When my children were growing up, we had a chocolate lab, Stanley who was an ‘old soul’ and loved by all. Pre-occupied with raising kids and a full time job I didn’t give Stanley much of my time but luckily, my kids and husband lavished him with love and attention. Sadly, he developed cancer and the prognosis was poor. I tearfully asked our vet how long can we could keep him without being cruel. “You’ll know when it’s time,” our kind friend answered.
It was only a month later while we were vacationing at our cottage, when his words rang true. We unanimously decided that it was time and my husband would drive Stanley back to our home vet. During his last 2 days with us, we fed him everything and anything he wanted. For his last night, my daughter and I slept in sleeping bags with him between us on his bed on the floor. It was a long, tough night but I hope he felt our love.
Saying good-bye to him as my husband loaded him into the car was heartbreaking.
That was the last summer before our daughter left for college and I swore off any more pets. It was too painful saying good-bye.
Fast forward 8 years and my son temporarily moved back in with us. He wanted a dog and my husband and I finally agreed after many a discussion. After all, my son was home for a short-term transition and it would be his dog, his responsibility. Evan was true to his word. He fed him, trained him, cleaned up after him and loved him.
However, just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a family to raise a puppy. That darn pup worked his way into my heart in a big way. I still had pangs of guilt about not giving Stanley enough attention because I was too busy with life. I didn’t have that excuse this time . . .my kids were grown. I had time to dote on my grand puppy and dote I did. I came home at lunch to walk him, cuddled with him in the evening, and took him to obedience class when my son’s schedule didn’t permit. I had all the time in the world and I fell in love!
Nothing melts away a workday’s stress better than a dog’s loving welcome.
A year later my son tells me he is moving out. My reaction? “I’ll miss you son, but the dog stays!”
I tell myself it’s because my son’s schedule is too busy with full time school, a demanding job and busy social schedule. But I am fooling no one.
For now, we are sharing custody and it is working. I know I will eventually have to give him up but I’ll think about that tomorrow.
In Montana Wild, Jamie the heroine, was a New York City girl, born and bred. An impromptu trip to Montana brings her face to face, literally with horses and she is amazed at her reaction. Having never loved an animal before, she is surprised with her overwhelming affection for one horse in particular.
As she confesses her emotions to the the caretaker of the horses, he acknowledges her feelings.
“We are all God’s creatures. And I don’t necessarily think humans are on a higher level than other animals.”
Is there anything more true, more pure, than the affection of an animal? I think not. It is love in its most basic form and I hope everyone experiences it, at least once in their lifetime.
It is another way to . . .