Not all families are the same. Some have all boys or all girls for kids or some kind of mix, unless there is only one child. Some children are adopted and some are fostered if they’re not born into it. And then there are the ‘children’ that aren’t even human.
My family has always had some kind of animal family member in residence if we were at all able to do so. The times when we didn’t have a non-human in residence were usually the worse times for any of our health, mental, emotional or even physical. this is kind of true even after my siblings have grown up and moved out on their own or even started new families. They have taught us patience and compassion even when they are being their most trying.
My current non-human child is a tortoise-colored cat (I hope I got that right, I spent a few years under the misapprehension that she was a calico laughs at self). Her name is Usako which means bunny because when she was born, her ears were as big as they are now that she is a full-grown cat. They did not grow, she grew into them. She also had this habit of jumping higher than you’d think even a cat could jump. She works hard to train me to be more patient and considerate of others as well as pay more attention to what it is that I do normally during a day.
I had a friend’s family dog nip at me today, which is kind of what prompted this post. He had already warned my sister and I that he wasn’t up for people being near him. I was foolish and ignored his silent warnings and body language. He headbutted my outstretched hand and barked at the same time. I had a bruised knuckle that is still sore, but has finally gone down enough so that I can use the hand better. He could have bitten my hand and done some actual damage. He didn’t even break the skin on my knuckles. After he’d given his final warning, he allowed me to back off, but kept a wary eye on me the rest of the time I was there. I finally smartened up and took his warning.
I don’t blame the dog at all. I wasn’t the best little girl around this friend’s cats growing up. I wasn’t the worst, but as a child I liked to startle them. They never clawed or bit me for it (unless I managed to get my hands on them, and even then, they only clawed enough to escape.) I ignored this dog’s warning and so he had to give me another one. He could have hurt me, but he didn’t and I’m pretty sure he did so on purpose. He was as much a part of his family as my cat is to mine. He’s person whose boundaries I had ignored even after being asked to back up and give him some space.