Valentine’s Day is often seen as pertaining only to significant others, family members, and best friends, but in this article, I want to celebrate those that are there for us through everything (even pandemics), give us endless cuddles, and will never ghost us. I’m talking about our pets!  I got the idea to write about our special relationships with our pets a couple weeks ago, when I was going for my daily walk and I noticed an elderly man standing outside of his house cradling an orange cat wrapped in a blanket. It was freezing cold outside and the ground was covered in snow, but this man was still outside standing in front of his house rocking his cat back and forth like a baby. When I greeted the man and asked about his cat, he replied that his cat was named Goldie and that everyday he would take Goldie outside to get him some fresh air because he is too old to be outside on his own. In my opinion, this is true love and is a perfect example of love and compassion existing in relationships between humans and animals.  

I have always loved animals and surrounded myself with pets, whether my parents allowed it or not. I was constantly bringing home snails, frogs, snakes, and interesting insects that I had found, naming every single one after characters from mythology or Harry Potter. Ever since the age of four I had wanted a pet snake of my own, and finally, after years of asking, I was given a snake (whom I lovingly named Severus Snake) for my eighth birthday. In addition to Severus, I also grew up with two cats, Fafner, a vicious but beautiful cat who once scratched through my jeans, and Strummer, the most obese and lovable cat around whose purr sounds like a broken car engine. Thus, I have always been surrounded by animals and through being able to spend time with them, take care of them, and play with them, I have grown to appreciate just how special these relationships really are. 

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I would like to highlight three very special pets that have made their human companions very happy. The first of which is my friend Lauren’s puppy, Moose. Lauren adopted Moose, who is a miniature pinscher, in June, and when asked to describe him she wrote: 

“His favourite game is a variation of fetch where he brings you the toy… just to play keep away with it and then shows off that he still has the toy by prancing with it. While he LOVES the dog park, his favourite pastime is sleeping on mom’s lap. We love his playful personality, how much he wants to protect his family and of course his floppy ears!” Moose has been working super hard on call backs and has been learning how to roll over and is described by Lauren as being “the best boi.” As for Valentine’s Day, Lauren says that Moose will be treated to vanilla ice cream and plenty of scratches to lean into. 

Another lovely dog that will be getting all of the cuddles for Valentine’s Day is Nala. Nala is my boyfriend Phil’s dog, who resembles a majestic polar bear and is almost my height when she stands on her hind legs. Nala is a central Asian mountain shepherd and is almost two years old, sharing a birthday with Phil. He describes playing with Nala as follows: 

“You’ll get a squeaky toy and she’ll be super excited and bring it to you, but when you reach for it to play with her, she’ll be like “no no no” and pull it away from you. Then she’ll put it in your lap, but as you reach for it again, she’s like “no no no no,” continuing to keep it away from you. She is such a goon.”  Phil says that his favourite thing about Nala is that she is a “derpy goofball” and that if he didn’t love her so much, he would probably fight her, which, as the owner of my own rambunctious beast, I completely understand. Nala will be getting spoiled with beef liver, apples, and cheese this Valentine’s Day, although according to Phil she will eat anything – even your pants. 

The final pet I’m going to highlight in honour of Valentine’s Day is my kitten, Abby. When I adopted her in late August, I was told that she was an extremely laid back and sleepy kitten, but much to my surprise, when I brought her home, I discovered that she is the most energetic and curious cat I have ever met. I grew up around cats as my parents, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle have always lived with cats. Therefore, when I moved into an apartment by myself in the summer, I decided that I needed a cat to fill the void within my sad basement bachelor pad. Abby has brought me constant entertainment and a bit of stress as her favourite pastimes are scaling the fridge, digging into the dry-wall, and digging out my Pop-Eyes chicken bones from the green bin. On Valentine’s Day, Miss Abigail will enjoy a special quail egg flavoured wet food and a new catnip toy.

This Valentine’s Day many of us will be unable to see our partners, parents, friends, and those who we would normally celebrate this special day with, and maybe some of you are feeling pretty lonely. For those of you who have pets, whether it’s a snake, a cat, a dog, a hamster, a fish, or even a sweet little tarantula, go cuddle them this Valentine’s Day and spoil them with all the toys, treats, and belly rubs you can. Who needs a significant other to bring you flowers when you have a kitten that brings you chunks of dry-wall and bottle caps? If you unfortunately can’t be with your pet on Valentine’s Day, or if you don’t have a fuzzy little pal to spoil, get yourself a stuffed animal to squeeze, buy some flowers or a cactus (those count as pets!), or FaceTime your eccentric aunt and her twelve cats. Remember: you don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy this holiday. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, from me and my pets to you and yours! Also, thank you to Lauren Faux and Phil Haddad for telling us about their lovely pets Moose and Nala!

Header Image by Sadie Levine

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