May 12th, 2010 by admin
With Mother’s Day just pasted, it seems an appropriate time to focus on the importance of being a guardian. But just to mix it up a bit, I am writing this as a father of five…dogs, that is. My dogs are my children and rather than say I “own” my children, i.e., dogs, I choose to say I am their “guardian.” So, it’s just a word, right? Well, yes, it is, of course, a word, but language means a lot. So, I guess the best place to start is to clarify the distinction between the two words. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the verb, “own” in two ways: (1) to have or hold as property and (2) to have power or mastery over, whereas the noun, “guardian” is defined in the same dictionary as: one who has the care or protection of another. So, in applying this to having dogs, I do not consider myself one who “owns” my dogs, as I don’t have or hold them as property nor do I have or wish to have power or mastery over them. I am their “guardian,” as I am someone who cares for them in every way I can.
The story of how my dogs came to me is a simple, yet a sad one. All my dogs were rescues. Rocky, a three-legged Rottweiller/Ridgeback mix, was living at a home where his previous family thought it was okay to chain him in the backyard with a broken leg after he had been hit by a car. Luckily, he found me, or I found him, I can never be sure in these situations. He sleeps with me and because he weighs over 100 pounds, he is a great “spoon” partner, minus his amputated back leg. Joaquin literally showed up at my doorstep with a very tight chain around his neck attached by a padlock. I had to take him to a locksmith to get the padlock and chain cut off. My other three dogs, Baxter, Tootsie, and Celeste, now live with me but at one time were either abandoned or abused…or both.
I am the guardian of my dogs,not their owner. My main responsibility to them is to protect them from harm’s way. To make sure they are well-nourished and free from pain and suffering. I do everything in my power to guard them from danger. I don’t “own” them like I would a car or a house or a boat. My dogs are not inanimate objects that one must purchase a title for. They are feeling, loving companions. They were never meant to be treated as mere property, objects or things. They were never ment to be chained up or left alone in a backyard, only to be attended to when someone remembered they were there. Dogs are pack animals, craving a family unit filled with attention and love. That is the least I can give them, as they have given me so much more in return.
I choose the term “guardian” when I tell people I have dogs. I don’t say I “own” them. You might say they are my guardian angels, too, and they will always have a home with me for as long as I live. And I might add I’m a blessed guardian, for my dogs have opened my heart to love, peace, forgiveness and compassion. And you can’t put a price tag or purchase a title on that.
This blog was contributed by guest blogger Timothy Verret