After church this afternoon, I sat down to relax and called my dog, Hank, up to lay beside me and warm me up. To me, Hank is no ordinary dog and I treat him like I would my own child. And if you asked me this before we got Hank if I would even consider a dog laying next to me on the couch, I would laugh.
You see, growing up, we always had outside dogs – big dogs – that we had to protect the livestock. I loved playing with these dogs, but didn’t have the same relationship like I do now with Hank. It helps that Hank is smaller and stays pretty clean, but it took me a little while to get used the relationship of a house dog.
Hank doesn’t really have a purpose like our ranch dogs did – however when Ronny is gone, Hank is much more aware of weird noises (and I am too!) and even scared off the Schwan’s man last week, thinking he was protecting me from danger. And Hank has a good role of being my running partner. Hank’s purpose is to provide companionship and this is the main purpose of pets.
I was thinking about this purpose when I was discussing dogs last week with my co-workers. One co-worker let’s his dog sleep with him, another co-worker hates to kennel her dogs when they are naughty, but knows she needs to train them. We all have a special relationship with our pets – which is why there is a gray area when it comes to the difference of animals for companionship and animals for food.
Speaking from my own experience, I have a special relationship with my cattle, but it is different than that of Hank’s. I enjoy my cattle and I respect them by taking care of them. But I wouldn’t call Bridget (one of my favorite show cows) to come sit on the couch with me.
At the end of the day, I know that Bridget, and my other cattle’s purpose is to provide food and byproducts to a growing world. And Hank’s purpose to to play tug-of-war, keep me motivated on my run, keep away intruders and most of all provide companionship to Ronny and I.