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Grieving our furry friends

Funny faces of my Chihuahua
Mike Einspanjer

Last week my little "Sawg" left this world after a freak accident caused his death. Though firefighters worked on him heroically for some time, it was just too late. I was so impressed with their true compassion for a stranger and his little dog. The firefighters showed as much respect and professionalism as if I'd brought in my child, they treated him as if he were human. My grief was legitimate and they consoled me for the loss of my 'child.' There was no difference in the measure of my loss.

For many of you this will sound familiar, he wasn't a 'creature,' he was my family. I was solely responsible for his care. I was responsible for gathering his food, providing medical attention, shelter, and for providing love. Mostly it was my job to shower him with as much love as he gave to me. I know there was never a day when Sawg did not feel he was special and loved.

The loss of a pet, a furry friend, is something you may never understand until you face it. Because 'it's just a pet,' most people will not visit, they won't bring food, they won't offer anymore than an "aww" it's just a pet. While the sympathy is nice, it doesn't take a way the loss and pain. My surviving dog, Mrs. Bisquick, mourns not just the loss of her companion, he was the father of her only offspring who died shortly after his birth. She's right up there with Ruth Robeline in her grieving. From the moment she stopped nursing and ventured into my home, she's known only Sawg. He was her companion, her running buddy, her lover and her protector. To play with him the day before, then to watch him pass away is a pain we can identify with. The loss of a "pet" is something that makes a direct impact upon your soul. You've lost a creature that loved you unconditionally, someone that depended upon you. Our animals do not have the negative traits we attribute to humankind. Our animals only know love and sadness, joy and fear. Our pets are immune to human traits like hate and revenge. When you adopt an animal into your family, the only baggage that may go with them will be damage caused by the evil or sadistic side of humanity. I was lucky with both of my dogs, in my home they only knew love. Sawg and Mrs. Bisquick were strangers to abuse and neglect, in fact I spoiled them rotten. I'll never have children of my own, my dogs filled that void.

Have you ever looked into the eyes of your dog or cat and really viewed their soul? The soul of a beloved house pet is a beautiful place indeed. Inside the soul of an animal, you'll find the very same emotions that are 'unique to humanity.' Our 'pets' share the ability to love, to mourn, to empathize, yet the one emotion we do not share is hate. The only emotion that elevates humans to the top of the food chain is our ability to despise or to hate. An animal may fear you, they may even not like you, but they cannot hate. I think this is why so many humans prefer the company of animals rather than be subjected to the viciousness of humanity.

Thank you "Sawg Dog" for choosing me as your friend and protector. Thank you for 1000 kisses and hugs. You allowed me to grow as a human and to experience 'parenthood' first hand. I always wondered if I could have been a good father and people who knew of Sawg, knew that I was 'his daddy.' In my spiritual path I believe I'll be reunited with him someday and I look forward to that hug.

Copyright©2014 Michael Einspanjer

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