If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...
The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter--simple because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room--and when you feel it brush against you for the first time--it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.
The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet--and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.
And on this day--if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you---you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.
If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you.
But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own---seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come.
And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg-- very very lightly.
And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay---you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart---As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.
But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when---along with the memory of your pet---and piercing through the heaviness in your heart---there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love---like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow--and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets--it is a Love that we will always possess.
-Written by Martin Scot Kosins, Author of "Maya's First Rose
A friend of mine re-shared this on Facebook since today is one year since her dog passed away.
I thought of Ein. I thought of that red face, and how it has suddenly grown whiter. I thought of how today he chose to sleep under my desk today instead of hiking with me and the girl dogs. I thought of how he has fatty lumps and that they just don't belong on him. I thought of how he sometimes limps after a long walk or hike, and how he used to be invincible even though he was so small. I thought of how I give him glucosamine and keep rimadyl on hand for if his joints are in pain. I thought of how I left him behind on our April 30-miler and brought the younger dogs instead. And I thought, "How on earth is my dog turning 9 in March?"
I remembered his first night home, and then our slow fall into love in the years to follow. I remembered his first hike, and then I remembered the many many miles under our feet and how they never seemed like enough. I remembered teaching him to fetch a ball, and then couldn't remember just how many thousands of times I threw that ball afterwards.
But Ein is far from that third day. He's "like a pup" as they say. And I am so grateful for that time. I joke that Ein is having a mid life crisis. Every morning he explodes out from under the bed where he sleeps, brimming with energy. He wrestles with and bosses around the girl dogs with passion. When he does choose to hike, he moderates his energy and still pees on All The Trees. He doesn't seem to know that he is getting older, he just lives his life. I will enjoy every day, month and year that I have left with him - here's hoping for many! My heart, my best boy.