Animal-lovers speak of furry tales at this age – that is their fun adventures with their beloved furry (or sometimes, scaly) buddies and besties.
Unconditional Love. Such a concept that many human beings aspire for and yet sadly, the same human beings would attest that in most cases, unconditional love is often only found in the presence of their beloved pets!
The new normal has gotten the whole world topsy-turvy, and that is why many pet lovers have turned to their dear and loyal companions for comfort now more than ever! As with some of the pet lovers we’ve chatted with, their animals buds keep them truly busy and happy while giving them positive focus and purpose at such a daunting, unprecedented era, where everyone can easily be anxious and distraught, as we all face uncertainty while doing our very best to contend with the struggles of daily life during this pandemic as a nation, or even as one world.
We got to talk with a couple of Pet Parents who profess their filial love for their adorable beastie-besties. Get to learn insights from Carl Drake and Natalie Viernes-Drake the proud mom and dad of Gibbles the Guinea Pig and Truffles the Poodle, both of whom they care for in their San Diego Home, which also serves as Natalies’ office for her online shop.
Natalie has had her poodle, Truffles for almost a decade now. Joining Truffles who was also adopted, is their other baby, Gibbles who was only adopted from a local pet rescue group in December of 2019.
Also giving us a passionate chat about the important role of her pets is Las Vegas-based entrepreneur and community volunteer, Marylynn Galez or simply, Lynn. She is not just a proud mom to her smart and adorable 8-year old daughter, Carissa-Nikkol, but she also cares lovingly for her other “babies” two of them furry and one scaly! She has two dogs, Oreo and Choco, both a mix.
SheltiChon (Shelti and Bichon breeds) and Maltipoo (Maltese and Poodle breeds) which makes her fluffy loves extra cute thanks to four different toy-like breeds. But that’s not all, Lynn and Carissa-Nikkol also love caring for an exotic and rare pet: a red-ear slider turtle! All of them live in harmony and joy in their large and love-filled home at the lush Mountain’s Edge area in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lynn passionately recounts how even before the pandemic, she has always turned to her pets for comfort and support. “My adorable pets have always been my source of relaxation. And now, they keep me happy and busy because the pandemic keeps everybody inside their homes all the time now.”
“I used to have five dogs. My two dogs now, Choco and Oreo have been with us for a long time. One is 11 years old, while the other one will soon be 12. I used to have 5 dogs. Our very first dog, the one named Jay, passed just two weeks ago. He was he has been with us for 12 years and he was a MaSheltiBichon mix (Maltese, Shelti and Bichon) but he was so cute, for he was miniature sized.”
It was a bittersweet moment for Lynn as Jay was not only her very first dog in the USA, but he was also named after her beloved brother who had died after a battle with Leukemia. In a way, Jay had been her source of comfort and a reminder of her brother’s love.
Lynn is handicapped and this has never been a reason for her not to bond with her playful pets. But she proudly shares that nowadays, her daughter has really been stepping up and helping her a lot especially when it came to the necessary tending of pets: cleaning up and feeding them. “Caring for our pets keeps Carissa really disciplined and helps her become more responsible. She has become so good at it that she only needs reminders and minimal supervision.”
Caring for pets way back has also helped develop time-management skills for Lynn and she has observed the same for her daughter. “Of course, as a mom and animal lover – pet owner, time management is essential so that everyone is well cared for, and so that I get to bond with each of them. My daughter, too is learning to prioritize and spend her time wisely because she has taken a greater and more active role in caring for our pets. Now that she has no school, and since again, due to the pandemic we have to stay mostly indoors, she gets to spend more time with the pets – even with the hard parts of being a responsible pet owner.”
The Drakes, Natalie and Carl second the sentiments of mom and daughter duo, Lynn and Carissa. Natalie starts by sharing how right after they got married and moved together last year in 2019 and Truffles was somehow part of her being. It was no longer a chore to care for her long-time poodle companion that she was ready to take on another. For a while, she and Carl wondered what new pet to adopt, but before long, the opportunity presented itself, with someone urgently needing to find adoptive pet-parents for a guinea pig.
Both pescatarian and green connoisseurs, the Drake always abounded with organic and leafy greens… proving to be a haven for Gibbles! And in only a few months, the fourth member of their family cemented his place in their humble, loving home, especially now that Natalie just works from home, and she has more time to spend with her two pets. “Especially in these times, I am sure that pet owners are happy that they have whatever animals they love and care for. It can sometimes drive you crazy staying at home, your usual busy schedules disrupted, but then you would find your little animal-loves keeping you preoccupied so that helps you worry less about the situation.” Natalie also recommends pets to those who are ready to care for one. “Definitely, it is a good time to bring pets home, but I wouldn’t say it’s because we are dealing with a pandemic and there is not a lot to do, but because they truly help you destress and give you something meaningful to do.”
Like Lynn, who stated that caring for her pets was something therapeutic for her, the way that they give comfort to people with disability or those going through trauma and other challenges, Natalie believes that having pets are indeed therapeutic regardless of the situation. She just reminds prospective pet lovers to do so in the right manner, with the right intentions. “Our pets, they are just like your children, just not human. They are intuitive, sweet, sometimes they are even kinder than us human beings. Indeed, they love you unconditionally, and so if you are not ready or for some reason just cannot give care in the utmost manner, or at least the most basic, then just don’t get into it. Having pets is not just because you want to, and then you’d throw or give them away when you find out it’s hard. It is best to first know what responsibilities you’re faced with, and then that’s when you seek out a pet.” Carl and Natalie Drake are advocates of sustainable and mindful living, and ask that adopting pets are done for the right reasons.
And there you have it; taking cues from these pet and animal champs – pandemic or not – you can choose to care for your favorite animal pals, taking into consideration more of what good you can do for them, than they do for you. A word to the wise – if you aim to go beyond the domesticated pet categories, ensure that the exotic pets you are adopting are within the boundaries of legal, regulated trade and that you are not taking away the animals from their habitats. Not all animals are meant to be domesticated; many belong to, and still prefer to remain in the wild. Whatever pet you choose to bring home, remember that they are capable of unconditional, relentless love, so you must be ready to give the same love back, or even more. As the adage goes, “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” Bear in mind that caring for pets is similar to the way you seek out a partner – for life! Adopt a pet today not to just get through the pandemic because for these faithful pets, you are their companion in their lifetime!