I heard from so many people, not just on social networking, but when I talked about Cecil on the air, and so many of you responded. I thank all of you.

We love our pets so fiercely because it’s an unconditional love utterly devoid of falsehood. Our dogs and cats — and whatever kind of pet you have — are pure, in the deepest sense of the word. Their love is completely unstained. With people we have to negotiate minefields and baggage… I’m not saying that’s not worth it too, because loving people can be the hardest but most rewarding (and sometimes the most painful) thing… But with animals it’s all nonverbal, it’s pure, it’s all idealized simplicity that exposes where we are with absolutely no hiding.

Pets bring us back to the unadorned child inside all of us. So no matter how old we are we love them in the exact same way children love them. Is it any wonder that animal therapy helps so many people who are sick, or lonely, or facing death? A pet’s love reminds us that we can be as clean and carefree as a child again, that we can love as a child loves, no matter how old we are.