Friday, August 14, 2009
In the Name of Love
Today I accompanied a friend who had to take her long-time companion, Missy, a golden-eyed, gentle black cat, to the vet to be put to sleep. It is never an easy trip. It is the hardest task we are expected to complete in the name of love for our pet companions. A week or so ago I'd offered to go with my friend so she wouldn't have to endure that sad trip with Missy alone. It wasn't an altruistic offer -- I wanted to say goodbye to Missy as well as help my friend. I knew it would be a difficult goodbye, but it was harder for me than I expected. It always surprises me how much love and happiness these little furry creatures give as they accompany us through the best and worst of life. Missy helped my friend get through law school and pass the bar the first time. She helped by just being there, to hold, to pet, to shoo off homework scattered on the floor and to offer my friend a break from the rigors of law. It seems, pound-for-pound our pets express more love, contentment, joy and in-the-momentness in their shorter lives than we highly evolved humans extend in several of their lifetimes. It's been suggested that our pets teach us how to be better humans. It's certainly been true for me. A great deal of credit for how I value life and love is due to the dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, goldfish and guinea pigs for whom I've been privileged to care. Then there are the creatures, like Missy, whose life I merely criss-crossed. Nevertheless, she had important things to teach me -- trusting strangers, dealing with change, regal poses and the simple joy of laying on a pillow by a window watching the world's wonders every day as if for the first time. Missy was 19 and had what most would say was a good life. But Missy gave a good life too. She was a beautiful, calm, gentle feline who always made me smile when I saw her. I loved petting her -- couldn't wait to touch her velvet fur. What ever worries or road-rage I brought with me through the door, melted with one look at her sweet face. She loved being petted and she showed her appreciation with a BIG purr. I suspect everyone who met Missy fell in love with her. It couldn't be avoided. She would just sit there, on her pillow by the window, appearing to do nothing -- all the while reeling in your heart like a helpless hooked catfish. I mourn you Missy. I'll never forget you. Big tears roll down my face for you but my heart is bigger for having found a place in it for you. Thank you Missy for all you gave this passer-by.