Archives for Animals
[On Mondays (Luna's Day) we've been sharing insights about animals and their value and meaning in our lives. Several people have written in to share appreciation for the very special role their companion animals have played in their lives. Ray described how much his service dog, Sarah, means to him: ...I am trying to do all that I can to prepare for the loss of my service dog and companion of, now, 14 years. Sarah came to me at 3 months and has traveled with me to many places. This includes physical as well as emotional places. I cannot imagine life without her, nor do I want to.
[On Mondays (Luna's Day) we've been sharing insights about animals and their value and meaning in our lives. I recall the last weeks of my father's life, especially the day that my brother brought Moose, his enormous, gentle Rhodesian Ridgeback, to the hospice. Every resident wanted to touch and pat Moose, who patiently made his rounds and gave everyone a generous turn. The synergy between each dying human being and this warm, friendly dog was magical; the whole building seemed to glow with a quiet contentment and appreciation for these moments of aliveness. So, I am especially delighted and moved that my friend Joan agreed to write this two-part post about her work with therapy animals. - LPC] In my experience, animals provide invaluable benefits to humans both as pets and service animals. The National Pet Owners Survey of 2007-2008 found that about 71.1 million people in the United States are pet owners, owning at least one dog or one cat. Most pets provide unconditional acceptance to family members. There are many health benefits to interacting with animals.
On Mondays (Luna's Day) we've been talking about animals and their special place in our lives. This weekend we took Malcolm, my oldest cat, to the beach with us. 18 years old and multiply disabled, Malcolm retains every bit of his intrepid personality. He loves adventure, loves people, is used to car rides and understands how vacations work (anywhere your family and food dish are, is "home"). Malcolm's not that much younger than my children. He truly feels like, as well as acts like, a member of the family.
Our beloved cat, Luna, passed away on her own, but so many pets need our help to end their suffering. I heard from many people who had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a much-loved animal. Kathleen's story about Fuzzie, her pet rabbit, was especially moving: ...I had to put my long time friend, Fuzzie to sleep on Saturday. She was much more than a 6 1/2 lb ball of fur to me and my two sons.... I am a single mom, surrounded by lovely boys.... two sons, two male cats, a male dog who stops by from time to time, and a best friend who also happens to be male. Fuzz was my girlfriend. We sat every night and watched tv together. She needed to come out and play, and I had the perfect excuse to sit down for an hour. ...Toward the end of the hour I would lie down and let her lick my face, which she did with such precision and caring. She was a devoted bunny. She loved all of us, but I was the only one who's face and hands were cared for in this special way. And look at what Kathleen says in conclusion:
We've been talking about the loss of beloved pets, their meaning in our lives and ways to process the grief we feel when they pass away. I'm devoting the next several Mondays (Luna's Day) to sharing thoughts about the value of animals, and also about grieving and loss. Look at this extraordinary contribution from Mark Estes: One of my volunteer duties as a pro photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is photographing infants who have died as a tool for parents to grieve. Do click on the link and learn more about this amazing organization. But brace yourself for a powerful experience. I'm still shaking. Mark also shared his own memorial to his beloved cat, Moe. His photographs are incredibly beautiful and moving:
There's nothing so heart-wrenching as losing a beloved pet. Our Luna's passing on Monday has been so painful, yet also so enriching thanks to the amazing support and feedback from so many of you. I'm aware now of what an important topic this is: Our animals, their meaning, and our love for them.