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“The Little Things” – In praise of pets, the joy they bring and all their little moments

“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.”

I read this quote years ago on a typically happy Pinterest-and-coffee morning, no doubt with Simba or Pipkin – our most dedicated bed-lounging former pets – on my feet, enjoying time and thoughts on an easy Saturday. It really struck a chord with me, as someone who has always enjoyed the little things in life the most and seen in them so much of value. Those quiet weekend mornings, the first few moments of fresh air and daylight in the morning, beauitful views, cosy coffees with family and friends and time with our pets.

Over the years, I have found so much strength and inspiration in some of the everyday moments in life and in huge part this has been contributed to by my relationships with my animals. Of course to a massive degree with my little horse Charmer, my partner in crime for sixteen years now; or my mum and dad’s collie Ginny, with us since I was living at home as a teenager, our loyal companion for over thirteen years. These pets have shaped whole chunks of my life and times spent with them have been the cornerstones of my growing up, in all the little moments that do really and truly add up to be one of the biggest blessings, “the big things” in life.

Yet it is not only those who are lucky enough to have this longevity that I feel this way about – over the last five years we have had the pleasure of owning thirteen little bundles of fur and love, and each and every one of them has brought so much joy. I am well aware that many people would wonder quite how rewarding these very small pets can be and whether they really give much to their owners – to me, they always have, more than I can say.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

The hamsters, rats and rabbits we have had the pleasure of sharing our home with in the past may have been small things in size, but have deserved – and often ethusiastically demanded! – a huge space in our hearts as their lives with us have unfolded. The first time Pipkin ran to the cage door to greet us; the first time Grace saw her new cage and wheel and had to be persuaded to take a break after an alarmingly long gym session; the day we moved into our new home and Simba settled himself on the rug in front of the fire to set the seal on our new life; the day an elderly Chae surprised us with an uncharacterstic leap up on to the settee to join us; the first time Lizzie was afraid but didn’t bite and cuddled into us instead, in one little action turning a big corner for her into a happier way of life. All of these memorable moments – and even more than that, each and every boring, normal night watching Friends with Harvey on my knee, Ty playing with my hair and Rosie’s wheel rattling down in the kitchen; are the moments – the little things – that often provide me with everything I need for the more challenging aspects of life.

Our pets may be in some ways the smallest things, but they do truly take up an enormous space in my heart, very often being some of the highlights and biggest blessings in my days; and I will always be grateful for them.

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