One of the hardest things I ever have done and will continue to do is say goodbye to my furbabies. My dear friend had to say goodbye to her Willie Whump cat yesterday and my heart breaks for her. The Whump was a special boy. He dominated the room when you entered and if you were blessed enough to be allowed in his presence, you better pay full attention. Showing devotion was mandatory. If you thought you had paid enough homage to him, but he disagreed, you were keenly aware with either a paw or full body approach in your face. He was a charmer, all dapper in his tuxedo. But the Whump had a lot of personality to match. My favorite image of him is where he is propped up in a chair, belly exposed, looking like he is watching TV and expecting my friend to fetch him a beer. Such was the life of the Whump.
For those of us who did not have children, our lives often revolve around our animals. I feel for those who for whatever reason choose not to have pets. I was in a meeting where we were planning a party at work and we were deciding who would host. One of the women popped up and said, “I do not do animals, especially dogs!” In all honesty, it said volumes about her and validated why I do not particularly like her. I get it that some people are allergic, and there is nothing much they can do about that other than take shots. And I know people who do that so they can have the love of a pet in their life.
I understand the fear from some experience can prohibit someone from enjoying the presence of a beast. I was once challenged and almost bitten by a black lab and for a long time, I said I would never have a lab of any kind…..until Bishop of course who is half lab. I have learned they are wonderful animals.
I also know that some people should not have pets. There is another person I know who got a puppy for her children to help them overcome their fear of dogs. It was not a good idea as she had never owned a puppy and could not stand the baby’s constant jumping as it demanded attention. The animal spent its day, the whole day, in a cage in the basement until someone came home and let it out. The children had no interest. I was so relieved when I heard she gave the dog to someone else.
I accept that people have the right to feel as they do. And although I know I should not pass judgment, I fail at it in this case. (Sorry, I had to pause in my typing to pay attention to my cat who just jumped up and placed herself between me and the keyboard) My world is so much richer for the love of my animals. They prove every day my worth. They show me what acceptance is and what faith and love can do. They ask very little but demand what they need with no worries about how I feel about it. And I acquiesce with love. They teach forgiveness. No one can come close to the power of control against the abilities of a dog waiting for the right moment to chase a squirrel. They wrote the book on how to relax and are masters of joy. And nothing sooths a wounded soul like the embrace of a dog in your arms or a cat purring in your lap.
So to you Mr. Whump, your Auntie Jane will miss you. To my friend, you are in my heart. There never are the right words for this. For those of you who have pets, gather them close and tell them you love them for the time they spend with us is never enough.