Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To the Animal Companions in our lives

I had a friend come online a little while ago to chat to me on messenger to tell me that she had had to have her cat put to sleep tonight. Her cat was 19 years old. She was crying and talked about how she had been with the cat when the vet euthanaised her. As she talked to me I could feel her pain at the sadness of losing a animal companion that she had shared so much time with.

I totally understood how she feels because when we were growing up we had a little dog that my dad brought home one day and held her in the palm of his hand.....she was a fox terrier cross and we called her Midge. She was particularly special to us because my father was killed when I was almost seven years old and so she was a memory of my father in a way. Oh how we loved that little dog. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew her. If she wasn't sitting in our yard, she went next door. She was happiest when she was around people. She slept in the house and most often slept on or in our beds.

I don't honestly know how she survived to be an adult dog. We all loved to dress her up and push her around in the dolls pram, or we'd put her in the wheelbarrow and wheel her around the back yard or down the street. The worst thing that ever happened to her was that my brothers decided one day that they were going to teach her tricks and so they tried to teach her to climb a ladder. Well it never did quite work and when she finally fell off the ladder she broke her leg. I'm not sure how much it cost my mother to go to the vet that day, but I can tell you she was none too happy.

If you were sad or happy there she would be right beside you. If you were sad it was almost as though she understood that you were sad. You could tell her your deepest fear, or saddest moment and she seemed to listen and just be there for you.

Well the day finally came that she got ill and we were told by the vet that she was dying. He said that we could take her home, but that when certain things happened it would be the end of her time and then she would probably be in pain. He said that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep then so that she didn't have to suffer any longer.

Sure we cried a lot, and wished that we didn't have to do it, but in the end we knew that it was the kindest thing to do. So off we went to the vet with her. The vet said that it would be quick and that she would just go off to sleep. While we all stood around the vet took care of everything else and very quickly she slipped into a peaceful sleep at which time her heart ceased to beat. Midge was 13 years old......much older in dog years.

We were all sad, but knew in the end that we had done the kindest thing for her. I imagine at that moment when she slipped from this world to the next she was running around in fields of green grass and she was once again the happy little dog that I knew from my childhood.

So to my friend D, I have written this little story in memory of your precious animal companion Jacqui and all the joy and happiness that she brought to you in her lifetime. May she be in the next life, young again, running, sleeping and playing as she did in her younger days. I know that you will miss her and it will take time to get over her passing. You will never forget her and she will always be in your heart. She had a good life.

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