Two of Sparkey and Tina's canine friends have died in the last three weeks. The latter of the two was the dog belonging to a family who are, to a large extent, a partial extension of our own. Our son Rene grew up with the two boys from that family, the eldest of those two "boys" now being a young father, with our son the proud godfather of his youngest child. This family, with whom we have shared a great deal of closeness and connectedness for almost fifteen years, had a dog a mere one year Sparkey's elder.
"Stanley" (aka "Daddy") loved Sparkey, and would, when told that a visit with Sparkey was imminent, spin in circular rotations and contortions of delight at the prospect of seeing his dear buddy. For his part, Sparkey was stand-offish with Stanley at best, apparently tolerating his ardor, yet generally giving him precious little attention, especially in their later years. Tina, on the other hand, seemed to be endlessly enfatuated with Stanley, who subsequently spurned Tina in favor of Sparkey, a tree not much worth barking up, so to speak, given Spark's apparent lack of enthusiasm for Stanley's exuberant adoration. It was generally a triangle of unrequited love.
The former of the two dogs was a wee little thing who Mary assisted a disabled friend to aquire from the pound. "Catherine My Dear" (after K. Hepburn, of course) was a constant companion for a number of years to our wheelchair-bound friend, and Mary even helped said friend to obtain "Assistance Dog" status for Catherine, even though her level of assistance consisted of riding on our friend's lap in the wheelchair, napping Olympically, and generally looking quite cute and small, peeing and pooping freely on the tile floors of the handicapped-accessible apartment.
Stanley and Catherine will be missed by not only their human pack members, but also the others who knew and loved them. Their love for their humans was exemplary, and the function which they served within their families/packs was an important and loving one. And when we learn of the passing of an animal friend, we always think, "there but for the grace of God go we".
Sparkey is hanging in there. Having just finished his nightly IV, I wonder---like Mary does---if we are doing the right thing. He seems comfortable, content, still eats his grass salad and loves BBQ'd chicken with rice. So we continue in the hopes that the months will stretch on, even as the financial burden of his care grows.
When the time comes, Sparkey---and Tina---will also go to greener pastures, and we will look back on our years with them with gladness and loving fondness. For now, here we are, and we bless the souls of Catherine and Stanley as they leave this physical plane and scurry off to new noncorporeal adventures and delights. May they be happy and free. May we all.