Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heart and Soul

Life takes many twists and turns before you finally hit a straight spot in the road that allows you to see a little further in to the distance. Over the last few months my road has had more twists than Lombard St. , the famous zig zag brick road on a hill in San Francisco, just one endless switchback after another. Yesterday though something happened that made me take pause and think about the things in life that we live for, of the things that makes you keep both hands on the wheel as you maneuver the twists and turns . I have never been a fan of cats, I have never liked the " I'm a cat person" or " I'm a dog person". One should never pigeonhole themselves into such selective categories. Cats serve a purpose in our society I'm sure, we still have mice and rats that need to be disposed of. Right ? As far as the argument that a cat is as good of a companion as a dog......... Please stop blowing hot air up my kilt, you'll never convince me of that. A cat is an accessory for an apartment. A cat will only show you as much affection and loyalty as the next dish of food. Shut off the gravy train and open the door you'll never see Puss and Boots again they'll be down the road to the next house with a food dish.

The reason people love dogs is simply because THEY HAVE SOUL. No cat in the history of catdom has ever given it's life for it's master except maybe by waking them up as they clawed across their owners chest on the way out the window of a burning house. I know cats are smarter and more independent than dogs, I've heard this one too. You don't have to be smart or independent to have soul. The heart and soul of a dog is closer to that of a humans than any other animal in the history of mankind. The bond between you and your dog is like no other. That is why it hurts so bad when we have to let them go. When we know we are saying goodbye to them for the last time. The pain, sadness, and emotion are inescapable. In your mind you know that it has to be done, you know you are doing the right thing, what is best for a companion who is most likely in pain, who's quality of life is rapidly diminishing right in front of you. The friend you have had at your side for so many years, through good and bad making no judgements and loving unconditionally, is leaving your world for the great unknown and you have to let go, you have to be the one to send them on that journey. This is a very hard thing to do this letting go, being the one who has to say yes to the inevitability of it all.

So how do we do this this incredibly hard act of love for a companion that knows nothing of the decisions that have to be made. You can never talk yourself into distancing your emotional attachment far enough away from your friend to make it a logical action. You tell yourself it is for the best, that the pain will be gone, that another life, a better life is waiting for that four legged beast staring into your eyes just like they have done a million times before but it never makes it easier. You will end up holding them in your arms when the last breath of life leaves their body and they drift off into the universe.Then in an instant that seems as though it was an eternity you are alone in a little room . You are now the only soul left in that little room with the linoleum floor and the formica counters. The memories of all the events of your life with that motionless body in your arms rush through your head like a tidal wave even though there is nothing but silence all around you. And just like that the little puppy that you spent years raising, taking care of, and loving is gone and you will cry. You are human and you will cry for the loss of your friend. If you don't cry at that moment you will cry before the day is done because you are human and you have a heart and soul like no other animal that walks the earth. Well with the exception of one.

In the end we are left with memories and pictures , in some cases lots of pictures because that's what you do, of our lives with these animals who are family to us. Relish and relive those moments that defined your lives together.What was it that brought this dog into your live. Why this one and not another ? Who can say. All that you know is that they were here in our lives for a short period of time. Hopefully they made your life better, and hopefully you did the same for them. Always remember with happiness and not sorrow, because all dogs go to heaven and if you loved them with all your heart and soul you will meet again. I have had the idea that when my time comes, if I'm lucky, that as I head toward those pearly gates I will be greeted by all my Chow Chows, and Danes waiting there with tails wagging ready to run and play once more.