Cutting to the chase of this post (as if the subject is hard to guess), I HATE that our animals don't live as long as we do. Sometimes, at the best age estimates, they don't live 1/10 of our lifespan.
I know this is a total bummer of a post. If you don't want to be further bummed, move along; it's OK. I'm rarely in the mood to read this kind of thing either.
I don't have children. I hope to, maybe one day...but maybe not. The point is, my animals have always been my children. People with actual offspring may find this statement offensive, and I apologize for that. I can only say I have suffered and grieved for every. single. animal I've ever owned in my life, past the age of maybe 8-before that I cried, but I don't know how much a young child can actually grieve. Anyway, it's a lot of loss, is what I'm saying.
The shortest life I've mourned was my ferret Franklin, who lived 5 years and died about 6 years ago. I adored that little guy-he was like a kitten on PCP all the time. Unfortunately, he was bred at some factory farm, and from ages 3 to 5 I was fighting an uphill battle against skin cancers, adrenal disease, enlarged spleens, you name it. He was SO full of life though-I handed over my hard earned dollars, and he inevitably bounced back from each procedure. Until one day he didn't. My point in telling his story is, it doesn't matter what the species is, or how long they are in our lives-if we have loved them, they stay with us. I wish I had a picture of him...ugh, I'd have to scan it. Anyway, he was white with red eyes anyway-not the most beautiful of animals,but it didn't matter. He was my boy.
Aside from Franklin, I've loved many dogs, cats, rodents and horses that have since left this Earth. It sucks, it's horrible, and it's an inevitable part of owning animals that we must accept if we are to love them fully and reap the wonderful rewards of sharing our life with them.
The person that keeps an "outside" dog or cat that passes away? Or any animal owner that keeps their pet at a distance-the person may be sad, but they will not feel the grief that those of us that let our animals fully into our lives know. They also will never know the complete joy and partnership of such a relationship. It's a heartbreaking bargain we make-the beautiful with the horrible.
I'm writing this now because my old dog Mojo, while still happy and plucky, is battling some kind of shitty, persistent inflammation that may get her in the end, if the drugs to combat it don't first.
I'm writing this now because one of my great barn friends is faced with making the most horrible and compassionate decision that we as horse owners will all have to make eventually, if we are in the horse "business" long enough. We're all still holding out hope...she is the best "horse mom" I know and will always do what's right. I feel for her.
I'm writing this now to work through the issues I still have around putting my mare down a little over a year ago, and adopting my heart horse a month later. Sometimes I feel like Karma has a target on my back, especially because Miles has been relatively drama free, other than the weight issue. I love and still miss Eb, so much. If something happened to Miles...no. I can't write anymore about that.
I'm writing this now because other people may be facing the same thing with the animal(s) in their life. It's so, so hard.
I truly find comfort in the fact that so many people have lost their own beloveds, and lived to tell about it-that may sound dramatic, but grief at it's worst feels...impossible. Going through the experience is something beautiful we all share. I, for one, can never regret the relationships I've shared with my animals, no matter how much I hurt when they are gone. It's a small price to pay for the years we've shared.
I'm writing this post to remember this, and to appreciate each and every day I share with the loves of my life, both human and non-human. It's a cliche. It's also true.
I have to go now. Mojo wants an extra slice of chicken, and I'm going to give it to her.