Monday, November 20, 2006

Our pets – a relationship that never ends

On Friday, my family dog, a 13-year-old pug named Elizabeth, died.

When my Dad gave me the news, I couldn't talk to him on the phone because the tears fell hard, like 80-year-old trees that thunder to the ground in an unforgiving tornado. I cried all the way to work, thinking maybe more tears would convince God to bring Elizabeth back to our family as the vivacious puppy she once was.

When I got to work, barely able to see through my puffy eyelids, a co-worker gave me a big hug when he heard my sad news. He told me about his own experience with having to put down one of his dogs, and how that pain is something he'll never forget. Then he reminded me that our pets love us unconditionally, and it's a feeling we can't find anywhere else. Pets love us despite our faults, our lack of patience and our mistakes. They understand when something is wrong, and they don't break our trust.

After listening to my co-worker empathize with my grief, I sat down at my desk and smiled to myself because I had realized a valuable lesson. The relationship between a pet and its owner is strikingly similar to the relationship between two humans. When we seek out a life partner, we strive for the same intangibles our pets offer us: unconditional love, trust and commitment.

We ask so little of our pets, yet they give us so much in return – much like every relationship should be in our lives.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth, with as much love as you gave your family.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the loss of your pug. We too are a pug family, and shortly after both my parents died recently, our 14-year-old family pug died too. It was almost more than I could bear. Recently my sister got her own pug. And last week, I got a pug puppy that I have fallen in love with. It won't bring my old pug or my parents back, but it sure eases and pain and it's almost as if a member of our family is back with us again..........I share your pain.

Anonymous said...

A Dog's Prayer: To Those Who Love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go-
I have so many things to see and do.
You must not tie yourself to me with tears,
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have each shown.
But now it is time I traveled alone.
So grieve awhile for me if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust,
It is only for a while that we must part,
So bless the memories within your heart,
I will not be far away, for life goes on,
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can not see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I will greet you with a smile and "Welcome Home".

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss too. I am a cat person, but regardless of that, our pets love us wholeheartedly, and when we lose them, we lose a part of ourselves, and I do sympathize with your pain. RIP Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

We learn so much about ourselves through the relationships that we have with the simplest of gods creations our dogs and cats or whatever the animal is that we chose to love. The unconditional, undying love that we share is really pure and uncomplicated giving and showing our trust in them and their trust and loyalty in us. They return our love with the pure warmth in a lick or a purr or their head rubbing against our hand or up against our leg. They remind us that it doesn't take words or money or "things" to show love and compassion. Our animal friends don't have to tell us that they are glad we are home, they just wag their tails or bark or wait patiently with those sweet eyes just waiting to be recognized and acknowledged with a pat or scratch on top of their head.
To Anonymous at 5:45 pm the Dog's Prayer is precious I am very certain that Elizabeth will be watching over all of us until we see her again, no doubt in my mind!

Anonymous said...

We are sorry for your loss. If you do not mind we would like to express some grief. Yesterday we had to put our 13 1/2 year old Golden Retriever to sleep. He was a wedding gift my wife chose to get each other. At times he was a very difficult dog, but all he wanted was attention and to be with people, especially children. Two years ago he was diagnosed with liver cancer and was given 3-6 months to live. As with most of his life he exceeded the normal expectations. The vet said in 25 years he has never seen a dog beat liver cancer. Recently his health started to rapidly decline. We assume it was the cancer spreading, however we chose not to put him through anymore. This is the first time either us went through the process as adults and it was more difficult than we ever expected. Waking up this morning and not having him in the house just did not feel real. It is almost like he is gone for a day to the vets. Anyway, we will move on and never forget our buddy!

Anonymous said...

We recently became PROUD owners of the cutest Pug. We love him so much already, even through the house-breaking stage! I couldn't imagine not having him around now. I sympathize with your loss.

Editor said...

I lost my dog the first year I was in college. It truly hurt. She was a part of our family. My mom was on a church trip and when she heard the news, she was devastated. They were in the hotel when my dad called to tell her. She started to cry. My two aunts were on the trip as well. one being my mom's sister and the other being my dad's sister--they both were sad too. So, when the other church members noticed the sad faces, they asked what happened. One of my aunts told them that Princess had died. Well, most of them thought it was a relative. Then they called the pastor over to pray with my mom and aunts. Well, my mom's pastor knew who princess was and when he said "even though princess was a dog, she was still one of your creatures" in his prayer, all the members that were gathered for support screamed "What, a dog!" They were obviously not big dog lovers.

I on the other hand just recently got a new dog. Well, my son got a new dog. It was my first year in college, and I am now 32. So, it took me that long to finally accept another pet in my life. Although Princess was a lab and Fresky( my son name him) is a minpin on steroids, he is still loved.

So, yes, I know what your pain is like.