Two years ago I adopted a cat and my roommates and I named him Oliver. Our inspiration: Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (one of my other roommates was also an English major and we persuaded the others into submission). Adopting Oliver has, and probably will continue to be, one of the best decisions of my life. As many other pet owners and lovers will agree, there is a niche in my heart that only Ollie, as with all other pets, can fill.
Pets love with a certain kind of love unlike any other, and that's why my fiancé and I are so lucky to have him. He may be here for only a short time in comparison to our own lifespans, but we will be present for most of his. All but six months, in my case. And that is sometimes a hard thing to think about. I know everything dies, all things come to an end, etc, etc. But that doesn't make it easier to imagine a world without Ollie, and losing him won't be easy. I've accepted that. I relish the knowledge and hope that I will still get another twelve years with him, and that I can do everything imaginable to make each of those years the best, just like he deserves.
Pets give us love, unconditionally in most cases, though cats sometimes do hold grudges. What we give them in return is a promise; a promise that we will love them, care for them, feed them, hold them, treat them like the best friends that they are, and protect them against an otherwise cruel world. That is my promise and I work everyday to keep it. When I falter, Ollie reminds me and he returns my love tenfold. He is more than I could ask for, so I do my best to give him more than he asks for as well.