I love having dogs and/or cats in my life; there have only been a few brief moments in my life when I didn’t have at least one animal friend keeping me company. I’m now without a buddy for the first time in probably 30 years, if not longer, and I’m lonely, a lonely that human contact can’t fix. Granted it’s only been a few weeks and I’m still tearing up when I think of my dog, but I truly think some of us get something from animals we can’t get from people.
My little friend was at my side when I got sick all those years ago, hubby says she also sat at the front window and pined until I came home from the hospital weeks later. She was my constant companion through the early days of recuperation and, through the highs and lows of accepting I’d never be who I was before. Honestly, if not for her, I’m not sure I’d be as good as I am today.
What is it about an animal in your life that makes them so irreplaceable and unforgettable?
They don’t talk to you, yet they instantly know your mood and respond to where you are at, and somehow, they know more about you than anyone ever will, or ever can. They just know you.
Damn, I miss my dog, my confidant and best friend, ever patient, ever there just for me.
When she was nearing the end and we entered the final months of slow decline that required carrying her up and down stairs, yet still mobile, happy, eating well and not suffering, I struggled with whether I’d be able to be as kind to her when it was time, as she’d been to me all those years.
Endings are hard.
I’ve thought a lot over the years about whether I’d get another dog after she was gone. I didn’t think I should knowing my activity level and health challenges, I thought it’d be selfish and still feel that way, but I think my need for a dog in my life will bring my selfishness out and stare me in the face, daring me to disagree. It’d be selfish, that I know, but I’ll probably be selfish and get another dog down the road a bit, maybe a senior who needs a quiet place to land would be a good compromise and salve on my conscious. I do know I’m not ready yet, not when I’m still missing her this much that everything I do reminds me her constant presence by my side is missing.
Having said that, that’s not the only thing that’s bothering me…
Why can I grieve this hard and allow my emotions to be somewhat visible to those closest to me for my little friend, but when I lose a loved family member or good friend – I go into stiff upper lip mode and can’t show my emotion to anyone other than maybe tearing up? Sometimes I can’t even show my grief to myself. Is it just who I am, how I was raised to accept death as a natural part of life and, to remember them for who they were in life? If it’s that, then why can’t I apply that to animals? Why the difference? Or is it having a family member having lived a long good life, ready to go that makes it different; their verbalizing they’re ready, or is it somehow related to being adopted? That being adopted starts with loss, the ever present knowledge that people always leave, not if, not always voluntary, but leave they do and we have to accept that loss as part of being adopted. Those are the questions circling in my head, what’s the difference?
If you’ve managed to get this far, I appreciate you for doing that for me, thank you, and thank you for reading.