Inspiring Pet Stories
Unconditional love, loyalty, courage, perseverance… these are all great human qualities that we aspire to. In the animal kingdom, these special values seem to be expressed quite naturally. Maybe that’s why we love our beloved pets so much. They often inspire us with their remarkable human-like behaviour. Ironically, our pets teach us priceless lessons about human values, suggesting that they may be inherent in all living species and not exclusive to us.
We asked Hagen associates and friends to share their favourite inspirational pet stories. Here’s what they said.
Loyalty, Acceptance, Love
In 2002, I was 22 years old. Parker, my beloved Golden Retriever, was 11 years old.
I had just begun my university studies.
One morning while I was getting ready for school, Parker came into the bathroom and started barking at me while I was in the shower. This was very unusual for him, as we had established a predictable morning routine ever since I rescued him from the SPCA when he was just a year and a half old.
But on this particular morning, he barked so much that I got out of the shower.
That’s the last thing I remembered, as I blanked out soon thereafter.
I later woke up to his wet tongue kissing me. I was on the floor covered in blood. I had suffered an epileptic seizure and hit my head on the bathroom cabinet counter on the way down.
If he hadn't alerted me, I would have had my seizure in the shower and would have likely drowned in the bathtub.
Parker saved my life that day.
As I mentioned above, I rescued Parker from a dog shelter when he was a puppy. He had never received any special training as a service dog for people with disabilities. Only our strong bond and love moved him to rescue me that day.
I had been diagnosed with epilepsy six years earlier. Parker was there for me every day, accepting my diagnosis as part of who I was because he loved me.
Parker, my beloved Golden Retriever, passed away of natural causes in 2007 when he was 17 years old. Our love for each other allowed him to have such a long and wonderful life. During our lifetime together, he taught me more than I taught him. He taught me about loyalty, acceptance and love.
I miss him every day.
Oliver and Oreo
Courage and strength
We recently took our dogs Oliver and Oreo on vacation, knowing that one was sick. Oreo was diagnosed with cancer and has lived 20 months beyond her prognosis.We wanted to show her a good time, not knowing when it might be her last. Oliver and Oreo are both lab mixes and 12 years old. We adopted Oliver when he was 8 and Oreo when she was five.
When we came back, we got another terrible diagnosis: Oliver had cancer, too. He began chemotherapy recently, but his prognosis is poor: anywhere from 3 months to 1.5 years.
What have we learned from them? Life is short. You never know what’s around the corner. Play ball. Find the fun in every day. Make it count.
Endurance, tolerance, patience
Tigger was always an outstanding example of endurance, tolerance, and patience, and I think, really did have 9 lives. He lived his first 6 years as our only pet, and then we got two dogs. Before Cleo and Cashew came, Tigger was an outdoor cat who drank from the toilet. He came when called and was obedient.
When the dogs arrived, he adapted to the new reality by blending into the pack, fighting his way to the table for “treats”, and often sleeping wherever they slept. He was also very considerate and polite, often opening and holding the door for Cleo and Cashew.
When he was a young cat, Tigger went missing for 2 weeks and was found nearly starved to death, locked up in a hot shed. Years later, Cleo and Cashew saved his life when he almost drowned in the backyard pool, by barking furiously at the door when they saw he was in trouble. He had to be rushed to an emergency vet and was resuscitated just in time.
Near the end of his life, Cleo and Cashew often attempted to groom him, as he was too weak to do it on his own. Tigger passed away peacefully at home at the ripe old age of 17. He is missed by his family, including his poochy siblings.