Dear Valentine

By Joanna D. Samson, Vice President, FOTAS

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .”
William Shakespeare

Although I am certain Willie the Shake did not write the 43rd Sonnet for his dog, I am equally certain that most of us with canine or feline friends could rattle off their virtues without hesitation.

They keep you company, follow you around, sleep with you. They make you laugh. They walk with you. They comfort you when you’re sad. Rescued animals know you saved them. They are forever grateful.

In return, we overlook the hair; the drooling; the smell; the muddy paws; the cost of food, clothing, medical care, treats (so many treats); the occasional mistake in the house; and the small dead rodents left on the porch as an expression of their appreciation.

It’s a small price to pay, don’t you think?

Yesterday, I asked a couple of friends and their rescued pets to tell me what they love about each other.

Ellie Joos, about her 14-year-old tabby cat: “I love it when Sheba hops on the bed, curls up next to me, and purrs like a freight train (if only it wasn’t 3:30 in the morning!)”

Sheba: “I love to sit on the counter and watch Ellie. I’ve trained her well; she always feeds me on time.”

Kathy Jacobs, about her retriever mix: “Sherman’s got issues: he’s overweight, in bad health and not the smartest bulb in the pack. But I love it when he sits on my lap (all 75 pounds of him) and lays back like a big baby.”

Sherman: “I’m insecure. I love Kathy to baby me.”

Peter Miller, about he and Jennifer’s St. Bernard mix and pit mix: “Buster and Beethovan give me the same crazy, frantic, joyous greeting at the door whether I’ve been gone 20 minutes or five days. I love that.”

Buster and Beethoven: “We love it when the man yells, ‘Naptime!’ and we all pile on the bed.”

Heather Wiseman, about their 10-year-old bird dog: “Missy has the craziest eyebrows; they go every which way. We love to play with them, make them stick up in a Mohawk.”

Missy: “The world’s a scary place. I love them for protecting me from birds, puppies, and loud noises.”

Uma Seaman, about her 3-year-old shepherd mix: “Izzy loves people—when she meets someone new, she bows and puts both paws over her eyes, like she’s flirting.”

Izzy: “I love it when she calls, ‘Snuggle-muggle!’ and I get to roll around like crazy on the bed.”

Edie Hubler, about Zeus and Meg: “When I walk them, I love to watch their little fannies just bobbing along, side by side – happy as clams.”

Meg and Zeus: “We love to watch her all day long. We think she’s a goddess.”

The Aiken County Animal Shelter is celebrating Valentine’s Day every day through February 14th: you can adopt your next canine Valentine for only $14 and your feline Valentine for only $7. Your new Valentine will be fixed and fully inoculated.

And of course, your new Valentine will come home full of love and devotion. It will be the beginning of a romance that will last a long, long time.

What a deal.

Their lives are in our hands.