On this National Pet Day, many of us celebrate the four legged friends at our side.
But I honor as well those specials souls who have moved on, yet will remain in my heart forever.
“…So their work is mostly us, their families. They stay close, pay close attention, watch over us, and are always available to us.”
Book author Jon Katz wrote those words in a post last week about smaller dogs.
I smiled as I read it, and I also cried some as well.
My 14 year old corgi Maddie had just passed away last Monday.
It seemed I’d become Maddie’s purpose over the years after a brief stint as a breeder dog.
And she handled her role with grace, love and compassion always.
I often felt she’d become my own unique caregiver over the last decade as I dealt with the loss of both my parents and husband from Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
She’d calm my constant rage with the cruel disease by simply offering her belly for scratching or even a soft ear that would just listen.
Sometimes it was a just a big, wet button nose to kiss.
Maddie’s whole face wore joy so well, even in her final months.
She radiated happiness in her pet stroller as we’d navigate around the lake in the sunshine.
And Maddie looked even happier as we’d stop at the nearby bakery for free sugary smells and fresh samples.
Yet she was also very content just keeping an eye on me from her cozy dog bed in the kitchen in her final days.
After all, she still saw it as her job till the end.
Those big round eyes were so full of soul, yet often they were mixed with just a little mischief.
No wonder everyone loved Maddie, both man and beast.
The morning after Maddie passed, my Chi pup Rex was blue and refused to eat for the first time.
And my Yorkie Tucker, hid under the bed.
He’s never done that before either.
Yet this week we all seem to be moving on.
I know Maddie’s in a good place. And as I told the rest of the canine clan this morning, “Don’t worry, she’s still watching over us.”
I like to think they agreed as we looked up at the sky while walking out the door into the beautiful day before us.
I’m no expert, but sometimes I think animals were put on earth to send us messages.
Take Floyd here, for example. I don’t know his real name but that’s how I greet him every time I walk past the bookstore window. He lives inside along with a couple of roosters and an occasional chinchilla.
Floyd looked quite disgusted at me early this morning and directed me over towards the gardening book display and a message.
“Dig in!” the sign proclaimed.
My friend Floyd’s right as usual. After our recent rains, my weeds are totally out of control.
Yet I dismissed his advice and continued walking towards the lake and through the park’s gardens.
That is until I noticed the ornate statute in front of me, with thick clouds behind as a backdrop.
Right atop the statute was another sign just for me from the animal kingdom.
This time from the noisy resident blackbird.
I call him Billy.
So Billy, perched on that old masterpiece, kept bobbing his head up and down. First, towards the ominous cloud, then down towards the exact location of my cottage.
I got the message and traveled home to pull my weeds before more raindrops give birth to the first mosquito.
I surely don’t need that tenacious creature bugging me with his biting comments.