My Constant Companion (Day 1, from Letters to a Friend)
My Constant Companion
One day when I was working at the store a woman came in with a young girl at her side, I couldn’t help but notice that she had such a long face and her eyes remained looking down, her overwhelming sadness was very apparent, When she looked up her eyes were so sad and I noticed she had been crying, whatever was wrong it was obvious her heart was broken. As her mother continued with her shopping she stayed up front where I was working, and it wasn’t long before she told me her dog had died and her mommy said he wouldn’t go to heaven. Being an animal lover myself I was filled with compassion for this little girl, a pet is a child’s first experience with unconditional love. A parent loves their child, but the Meir fact that they are a parent does come with conditions and responsibilities, it’s not wrong, it’s just being a good parent. I thought about her off and on all day, and truthfully I just didn’t understand why her mother couldn’t have found another way to help her little girl with her grief rather than break her heart even more.
I have never forgotten that broken-hearted little girl and when I started working as a secretary for a cemetery, which also had a pet section, one of the books I kept on hand was to help a child deal with the loss of a pet. I admit many times over the years I’ve contemplated the unanswered question, “Will we see our pets in heaven?”
Recently I lost my little dog, Avery, and like that little girl I grieved her loss, she had been my constant companion for 15 years. My son had rescued her from an abusive home, when he gave her to me we thought she must have been around two years old, but the mental scars were still evident. Maybe that’s why she touched my heart the way she did it was our common bond or perhaps it was because my son had given her to me and I felt a little part of him was always near, but for whatever reason we soon became inseparable. When we went fishing we were the first ones in the boat, she would sit on my lap and let the breeze blow her ears back. Oh, how Avery loved having her ears starched. In the evening she was in my lap, and when bedtime came she curled up at my back for the night. As she grew older she would wake me up sometimes and wanted to be petted or her tummy rubbed, if I took my hand away she nudged me with her nose or used her paw to pull my hand back to her. When morning came I would roll over and find her with her head on my pillow and covered with my blanket. As I watched the subtle signs of her aging over the past few years I felt a sting hit my heart and I knew the time would come when my sweet little girl wouldn’t be with me anymore, and to be honest, I didn’t know what I would do without her. A couple of years ago I became aware that she was losing her hearing and had gone blind in one eye, she was slowing down and sleeping most of the day. As of late Avery just wasn’t herself and I knew in my heart our time was getting short, at night she stayed in her bed instead of being with me and I would get up several times during the night to check on her. Well, one morning that time came and my heart was broken as I said goodbye. When everything was ready my husband came to get me and together we lowered, her still little body into the ground and I took the shovel to fill her final resting place beside Broke, my husbands’ hunting dog in an area that overlooked the east garden. I still find myself waking up in the night to check on her, or looking around the yard when it’s time to go inside. This Fall I planted white mums at their graves.