Comet, by Brian Rideout

Dear Son,

Your mother and I both love cats.  At the moment we have two of them, who will be as much your pets as ours when you are little, Comet and Isis.  They are loving, playful cats with not a mean bone in either of their bodies, although Comet makes up for the lack of meanness with a soul of pure mischief.

I really hope that you will be old enough to remember them when they are gone – both are older cats, now but healthy and happy.

Having pets helps you learn to appreciate the beauty of life in many ways.  They teach you patience, nurturing, forgiveness, and the importance of enjoying the small pleasures in life.  They teach you how to care for, and be responsive to, someone who can’t communicate with you in words.  I am hoping that you build a fun and loving relationship with our two furry buddies, and come to love animals as much as we do.

Pets also do love you back, and can work wonders for your own emotional balance.  Comet always stands guard over me when I have a migraine, and Isis knows when I am sad, and comes to comfort me.  It is wonderful to have a creature who loves you totally and without reservation like that.

As a young man, I also hope we can help you choose a pet to take care of and love from when it is small, so that you can learn what it is like to care for and nurture a life from very early on, with both all of its joys, and its responsibilities.  Few things help you build a good character quite like pet ownership.

There are trade-offs to pet ownership, of course.  They make it hard to travel, and they can be expensive when they need medical care.  Because their lives are so much shorter than ours, we also have to lose them and grieve for them when they pass on (as Comet’s brother Donnar did a couple of years ago.)  They help you learn that life is full of trade-offs and decisions where you have to let go of one option to seize another.  And in doing so, you learn what is really important in life, and come to understand your own priorities.

With Love,


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