And took a piece with them when they passed away.
I know I am not alone when it comes to grieving for a pet. My family have always had pets so death is just something I have come to accept and I know that death will tap us all on the shoulder one day. But this knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.
“(it was) the first time I had been aware of our finite existence”
The first dog I knew was Ben; a German Shepherd cross. He was the best at cheering me up, so tolerant of the childish attention that I paid him and so protective that my mom used to leave him to stand guard while my brother and I played in the garden.
Ben was later put down when I was about 12; I think he was 15. We said goodbye to Ben in our front room then, with Mom and Dad by his side, the vet administered the injection to take his pain away. He was buried in his favourite bean bag with his bone by his side. I saved a clump of his hair and some polystyrene balls from his beanbag that I still have in a lock-box. It was one of the the saddest days of my young life and one of the first times I had been aware of our finite existence. (The other time was when our cat, Softy, got accidentally run over and we had to get her put down) I will take this moment to say that I loved our cat but she didn’t like me very much (damn those grabby child hands of mine!)
The parents vowed not to get another dog but just a few days after, and with the house feeling significantly lacking of noise, presence and love; they decided to get another. Sam the Jack Russell.
Advertised in the paper somewhere near Blue Bell Hill in Kent; it was an old farm house with a stone wall running round the outside. With a carefree attitude they threw bricks for the dogs to catch and bring back; wearing down their teeth and put down only one or two bowls for all of the dogs to eat from, which Sam didn’t get a look in because he was a bit of a wimp. It kind of felt like we were rescuing him; but in reality he was probably fine where he was. He had the run of the garden; going under the parked cars on the driveway and had a permanent grease line down his back from it. But we bought him into our lives and gave him love.
He always squeezed next to you on the sofa, making his hairs go over your clothes. He was always so happy to see you and ran around in circles round the washing line like he was possessed. He was fun and loving right until the end. They are individual in they way that they play, understand and comfort you. Animals, especially dogs, give you a type of unconditional love that leaves your life a little empty when they leave.
^ click the pictures bigger
After being with us for maybe 16 years he finally needed to rest. He could only see from one eye, had loads of lumps and bumps and his legs were giving up. The final element in this sad cocktail of ailments were the fits that, by the end, were happening all of the time. Possibly some tumor in the brain? We managed to drive to my parent’s to have a good cry and fuss over him one last time. Shortly after we left he slipped away; mom and dad by his side.
As I sit with my lovely cat curled up by my side, I both wonder and know what is to come. Death is inevitable, but we just have to make life enjoyable and fill it with love inbetween.
Sam, my good friend and companion for many years; rest in peace, buddy x