Anatole France, a French writer, once said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” His words are definitely in my Top 3 list of all time favorite quotes. Today, it has an immense, and I mean immense impact on my thoughts.
One year ago, Cathy and I watched our first “son” cross the Rainbow Bridge. Cancer had methodically and ruthlessly stole our beloved 12 year old Samoyed’s spirit from us. When steroids and opiates could no longer keep Steele comfortable, we answered his request to be pain free. He went quietly, peacefully, as a humane injection slowed his breath. When the vet pulled away her stethoscope, she didn’t have to say a word. I knew his heart had stopped beating.
I moved him from the sofa and placed him on the floor. Cathy and I thought it would be good for our other dogs to see him go, to understand he didn’t just go for a car ride and never came back. Steele’s subordinate pack members (5 in all) surrounded him and gave him a “once over.” Cathy and I marveled at their unified tail-wagging like the military offers a 21-gun salute to a fallen soldier. Steele was their leader and they paid homage to their fallen hero.
It took Cathy and I about 10 months before we could talk about Steele without getting choked up. We are now able to fondly remember his goofy nature and laugh at his quirks. (Although, I’ve had to get up three times already to blow my nose and release a few good sobbing tears.)
The picture in this post was taken many years ago of our routine. While Steele was the Pack Leader of his canine companions, I was the ultimate Pack Leader. However, I would always let Steele lay comfortably on the sofa and rest his head on my shoulder while my butt grew numb from sitting on the floor. He’d always throw me a bone (pun intended) and give me a little “thank you” kiss.
I don’t think of my “Doggie” (his name when we were about to do something fun like play treat ball or go for a ride) on a daily basis as I once did. But, every now and then he gives me a little nudge. “Hey, don’t forget about me.” I will see him in a dream or hear “his” bark come from one of the other dogs. Today, I will think about him, a lot. I will miss him today, all day. Today, my soul is alive, it is awake, and it is sad. ((Make that four times now.) Thank goodness I have the day off from work!