Pets and their Humans
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Here's last week's column for those of you who missed it. Edit Text

Pets and their Humans
I’m worried about the cattle tonight.  I wrote this column Wednesday night and it’s supposed to get down to
twenty-three below zero plus winds out of the Northwest just in case you didn’t notice the cold.  I guess I’d rather
worry about the cold than live in it but my concern is real.  I’ve bedded the cattle in three separate places out of the
wind but if I still wasn’t concerned I shouldn’t have cattle.    We need to be good stewards of the furry and the four
legged and that’s what I want to talk about this week.

First off I want to talk about pets for children at Christmas.  How many times have you heard someone say, “I want
to have a pet for my kids so they can learn how to love something helpless.”  I tell you it hurts me just to write that
sort of syrupy junk.  Love based solely on looks or chemical reaction is merely obsession.  Real love is based on
respect and a decision to love another.  Most children haven’t learned the respect that is based on the Golden Rule,
“do unto others as you would have done onto you.”  They will learn respect as they age but some little pup or kitten
shouldn’t have to live the nightmare of a misguided parent turning their teaching duties over to the animal
kingdom.    Teach your children to love and respect then let your child teach friendship to that little pup or kitten.

Animals are magicians, I have seen them turn many solemn farmers into mush.  If you resist the urge to turn them
into humans they can break your heart with their sincerity and transparency.  Animals don’t try to impress, they
don’t talk behind your back and they carry no vested interests.  They want something to eat, something to drink
and some scratching between the ears will not be turned away.      Sometimes when I feed hay my old cow
“Head-Butt” will show up under my elbow just to remind me to stop and smell the alfalfa.  There’s so much to
learn from animals but most people see them merely as subjects of their kingdom.  They miss so much.  Watch
someone alone with an animal and you will learn whether you’d  want to be alone with that person.

It’s pretty easy to write about animals as we live with two cats inside our house.  I am finishing this column by
looking around our cat Magoo who is perched directly in front of the computer screen.   I have been awake since
about four thirty this morning due to the vocalization of his brother Twitch.  You get a little bad mixed in with the
good when it comes to animals.  I hope they get as good a deal from us