Home Is Wherever My 26 Pets Are
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Home Is Wherever My 26 Pets Are...AKA 19 Cats, 5 Dogs, And 2 Bunnies

I am so thankful for all my pets

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Home Is Wherever My 26 Pets Are...AKA 19 Cats, 5 Dogs, And 2 Bunnies
Maya Parella

Two well-known facts about me are that 1) I own a ridiculous number of pets and 2) I've moved houses a ridiculous number of times. In my 19 years of life, I've owned 26 animals (and no, that doesn't include fish), lived in seven different houses, and questioned why my life is like this a grand total of way-too-many times. If I'm being completely honest, one of my favorite pleasures in life is the shock people get when I tell them how many pets I own. Right now it's not an absurdly high number, or at least I'd like to think so, but owning eight cats and four dogs is evidently a bit much for most people.

In all seriousness, however, growing up alongside so many animals was the best gift life could have given me. Anyone who owns a pet knows the pure joy and love they bring to life, and I got to experience this tenfold (or 26-fold, if you will). When you're like me and moved from place to place to place again, you learn to seek out the small comforts in life. My pets are my constants. I've been the new girl more times than I'd like to admit, and getting situated in a new town, or simply a new home, was never easy.

I didn't realize it until later on, but my furry munchkins are what held me together in the end. I could have the worst emotionally-exhausting day at school, but as long as I got to cuddle with a dog (or four) when I got home, everything would be okay. I could sit on the floor bawling, put my arms out for a hug, and know without a doubt one of my dogs would nuzzle into me. And absolutely nothing beat walking into your bedroom after a long day to five or six cats on your bed. I was never alone even when I felt like I was, though of course I never understood this until I didn't have my pets at college.

That was the hardest part about leaving home — leaving my pets behind. I was so accustomed to seeing a handful of cats on my bed that it felt empty the first week or so without them. I used to sleep with two or three basset hounds on my twin-size bed every night, so I got in the habit of sleeping against the wall. My bed felt huge without them in it. Even more, I could never leave anything out in the open at home unless I wanted my dog to chew it up.

The first time I put my computer on the ground at college was midway through the second semester. I cherished this small freedom at first, but I even grew to miss the pet hair that stuck to everything. Once I let my friend borrow my sweater and another friend knew it was mine right away because of all the cat hair on it. It was a good laugh back then, but I realize now how much of an impact my pets had on me. I quite literally took part of them with me everywhere.

That's why I cherish my pets so much. They've truly become a central part of my life that I can count on even if all else goes wrong. I remember at high school graduation, old friends reminisced about their preschool and kindergarten days together. At college, people go home to childhood bedrooms and familiar towns. When I first left home, my parents moved to a new city, hundreds of miles away from where I last lived, and now I go home to neither.

Admittedly, this bothered me at first but right now, as I sit here writing this, I'm surrounded by three dogs and can see a handful of other pets scattered around the house. It's summertime, yes, but I want nothing more than to curl up will all 12 pets for a good old nap.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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