The best things in life are free! We’ve all heard it before, right? And, certainly, as we all know, there is definitely some truth in that. The beauty of a sunset, a smile given and a smile received, the light tickle on your skin as a butterfly lands gently on your arm. All are free and likely enjoyed by most. And, love, it seems, is something that should also be free. But, when it comes to our pets, what is the price we must pay for that love?
We can talk dollars, of course. Many sources estimate that the average cost of owning a cat or dog can be up to $3,000.00 a year. That’s probably a bit high, but whatever the financial cost, animal lovers everywhere are willing to pay that price, in order to give a loving home to one (or more) of our furry friends. And when we do, we find that the happiness we come to know through their companionship and unconditional love far outweighs any financial cost we may incur along the way. But what about the emotional price that we must ultimately pay for that love? At some point in time, we will all hear the dreaded news from our veterinarian that our beloved pet has an illness that he or she is not going to survive. And, eventually we all must say goodbye.
And so, with heavy hearts we reluctantly pay that emotional price for their love; and we grieve. Our tears can not wash away the pain and the emptiness we feel over the loss of a pet, but they will come anyway. But, eventually the crying will cease, and once it does we can look peacefully and affectionately into our heart, and cling to all of the wonderful memories of their life with us that we hold so dear. And someday, (and the appropriate time is different for everyone) we will once again bring another furry friend into our home, and we will love them just as much, though never exactly the same.
It always saddens me after someone loses a pet to hear them say that they are not going to adopt another one because it hurts too much when they have to say goodbye, because these are exactly the kinds of people who make the best pet owners! Each time I step into the shelter and see the sad and lonely eyes of an animal pleading for someone to come and take them home it is my hope that someone like this will reconsider and come to their rescue. Whenever my heart has been breaking over the loss of a beloved pet, somehow I still know that I have to look beyond my grief to see the others longing for rescue, and open my heart to another in need. One my biggest fears is getting to a point in life where, either for reasons of health or age, I will no longer be in the position of having pets of my own. Just the thought of the emptiness that would bring to my life concerns me more than loss of life itself. Because of my pets, my life is richer, fuller and more blessed than I could ever have imagined. Yes, my heart breaks every time I must say goodbye, but I wouldn’t trade the joy of their life with me for anything, even if it could erase the pain of their passing. Right now there are many who await me at that beautiful Rainbow Bridge, and someday, when the time is right, I will see them all again, and then we will all cross over that bridge, happily together, once again….. forever.
***If you are grieving over the loss of a pet and are unable to cope with the loss, please seek out a grief counselor or a pet grief support group in your area.
Written by Karen Brown
In Memory of Tabasco
1992 – August 16, 2010