Today Dagmar and I helped mother-in-law Kriemhild (Mama K) take their beloved family pet, Bambina, to the vet. Bambina didn’t come home… The pooch was over fifteen years old, and was having difficulties. It was quite simply time to let little Bambina go. It’s a sad fact that we tend to outlive our pets. The thought occasionally crosses my mind when I look at the cat that owns us, Fruitloop, that someday I’m going to have a difficult decision to make. I hope I make it with grace.
The emotions that come with the death of a pet run surprisingly deep. Bambina danced in my life for five years, fifteen years for Dagmar and Mama K. Fifteen years is a long time. It’s rare that a close friendship lasts that long. (When the vet put Bambina to sleep, the twice-widowed Mama K had difficulty leaving. “I need a few minutes,” she said. “After all, Bambina has been in my life longer than either of my husbands.” That brought the depth of emotion into focus.)
It inevitably made me think of past pets. My grandparent’s dogs, Solomon and later Bounder Bee and later still Katie. Cricket cat, who died in her sleep at the farm whilst I was far, far away. Ma & Pa’s pooches, notably Taffy and Sandy. Animals have a way of seeping gently into our soul and making a place for themselves whether we’re ready for that to happen or not.
I shall have to finish this little essay later – I took a sleepy-pill and it’s making me, well, sleepy. Night-night.
The next day…
Do animals have souls? Do we? Prove either… Or deny either. It can’t be done. I do know that a dog or cat somehow gives energy to the house. Last night Mama K said, “It’s so quiet in the house now. Even when Bambina was sleeping, it wasn’t this quiet.” If there is such a thing as a “life force,” little doggies and kitties have it. That’s what Mama K was missing when she said it was quiet in the house.
It’s a spooky responsibility in some ways, having a pet. They depend on you for everything. Food, water, shelter, and the choice of when to end the suffering and pain of age.
In any case, Bambina is chasing butterflies and nibbling blackberries off a bush somewhere…