Here in South Florida there seems to be a lot of stressful energy abounding, not in the small nucleus that is my life; after all my predominant existence these days is in the world of the characters’ whose lives I get to manipulate,create and destroy.
The stress of which I speak can be seen in places that are meant to feel peaceful and relaxed and there are many such places in this haven for tourists escaping their own realities. It could be this global economy that doesn’t seem to lift or the pending presidential election that seems to promote more anger and rude behavior than other elections have in the past.
I know it isn’t my personal perception. I love (as any writer, I would imagine) to eavesdrop. A few days ago it was not through eavesdropping as my pharmacist stated his views in a very loud voice for all in the rather long line to hear.
“Yeah right a pet helps release stress.” The remark was accompanied by a sardonic laugh.
I waited, just long enough to see if anyone else would voice an opinion. There were obvious looks of agreement and a few of those lost in their own cyber-Bluetooth-twenty-first-century-world of I may look like I am standing right next to you but I am actually very far away.
So I spoke, “Pets are absolutely great to help release stress!”
Raised eyebrow said it all from my pharmacist.
“They don’t talk back like a teenage son or act grumpy like a husband.” I continued.
Smile, sword out and coup de grace.
“Or nag like a wife.”
Quick, think, make comeback remark
“Exactly, pets help relieve stress from everyone’s perspective.”
I picked up my prescriptions (and no, not Prozac or any other stress reducer), although my cholesterol could be due to stress and not my ability to eat an enormous meal and lack of proper exercise.
Prescriptions in hand I boarded my car and remembered when our pet Taco entered our lives in 2004, another presidential election year full of nervous Floridians.
Taco is a 5 pound 3 ounces Chihuahua, unlike mine, his weight never changes. He belonged to a family that had not realized Chihuahuas need a lot of attention and don’t do well alone. Theirs was not a home life. As a writer I may well give the word homebody an entirely new dimension.
So we adopted Taco when he was two years old and in an instant he magically influenced our lives and relieved stress. To begin with he woke up happy every day ready to look for any and all adventure, a bit like Winnie the Pooh. This made me get out of bed with a smile and take him for a walk. I discovered how many beautiful birds visited us every morning and got to laugh as Taco’s bark made the Blue Heron spread its majestic wings to get away. I saw how flowers are so different during every one of our walks, how they open to the day and close up to relax at night.
This in turn made the hectic get-ready-for-morning-routine or I-don’t-want-to-do-my-homework afternoons so much more fun. There was always Taco to share it with. On one fortuitous occasion my son’s homework was on the floor and Taco decided to pee on it hence providing the perfect excuse for lack of completion.
We got Taco a few months before as a family we lost some loved members and as if by magic Taco always knew who needed him the most. To this day one can notice that this is not just with the three of us but anyone Taco comes in contact with.
We pick up Austin every afternoon and as sure as any teenager he says good afternoon to the dog before he says good afternoon to his mother. Taco has made our little family complete and happier.
Taco will be 10 this September, he still bounces and runs like a young dog and when I am too focused on writing I often find a pile of toys by my feet, the moment I see them Taco’s tail wags and he is ready to play catch. He does not always get to play, but I can certainly feel loved and sought after.
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