Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's A New Day

I met a friend and client today at the local hardware store.

I see him occasionally. He is always smiling, ready to help, and very kind. It is the kind of gentle demeanor that comes with age. It is something I strive, but am still unable to attain. He reminds me why I am so happy to be living in a small town. He helped me find the electrical cord my husband needed to fix the computer we are trying to use in the house, and the folding chairs that I saw only 1 of in the front of the store, (he had to go upstairs to find me four matching chairs), then he checked me out, and carried my purchases to the car.
As I opened the car I had to make room for the chairs. He saw the many bags of dog treats in the hatch back area and I told him that they were for our annual Halloween treat bags. I told him to stop by and visit so we could give him and his dog a Halloween treat. He lowered his head a bit, put his hand on my shoulder and told me that he and his wife had put his dog down at the clinic a few months ago. I told him how sorry I was, and that I didn’t know. He smiled at me, and told me that my associate had been his dogs vet for many years and when it was his time she had been the person they had gone to. He said his wife had been talking to him about getting a German Shepherd from a rescue, but that he had his four cats, and he wasn’t sure he was ready for another dog.
I told him that I understood, and that I loved my kitties, very much, but I had learned that as each pet enters and leaves my life I feel that it is another chapter in my life’s journey. With each pet that enters my life I do my very best to provide them with a whole lot of love and a safe happy place to live. I know how many pets never get a home, and never get a chance. I also know that it is hard and painful to lose your friend and companion, but that death is a part of life and we must go on when we lose a friend. Isn’t it lucky for all of us that we can save a life and start another new chapter in both of our lives?
I told him that there is always a dog, or two, at the clinic waiting for a great home, and that if he ever gets lonely for a dog, even just for a visit, we would love to see him and the dogs would love a walk or a ball throwing session. He could be a part-time dad, or even a foster dad. It would make any dogs day, and help the memory of his departed dog live on.
It is hard for me to hear owners tell me that they can’t open their hearts back up again after losing a pet. Pets bring so much joy, they have no expectations, and love unconditionally. Don’t people realize that they are just denying their own joy and happiness? How is it a decision that you say “No Thanks” to?
As I prepare to face my first day in over 19 years without my dear cat Belle I know how hard it is to push past the pain of loss and embrace the joy of life. I will stay at home today, and give a little extra love to the pets Belle left behind. I will honor her memory and the wonderful feeling of peace and love that she brought to my life, and I will kiss Wren a few more times than she willingly wants.

She sits on the couch with me, playing so innocently with the ripped up newspaper toys. And I remind myself how lucky I am to have her, to have her survive her terrible life-threatening illness, and it is a new day.

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