If you’ve ever loved an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember. The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked opinions of many friends or done research finding a breeder. Or, in a fleeting moment, you may have chosen that silly looking mutt at the shelter, simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore…when you feel it brush against you for the first time, it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through many years to come.
The second day will occur years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you saw energy. You will see sleep where you once saw activity. You will begin to adjust your friend’s diet and you may add a pill to her food. And, you may feel a growing uneasy feeling until the third day arrives.
On this day, if your friend or your higher being has not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own on behalf of your lifelong friend. Whichever way your friend leaves you, you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.
If you are wise, you will let the tears flow freely as they must. If you are typical, you will find that not many family and friends will be able to understand your grief. But, if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul, smaller in size than your own, seems to walk with you at times, during the lonely days to come. At those moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary, you may feel something brush against your leg. And, looking down at the place where your dear friend used to lie… you will remember those three significant days. The memory will be painful. As time passes, the ache will come and go. You will reject it and embrace it and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.
But, there will be a forth day when, along with the memory of your pet, and piercing through the heaviness in your heart, there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with the pet we have loved and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love, like the heavenly scent of a rose. This Love will remain and grow, and will be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It’s the legacy our pets leave us when they go… and it’s a gift we keep with us as long as we live. And until we leave, perhaps to join our beloved pets, it is a Love we will always possess.