Back in 1996, when Eddie Thompson and his husband-to-be Jayson met in Seattle, Wash. neither of them imagined they’d be married, together for 25 years and living in Eastover, S.C. (a suburb just outside of Columbia).

Despite the stress and strain many same-sex couples experienced prior to marriage equality, their relationship beat the odds and has survived. The two have lived in multiple places around the country, but likely the most unusual was Anchorage, Alaska. By 2009, however, they decided it was time to plant some permanent roots and decided on the move to South Carolina.

On a breezy Saturday evening, the first official weekend of autumn, qnotes caught up with Thompson for a brief and reflective chat on love, life and pets.

What do you two do for a living?

I’m a Data Collector for transportation studies and Jayson is a vendor’s rep for Home Depot.

Do you have any children?

No, no children. We thought about adopting, but that just never happened. We have adopted plenty of animals though. They’re like our children.

Wonderful. What types of pets do you have?

Currently we have two dogs, a Japanese Chin and an American mixed breed. Previously we rescued five cats, and right now, we’re feeding eight feral cats.

October 4 is World Animal Day. Would you share a little about your dogs and how you came together?

Certainly. We had a pug for 10 years. When he passed Jayson was heartbroken and wanted to get another dog. I wanted to wait, but within days a friend who happens to be an ASPCA Board Member called us. He said a [seemingly lost] dog had come to his house looking for food and water. We found him and took him home. I met our Japanese Chin outside of a neighborhood store. He was just hanging around. I went inside and asked around and no one claimed him or knew anything about him. When I left the store, he followed me to my truck. We still tried to find his owner, but no one ever came forward, so we kept him.

Sounds like you enjoy rescuing animals.

We do. We adopt because they need a home. Because they need care — they need us.

How admirable, how you’re providing such a valuable and needed service. What do you feel you get in return? What do your pets add to your life?

Oh gosh! Structure. They keep us on schedule. The dogs take a lot of attention and we plan our days according to who is gonna’ need what and when. We just get so much love from them. We’ve received nothing but love since we started taking in animals that need a home. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s worth it.

So, it’s been 25 years of living, loving and caring for animals together. What’s the secret? How have you managed to maintain such longevity?

He has his end of the house and I have my end [laughs]. We naturally came to an agreement, early on, that we wouldn’t agree on everything and that would be fine. Jayson says we don’t have arguments, we have discussions. So, if we’re discussing something we can’t agree on, we both just say okay and move on.

Jayson sounds like a wise man. What do you love about him?

He’s steady, he’s a rock. He never changes from day to day. Not like me, I’m all over the place. I’m an Aries. I like to start new things, and then I get bored and I’m on to the next interesting thing [laughs].

We’ve heard that you’re working on a book.

I am, it’s in the final editing stage now.

What’s the book about?

The book starts out with a murder. The main protagonist, Collin, is a writer of gay romance novels who falls in love with a police detective. It’s actually a romance novel.

So writing is how you spend your free time when you’re not working or taking care of the animals?

I don’t have a lot of free time, but I like gardening. I used to walk a lot, but now my knees or feet hurt, so I don’t do more than four or five miles a day now.

Speaking of time, if you could go back and speak to the 12-year-old you, what would you say?

Probably the same thing I always tell the kids. If you have a chance for adventure, take it. Whether it is a road trip with a friend to pick up a car or flying an Ultra-Light Plane — which I’ve done, it’s like a big kite with a motor on it. Kinda feels like a motorcycle except you can go up and down as opposed to just forward. So yeah, seize opportunities for adventure whenever you can, do it!

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