While I pick up my dog’s droppings, I look up at my pet-less neighbor enjoying his serene backyard, completely peaceful except for the odor wafting in his direction, and I grumble, “You’re not missing out on anything.”
In reality, that is not true. He is missing out.
When you are gone, your pet misses you. When you return home, they are happy. There is an unconditional love, a loyal, steady companionship that you receive from a pet. They quickly become more than possessions, and turn into family members. They are with you in good times and in bad, through happy, through sad, and love you just the same in any state.
When I complain to my neighbor about our dog, I am just being human. By “human” I mean I am being petty and overemphasizing inconveniences. Pets do not know how to be human. They don’t know how to complain, but they do know how to stay by our sides, how to rely on us, how to come sit beside us when they sense we are sad, worried or stressed.
This is Smokey…
He has been a part of my sister-in-law’s life for seventeen years. They have seen so many of the peaks and valleys of life together. They have moved from place to place, each always with the other by their side to comfort them.
Over the weekend, Smokey became visibly ill. It became quickly apparent that it was no minor health problem and on Sunday he died. And when he died, my sister-in-law lost a family member.
There is little I can do to fill the void left by Smokey’s absence. All I can do is say that he will be missed and that I appreciate Smokey for being there for such a long time for someone that I care about and I hope that he rests in peace.