We got Angel, our Yorkshire Terrier, as a puppy in Cincinnati in 1996. She was the first “kid” in our marriage and taught us a lot about not being selfish. Once you bring in a puppy, your life suddenly revolves around that animal. In a lot of ways, the pets own us a lot more than we own them!
In 2002, when we moved to a rental house where we could not have pets, she “temporarily” went to live with my parents while we looked for a house to buy here. Over the few months she was there, they became so attached to her that they pretty much begged us to let her stay with them. I was very reluctant to do so but I had the feeling that my mother needed Angel in her life. I think Angel’s presence during my mother’s ordeal with cancer helped get her through it. I worry about how losing her will impact both of my parents now while they each deal with health issues.
Angel would have turned 14 next month. She became ill suddenly this morning and spent part of the day at the vet. She seemed to be doing much better and went home this afternoon. About 7PM, I got the call that they were rushing her to the emergency vet. I did not want my parents to have to go through it alone so I made the 40 mile drive to the clinic but I did not get there before she passed. I was able to see her and hold her one last time. It’s strange to admit that a 7 pound Yorkshire terrier can reduce a 36 year old man to tears.
I drove back to their house and gathered up the toys scattered all over and put them all back in her box (Yes, this is a dog that had her own toy box). I also emptied her food and water bowl so they would not have to. It seemed almost unreal. The saddest part of losing Angel was having to watch my parents deal with the loss. Luckily, our kids are out of town and did not have to be a part of this. We now have a couple of days to get ready for that talk.
Our pets become part of our family. They give much more to us than we give to them and they don’t even realize it. Angel was a loving and good dog but much more than that, she was a great comforter. It is hard to drown in self pity during the bad times when you have a ball of fur beating you up with a toy – ready to play and ready to be as spoiled as possible.
Pet lovers will understand this. Those who have not let a dog or a cat take over their lives might think I’m a tad silly. If we are to love a pet, we also have to be prepared to one day say goodbye. The goodbyes are very sad but what a pet does for a person is something I think is irreplaceable.
I also think I’m going to have to let our dog, Alex, hog the covers a bit more than usual tonight.