I blogged a week or so ago about our decision to put our dog, the dog we have had for 15 years, to sleep. As it turned out, we did not have to put her to sleep. She died of natural causes just two days before our appointment. We were glad that we did not have to actively put an end to her life. But we were sad that she was gone.
In fact, I was surprised at the level of grief we all felt. She was a dog, after all.
But I guess I shouldn’t have been. After all, she was a member of our family. Our youngest child really doesn’t remember much before we had our dog.
Its lonely without her. I sit down at the piano, and she is not there to join me anymore. I walk in the door from work and realize that I am alone. She is not there to greet me, get into the open pantry cupboard, or bark to go outside. She is not waiting for me in the morning to slip her a few Cheerios. And she does not need to be put into the back hall when I leave.
Pets are more than property. They are warm, furry parts of our lives. And in my experience (and that of our kids) they are perhaps one of the best pictures of unconditional love most of us will ever encounter, outside of Christ. Regardless of how she felt, time of day, my mood or condition, Muffin always greeted us enthusiastically and wanted to be close to us. To personify further, she loved us.
My daughter is sure Muffin is in heaven. I will leave that perennial question unanswered. But I am sure that she was a gift to our family and is greatly missed. And I also know that I understand more fully how important a pet can be and will never minimize pet death again.