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by Crystal Ward Kent


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.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures -jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys 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 bring 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 flick 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.

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.

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.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not 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 trail 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 these brief years they are generous
enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

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 that 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.

[ October 15, 2003, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: Jacqui ]
 

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Jacqui,

How on earth did I miss this post. That was beautiful and so very, very true.

I think Blue has taught me a lot in the last 5 years - He's taught me it's still OK to be a child at my advanced years and do silly stuff when were out in the fields and sand dunes.
 
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Absolutely beautiful Jacqui and so very true. Thank you so much for sharing. I've always said that it is better to mourn the loss of love then to have never loved at all.
 

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Jacqui,
I will keep this simple. That is one of the most beautiful postings I have ever read.
Thank you.

~Russ
 

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I agree, such a beautiful posting.
 

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Wow.

 

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That is beautiful! And very true.
 

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Now that I've finished most of my weeping and snotting I think I can post a reasonably coherent reply. I had to copy and save that piece. Now I can't look at my dog w/o busting up all over again! Puts things into perspective for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Welcome to the board, JennysMaster


It seems I should have handed out tissues to all who've read this. It is a beautiful and thought provoking read.
 

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Beautiful and really true ! Thanks for these words!
 
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Wow Jacqui, I just read this now. Thanks for posting it here, it's absolutely beautiful.

rhaya
 
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I just saw this, and how very appropriate.. because tomorrow, monday the 12, we will come one journey's end. Our GSD/Border Collie mix will quietly go to sleep and with that, we will reach the end of a 12 and half year saga filled with nothing but love, devotion, friendship and loyalty.

We adopted our Mavrick from a local SPCA 12 and half years ago. We actually had gone to the shelter to look at another dog, but as it turned out, she'd been adopted earlier that day. As we looked through the kennel, we discovered another dog who really grabbed our attention. He was just one year old and he'd been abandoned by his previous owners. We though we'd like to meet him and when we did we knew instantly he was the dog we were meant to have. We made the required arrangements and took him home the following day.

The short story is that for 12 years, Mavrick has been that once in a lifetime kind of dog. Throughout his life, he was never a problem. He was never aggressive, he never growled or barked or nipped. And although we never actually trained him or worked with him, somehow, he always just seemed to know what you wanted or needed. He would come, sit, stay, go to his crate and even leave the kitchen on command during dinner time. Mavrick has been our watchdog, our babysitter, our playmate, our walking partner, and most of all our loyal friend. He always had the time and energy to meet you and the door and let you know how much he'd missed you while you were away. He was always up for a good game of tug of war or chase the ball or hide and seek. And regardless of whatever else was going on, Mav wanted to be with us. We'd had dogs before, but the truth is, it was Mavrick who taught us, and showed us just how incredible having a dog can be.

When Mavrick was 9, he unfortunately got lyme and it really slowed him down. Around the same time he also started to develop arthritis in his joints. But even in a "slower" mode, Mavrick was always happy to see you, always happy to have his ears scratched, and always happy to sit and relax in your lap for some late night tv. He may not have been as fast or as agile as he once was, but he never waivered from being a loyal friend and companion. And every now and then he'd still occaionally chase a ball, play tug of war or jump up and say hello.

Over the last couple of years, Mavrick really slowed down. He was really starting to show his age. It was then we got our first GSD and then a year later got our second GSD. The truth is, Mavrick probably could have done with the Shepherds, but in true Mavrick style, he never complained, never fought, and never caused a problem of any kind. Through the raising of two GSD puppies, he put up with all the playing, all the chasing and all that goes along with having puppies. And through it all, Mavrick, like always, had time to say hello, or snuggle up in your lap.

Over the last month, Mavrick has truly been struggling. It's come to that point now, where there just isn't much more to do. Obviously, it's been very difficult and we've dreaded having to come the place we are now, but in the end, we feel that of all our options, this is the best thing we can do for our Mavrick.

So tomorrow morning, we will all go to the vet's office and we'll sit with Mav in our laps, just like we always have, and see Mavrick off to a better place. I know it will be hard, in fact my eyes are now filled with tears just thinking about it, as they've been pretty much all day. We will miss Mavrick dearly, but at the same time, we'll have his memory in our hearts and no force on earth will be able to take that away. We will always know how much he loved us and how loyal and devoted he was. We will always know it was Mavrick who taught us just how deeply the relationship between a dog and it's owner can go. We will think of him and smile. And we will forever be thankful that we were allowed to experience the things we did with our "mavvy dog"...

Dear Mavrick, we must bid you farewell. Thank you, for everything. And as you set out on this, your final journey, know that we will miss you and we will always love you....

[ April 11, 2004, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: mavrick ]
 
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Printed and on my fridge and by my desk
to remind me to take the time to see the world through their eyes again.
beautiful
 
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Jacqui

You have turned me into a blithering wreck !!!!!

Thanks for sharing this - My sisters dog is very ill at the moment I will forward it on to her, it may help.

Jackie
 
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