Kathryn Skopec mug

Kathryn Skopec

As a Generation Z baby, I grew up hearing about terrorism and mass shootings as being common occurences. 

On a lighter note, another Gen Z trait I’ve developed is the notion of holding dogs up on a pedestal.

Though it’s safe to say most generations have loved and owned dogs just as much as us, for some reason, many of my peers seem to treat dogs with extra-special attention.

For example, my friends throw birthday parties for their dogs, give them their own bedrooms and call them “children”.

Though I don’t feel that extremely obsessed with my dog, Voltaire, I do adore him quite a lot. I think this love stems back to my first dog and the influence he had on my life. 

Back when I was in fourth grade, my grandma surprised me and my brothers after school by telling me us were going to the gas station to get a pekingese.

The breeder met us at the gas station’s parking lot. She opened up her SUV’s trunk, where there were two fluffy puppies crowded inside of a cage. One was wiggling around energetically, and one was sleeping. 

Grandma stood aside and let my brothers and I decide which puppy to pick. We were sad to separate a pair of siblings from each other, but we ended up choosing the more energetic puppy. 

In the car, I named our flat-faced puppy “Skittles,” and Grandma enthusiastically approved. Later that night, she bathed him, clipped his nails and made a special meat platter for his dinner.

By giving Skittles to me, Grandma unknowingly taught me how to connect with positivity in dark moments. 

Skittles comforted me when she passed away, and when he eventually passed away too, I realized how nice it can be to simply have a companion who doesn’t understand about the crappy politics of human life, but still gives loyalty and companionship to humans regardless.  

And now that I’m an adult who recently adopted my first dog on my own, I understand why my peers treat their dogs like family. 

Take this past weekend, for example. I was reading news articles about two national tragedies that happened on Saturday when my pekingese, Voltaire, wedged himself in front of my phone and demanded attention.

Feeling distracted, I gave Voltaire a kiss and tried to continue reading the news.

But when Voltaire gave up and quietly rested his head on my stomach, I turned off my phone and realized it was better to give attention to the little things rather than feed into the attention that mass-shooters seem to desire.

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