May 5, 1997 -- June 23, 2009
Goodbye Beautiful Girl
Little Ariel, you are missed greatly. Just the other day you came to visit for awhile, as I kept you for your breeder. Just for a few weeks. But you never left. You became Jody's pesky little sister, and a member of the family. What a silly little dog--you enjoyed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, sometimes all in the space of a minute. You could run like the wind, and used that to torment Jody, who would knock you flying if she caught you.
We went to obedience class when you were a few years old, just to have a bonding time. You were the star of the class, most of it old hat to you. While we were being instructed you would roll on your back, feet to the sky and 'rest'. What a ham. Your big treat after obedience and on the way home was french fries. Your addiction for french fries never went away. As you got older you very conveniently forgot all that obedience. Really you didn't need it, you were smart enough to do what you had to do.
You collie girls saw a steady stream of animals come in around here, and never offered to bother anything. Sheep were cool--you thought they were okay, but Jody adored them. Lambs were enticing and needed to be sniffed over carefully. Cats loved on you obnoxiously and you would walk off when tired of it. You and Jody shared a yard with two chickens for several years and I didn't think twice about leaving you alone with them. Good dogs. Very good dogs.
In your younger days you were a consummate thief. Anything not nailed down was fair game. Tools were a particular favorite. You had a voice that would make a grown man cry, literally. It could send me over the edge in zero point two seconds when you were really revved up. Collie barks tend to be shrill anyway, but you get the prize. Watching you and Jody race the fence barking at loud cars was always interesting. Without fail there would be a meltdown in the system at some point, and you both would turn on each other. It sounded and looked horribly fierce, but if you looked a little closer, you could see it was all an act. Exposed fangs and clacking jaws only rent the air. Then you both would untangle and race on like nothing every had happened, only to repeat a short moment later.
Then age crept up on you, and you lost your best buddy. You slowed down and became frailer each day. You put up with boisterous Boone and forged your own unique bond with him. Finally your body gave out and it was time. The light still shown in your eyes, but you were tired, in pain and confused. It was hard to make that choice for you, but your last day was peaceful and full of the things you loved. My life has indeed been blessed by your silly Arieyberry self for eleven and half years. My blessings are many, and in grateful return, although difficult, my gift to you is a quiet, pain free end, cuddled in my arms.
Three pictures of Ariel at her 12th Birthday.
Because we choose to open our hearts to love our animals like family, we open our hearts not only to joy but to pain. Even if we are blessed to have them for a 'long and healthy' lifetime, their lifetime is painfully short. However, not having them in our lives is not an option. Because the pain they bring, when they pass is far outweighed by the joy, laughs and love they shower us with.
I can't imagine a life without my critter family. I am blessed to have such a welcoming committee every time I come home. They inspire me to get up and get going even on the worst of days. Lessons can be learned from them. Enjoy the moment; don't be afraid to be giddy about the ones you love; every minute is a new minute; run fast, play hard, sleep deep; enjoy special treats, a ride in the car, a long walk; know whats important; cultivate friendships, even if you are nothing alike; enjoy quiet time; don't stress over the irrelevant.
Losing one of the furry family is hard. There is a gap, an empty space, a void that their presence filled. You see them out of the corner of your eye, you continue to do the special things they required, only catching yourself in mid action. It's difficult to see the other animals look for their lost friend, to be unsettled and lonely. Animals do grieve and deeply. I've witnessed it and have no doubts on the matter.
Time moves on, and eventually it's easier to think of the happiness they brought than the sadness they created when they died. Sometimes there is a sense of relief because you aren't worrying about how they are coping or feeling with their failing bodies. Life is different but it continues.
Still, just yesterday you were a pup........