Sunday, March 9, 2014

Animals Are My Favorite People

My parents' Cocker Spaniel passed away Friday night.

This is the picture my dad posted to his Facebook page
Saturday morning, and if it doesn't give you feels
then you're a monster and we can't be friends.
She was recently diagnosed with doggie diabetes, and my parents were faithfully injecting her with insulin twice a day. But last week she got an infection in her tiny heart, and on Friday she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

My dad had a black Cocker when he was a boy, and he always wanted another one. Thirteen years ago he got his chance.  He brought her home from the breeder and absolutely doted on her from day one.

Yes, more than he ever doted on me, but I can't even be bitter about that because who doesn't understand how deeply and completely one can love a pet?

Again, your mileage may vary, but if you don't agree,
then seriously, fuck off.
A year ago, my parents had five cats and a dog. Last year, in a shockingly brief period of time, they lost three of their kitties. You may not be able to imagine having five cats, but if you did, imagine losing three of them within a couple of months.

Yes, I'm doing this for the feels.
I once was honored to live with the Best Cat in the History of Cats Ever. After many years, he grew old and sick, and one morning I had to take him to the vet for the last time. I said goodbye to him at the front desk, but I couldn't bear to go in and hold him while he was euthanized. I could not stand the thought, after almost 16 years of sharing life and love and head-bumps, of seeing him draw his final breath, or feeling his life-force drain away.

Yeah, just a cat. But maybe the finest soul I've ever known. If you don't understand or believe that, I'm sorry. You've missed out on a special and profound kind of love. There's nothing I can do to make you see.

I feel for my mom and dad. I feel for Drummer Boy, who is still mourning the loss of his special friend a year after his passing. I feel for all of us who bring these small, fluffy lives into our homes and benefit from the unconditional love they give. I suppose the purity and strength of their love for us means they use up their life force far sooner than we do, with our selfishness and our fear. They leave an indelible mark, and then they move on long before we're ready to cope with losing them.

In that way, our pets make us better and stronger than we have every right to expect.

Love your faithful animal companions. If you don't have one, consider getting one. Theirs is a special kind of love that - I solemnly promise - will make your life better. If you know someone who has lost a pet, take the time to sympathize. They are hurting far more than they let on.

I want to thank Wally, Josie, Chelsea, and Muinea for the honor of giving them a home. I love you all so much.

Nothing is more important than love - not oil, or power, or military action, or religion. This is the lesson of our animal friends.

Thanks, little ones.


  1. A picture of one of the sweetest Dalmatians who ever lived still regularly pops up on my screen saver. It's only been six months, so I still have to quickly click to make it go away, just as I still haven't gotten used to waking up and not finding her curled up at my feet. And three years later I'm still occasionally surprised to see that it's 5:30 and not hear a certain cat yelling to be fed. These feelings never go away, do they?

    All I can offer is sincere condolences to your parents on their losses, and to you on yours. It's the worst feeling I know, but I wouldn't trade what they give us for anything.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your folks' cocker spaniel - my dad had a black cocker named Silky when he was a kid - Silky would run alongside him when he biked to school and would wait for him til school was out. Pets are amazing.

  3. As dad to three large nonhuman kids, this isn't exactly what I needed to cheer me up. But warm hugs to you and your parents, . licks from Jessie, Nero and Juno.

  4. I have a 13 year old black cocker named Chipper. And he still is. Chipper, I mean. He scampers across the room like a pup, until he stops suddenly, like he forgot where he was going. Sometimes he shakes all over, and you have to pet him till he calms down. Not that it's a problem, petting him. He takes human meds for doggie dementia, and he mostly is his old self. It will be hard when he goes....

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