Monday, January 18, 2010
Losing a Loyal Companion
Over the weekend our friends Cathy and Thomas lost their first baby, Dawson, a chocolate lab, to bone cancer. He was thirteen. He had a pretty long life, considering his health, for a dog. And he was certainly one of the "good ones" - a very good dog.
He was an integral part of their family and I know he is greatly missed today and for years to come. Dogs - pets, animals - they become such a part of our family, don't they? And they reward us for this inclusion with unconditional love. It is so hard to lose them when they go.
Of course, Dawson's death has me thinking of my own aging pet population here at home. Ellie is ten and Echo is nine. They are not going to live forever. If we're lucky, we have five or six more hopefully healthy years with them by our sides. And then there's Norman, who at twelve, still thinks he's middle aged, showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever.
But our girls, they already show signs of age. They take medicine. They sleep a lot more. They don't want to walk quite as far. I don't know why God chose to give us such wonderful companions who cannot be with us for any longer than they are, but this is a fact of life that we pet lovers have to make part of our reality.
I think it is because we don't really appreciate all that love coming our way. Maybe it's so we do appreciate them more. In fact, I think it's the reason some choose to not have pets - to not go through the grief of losing them. But, I believe the love and companionship they give is worth the grief tenfold.
There are many people who say animals don't go to heaven when they die - that they don't have souls. I am not a learned philosopher or sage in any way, but I disagree with this point of view for two reasons. First, I disagree they have no souls. Anyone who has loved and known a dog in their life knows these animals have old, deep souls that surpass our silly little consciousness in so many ways. Second, I believe if heaven is to be paradise that my dogs will be there with me. No paradise would be complete without them.
I send hugs to Cathy and Thomas and their children as they grieve the loss of their loyal friend. And I'll hug my girls a little tighter and a little longer as I try to capture every moment I can with them at my side.
Best wishes for your week.