How we love you, mostly Puppies are wonderful, horrible things. They’re so cuddly and cute and they make us laugh and smile and then they chew up our favorite shoes and pee on the new rug. They’re little four-legged lessons in unattachment. With our last puppy, I lost attachment to countless socks (missing or chewed), a couch (cushions destroyed), pillows beyond count (though the feather mess was quite amusing), shoes and more shoes, and I’m sure a bunch of other things that I became so unattached to that I can’t even remember what they were.

And it doesn’t even have to be puppies. We adopted a used dog, Frida, from the Animal House (love that place). It was a hard decision because we already had a miniature dachshund, Betty, and Dale, a chow mix. Frida was a little thing and a bit skittish and clearly needed a forever home. It took me about 3 days to come around to the idea that Frida should be part of our household. That was 4 years ago and she’s still not completely housebroken but we see consist, but slow, progress.

Maybe I’ve be a little long on describing the horrible side because there is a wonderful side too. First, in my mind, is how the worm their way into your heart. You get to practice receiving (dependably if it’s a dog; not so much if it’s a cat or gold fish) and giving (less consistently than we might like to admit) unconditional love without the issues that seem to accompany human relationships.

And of course, it’s great for the family. Kids get to practice responsibility and caring and patience and generosity. And, pets add a certain unpredictability to the household, which is good for us. It shifts us off thinking we have control of every bit of our world…in case, we occasional thought that we did anyway.

I like the bumper sticker that says:  Oh lord, please make me the person that my dog thinks I am. They help us be our better selves. They make us change our plans so that we can go home and let them out or take them to the vet. They greet us when we get home as though we’re the most important person in the world (and to them we are). And that makes us smile and maybe shake off that bad meeting we had or let that interaction with an angry customer go.

Please take a moment to read Lynn Nichols story about pets. She does a great job at looking at when and if a pet is right for you and your family.

Also, and this is no small thing, please check out all the holiday info that is packed into this issue. ‘Tis the season.