says:

    oh my, what a wonderful question! YES! To be honest my two are very different and I treat/love them in their own ways. Dash is MY first so I get what you mean — he and I share something very special from our time when it was just us –Lilly came on the scene and changed a lot of things. She is goofy, snuggly and makes both Dash and me roll our eyes sometimes. Yes, I love them both in huge ways but the ways came about unique to each dog. Great question!

  2. Connie Taylor says:

    I’ve had various dogs over the years, and each one has been a true experience learning their quirks and personalities, just like people. Yes, I do have a favorite dog, but that doesn’t diminish the love I have been able to share with the others. That’s what makes it so fun and wonderful and not at all boring have the same personality each time!!
    Our latest wild-child, Bentley, is finally starting to mature and hopefully by next year she’ll really shine

  3. Mom knows about learning to love a brand new dog. She found me at the rescue event one week after she lost her 16 year old German shepherd. To say Smoki and I are complete polar opposites is an understatement! She says when she picked me I was all wrong, but it turned out I was just perfectly right. Puzzle pieces are all different, but they’re all necessary for the picture to be complete.

    Love and licks,

  4. Victoria says:

    Sure when we got Muffin we had already had Rigby for 9 months – and he was showered with love and affection – i felt guilty when i gave love to Muffin so at first i think she got less attention which made me feel guilty about not giving her enough love – we figured it all out after a short while and now both dogs are showered with love and affection and Rigby would be lost without his sister as would we. Its not always easy but it is always worth it when it comes to figuring out how to love and care for more than one pet!

  5. meANXIETYme says:

    I had lots of trouble bonding with Le Moo when we first got her as she was so unlike our “first” dog who had left us just 2 months prior. Le Moo was so aloof and so stoic and SO uninterested in us that I cried over it for months. She wasn’t what I was expecting, so I think we had a really hard time connecting. When I realized she was exactly what I needed in my life at that point, I began to give up my pre-conceived notions and learned that she was really incredibly easy to love.
    Now, for Butthead, we’re still working on that… (hee hee, not really, but it took WAAAAY longer to learn to love her because she’s a crazy dog and we had really wanted another laid back character like Le Moo).

  6. I sometimes feel a little guilty because I think I love Easy more than all the dogs of my life …. It’s hard to describe, but I really think it was something like karma that I met this crazy silvermistygrey pup… we are soulmates somehow :o)

  7. NM says:

    As pet parents, I see this as very much like being human parents…each ‘child’ is different. My mothers says I love all my children equally. I would retort you may love all of us as much but the relationship of that ‘love’ is different. Because each child or pet in this case is different. It’s great to value and honour that differentness. It has been difficult helping my own parent understand that different is not necessarily bad. It’s not the quantity rather the quality that has to be different otherwise we are not honouring the “uniqueness”. All our pets have such individual personalities. We are now only with 2 cats after our pup passed away. They are as different as night and day. One is very affectionate and behaves like a dog (main coon mix), and the other is very independent (short hair-found as a feral). We love them sooo much and they love us back in their own style. Would not want that to change for the world. Thanks for asking this very good question.

  8. Kismet says:

    I’ve been in this house with the peeps and now four different dogs. Different describes them (the peeps). However, each dog has personal quirks and traits that make things interesting. You already had an Eko, would two Ekos be twice as good? You’d miss Penny big time if something happened to her.

  9. Elyse says:

    My biggest childhood trauma involved my beloved dog (and a less favorite fellow dog) being taken to the pound by my eldest brother (there is a reason he and I don’t get along). It was the days when everyone’s dogs ran wild and ours were wilder than most. Okie and Patrick chased cars, bicycles and were a serious danger to people. They could climb any fence that was put up to keep them in or out. As an adult, I get that (I also get the fact that we could have bloomin’ trained them!).

    Shortly afterwards, we got a puppy, Kling. I looked right at that furball and announced :”I’m not gonna love you like I did Okie.” Yeah right. And I was right. I didn’t love him the same. But I did love him. And then all my dogs since. They are all individuals, whether they look alike or not. But you know what? I don’t look or act the same with each subsequent dog, either (dammit).

  10. coastingnz says:

    oh my – you’ve hit the nail on the head with this one Will. When we got Ziggy part of me knew he couldn’t replace my beloved Jeddyboy and I felt guilty for even having him and because he looked similar I thought he would be similar and they were such opposites. But now we love him for exactly who he is and all his little idiosyncrasies are part of what make him just so darn special (like Penny in more ways than one….. lol).

  11. Me says:

    Omb, the first Eko photo, and the first and second Penny pics… <3 !!

    It took me seven months to form a bond with Zoey – SEVEN MONTHS! She was my first ever puppy (I had NO experience with owning a puppy, at all) so I think that was a huge part of it.

    Even 18 months ago I referred to Kasper as my 'favourite' dog, which now seems crazy. When we added Raiden to the house, I was a little worried that I wouldn't bond to him for a long time, either. I knew I'd love him, as I did with puppy Zoey, but not in the same way I loved Kasper…yet I felt a connection with Rey right from the start!

    Maybe because he was my second puppy, so I knew what to expect, and I knew more about training and socialisation than I did with Zoey? Plus Raiden is a significantly easier puppy than Zoey was 😉

  12. Caroline says:

    Yes! Your Eko is my Chase. And your Penny is my Maggie. She is 4 months. And I feel badly that I don’t love her to the depths of my soul like I do Chase. Chase is my soul dog. But I am hopeful that Maggie will develop as it did with Chase. Realizing that it will be different is hard, but I appreciate your thoughts that time is needed to develop a deep relationship with her. Chase is 12. So I don’t remember his puppy hood perhaps as distinctly as it might have been.

  13. Yes, yes YES!! When I adopted my cat, (Cody) after my Bobo passed (whom I had for 18 years and he was my first cat)…..I loved him but constantly kept comparing him to how Bobo was (I felt guilty but I still did it), then, as I knew him (as you said with Penny) I appreciated the fact that he was TOTALLY different than my first cat.
    With Dakota, it was extra hard. While I LOVE dogs (and all animals), I have always considered myself to be a “cat” person. I wanted a Shetland Sheepdog since i was a kid…but the differences between dogs and cats is a HUGE one……I had expectations of Dakota that were not fair….I thought I would have an instant exercise buddy (and Dakota doesn’t love walks lol), I wasn’t used to all of the constant “kissing” (I was used to a cat who left me alone when I wanted to be left alone)…….I also was the one who had to housebreak Dakota and it was a challenge for someone who never had a dog. I am sure I made tons of mistakes……but Dakota ADORES me and views me as his “alpha”. The greeting he gives me and the love he gives me even when I am gone a mere 5 seconds, I wouldn’t trade for the world! He sincerely cares about me when I am not well (Cody could care less! lol)

  14. Emmadog says:

    Mom says with her, she loves us all so much and so differently. One moment, she will just melt for one of us and the next it is one of my other sisters. We are all unique and have our own special, loved qualities. The problem she has these days is the cats. She loves them, but she just can’t love them as much as us dogs. Hard to believe as she was such a cat person growing up, but they really are much harder for her to love and bond with than us dogs. Great thought provoking post.

  15. Joan says:

    When my Golden Bear passed away suddenly 9 years ago I didn’t think I could ever love another again the same way. But the moment I brought Buddy home I quickly learned new love. Then when Sadie came into our world 5 years ago, she brought craziness and a whole new type of patience & love. Just like being a Mom, you love all your children the same amount but differently.

  16. YES! I loved Oskar from the moment we met. It is a love that hasn’t lessened in the 6yrs he has been gone. Each of the other kids I love differently and in a different way. Abbe is the closest to Oskar, she brings a lot of the same feeling out in me. I love all these kids a ton, but Anne has been the hardest, she just doesn’t trust as much, want to give or take love as much, and it has been a long road to get her to understand how much I do love her.

  17. fredrieka says:

    we love the pawless as they love us

  18. For sure. It was easy with Sally who we got as a pup…instant attachment. Tino was easy too because he was so sick and so needy when we first got him – the mom thing kicked in. Jack was a challenge because he was so out of control and ill-behaved, but his devotion to me, which was pretty immediate turned me around pretty quick. My challenge is Maggie. I love her to pieces, but her aloofness has made it difficult to feel really connected with her like I have with my other dogs. Slowly but surely, I see signs from her that the love is returned and she is absolutely happy to be here…just not sure if she cares if we are here with her all the time.

  19. Cathy & Banjo says:

    It took a while for my Banjo pup to grow on me. I had lost my beloved old cat a few months earlier and was not eager to invite a puppy into my life. The early days were super tough, as Banjo cried a lot and had parasites to boot, requiring weeks of different medications. The feeling of bonding was slow to emerge, but as we took Banjo to puppy classes and I learned to be the human he needed, I started to really fall for the little guy. Now he is the doggie love of my life, and my husband and I joke about how Banjo converted me from a cat person to a dog person. The little cartoon hearts practically float out of my eyes whenever I look at my baby dog… just a sucker for that guy.

  20. I love all of mine a little differently in the end they are all my family and I’m so glad I have them.

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