Explaining the pet-love to non-animal lovers via The Velveteen Rabbit

“The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.””

Having lunch with an non-animal lover the other day, this was the analogy I used to explain the deep pet human bond and how deep and real it is.

Our pets are more than just pets, they are our family. For some who do not have children in their lives, our pets can be like a son or daughter to us.

For some non-animal lovers, it is hard to comprehend why pet lovers would compare their relationship with their furry companions to a human counterpart. So I tried to explain.
Just like in Velveteen rabbit, the bond we have with our pet deepen over time and become so deep that we can never go back.

I use Kayman, my toddler as an example. In toddlerhood, Kayman is already becoming her own person, expressing love and needs via words and gestures. While I am still her favorite person to spend time with, we have our moments of bonding and disagreements too. I know that one day in the near future, she may choose a playdate with a girlfriend over hanging out with mommie. I know that our love will always be true. It is instant, deep, everlasting. It may also sometimes be conditional.

With Casey, my 17 year old rat terrier, it happened over time. I have loved, laughed, worried, cried with joy and sadness over the years we have shared. She is unconditional in her loving for everyone. Her innate trust in me to provide shelter, food, and love for her is unwavering. She sleeps most days now, with only 10-20% of her kidneys functioning—yet saves up all of her energy to be with Kayman when she gets home from pre-school. For that special walk down the street…

I love this quote “God has your back”, even when it seems like the going gets rough.
Besides God, I can say Sophie, Casey and Lulu has “gone to the mat” for me every time.
Sometimes, we have humans in our lives we love, but can’t show up the way we would like them to.
Our pets always shows up, 110%. day after day.

After a bit, my friend got it.
Thank you Margery Williams Bianco…(author Velveteen Rabbit)

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