December 12, 2013
You don’t expect your pet to outlive you. So the loss, no matter how upsetting, isn’t the shock other losses are or the tragedy. But it has a cost that feels less affordable these days.
I’ve reached an age when people are likely to experience health scares and unexpected losses of family and close friends. It’s an age when thinking about the future often prompts anxieties seldom suffered in the past, and when the unwanted realization that the longer you live the more you lose is hard to keep at bay.
It’s best now to try hard to live in the moment. Appreciate every kindness. Do your nearest duty. Cherish your loves. “Enjoy every sandwich,” as the late Warren Zevon put it.
It’s easier said than done, though, isn’t it? To live completely in the moment, you have to banish from your mind regrets and worries, those nags from the past and future. And whose mind is ever free of those?
I had a dog named Henry. He was a good boy. We both had our shortcomings but they didn’t bother us much.
He was my sole companion on the annual drive to our home in Maine, where we lived a bachelor’s life for a couple of weeks before the girls joined us. He didn’t like it when I left him out of an activity. He howled like he was being tortured when I went out on the water alone. He loved the beach but hated swimming. He barked too much. He slept in our bed, and snarled at me when I moved him off my pillow. And every time I walked through the door, he greeted me with the same wild enthusiasm he had the night before.
We didn’t imagine our future together. We didn’t look back on good and bad times we had shared. We didn’t look forward to growing old together. We didn’t worry about the future. We didn’t regret a thing. We went for walks. We watched the tide roll in. We sat together on the couch, mostly companionably. We greeted each other affectionately each morning and evening. We loved going to Maine.
Henry and I lived in the moment. And the moment is emptier without him.
Posted by Cassandra at December 12, 2013 06:53 PM
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. . . :) . . .
my middle name is Henry, after my Mother's Father
Posted by: CAPT Mike at December 12, 2013 10:50 PM
Duck Dynasty stars Willie and Jep Robinson entertain the troops in Afghanistan:
Posted by: Steve at December 12, 2013 11:10 PM
This is a heartwarming remembrance of a loyal critter. I like cats, but they really don't give a good happy hoot about you much of the time. A dog always treats you like you are Christmas arrived early.
I had the rare privilege of treating a geriatric black leopard a couple months ago. Putting hands on such a magnificent creature was a wonderful experience. One thing I learned about improving a leopard's mobility is that as he gets better, he wants to stalk you and rip your intestines out. So, it's best to treat and run!
Unfortunately, the owner had to put the old boy to sleep this week. She rescued him, loved and cared for him for years, and finally had to let him go.
Posted by: MathMom at December 13, 2013 08:37 PM
One thing I learned about improving a leopard's mobility is that as he gets better, he wants to stalk you and rip your intestines out. So, it's best to treat and run!
Too funny :)
Dogs can be that way too, to a point. When the boys were small we had a beagle who was (mostly) gentle and loving.
But she never really did accept that her place in the "pack" was behind son #2. That rivalry begat several unfortunate limericks and even a pseudo-rap song called "Don't let a beagle bite your butt!"
Now you know why my sons turned out with such a weird sense of humor :p
Posted by: Cass at December 16, 2013 08:29 AM