It can be difficult for those of us who aren’t pet owners to understand why there is so much love and attention given to animals. They require costly maintainance in the form of food, toys, and veterinary care. Some of them destroy furniture and mark territory in the house. However, we pet owners embrace these descendents of wild animals and care for them as if they were human beings.
It’s stories like the one of Captain, a German Shepherd living in Argentina, that remind us of why a pet is not just an animal to its family. His devotion to deceased master, Miguel Guzman, has caused Captain to journey to the owner’s grave, often camping there indefinitely. When the family brings him home, Captain simply returns to the cemetery on his own. What’s most striking about this scenario is the fact that Captain was never shown where his owner was buried. An intense sense of smell (forensic dogs can smell the remnants of blood particles too small to be seen with a microscope) combined with an undying loyalty for one’s master are the two components that enabled Captain to perform this incredible display of affection. He’s been engaged in his vigil activities since 2006!
Another example of laudable pet behavior occurred Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving, when two armed assailants pushed their way through the front door of an Indianapolis home. Inside, they grabbed an infant and proceeded to assault and threaten the mother before attempting to flee. As one of the would-be kidnappers reached the back door to escape, they were confronted by the family pit bull. The dog’s steadfast loyalty was apparent, and the kidnappers fled with no baby or money. The family pet would not allow the two much larger assailants to leave with child in hand.
If you’re not a pet owner, or if you’re considering becoming a pet owner, make sure that you’re prepared for the emotional investment of adding a new member to your family. For those of us who already have pets, make sure to give them an extra special hug tonight as you keep these stories in mind. One day they may thank you for it in an extraordinary way.