Tant qu’une personne n’as pas aimé un animal, une partie de l’âme de cette personne reste endormie.
So wrote Anatole France, and I absolutely agree. Animals waken something in us when we love them. Something precious and beyond price. Something that connects us to the natural world and reminds us of our frailty.
The magic of another species seeing you as friend and protector, reposing its trust in you, commands awe and humility.
I am lucky to have grown up with animals. Relatives who were petless simply didn’t figure in my life as a child. I don’t think there was such a person. The various dogs and cats who lived with them were as important a part of the family as the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. When my parents were engaged, most of my father’s family were living together above my great Aunt Doll’s pub. When her dog Jane thumped her tail as footsteps sounded on the stair, Doll would announce, ‘Here’s Anne!’ Jane held a special place in Mother’s memories along with Doll for the way she welcomed her into the family.
Losing a pet is hard. It can be even harder if you work with people who are not animal lovers; who silence your grief with words like ‘it’s just a dog’ and ‘are you going to replace it?’ You may get another pet, but every pet is loved in its own right, and the new does not replace the old.
So today is when we can share, without embarrassment or fear of ridicule, those memories of our pets, the things they did, the ways they brightened our days. If you post something, do please put a link here, so that we can access each other’s stories.
Since last March I know of these cats that have died: Phoebe and Claud, Izzy the Kitten, Tom aka His Malevolence, Sonny, Queen Amidala. Each loved, each mourned. Each much greater than the sum of their furry parts.