Our house has been blessed with many pets that include two dogs, five cats, and a goldfish. They’ve brought us joy, unconditional love, and were there when it felt like no one else was. They’ve been my muses and writing companions, too.
These pets have inspired poems and many photos. They are our furry family. We watch over them, and they watch over us. Our eldest animal our cat, Thunder, who’s in her 18th year, but doesn’t look a day over 12 years old, still lets the other cats know who’s the boss. Each animal has a unique personality and contributes to the household in its way. Alice, known as the Huntress, brought me a gift recently…a mouse. She was fully prepared to bring it inside when I let her know in a high shrill voice not to do that. That prompted her to drop it, and it ran off. So, another mouse saved that returned to the forest.
Our dogs, the black-lab mix and Shepard mix were what we call, youthfully middle-aged. Walks were always a challenge as their leashes tangled as they went in different directions, but they’d always alert us to bears or raccoons in that unique high-pitched bark. They always greeted us home or when we got out of bed and were our protectors.
There were some subtle signs of aging to these youthful middle-aged dogs with a bit of white, especially on our black lab, Hermie. But age never showed up in his actions. He was full of love, a gentleman and always had a lick ready for you. He was much like an endearing toddler whose one look would melt your heart even after he found his way into the trash or over the fence.
Hermie came to us from the grocery stores parking lot. He was that little black runt bouncing around while his brothers slept soundly. He protected us more than once on walks when an unleashed “pack” of dogs came at us, and never sick a day in his 11 years.
Right before Easter one of those unexpected moments happened when our lab collapsed. No warning.
My husband rushed Hermie to the closest 24-hour vet, an hour away. A phone call later, a decision was made to end his suffering. He had a cancerous mass by his heart and was in the end stages of congestive heart failure. He’d shown no signs of that until that end moment.
He was a treasured, and sometime rascal, member of our family. The emptiness we all feel are filled by his memories. Now we take that walk without him on the Magical Trail where he rests near, but we know that each day we shared with him, was a blessing.
Embrace your inner child with memories and blessings, D.L. Finn