Saturday, July 20, 2013

For Hailey

Dostoevsky wrote, "Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, do not harass them, do not deprive them of their happiness, do not work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on your superiority to animals; they are without sin."

I received a letter this morning from a friend that broke my heart causing me to spill tears of understanding. Her dear companion, Hailey, the one who has shared her life for so many years has passed on. This loyal being was not human but "just a dog", as she has been told by many people. Just a dog. Those three words are what broke my heart.

My Kizzie
My friend had to make a responsible pet owner's most difficult decision, to put her dog to sleep. She did all she could to make things right and I hope in time she will realize that. Sometimes, no more can be done. So my friend performed the kindest act possible. And now she is left with an emptiness that can never be filled. Those of us that truly share our lives with animals know that they are part of our family, our life and our love.

I have lost pets as a child but as an adult I have mourned the loss of two cats; one I spent too much time with to let go, and one, not enough time. Kizzie lived on the street and was quite old, spending years stealing food from the pit bull's dish up the street and spending hurricanes tucked under the rental house next door. One day he wandered up my driveway and we became fast friends. He eventually worked his way into my house to spend his last years free from hunger and fear. I only had his company for three years, much too short a time for me and not enough for him to be loved as he should have been from the start. He deserved more.

Zoomy however, lived until the age of 18 until she could no longer keep food down, starving herself because of an inoperable tumor. I had to make that awful decision to put her to sleep, a terrible phrase since she wasn't going to wake up. The night before we went to the vet, she curled up in my arms, trusting me to do the right thing. And I feel I did. Zoomy and my boys grew up together. She got us through hard, hard times and loved us through all of them. I needed her. Whether a natural death or one we had a part of, losing a pet is an enormous loss. A part of my heart was torn out with each passing, never to regrow. And yes, I still have guilt and cry at times over what I had to do.

from Zoomy's book
Zoomy's book
In tribute, I have put Kizzie into many of my paintings, a favorite one being, "Missing You". And I created a book of Zoomy's life.

last page
So shame on anyone who utters the words, "just a dog".  Rest in peace Hailey.

(from Zoomy's book)
"I know the night is near at hand:
The mists lie low on hill and bay,
The Autumn sheaves are dewless, dry;
But I have had the day.

Yes, I have had, dear Lord, the day;
When at Thy call I have the night'
Brief be the twilight as I pass
From light to dark, from dark to light."

                          - Silas Weir Mitchell

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