One of my sisters retired to South Carolina. After a severe storm during the night in her neck of the woods, I telephoned her to see if everything was okay. She said everything was fine, but she chuckled about having to put one of her little dogs (that I shall call “Meeko”) in her bed because it was so frightened by the storm. Pets! You just got to love ‘em. Her dogs had not experienced thunderstorms until they moved to the south. My sister’s other dog (that one I call “Little Toughie”) sleeps through thunderstorms, probably because she’s too tough to be afraid of them.

I related a story about a coworker (Harry), who had a dog so terrified of thunderstorms that it would whimper and run around frantically. Harry decided to buy a recording of a thunderstorm that was supposed to rid the dog of its fear by exposing the dog to the recording over and over again (immersion therapy). Harry said he played the recording for the dog for hours, and the dog was so relaxed it just lay there or went to sleep. But when a real storm occurred, the dog acted as frantically as it had in the past. Harry subsequently learned that the dog was deaf and that the dog’s frightened behavior was in response to the vibrations caused by thunder. Harry laughed and shook his head as he talked about all those hours he spent listening to that recording, only to find out that his dog hadn’t heard a thing. Pets! You just got to love ’em.

Back to my sister and her dogs: When my sister gives each dog a biscuit, Little Toughie gobbles hers up immediately. Meeko does not. When my sister is on the phone, Little Toughie tends to bark. Meeko does not. One day while I was talking with my sister on the phone, one of her dogs started barking. It was Meeko. My sister told Meeko to be quiet, but when it continued, she went into the room to see what was going on. It turned out that Little Toughie was sitting on Meeko’s biscuit. I could hear my sister telling Little Toughie to get off of Meeko’s biscuit and asking (rhetorically, I hope), “What’s the matter with you?” Pets! You just got to love ’em.

I’ve never owned a dog, but there’s often been at least one cat in my household. One cat would only wash its face although it would wash other parts of its body if brushed. Another cat would bite through any and every wire it could reach, so that wires were covered or suspended by duct tape with duct tape becoming the decor throughout the house. Pets! You just got to love ’em.

Sometimes, for financial or other reasons, pets can no longer be kept. There are organizations that will try to find other homes for them. Pets should not be abandoned. We just got to love ’em.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...