An item came across my facebook newsfeed a few months ago. I don’t remember who posted it and I must admit I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I’m thinking about it now.
I’ll have to paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly how it went but it suggested that when we pass on, and if you believe we go to heaven, the first greeters will be all the pets you shared a life with. I’d really like to believe that.
In my case it would be a pretty big crowd. From a mouse (not-too-creatively named ‘Mouse’) to a Boxer named ‘Mitzi’ to a Bunny named ‘Pasta’. Another rabbit…a big white Flemish Giant called (again, not-too-creatively) ‘Whitey’. Other dogs called ‘Lucky’, ‘Happy’, ‘Schultz’ and a couple and can’t remember. Cats…‘Hogan’, ‘Klink’, ‘Louie’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Nicholas Thomas’ and again many names I can’t remember but I’m sure they’ll come back to me should I see them again. A Salamander who remained unnamed, hamsters, guinea pigs, and fish. So many.
I wish they’d all lived longer than me but we’d need a much bigger house.
I’m an emotional basket case when it comes to saying goodbye to pets. To those who say “it’s only a cat…or a rabbit”…well, I feel sorry for you. A pet, indeed any animal, is a life. Life is precious and special no matter what shape or form it is. To share that spark is also special. Pets don’t care if you’re funny-looking or overweight or in a bad mood or sad. They just want to be part of your life, to do what they do best. To make you feel good…and loved. And what do they want in return? Pretty much the same thing plus a full food dish.
It’s never easy losing a pet. Pasta initially went to live with my grandson on his birthday. Her name came when he asked my daughter to pass the bunny. Pasta bunny. Then their landlord decided that rabbits weren’t allowed in the building and she needed a new home. I would have nothing to do with her going to a stranger so she came into our lives. She has provided so much love and spark over the last nine years. She would sit with me and watch movies or hockey games, all the time snuggling against me and licking my hand. I grew incredibly fond of the furball.
She was the first pet that passed on in my arms. I felt the end was near and I picked her up and sat on the couch stroking her and chatting like we always did. She burrowed deep into my arms and after a few minutes I felt her twitch. She gave three last defiant kicks then lay still. At that instant it was like the life had gone out of me as well. I can’t explain the feeling. Sharing that last moment with her felt somehow right yet my eyes filled and my body trembled. I wonder how she felt. Did my being there holding her make it easier? I like to think it did. She was where she loved to be.
She had a good life. She received and gave so much love. But it’s still not easy. Feeding the two cats but not seeing Pasta run to me for her suppertime sprig of parsley feels so wrong. Hearing her at her water bottle in the middle of the night or having her come for her evening yogurt treat are little things that I will miss for a long time. I will miss the softness of her fur and the warmth of her against me and the little chatter noises she made when I skritched behind her ears.
For such a little furball she’s left a helluva big empty space here.
Mike Grant is the author of three novels. “White Wolf Moon”, “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”, and “Fergus”. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.