Our Pets Teach Us the Darndest Things

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by Joe MacDonald |

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My family loves dogs. My wife and I have never known married life without a beloved pet. They continue to bring us joy, while at the same time imparting valuable life lessons. Our pets teach us to care for something more than ourselves. Our puppies need us as much as we need them.

One incredibly sweet pet we had was a sheltie named Rosie. She came from a very turbulent home and needed a place to be loved. We took her in, and she became an incredibly important part of our family. She guarded my youngest son when he was born and treated him as if he were her own. No one would bother her adopted puppy/human.

One of the many lessons our pets taught our sons centered on caring for others. Their chores around the house included feeding, picking up, and playing with their furry friends.

The process brought my boys an awareness of attending to the needs of others and taking responsibility for the life-giving conditions that sustain us. Both “MacDonald the Older” and “MacDonald the Younger,” as I nicknamed my sons, take their responsibilities seriously and are lovely caretakers. In some ways, they experience the kind of care we provide for them.

By managing the needs of others, I hope they will transfer their knowledge to providing for both their medical and personal care. The lessons learned from our dogs reinforce how to inject or infuse a medical product, treat breakthrough bleeds, keep yearly appointments with the hemophilia treatment center, and be aware of limitations due to target joint damage. All these critical parts of life with a bleeding disorder are taught by the love of furry friends. Watching this in action takes my breath away.

As a parent, my life’s purpose is to raise my sons with a commitment to taking care of life, including their own. They must assume responsibility for their issues regarding hemophilia. They must know how to research and maintain the best treatment plans they can, without the help of Mom or Dad.

Part of becoming an adult is knowing when to order medicine and what steps must occur to ensure a healthy lifestyle. All the complicated issues that lead us into the uncharted world of adulthood must be resolved before we set out on our own. We must equip our children with the necessary tools to be successful in the world.

In our house, it all begins with a puppy, a little being that depends on us for making its way in the world. Our children play with them, love on them, and feed them. Unknown to my sons, they learn the lessons needed to function in the world.

Many times, I think of the pets that helped shape me into the person I am today. I remember the daily routine of caring for them, at times exasperated, but never neglecting my duties. They were my responsibility and depended on me to follow through. Little did I know, while I taught them, they educated me.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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