I recently stumbled upon a New York Times piece called "Life Lessons From the Family Dog" written by Dana Jennings.
The article deals with the simple yet profound lessons Dana has learned from his 12 year old dog Bijou & is written in the context of Dana's life with prostate cancer and Bijou advancing age and failing health.
The story itself is touching but it was the 28 pages of reader comments that have fascinated me. I have read a few pages most nights before going to bed and the end result is usually tears followed by a hug and kiss to each cat as I hope it is a very long time before I have to travel that road with them.
Much of what is written deals with illness and end of life and it takes any pet owner back in time:the search for hope, the identification of the sign that it is finally time to put one's pet to sleep. The strange phenomenon of the last "rally" : that hard moment after you have made your decision and called the vet and suddenly your pet springs to life and acts as if nothing is wrong-causing all kinds of doubt. The sometimes vivid impressions of those last moments-the heartbreak of it all-the smell of the vet's office -a compassionate vet-a peaceful end.
Most of all , reading the diverse comments felt like an exploration into the soul of man's relationship with the domestic animal kingdom. An examination of the unique love we feel , the bond we share and the void that is so wonderfully filled by any furry friend.
I recommend this for reading :
If you love animals it will be familiar territory.
If you have been hurt , reading this might heal the wound enough to make you rethink your decision to go without a pet.
And if you have never shared your home & life with a pet this might just make the interestingly strong case for the incalculable value of pet ownership.
As we enter February and move towards Valentines Day - this article sets the stage with it's expression of Love, Love, Love.
Curious? Go here.