Saturday

Memorial Day, Remember Your Dog

If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...
The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter--simply because something in her eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch her explore, and claim her special place in your hall or front room--and when you feel her brush against you for the first time--it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your long-time friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet--and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.

And on this day--if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you---you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or be able to comfort you.

But if you are true to the love of the companion you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own---seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg--very very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay---you will remember those three significant days.

The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart---As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache. But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when---along with the memory of your companion---and piercing through the heaviness in your heart---there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost.

This realization takes the form of a Living Love---like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this love will remain and grow--and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our companions leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our beloved companions--it is a love that we will always possess.
- Martin Scot Kosins

Today I took a walk down our driveway. At the end, is our “family” graveyard where we have buried every pet that has passed since we left Kentucky. Alone with a ferret, we have two border collies, Midnight and Morgan and Patches, our cockier spaniel and a very special cat which we still have his food bowl. With Memorial Day upon us, I want us to think of our past pets we have lost in one way or another. I have spoken to literally hundreds of people who have lost their beloved pet and have even cried with them.  Some I never met, but they just needed to talk.  It is hard to lose a pet, but we are who we are because of our past, and our pets have shaped us more than we choose to believe or may know. I know the day will come when “that time” will come and it breaks my heart to even think of it and I know many of you have had to make the decision.

Because I love you so, your sorrow touches my spirit and grieves me. We have now, this very moment together.  So come,     sit down here next to me on the floor. And look deep into my eyes. What do you see? If you look hard and deep enough we will talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come to me not as “alpha” or as a “trainer” or even a “Mom or Dad”, come to me as a living soul and stroke my fur, and let us look deep into one another's eyes and talk. I may tell you something about the fun of chasing a tennis ball, or I may tell you something profound about myself, or even life in general. You decided to have me in your life (I hope) because you wanted a soul to share just such things with. Someone very different from you, and here I am. I am a dog, but I am alive. I feel emotion, I feel physical senses, and I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a “Dog on two feet” I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still. Now, come sit with me, on the floor. Enter my world, and let time slow down if even for only 15 minutes. Look deep in my eyes, and whisper to my ears. Speak with your heart, with your joy and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow, and life is oh so very short.
Love, Your Beloved Dog

I will tell you that I have done this. There are times that I have got on the floor with each of my dogs, and I have seen another soul. I have looked deep into their eyes and they looked back and seemed to understand.

A letter from your dog;

I hope, in your grief and loneliness, that you will consider how sad it would have been had we not had this time together, not had the chance to give each other so much.
I do not morn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walks through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.

Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.
And finally, I ask these things of you:
Remember me.
Celebrate me.
Grieve for me.
And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.
When you are ready, do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life, so you can give and receive this gift again....
Jon Katz


Have a good Memorial Day, remember it is about remembering all that things that meant so much to so many of us and know it can also mean our past pets.  We meant everything to them…and they lived their life.... just to Love Us… Ken
Shepp, my little red headed boy, have a good Memorial Day...I have always said, I will never forget you and I won't....Dad