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Who was your childhood pet? Apart from parents and siblings, the childhood pet is perhaps the most significant bond a little one will make in their young life. A pet of some sort — be it a dog, cat, hamster, horse or rabbit — teaches so many lessons to a child without even trying. They teach patience, forgiveness, the importance of putting others first and above all, I believe, empathy — a quality that is often times rare. My childhood dog was…

Trilby — yes, named after the hat. She is a beautiful golden retriever/collie mix who kept me company, went on wild adventures and was always there to listen. She was adopted into my family when she was six-months-old after her former owner abandoned her. She is now 16-years-old and lives with my parents (it’s not fair to uproot an old dog from the home she’s known all her life once the child is ready for university in a new city).

Saying goodbye to her when I did move out was heart-wrenching, but I am always thrilled to see her when I visit and am always surprised how easily we fall into our old routines as though I was eight-years-old again and she just a pup (I still save her a little bit of my supper as an extra treat at the end of the day, as if I was a little girl trying to pass off my veggies to her under the table).

In so many ways I believe Trilby shaped the person I grew up to be and I cannot imagine what my life would be or what I would be like had she not been such a significant part of those early years. Of course I feel incredibly lucky to still have her in my life and to feel her presence in my grown-up years too.

Won’t you be nostalgic with me today? Who were/are your childhood pets? What did that bond teach you? How did it influence your life? I would love to hear your stories!