When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey — a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.
If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.
Photo by Pop66Squish
Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple pleasures — jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joy of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.
If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower — except when heading home to the food dish — but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.
Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details — the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape; we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons brings ever-changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.
Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flicker and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s most important details slip by.
Dancing with my girl to BROWN EYED GIRL
You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie — with a cat in hot pursuit — all in the name of love.
Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.
Best Friends Forever
You will learn the true measure of love — the steadfast, undying kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.
And you will learn humility. The look in my dog’s eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.
Photo By Vicky Kasala
If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will not be just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be — the one they were proud to call beloved friend.
I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a path you cannot yet go down. And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too short — especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for awhile, and during those brief years they are generous enough to give us all of their love — every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.
My Precious Kyleigh
The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead — young and whole once more.
“Godspeed, good friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.
* Author's Note: The author of the above copyrighted essay, Crystal Ward Kent, requests that anyone wishing to use the above essay must contact her first and receive prior permission from her in writing before doing so. Once permission is granted, full credit including her name, website information, and copyright information must be included in all usages.Thank You.
Me at around 1 year of age with my 1st dog, Ambrose
I wish to express a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all the precious pets who have shared their lives with me --- and there have been many. As a tiny infant, I was fortunate to come home from the hospital to a home shared with both a dog and a cat -- my very first animal companions. From that moment on, I knew that my animal friends would always have my heart and would be forever precious and special to me. My dear sweet pets, you will never know what great joy you have brought to my life throughout the years, and I could never thank you all enough for all the years of unconditional love that each one of you gave to me (and that some continue to give). Each of you have indeed been a blessing to me, and I will certainly love and remember you forever, as each one of you holds your own special place in my heart. Thank you for making the journey with me, and for enriching my life beyond words along the way. I only hope that I brought just as much joy to all of your lives as you brought to mine and that I made you feel equally as loved. Thank you so much for being my beloved furry friends -- I will always cherish you and the times that we've shared together forever. Until we meet again, my precious friends.....
I Love You All.... Always & Forever
As with any journey...
who you travel with
can be more important
than your destination.
"Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life."
A special "Thank You" to BILLYtheKidster who was so kind to create this wonderful slideshow of Molly. It really touched my heart. I can never thank you enough for your great kindness, "Billy" -- it means more to me than you will ever know. Thank You! And Molly thanks you too!
I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to once again thank those friends and visitors who have offered such wonderful support, kind words, and prayers for my precious Kyleigh. Your kindness and support has meant so much to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kyleigh has been my loving velcro buddy since I adopted her in 2003 from a rescue group following the devastating loss of my beloved cat, Keyshah, whom I had loved for 16 years. At the time Kyleigh came into my life, we were both terribly lonely and our hearts had both been shattered, and in many ways we healed each other. However, despite being told otherwise by the rescue group, unknown to me Kyleigh was apparently FIV+ at the time that I adopted her, and so now she is sadly suffering the complications of Feline AIDS. It has been a wonderful journey with my sweet, loving, silly, head-strong little girl and one I would not have traded for anything. I don't know how much longer I have with her, but I plan to cherish every precious moment we have left together. And who knows with Kyleigh, as I dare say there has never been a tougher little fighter than her, so I know better than to ever predict when her journey might end --- no matter what the vets, specialists, test results, etc. say. She may just surprise everyone and outlive us all knowing her. Kyleigh will make that journey home in her own time, on her own watch, no one else's. She will let me know when she is finished here on earth. She wouldn't have it any other way. And I admire her for that. I will surely miss my sweet girl when the time comes and I honestly don't know how I will ever live without her. But I know somehow I will learn to in time (as difficult and as heartbreaking as it will be), and I will forever cherish the beautiful memories this amazing creature has left me with. Thank you all again for your wonderful kindness, support, and concern for my precious Kyleigh. It has been greatly appreciated.
"Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way."
— (John Muir)
Taken June 2011 - (Copyrighted S.Mullen)
Rest in Peace
My Precious Little Kyleigh
(5/1/2000 - 2/19/2015)
Thank you for all the love and great joy
that you brought into my life.
I will miss you everyday, Monkey
....and I will love you forever.
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