Self-sacrifice does seem to be a rather dramatic term to use here as it is often used in the context of remembering those lost in a military conflict. Having children however, also involves considerable self-sacrifice as it not only invariably puts restraints on any prior financial freedom, but your own life will never, ever, be the same again. Life as it could have been has been sacrificed!
Most dog owners can probably relate to the children example for much the same reason as parents would. Owning a dog is going to change your life from whatever it was going to be, to what is necessary to look after your dog.
Yesterday was Ray’s 4th anniversary of living with us and it has been our habit, on this day in the past, to walk him to our local Humane Society where he came from. He loves visiting there because he knows some of the staff and volunteers, and his favorite trainer (our dog sitter) is usually able to make some time available for him. It is about a 45 minute walk to get there, but Ray knows the way and is clearly excited when we head off in that direction!
Our big question yesterday was whether it would be feasible as our temperature was forecast to be -10C/14F but, with gusting winds, that could drop to -20C/-4F! We decided that the best plan would be to start off in that direction, and we could always turn around, or detour to some place closer if necessary.
As soon as Ray figured out where we were going, he was on a mission! We had a bitterly cold few moments as we crossed the bridge over our river, but we then planned on using the various buildings for protection as best we could. Taking a bit of a zig-zag route to minimize the time facing directly into the wind, we eventually arrived at a pet food store which was only about 5 minutes from the Humane Society. There we bought some treats for the shelter dogs (another anniversary habit!) and continued to the Humane Society.
Everybody there treated Ray like a long lost friend, even though some of them were not working there during Ray’s time. Some may know him from his calendar a year or two ago, or perhaps from his photograph in Christmas cards, and (who knows) possibly even from his book!
From Ray’s perspective, I think he just sees everybody as friendly and with an excellent chance of having treats on them somewhere! It’s a bit of a clue when somebody comes over to greet him, and his nose goes straight to their pockets, or the pouch on their belt!
Heather (his favorite trainer) had a few moments to make a fuss of him, and he certainly reciprocated with great enthusiasm. He had a great time there and was spoiled as usual, but then we had to brave the weather once again!
Going back home, we adopted the same strategy of zig-zagging through the residential streets in order to minimize the “head-wind” time. You really appreciate buildings in those conditions, but could question the open park areas! Going back was a little easier, except for crossing back over the river bridge. There was obviously no shelter, so it was a case of head down and walk fast! It all worked out very well and the round trip was a little over two hours, which effectively placed Ray on our sofa for most of the evening!
Self-sacrifice? We saw one or two other people out walking, but most had dogs with them. Would we have been out walking if it wasn’t for Ray? Probably not! Potential -20C/-4F temperatures rather encourage staying inside with a nice hot drink. A great opportunity to catch up on some inside projects! Yup… it was self-sacrifice because, unlike so many other people who would now have their inside projects completed, we still have ours to do! 🙂