Joss Stone has been in the headlines recently for
interrupting her tour to go home and spend some time with her
dog, Missy, who has fallen ill. Predictably, this has provoked a
variety of reactions, with some being sympathetic, and others failing
to understand Joss's motivation.
To those of us who share our lives - and our hearts - with a dog, it's
no mystery that Joss has hurried home. It's hard enough to be away from
our dogs, but if they fall ill, particularly if the illness is serious,
(Missy was suffering internal bleeding) most of us would do
anything within our powers to race home. According to Joss, Missy is
"the closest thing I have to a child", and I would
imagine that many of us who are pet parents can empathise.
This is not a silly statement; I believe that in many ways we are in
loco parentis when it comes to our pets. Think about it, we look after
their health, educate them, feed them, entertain and love them. How is
that not being a parent?
I know my dog, Buddy, is not a furry person - he's much better than
that! But I also know that I love him, I believe he loves me, and the
thought of him not being in my life fills me with dread and panic. If I
were away from Buddy, and he were seriously ill, I would do exactly as
Joss has done, and get back to him ASAP.
I wonder how many people would be criticising Joss for returning home
if any other member of her family were ill? For me, those denigrating
Joss are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures. They lack
empathy and compassion, and should be pitied. Our dogs become
part of our family, and so they should, for that way lies happiness for
humans and canines. If we don't love our dogs, we won't strive to do
our best for them, and surely that is what they deserve?
They enrich and improve our lives in so many ways, and I'm
certain that if I was ill, Buddy would want to be right by my side. And
do you know what? - I'm just as convinced that none of his canine
acquaintances would be disparaging him for doing so. In fact,
I think they would all be nodding sagely in approval, because it seems
to me that dogs understand love much better than some humans do.
Love to Joss and Missy, and we hope that Missy makes a full recovery.