That's a bit of an exaggeration, but much of the time, I do prefer the company of animals to that of humans. Animals are not petty or insincere. Animals don't lie, though they can occasionally be manipulative. They're not judgmental. They don't care what you have or don't have, only how you treat them. In short, they're not as much of a pain in the butt as most people are. This is the first time in my life I'm not sharing my home and my life with a critter of some kind.
With critters, what you see is what you get.
Maybe I'm more at ease with critters because I grew up with them. We lived on a farm during most of my childhood. There weren't many kids around, so my playmates usually had four legs, feathers, hooves or, occasionally, scales.
Scamp joined our family when I was five. I'd had another dog who'd died, and my parents felt I needed a new best friend as soon as possible. Mom found an ad in the newspaper and took me along to see the pup who was in need of a new home. She didn't tell me we were looking for a dog for me. She wanted to see how I responded to the pup first.
The pup was maybe a month old, a collie-terrier mix. She was a ball of black and white fuzz with warm, intelligent eyes and an affectionate nature. And the connection between us was immediate. Mom was convinced this was the right dog to take away my sadness at having lost Trouble.
I loved the movie Lady and the Tramp, so it was easy to choose a name for my new friend. Scamp was the name of their pup. Okay, the pup in the movie was a male and my new canine companion was female, but did that really matter?
We were inseparable from the start. The only time we weren't together was when I was in school. Scamp slept with me. She tagged along when I went horseback riding. We watched TV together. Mom and Dad said they never worried when I was out of sight, because as long as I was with the dog and the horse, I was safe.
Scamp and I grew up together. I was sixteen when she died, and I had a difficult time dealing with the loss...especially since she died because she'd been protecting me. I'd had a run-in with a neighborhood idiot. The moron hit me. Scamp bit him. He shot her. She didn't die right away, but complications from the gunshot made it necessary for her to be euthanized.
She's been gone over forty years now. Hard to believe it's been that long....