damn animals

24Feb10

There are many, many, reasons that we value the friends in our lives.  We know that we exist with them, for them, because of them, maybe in spite of them.  We look forward to our reunions, however brief they may be.  We share with them small pieces of our days and sooner than later we are writing them into the chapters of our lives.

And, for the record, I am not referring to my human friends…

In the morning, their cheery dispositions may annoy us.  We question the irrational way that they can move about so happily without coffee.  We sometimes need a bit more time to communicate with them but feel safe in taking the time that we need, knowing that, minutes or hours later, they are waiting for us with eager anticipation.

We may run into them in the middle of the day.  We see them from afar and quietly nod in recognition.  We shout a cheery hello through the space that divides us.  We are quieted by their calm, attentive presence amidst the frenzy of our running around.  Or, maybe we are exhausted by their excitement, energy and emotion.  We may make a mental note to set aside some time later just for them, so we can find out about their day and show them that we care.  We may blow them off, unable to find time or space in our day for them.

In the evening, when we are tired, we sometimes dread the late-night conversations.  Or maybe we relish the idea of curling up with them.  Yet, each interaction we share, both positive and negative, strengthens our bond and reinforces our loyalty to one another.

And, then, we are forced to say goodbye.  The reasons that we become separated vary greatly; sometimes we can plan for it, sometimes we cannot.  But we never expect the overwhelming emptiness that fills us, the hole that exists where they used to be.

The goodbyes weigh heavy; the friends missed terribly.

Damn those animals.

It isn’t about the funny wag of their tail or the unconditional love that they give us.  It isn’t about protection they may offer or the laughter they provoke.  It isn’t about the howling, jumping, crazy show that they put on every time the doorbell rings.

They exist with us.  They share our homes, our couches, our food, and our beds.  They exist for us.  They really do want us to love them – to be happy with them, to be happy because of them.  They exist because of us.  We chose them (no matter how questionable their acquisition).  They are thriving and happy because we provide for them.  And, sometimes, in our darker moments, they exist in spite of us.  We curse them.  We wonder if they are worth it.  We dream of simplicity (yes, I do, that’s no secret…).  Yet, they love us just the same.

They never falter.

And so when we say goodbye to these loyal devoted friends, the likes of which we will never know in human form, we suffer a loss that cuts to our core.  It may not linger.  The feeling may be brief.  But, at moments, we will smile in fond memory.  We will put on the silky nightgown that their claws caught.  We will find the sock that they hid in the back of the closet.  We will wait to hear the clicking of their nails running across the floor to greet us when we come home.

In their world, we never did wrong.  We were always loved.  We were always adored.

Today, I accompanied a friend to the vet to say goodbye to her dog.  Her dear, beloved, sweet and loyal companion.  I was sad.  I still am.  But, I was privileged to share their friendship, to be a part of their bond, a witness to the goodbye between these two most adoring souls.

And tonight, I am staring at eight eyes, sixteen legs, four tails and one crooked ear.  I broke down and let all four of my critters inside.  The cats are curled up on the couch, the dogs laying at my feet.

I scratched behind their ears.  I gave them an extra treat.

And, even though they are anxiety ridden, neurotic old fools – I hoped that they could hear me when I whispered to them that I loved them.

Only once.

Afterall, they do think I am the greatest thing ever.

If only the humans did too…

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4 Responses to “damn animals”

  1. 1 Erik

    Clarification: I wasn’t laughing at the entry as a whole, but rather the last two lines. Hopefully I’m not that insensitive 😀

  2. 3 Jessica Bradshaw

    Even though Erik found himself “laughing out loud” at this entry…..I find myself still crying. Maybe I’m an emotional wreck, or maybe it’s PMS.. I’ starting to wander?

  3. 4 Erik

    The last two lines of this had me laughing out loud… nicely done 🙂


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