By LuAnn McLain
Our family has lost five beloved dogs over the years. Three of them died, although different years, within a period between mid-September and mid-October. All three were far from home at a veterinarian. As autumn begins to present its signs of arrival, I begin to feel a bit sad with memories.
We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan. This quotation is taken from THE ONCE AGAIN PRINCE by Irving Townsend.
Irving Townsend loved animals and nature. Perhaps he looked deeper into the workings of the world around us because he learned about life and death. He learned what it meant to lose a child to disease and to cherish the days remaining while the childs condition worsened. Townsends book, Separate Lifetimes, a collection of short stories, is wonderful. For awhile it was out of print. His book, along with many other books about animals, can be obtained from J.N. Townsend Publishing, 12 Greenleaf Drive, Exeter, NH 03833.
Last year in September our home was thrown into the depths of grief for the second time in six months. Only with us for three months, Bridgette was in Pullman, WA, at the School of Veterinary Medicine. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was receiving treatment that required radical surgery. About five days after surgery she got pneumonia. Her little body was too weakened to fight it off and she died. Needless to say, when the veterinarian called to inform us of her death, the shock and sorrow again exploded into our lives.
We have grieved deeply the loss of other pets, too. Over the years the pain of the grief becomes less intense. However, remembering the lost pet always brings a sweetness edged in sorrow.
The laws of nature sometimes come together in a way that leads to the end of existence on this plane for a particular life, sooner than we expect or would wish. As much as we desire to reverse some of those events in our lives, it is not humanly possible.
I am grateful today that I have many around me who understand grief, who understand the special bond between pet and human. I hope that any of my readers experiencing such a loss will be blessed with the same understanding and love of friends.
When we are confronted with grief, the understanding and love of others is vital. We must be allowed to express the feelings. Often there is anger. Sadness and shock will be experienced. If there were only some easy way to go through the grief but there really is no way but through it.
In an attempt to ward off grief, humans may sometimes hurry to get rid of things that remind them of the lost one. But this is not recommended. After time, some of these items might actually bring joyful memories. A pets dish, collar, favorite toy, might be used to have a little ceremony, whether for burial or memorial.
If you know someone who has lost a dear pet, be patient and understanding. The pain he or she is experiencing is very real. The best help is a sympathetic ear. Remember that to get past the strong feelings, a human has to feel them. Suppressing feelings does not make them go away. By expressing the feelings that come with grief, a person can eventually move on.
I like to quote Albert Schweitzer because he was such a great man and he felt a great reverence for all life. He was not only deeply hurt by mans inhumanities to fellow man, such as war, and the suffering of unfortunate humans, but also felt deeply about the conditions under which many animals were forced to live.
Schweitzer did more than feel. His life was dedicated to work toward better conditions for all. He was selfless in his service and many of his words are spoken directly to the heart, yet the truth of his words is evident.
Man can no longer live for himself alone.
We must realize that all life is valuable and
that we are united to all life. From this
knowledge comes our spiritual relationship
with the universe.
May your week be full of peace and reverence.
If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, please send your letter to P.O. Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.