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Ferdinand and Geronimo
After my mother died, her terrier Clementine put herself into a corner and cried until she died
“If I had lost a human partner, there would have been the usual funeral rituals, and being an
emotional basket case would have seemed understandable. But our culture treats the death of
a pet more like the loss of an automobile. When it wears out, you should just go buy another
one. Well meaning friends and family members had advised this in their attempts to help me
feel better. What they didn’t get was that I had lost a soul mate- an irreplaceable relationship not
a piece of property.” Annette McGivney
When it wears out, you should just go buy another one.
And yet, that is exactly what I have done. Again and again. And there is truth in going on,
adding another pet to the family, and my heart did swell again as I began to love again. And
again. I believe in love. I believe in family. I believe in responsibility. I believe in caring for others.
My pets inspire me and help me to be of service in this world. And our pets are the fabric of our
family story: Whiz begat Jemima who came before Mariah 1 who needed a companion enter
Mr. Todd who hung on for 18 years while she became Mariah 2 then Pluto (feline) adding Curtis
Lowe followed by the Great Scaramouch known as Smooch and now Ferdinand and his
companion Geronimo. We’ve had old age (only three times) and abdominal cancer, and blown
knees, and bloat, psychosis, and bone cancer. I know grief and she knows me.
“Non, Je ne regrette rein”, sang Edith Piaf, an oft tattooed grounding and affirming sentiment.
Moi, non plus!
I am grateful so grateful for all my friends. Four legged especially.
“I had lost a soul mate,” Annette McGivney, Outside Magazine described her dog Sunny.
Annette recounts her experience telling a grief counseling service that she had lost her partner
of 15 years not disclosing that Sunny was a dog.
“During our more than 15 years together, Sunny was faithfully by my side as I went through a
bitter divorce, raised my son alone, dealt with caring for my mother and her dementia, and
endured the deaths of my parents, as well as PTSD caused by childhood trauma, empty-nest
syndrome when my son went to college, stressful jobs, scary health issues, moving to a new
town where I knew no one and, of course, the COVID-19 lockdown. Sunny was like a handrail
along the edge of a thousand-foot cliff. Navigating life’s challenges seemed doable because I
knew I could hold on to her if needed. Now the handrail was gone.”
Navigating life’s challenges with a dog is indeed more doable- this I believe.
Thank you. Please forgive me. I forgive you. I love you.
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