I spent yesterday with Nephew, his partner and their baby. We walked and talked and ate, cooed over the baby, talked about dogs we’d like to have, cooed over the baby again, talked about love. The usual. Quite a lot of people talk about their pets giving them unconditional love as though that is a rare and wonderful thing. It’s definitely wonderful, but I should hope that the humans getting a pet are also giving unconditional love, and that parents would not have children with the love conditional on their exam results/looks/sporting achievement or whatever.
Among some papers I was sorting last week I found this photograph. Continue reading
It’s still light here, BST having started today. We’ve had all the seasons; sun and blue skies; heavy showers of rain; rushing winds.
Tonight I’ll be lighting candles in my windows and drinking a toast to Cat who died five years and one week ago today. I shan’t go into how this started, but if you want to know how Pet Remembrance Day began, read this.
Here he is at Mother’s bungalow, sitting on the mini garden shed and surveying his country domain.
Freddy at Mum’s on the shed
Yesterday marked four years since Freddy the Gorgeous Boy, known on this page as Cat, died in my arms.
Here is a picture from a couple of months before he died.
His loss doesn’t hurt as it once did. People are right when they say time is a great healer. But you need to let time do its work. It is a slow business this healing. The memories are now a comfort. Continue reading
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.
Doll and Jane
Today marks three years since Cat died. People are right when they say time heals. That awful heart splitting pain does soften. It’s the rest of his life I remember now; his ginger and whiteness, his swagger, his determination, machismo, demands and affection. He was one in a million, and he lived with me. How lucky does that make me?
Well, doubly lucky it seems, as I now have the Ginger Ninja; Cat’s polar opposite in temperament and character, but equal In affection and good looks. There is no doubt in my mind that the nearly three years MasterB has lived with me have helped me come to terms with Cat’s loss. As I mourned one, I came to love the other.
Tonight I shall toast Cat, look at his pictures, remember his antics; the bowls of water overturned when he was cross with me; the schmoozing of strangers; the whole social being that he was; his larger than lifeness.
Then, on Sunday, I invite you to join me in remembering other loved pets. I am going to be mentioning Claud, Phoebe, Izzy and Tom who have all died since last year. If you want me to add a name to that list, let me know. We can light candles, tell the soppy stories, do whatever. Animals have been important to me all my life, and this little ritual of remembering them and each year has become a way of honouring their memory. So join in, spread the word, just don’t tell Hallmark!