I was sitting downstairs in “the dungeon”, not really working on much of anything — sorting some music, developing a couple of digital pictures and pretty much wasting time. I saw a post come across my Facebook feed on Tweetdeck from someone I was in junior high school with — we’re talking 25 years ago or so. Her dog, at the ripe age of nearly 16, had just died away.
Even though I hadn’t seen or talked to her in many years I was struck with sadness. Anyone who has owned an animal knows that feeling of emptiness that comes with the loss of a pet. Those who have never bonded with a pet don’t understand — they often will try and offer condolences by saying “Well, it was only a dog.” They think they are helping by putting things into perspective, but it comes across as callous.
Pet owners “get it”. We understand that pets are not filthy animals that happen to share our space. They are a part of our families and a part of our lives. They are there for us, good or bad. Your dog doesn’t care if you had a bad day at work, or if you cursed out another driver on the commute home. They just want to be with you and share your company. They lift us when we are feeling down and just when you think things are going really well they crap on your carpet. They give us balance and a place to turn where no one will pass judgement on you. Not even the greatest spouse in the world can make that claim.
Our pets are unique. They are the only members of the family whom we invite in knowing we expect to outlive them. We know from the moment they step into our lives that we have started a journey together that will end badly for us — we will be the ones left behind to stare at the empty food bowl, the favourite toy which will not be played with again, the bed in the corner which will remain unslept in.
We are forced to move on, to push past the pain. Over time the pain subsides and the good memories flow to the surface. We gather with our families and talk about the good times — picking out the puppy, bringing her home for the first time, that time when she [insert memory here]. Heck, there will come a day (hopefully many years from now) when I’ll look back with fondness on the day Tucker destroyed the remote control. We’ll look at the photos, we’ll watch the home movies and we’ll smile and, in the end, that’s why we embark on the journey.
So, with that in mind, I salute Jenna — a dog I never had the pleasure of meeting. Godspeed!