My Dog is My Favorite Family Member


Family members come in all forms. We have our extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws). We have our immediate family (spouses and kids). Our relationships with all these people varies depending on a multitude of factors including proximity, family history, and personalities.

We often don’t consciously “rank” the family members in our lives, but if I had to really think about who my favorite is, I’d have to say that one member stands out among all the rest…my dog, Bijou.

Let me explain.

I’ve known my older sister for 47 years. She and I have been through the same experiences. We both took care of our sick parents. We buried them together. We raised our children together. She literally has the same blood as me, and if there is one person in the world who is truly a piece of me, it is she. The love I have for her is in my DNA. She has made me who I am. She is the person I can count on the most.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. He is my best friend, my partner, my support, and the one who still makes my heart go “pitter pat.” I love him more than any man in the world. God forbid something should happen to him, I would wear my wedding ring until eternity. He is my one and only. I will never love another man.

My daughters…I would die for them. My heart aches when I look at them. I spend most waking minutes worrying about them, loving them, providing for them. There is a saying that states “You are only as happy as your unhappiest child.” This is my truth.

Having said all this, why on earth would I chose my dog as my most favorite family member?

Because she is pure, unadulterated love. She is always ecstatic to see me. We never fight. She only gives love. She demands very little in return. She is pure. She is uncomplicated. She is loyal. She never disappoints me, and more importantly, I never disappoint her. I don’t worry constantly that I am messing up her life in some way. I know some day she will leave me and while the thought of that breaks my heart, it is not incomprehensible.

Don’t confuse being my “favorite” with being the member I love the most. There is a difference.

The love I have for my children constantly hurts my heart. It is complicated and terrifying and takes up most of my thoughts. It dictates all my actions. The well of emotions my children instill in me are beyond any words. It is a love so deep that if I were to think about it too long, I feel my heart would explode. That kind of love is a complicated, terrifying, frustrating, guilt-inducing, euphoric, satisfying roller coaster ride of emotions.

My dog is my favorite family memberMy dog in all her simplicity will sit by me while watching reality tv and let me pet her for hours.

I don’t have to explain to her why I am feeling a certain way. She just let’s me “be” without conditions, without explanation, and with nothing but pure love in return.

I can talk to her and not second guess what I say hours after. I can set rules without wondering if they are too strict or too lenient.

I can wear and look any way I want and not feel like I am letting myself “go.” I can reprimand her for being naughty and not worry I overreacted or that she will hate me.

She doesn’t slam doors. She doesn’t care that I cry because I work too much and feel I am missing precious time with her.

She doesn’t care that I get angry and emotional sometimes. She doesn’t need me to pay the bills and make the doctor appointments and worry that I’m not feeding her healthy enough.

She doesn’t take the car out with her new license in the winter so that every time I hear a siren, my heart stops for a second.

She doesn’t date. With her I don’t have to worry about bullying, or boys taking advantage of her or texting and driving. I don’t worry that she will post something on social media that will screw up the rest of her life.

I don’t worry about her working too much, or a family history of cancer. I don’t worry that I may be setting a bad example.

She expects nothing from me yet gives me everything. She is my favorite for no other reason than she is the answer to a very simple, uncomplicated question that attaches no judgment, guilt, fear, anxiety, or devastation to it. That question is: “Who’s a good girl?” The answer: “She’s a good girl.”

And most importantly, she thinks I’m a good girl too.

Do you have a pet who is like a family member? 


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