By Fran Olans
“It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I am speaking to those of you who are grieving the loss of a pet, not to those who have never loved an animal or a bird. They would look at us as sentimental fools.
What they don’t know is that we have been privileged to have had a special relationship with one of God’s creatures.
Those who are grieving say, “I’ll never have another like the one who died.” Of course not. That would be like saying to bereaved parents, “Don’t worry; you can have another child.”
No, it won’t ever be the same again, but there are other creatures who need your love. What you don’t realize is that you need them as much as they need you. So take time to grieve and then open your heart again.
The day we buried Circe, our 25-year-old Siamese cat, we found a small calico cat waiting for us. She must have known we had a vacancy in our hearts. Eventually she became Cally Calypso. She wasn’t Circe, but we loved her, too.
I guess I have wandered away from my title. Let me reminisce. Bob and I decided that since Circe was senile, we could sneak a dog into the house. Bob decided that we should adopt a bull mastiff.
On the long ride home, I held her in my arms and I can’t describe the strange feeling I experienced. That night, I could not stop thinking of Hannah all alone in the kitchen, so I went downstairs to sleep on the kitchen floor. You guessed it. She slept like a log, but I didn’t.
Little did I know that 10 years later, we would repeat this scene. The night before Hannah died, we tried to sleep on the living room floor.
At that point, she was too weak to sleep on the couch. (Where else would a well-loved dog sleep except on the couch?)
In the morning, a compassionate veterinarian was coming to euthanize her. That night neither of us slept. We both knew this was the end.
But let’s not dwell on the sorrowful end. Let me tell you about her. Hannah loved big Dutch baby pancakes, riding in the car and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (Who doesn’t?) I should make it clear – I never gave her Reese’s Cups, but I would find the wrappers in the yard.
On balmy summer days, we would sit on the back step and share peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
One day when she was a puppy, I rolled a ball and she quickly retrieved it, so I rolled it again. The third time, she jumped on me as if to say, “Do you want this ball or not?” She never again would fetch a ball.
If you would like a dog to run with you, don’t adopt a bull mastiff. Hannah preferred to sprawl on the couch with me and watch TV. The only thing she was afraid of was the vacuum cleaner. She and Marmaduke had the same phobia.
My happy memories of her outweigh the sorrowful end. After Hannah died, we had other dogs, cats and even a peacock. Although I loved them all, it was never the same.
As a conclusion, I would like to thank Fran Scott for typing this and for listening to my Hannah stories for 20 years. I am sure she has more than one reason for saying with me, “Rest in peace, Hannah girl.”