Dog: it’s possible you also love me for the way I leash you up and walk you around the neighborhood every morning, even when I am tired, grumpy, and it’s dark, raining, and freezing out–or maybe for the way I throw the ball over and over (and over and over again) at the dog park every day, even when I am tired, grumpy, and it’s dark, raining, and freezing out. Or possibly you love me for the way I let you sleep on the bed, right on my legs, despite the fact that there really isn’t room for you. Maybe it’s because I’ve quit trying to get you to stop barking at everything and everybody that walks, rides, or dares look at our house as they pass by. Or maybe you love me because I’ve even started encouraging it. You might love me because even though it’s rather disgusting, I don’t make you get out of the swamp-like mud puddles that form every winter at the dog park, or because when we go hiking on weekends I let you roam far ahead while I follow your lead, exploring all the mysterious underbrush and off-trail areas you love so much. Or possibly it is because all you have to do is look at me sideways when I am eating and suddenly my food is also your food. It’s possible you love me because I am always up for a game of hide-and-go-seek, or a game of fetch, or frisbee. I think you may love me because I don’t mind all the dirt and grime and sometimes bugs that you bring into the house. Or because even though you are a mildly anxious and high-strung dog, eager to bark at other dogs on leashed walks and chase down squirrels, crows, chickens, and cats, wrenching my already bruised hand as it holds your leash, I still pet you and feed you and love you.
Cat: possibly you love me for the way I rub your little face just so, and keep on petting you every time you bump your head against my hand. Or maybe you love me for the way I’ve given up kicking you off the dining room table after you’ve jumped up on it for the millionth time. You might love me for the way I just roll my eyes while you are knocking everything not nailed down onto the floor and under the couch into the exact spot I can’t reach. Maybe you love me for the way I let you sleep under the covers, or curled up suffocatingly tight against my head at night. Possibly you love me because I don’t yell at you when you decide that 4AM is a perfectly acceptable time to wake up the household with your wild shenanigans. Even when you get the dog all riled up and suddenly the two of you are racing around the bedroom–even though you have the whole rest of the house to play in–jumping up and off the bed over and over again. You might love me because even though I really want to, I don’t have the heart to kick you both out so I can get another two hours of sleep before work. Possibly you love me because even when you’ve done your very best to annoy me, I still pet you and feed you and love you.
When it really comes down to it, I suspect that you truly love me for my money, specifically all the fabulous food I buy with it. I work so you are fed. You love on me when I walk in the door at the end of the day because my arrival will soon be followed by food. You’re excited to see me every morning because after the dog is walked you are both fed. I think you might care more about your next meal than you do me–and you know what? I’m cool with that. I love you, too.