To be or not to be a Pawsie?

To be or not to be a Pawsie?

Do you remember when you had your first contact with a pet? Maybe that's when you became a Pawsie.

May 31, 2019 By Josée Larivée

My biological mother grew up on a potato farm in Prince Edward Island, in a single-parent family where the priority was to keep enough food on the table for 10 children. If an animal wanted to live on that farm, it had to make itself useful. I met the woman who brought me into this world—and whom I affectionately call my “bio-mum”—as an adult. But I'll come back to that.

I'm adopted. Growing up, animals were always part of my family. My mother rescued abandoned cats despite my father's allergies. We bred parakeets who entertained us with their vocabularies! We had Jaqueline, our cow, who kept watch over the campfire … but more than anything, my childhood was signposted by dogs, a whole slew of dogs.

I remember being in the back seat of my father's old, red Falcon when we brought home my first puppy. I wasn't quite four years old. And I was almost 17 when we had to say goodbye to him. I don't have a single childhood memory that doesn't include Péké.

I've owned dogs all my life. Males. Females. Hunting dogs. Purebred dogs. A few mutts: one who wasn't quite right, one who was aggressive, another who was picture perfect and, finally, one who'd been abandoned. The one who'd been abandoned died prematurely, just 5 weeks before the Pawsie launch. He'd been in the prime of life when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer—a diagnosis which, for me, was like getting a one-way ticket to heartbreak.

My bio-mum, who's definitely not a “Pawsie”, tried to understand my grief. “Wait, do you love your animals as much as you love people?”, she asked, as if dividing the world in two.

When you get right down to it, looking after an animal is all a question of benevolence. It's about taking care—a notion that we cherish at Pawsie. Over time, you realize that the animal you're taking care of, in turn is taking care of you. Could these be the seeds of love?

My last dog—for reasons that only his life story can explain—turned out to be the hardest dog to love. His dependency on me was overwhelming, at times exhausting. For this reason, no doubt, I grew to love him more intensely than any of the rest.

Like all my friends and family, my bio-mum was stunned by his sudden death. This is the same person—the “definitely-not-a-Pawsie”—who I caught one morning last summer having a chat with my dog while we were vacationing at her place by the sea. My bio-mum had mistakenly thought that she and my dog were alone. And that's how I found out that—as if like cupid—he'd been the first dog to shoot love's arrows into her heart.

Which has lead me to believe that the world is indeed divided into two: on the one side, we have Pawsies and, on the other, those people who don't yet know they're Pawsies. The good news is that Pawsie.ca is here for everyone.

Happy browsing!

Your Pawsie in chief,
Josée

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