Courageous & Outrageous - Losing a Pet

By Pat Nichol


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It’s hard to lose a long time friend; even when that friend has four legs instead of two. For many of us, the pets we live with become an integral part of our family or perhaps the closest family that we have.

Last month, we lost our big shaggy dog, Auberon (king of the fairies), who had been Trisha’s dog when she was a street kid and had acted as her guardian angel. About five years ago, when she moved to the Mainland, Obi (we could never decide on the correct spelling for the king of the fairies) came to live with us. He was the grand old gentleman of the block. With two lab friends next door and Jan across the street always good for a treat, his life was just right. He kept us fit, as he demanded a walk to check out any new smells that might have come up overnight.

About three months ago, he began moving a little more slowly, but daily rounds were still maintained. At the equivalent of about 95 years old, he was entitled to move a little more slowly.

Then came the day when he didn’t want to go for a walk and was happy just to lie in the sun. The next day, he didn’t want to move at all. Even the promise of treats didn’t excite him. By Sunday night, I knew I was going to have to make a grave decision the next morning. About 1 a.m., I said good night with a heavy heart. Being the true gentleman that he was, Obi made the decision for me. His big heart stopped beating sometime before I came downstairs at 6 a.m.

This meant I had to send a very sad e-mail to Trish, who was coming home from Europe several days later. I had to tell her that her guardian angel had flown away and had been unable to wait for her to return.

One day soon, we will take his ashes down to the lagoon, throw a stick in the water, throw the ashes after it and say “Okay Obi, fetch!” Then, as certainly as if he was really there, we know that his spirit will leap joyfully into the water and take that stick wherever all beloved pets are waiting.

I know many of you feel the same way we do; it takes a long time to realize they are no longer around. I still come downstairs in the morning thinking “Got to let Obi out,” only to realize “No, I don’t.”

 

SEPTEMBER 2009 - VANCOUVER ISLAND

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