One of the reasons for starting this blog was to share stories about dogs so that people can see a different side to this misunderstood animal with whom I have always been very comfortable.
So it’s when I see how much love and devotion some people show to their pets and animals it needs to be shared.
I’m at the vet as I write this blog. Here for a follow-up visit for my dog, I’m sitting here waiting to pay. On my way out of the consultation room I saw a lady red-eyed, sobbing quietly, cradling a dog. It was not obvious at that time but I had a feeling that her dog had already passed on. I was hoping that she was just saying goodbye which is important for us humans.
When the vet staff said “two days, with air con, or it would start to smell” it was confirmation that the little dog had indeed left this world and left behind some very very sad people. She carried her dog to the waiting room while her boyfriend/partner went to hail the cab.
I think the dog had passed away while hospitalized. This would explain the extra shock of not being there while it happened. Having to make the decision to put your dog down, which may be the best for the dog in terms of suffering, is agonizing. The emptiness that rips your soul to bits when your animal slips away has put a few people I know off from getting another dog… At least for a few years. So sometimes not needing to make that choice and live with the what-ifs can be godsend. Either way, for me, being there for your animal friend, if possible, is important.
And it’s not always possible. Animals naturally go out of their way to be hidden. Growing up, many of my friends’ ailing cats simply disappeared. Of course that doesn’t prove anything. I think (though don’t quote me!) animals naturally hide when they are unwell, for comfort and safety. Safety from potential predators for themselves and not to attract attention to the herd or pack.
A few years ago, I went home to visit my cat when she was very sick. My sister felt it was the end as she was force-feeding her by this time and had to do an IV for her. God bless my sister. I slept with my cat every night. On the morning she left, she decided to leave when I went for a pee break.
The time I spent with her helped me close the gap of years of being overseas. She held on for me. There is no doubt of that in my mind. To have held and cuddled her and talked to her those few days and nights was important and priceless for me. It may have provided her with some comfort but I think mostly for me.
So I hope if your animal is not well, don’t abandon him or her. Firstly know that there is treatment for many illnesses and many things are treatable. Get a second opinion. And when the time does come to say good bye, let us all be brave and face mortality with our friends. They deserve to be in the company of those who love him, and not alone in a cold clinic room, no matter how amazing the vet staff are.
And you deserve to give yourself the chance to be brave and vulnerable, all at once.
Seeing this lady so devoted to her little dog renewed hope in me, in spite of all the animal cruelty stories abound, that there is a strong bond between Man and Beast. That there is a growing number of people, here in Singapore and worldwide, recognizing this bond and the amazingness that animals are. Like a good friend reminded me, it’s when you don’t know yourself or are hiding from yourself that you are unable to relate to an animal or are uncomfortable with an animal.
This may not be the love stories you had expected from the post title. But love and love stories come in all shapes and sizes. For many love stories are painful because of a sense of separation and a fear of lack. For many, their reality doesn’t include true love or they are dependent on others for love. With our dogs and cats, rabbits and gerbils, horses and pigs, fish and birds, whoever it is, love has a different dimension.
Our animal companions are an eternal well-spring of unconditional love. When the world seems gloomy and unwelcoming, we know we can depend on our animal friends to remind us of the brilliant sparks of light and overflowing love that we ourselves truly are. Their love creates a warm cocoon that cradles us while we nurse our wounds, readying to face the world once more. With their love, our own heart swells and helps us get closer to who we are and who we want to be. To return to wholeness.
It’s when we become reliant on them that we create unhealthy relationships (as with human counterparts), suffocating the natural flow of love. When we believe that we are only loved by our animals and only have an identity and worth in relation to them that we lose ourselves.
So for this Valentine’s Day and for every day, I hope for all the readers and everyone out there, infinite possibilities and a life lived from love – self love, inner love, inclusive love, cosmic love, unconditional love….LOVE.