It’s not hard to see from where I get my spoiling-my-pets tendencies. My mom has a small, white Bichon, and if you aren’t sure exactly what that is, imagine a fuzzy, white cotton ball that has exploded to the size of a stuffed puppy that can bark. Endlessly. There you go!
Let’s just say that my mother’s dog has its own wardrobe. Sure, they live where it snows seemingly endlessly, but does a dog really need an assortment of stylish sweaters? Probably no more than my cats need an entire basket bursting with toys or a drug dealer-sized supply of catnip, I suppose, but we all have our own ways to spoil our pets rotten.
This past week, my mom called me, crying so hard that I could barely understand what she was saying. Her dog had been sick, and he died that day. I felt tears spring to my eyes instantly in sympathy. I’ve had pets my entire life, and I know it hurts like hell to lose them.
She told me someone had already asked her if she will get another dog. I had to resist the temptation to ask for that person’s name and last known location so that I could find them and punch them dead in the kidneys. What an idiotic, stupid, moronic thing to say. If someone’s child had just died, would you blurt out, “Why don’t you just have another kid?” Of course, given the intellectual capability of most people these days, I am quite certain that actually has happened.
I get that some people aren’t animal lovers. They are called “assholes”. Seriously, if someone hates animals, I need to keep a distance, because it’s a huge red flag that there is something woefully and unfixably wrong with that person. Not everyone has to be a card-carrying animal lover….oh, never mind, I’ll stop there. Who am I kidding? If you don’t love animals, we have nothing to talk about.
No one has ever quite dared to say “It’s just a cat” when one of my cats has died. I don’t recommend it either. My cats are better than most people I know, and far superior companions than many humans. I can quickly detect when I am talking to someone who gets the heartache of losing a pet and someone who doesn’t understand what the big deal is. It’s best to immediately cease all contact with the latter, because they are hopeless.
I struggled for words for my mom, but there’s nothing that can be said that can even start to soothe that pain. Animals are our friends, family, buddies, companions. They are happy to see us, happy to spend time with us, demanding at times yet so willing to offer up their affection and love that we have to forgive them. They’re funny, comforting, loving. When that is taken away, there’s a massive hole left that gapes and hurts.
The best advice I was ever given was after my Tweetie died, and I felt like my whole world was shattered. Gary told me not to focus on the end, when Tweetie was sick, but when he was healthy, funny things he did, memories that made me laugh. I told my mom what he said, and she is starting a photo album of funny pictures of her dog.
He was a mini-mutt who imagined himself to be a great beast of wondrous might. Heaven help the errant squirrel or blowing leaf that dared to move in the yard without his permission, lest they be subject to his ferocious barking and then parking himself stubbornly on the arm of the sofa to keep watch over the yard for any further disturbances.
My mom said the house is so quiet now, and I imagine it is, because for such a small dog, he definitely made his presence known. Now, his absence is known as well, and in that, I only hope that memories help in some small way to ease her heartache just a little bit.