Loving is difficult. It makes us vulnerable, and we’re not good at that. We want to be in control…because so much in life is out of our control.
But life without loving is also difficult. It isolates us…keeps us locked inside ourselves.
Both giving and receiving love is important. We sometimes love with conditions, but there are times when love is completely unconditional…and that often occurs with our pets.
Rascal was a member of our family for about 12-1/2 years. He came to us already named–and we laughed about the fact that he often lived up to–or down to–his name. But he crept into our hearts. He knew when we were hurting, knew when someone needed a hug. He was independent–but willing to lay down that independence when someone in his pack needed him.
At his last checkup, we discovered that he had potential heart problems. We could have had more testing done–but even if we had found out for certain that there were problems, there wasn’t anything that could have been done at the time. So we knew we were looking down the road at the end of our time with him, but we thought it would still be a while.
That wasn’t to be, though.
Friday night he started having breathing problems–and Saturday morning at 7:00, he crossed the rainbow bridge.
I’ve been grateful that he was with us all night…and that he was snuggled up next to me when he took his last breath. He was not alone…he was with his pack.
But now there’s a hole. We keep looking, expecting to see him snuggled in his blanket on the couch…or sitting in the chair, watching and ready to bark at intruders who enter “his” space…or looking at us when we leave, waiting for us to say, “It’s okay, boy, we’ll be back in a little bit.”
The house feels empty.
I know the hole will fill…down the road. And I know we have lots and lots of memories of fun times with him. But we still feel the loss. He is not the first fur baby we have lost…just the most recent.
Loving is difficult. It makes us vulnerable. But, as Anatole France said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ” Without loving, without both giving and receiving unconditional love, we are not whole.