Inspired by the 31for21 Down Syndrome Blog Challenge and happiness-project.com, I began this blog in pursuit of my own happiness while raising my 3 children -- including identical twins with Down syndrome. On these pages, I endeavor to document the bits and pieces of my life that bring me the most happiness and keep me focused on all the positive stuff going on.
Advocacy, Angels and Random Happy Thoughts. These are the threads of happiness that are inextricably woven through the cloth of my life. Staying focused and writing about these things is what keeps me Walking on the Happy Side of Life. I'd love it if you would "Take A Walk on the Happy Side" with me.
Losing a pet can be a devastating event. I know! We just lost one of our beloved dogs, Isaiah, to cancer in September. And, while his brief illness and quick death were heart-wrenching, I would not trade the wonderful 12+ years we had with him for the world. He was the most loving and tolerant dog ever to grace our immediate and extended families’ lives by every one’s account. How lucky for us, that we found him in need of a home and chose to rescue him all those years ago. Despite 4 months of harrowing training where I was heard to complain to my husband more than once, “You’ve ruined our lives by adopting this dog.” Catching onto the training before he chewed up all of our belongings including our 500-count CD collection and the telephone wires more than once, it all turned out more than well in the end. He was a precious gem — with a heart as big as the state of Missouri where we rescued him — and one that could never be replaced. That said, we now find ourselves in search of another canine companion, as much for me, my husband and our children as for our remaining nearly 13-year-old chow chow who has all but lost her hearing and needs a new best friend to be her ears the way her big brother did. (Pic: Michael, Isaiah and Brian)
So… Pets! They bring me that unconditional love I so often seek but rarely find from my spouse and still find for now, thankfully, most often from my children (until they hit that stage of development where they’re not so sure how much they love me… or at least how much they’re willing to show they love me… especially in front of their friends). As a child, I remember occasionally seeking out my actually-quite-aggressive dog, Clyde — I’ve got the scars to show for it — for a crying session when I’d gotten into trouble or felt sad for one reason or another. I distinctly remember saying to him, “You’re the only one that really loves me!” and, it made me feel better to cuddle with him. To have a non-judgemental ear to listen to me (and not answer back that I was wrong to do blah blah blah) and a warm body that wanted me and only me to huggle (hug and snuggle) up to. (Pic: Csiba, our Chow Chow)
But, it’s not just dogs that fit that bill. I have spent countless hour huggling with guinea pigs, cats and dogs, stroking their fur and peacefully talking out my problems with them. I’ve driven miles and miles across country with the happy companionship of my cat, Miko, and/or my dogs, Isaiah and Csiba. I’ve even shared some deep thoughts with my peaceful aquarium fish — Mia, Alex Rover and Patrick — as I watch them stop cruising their tank to huddle in front when I stick my big ol’ face nearby. Yes, I know they do it because I’m the one that feeds them most of the time. My point is that even my pet fish bring me happiness. (Pic: Heckscher & Rosie our angel-guinea pigs)
I’ve occasionally given the following advice to my friends, “You want unconditional love? Get a cat!” Well, I believe in that mantra though you can replace cat with the most convenient pet for you and get nearly the same result. My pets make me happy! So, perhaps I should change that phrase to, “You want unconditional happiness? Get a pet!” As an animal lover, it has always worked for me. (Pic: Olivia with her cats, Tippy & Willow)