Today marks seven months that my canine soul-mate, Sparkey, left this world. It feels important to continue to mark these passages for now, to acknowledge the loss and keep letting go.
Spending time with a friend over the weekend, she admitted that she used to think our emotional focus on our dogs---and the general fuss we would make about their seemingly uninteresting doings---was somewhat weird. She also admitted that, over time, she has come to "get it", to understand what that connection is really about, how integral to our lives that animals can become. I appreciated that insight, and imagined all of the people who we bored to tears over the years with our endless and tireless fawning over Sparkey and Tina.
Every animal lover thinks that their animal is the most special creature in the world---and they're so correct in thinking so. It is that bond, that ineffable string of emotional connection, that knits an animal into a family structure. Mary and I have been married almost eighteen years, and Sparkey was with us for fourteen of those years, Tina for twelve. That's a long time to have creatures who are so dependent, so loyal, and so totally and unconditionally focused on you and your daily life, always there when you come home, always ready to wag a tail and look into your eyes.
For those who cannot really understand this loss, I am sorry for that which they have missed. Loving an animal, and cleaving him or her close to one's heart, is a wondrous thing, and an experience not to be taken for granted. I am so grateful to Sparkey for his years of service and loyalty, and I continue to honor and thank him for his devotion. As a spiritual person, I truly believe that Sparkey was (and is) a member of my soul family, and although our physical proximity has changed, our tender connection cannot.
These seven months will eventually be seven years, then seventeen, then twenty-seven, and more. He will always live in my heart and memory, and more importantly, deep in my soul.