No Man is a Mountain

The importance of balancing caring for pets and nurturing family bonds. While animals provide comfort, human connections are invaluable.
Profile picture of Disha Ransingh

Created by Disha Ransingh

Published on Feb 29, 2024
human reaching out towards a cat
Humberto Arellano on Unsplash

No man is a mountain. Some individuals, haunted by their own experiences of neglect, inadvertently neglect those around them. Yet they freely give praise, overflowing affection and attentiveness -- to their dogs, cats, and guppies.

That makes you blink, doesn't it? Imagine this: there are people who forgo playdates with their little brother because they would rather take Spot for a walk. There are people who will shut out every single person in their life, but who will spend hours trying to get interaction with a cat. There are people who never make time for family dinners but who rush home at lunch break to feed their guppies. Why? Because some people find solace in the unconditional love of their furry friends, a unique bond that provides comfort in times of emotional trauma. Do you have some of these people in your life?

I have an aunt who has cats, cats, cats. The number of memorable conversations I've had with her is one, two...maybe three. She has gone all out for her cats, yet...she can't send me a birthday card.

Here, where my family lives, there are a lot of outdoor cats on our kitchen window ledges, stalking my mom and whoever else is cooking. These cats are adored by my siblings: we talk about them often. Cats and dogs, horses and guppies, creatures around the world, mankind loves them. But they are not worth completely disregarding human connections.

I have a great-grandmother who would literally cook a steak for her dog then go out to buy a fast-food burger for herself. I remember meeting her only once, when I was four; we had ice cream at McDonalds, and she gave me a stuffed dog. That dog was a favourite toy of mine for long after it's bark-box batteries died and after my great-grandmother died, too. I'm thankful for a mother who loves to try new recipes and to serve delicious foods to her family. It's just in light of how her grandmother (my great-grandmother) was that I do wonder, what would it be like if she would give the beef stroganoff, the lasagna, or the cornbread to our labrador retriever? Then hand her family an apple and a ham sandwich each for dinner every day? She would never do that; she wants to be among her family at the table, with everyone using her cooking as an opportunity to bond. Sure, she may feed the dog, the neighbourhood cats, and the seagulls the tidbits, but certainly, we enjoy by far the larger portion. And we're going to smile about that for far longer than our dog is going to lick its chops.

If you can find comfort in snuggling a fluffy cat, I'm glad. If your horse stamps your burdens to dust, be astride it. If your dog becomes the support for you and your child, and if you need that overload of affection that your rabbit brings, then take it. And when interaction with these animals gives you rest, strength, and a joyous spirit, then give those animals a solid petting--and then look around at other people and give to them a greater portion of what's in your heart. 

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