March 19, 2013…
Funny how things can change so quickly. Last week I wrote the blog below. But I decided not to post it because it didn’t feel right for some strange reason. I’m hoping that posting it now may be cathartic for me (and maybe one of you.)
Now as I go through the stages of grief that one must go through when one loses someone they love. I think stage one may have started a little while back… denial.
The animal love of my life, Maxwell my fourteen year old cocker spaniel, passed away yesterday. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming at some point but it was still way too soon for me. These things always are. He leaves a big hole in my heart. ~RS
March 11, 2013…
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
~John Grogan, Marley and Me
I look into the mirror and think, where did the time go?
Then I look at my pets (we’re down to two dogs and two cats) and I think,”Dear Lord, I’ve had so many pets in my life… but they all leave me too soon.”
For my wife and I, our little guys are our kids, only they never left home.
Like John Grogan says, our pets spend most of their lives waiting for us to come home each day.They are always overjoyed to see us. Who else greets you like you’re the most important person in the world every-time you open the front door?
My cocker spaniel is getting up in dog years. He has arthritis in his legs and his eyes are getting a little cloudy. He has some other artifacts that seem to be inherent in the breed. We lost his older sister to a tumor.
Max wakes me in the middle of the night to let me know he really needs to go. Hopefully I’m quick enough to get up because he can’t hold it anymore like he used to. What someone might think is annoying to do every night has become something I almost look forward to. Our 3AM walks. I’ll take him out, and even if he doesn’t make it to the door, that’s okay. He getting up there and he’s tried! It’s only hard for me walking him if he loses his balance and starts to fall because of the arthritis. I ache for him at those moments. But he is so happy to be with my wife and me and is still as playful as a pup.
You see this little guy was (like the old song) that doggie in the window. He was the last of the cocker spaniel puppies at a pet store that my wife and I frequented in Granada Hills. No one wanted him because it appeared that he had a bad eye. He doesn’t. I saw him all alone in that cage and it was mutual love at first sight. I went home to tell my wife that we would be having another member added to our family. Then went back to the pet shop and brought him home. One of those few things that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt… I did right in my life. What I neglected to mention was we already owned his half sister from a year earlier. They were both from the same breeder. Zoe had the same dad (named Quick Draw!), different mom’s. I would have adopted rescues from the pound but at the time, this was the right thing to do.
My Max is fourteen now. As I’m writing this blog post, he’s looking at me as if to say, “Whatcha doing Dad? Can I help?”
Some people would say that I’m just anthropomorphizing my feelings onto a dumb animal. Well maybe… and maybe not. These little creatures reason, dream, express emotions, get depressed, love to play, will protect you and… they feel pain just like us. They know when we are feeling down. And unlike so many of us, they are always completely honest.
And their most God-like quality is their unconditional love.
When it comes time to put them to rest. Please don’t leave them in the last moments of their short little lives. It’s not about you and the pain your feeling right then. It’s about looking them in their eyes in their final moments, them hearing your soft voice speaking comforting loving words. They know the tone of your voice. Thank them for all those countless hours they waited for you as they go to their final rest. I can’t express how important I believe that is.
Just one more thing… If you believe in an afterlife. If you believe in a loving God (as I do). If you believe in Heaven. Know that all your little guys who left their paw prints on your hearts will be there at the proverbial Gate, so very excited to greet you once again when it’s finally your time to leave this world.
I admire people who stand up for animals. Not just dogs and cats but all animals. In my belief system, we were all given that responsibility and this old world hasn’t done a very good job of fulfilling it. But there are people and legitimate groups who are trying. Support them please when you can.