Friday, September 03, 2010

A Pet Lover in Exile

If you are a pet lover, you can only imagine the heartbreak of having to move halfway across the world...and having to leave all pets behind.

The one thing that has get gets more and more difficult about living abroad is not being able to have pets.  And though many foreigners in Egypt have dogs or cats, I consider myself a true pet lover so I refuse to subject a poor little puppy or kitty to an apartment with very little access to any kind of green space.  These smaller spaces that we have grown accustomed to in Cairo are just not enough to keep pets healthy and happy in.

So this means that when I come home to visit family, I am also coming to visit the dogs as well.

I think for most of us who had dogs and cats as pets when we were little, it can be difficult to adjust to not having the little buggers around when you move away.  I mean, where else can you get that kind of undying, devoted love?  I grew up always having pets around and somehow life seemed a little less bright when they weren't around.  I could sit for long hours reading with one hand on the book and the other hand stroking the head of one or two dogs (their heads always managed to be in just the perfect position under my hand at just the right time).  You never felt lonely with those eyes and that soft head always nearby.

And there's always that feeling when you come home to visit and the dogs remember you.  I remember back in college we had an old dog who was blind and deaf, but somehow she managed to recognize me apparently from my scent.  And in my family this was something sacred because the animals really are part of the family.

Unfortunately time passes and they do pass with time.  My family has lost several beloved pets over the past year and it is sad to come home and not find them there to greet me.

My son has apparently inherited this love of animals.  I have been amazed to see that he is completely unafraid of the dogs and other animals he has been in contact with.  In Egypt so many people are downright afraid of dogs (in particular) so I was concerned that he might have picked up this fear of dogs.  But no worries, he is just as much of a dog lover as his mother is!

I'm still trying to figure out if we can ever get a dog or cat in Egypt.  But unfortunately apartment living isn't very conducive to keeping pets happy.

So we will have to continue to keep coming to visit family as much as we can so that we can visit the dogs as well...

Or we can come visit the dogs so that we can visit the family as well...

You choose.

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