Can people tell you're a pet lover before you even say a word? Chances are they can — from a bumper sticker, piece of jewelry or other object.

And chances are also good that you're not alone. I still remember when many a car featured a suction-cupped Garfield peeking out of a rear side window. I know Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, and in his company's Indiana museum, I saw hundreds of models targeted to different audiences. Every cat-loving Garfield fan had one, it seemed.

We can’t suction-cup our dogs or cats to a window, but we pet lovers have found a myriad of ways to visibly showcase the crazy love and devotion we feel for our pets. Some of us wear hats, shirts or jewelry showing the species or breed. Then there are breed bumper stickers, a pet’s own business cards, doormats with images of pets or pet-friendly inscriptions or photographic shrines, and even memorials for pets who have passed.

In-your-face celebration of what I call "The Bond" — that special connection between people and animals — is something that I work to celebrate, nurture and protect. And yes, in our family, you can tell where our hearts are before we say a thing. Some examples: 

  • Our dog’s name is on our family business cards 
  • We have a bumper sticker that says, “Our dog is smarter than your honor student"
  • I’ve had personalized Idaho license plates that read “The Bond”
  • My email address is [email protected]
  • My beloved wife Teresa has a necklace she wears that was made from the DNA of her beloved 9-year-old dog, Quixote.

I know we're not alone in our displays of affection, and I love seeing all the things that shout, “PET LOVER ON BOARD!”