Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pets and their passing

In recent months a few bloggers have posted pet-related stories. Snowbrush posted about the death of his dog Baxter, and getting a new cat called Brewsky. Similarly, Stephi has written and posted some pictures about Milo, a new young cat (who turned out to be male!) that she rescued from being shot.

I enjoyed reading these posts, and while I have not had a pet for some years, it is always nice to read about others experiences. But I was especially moved by reading a new post from 4-Lorn. He wrote the entry about the life and death of his dog Townsend. I’m not going to summarize it, but if you like, you can read it here.

4-Lorn wrote about his experience in a very honest, very direct way. He usually blogs about his long and determined battle with depression, and his many attempts to find a solution. But in this post he really wrote something special.

His writing made me think a lot about my own experiences with pets. I haven’t had any pets since I was a kid, but at different times our family had frogs, fish, mice, birds, and at different times two dogs, a Border Collie and a Jack Russell. Both came to fairly sad ends, and after that the family never had any more pets. I think my parents made the decision that pets were too painful to have, and I can understand that, given the circumstances.

Having pets is painful, especially when it comes to dogs and cats. They enter our lives, and we watch them grow and change like a little furry human in fast-forward, see their eccentricities and quirks. See them grow up. And see them age. And before too long, we see them get sick. Or be injured. Or die. It is a painful thing.

We never really get over the death of a beloved pet. It has been almost twenty years, and despite the fact my memory is not what I would like it to be, I can still remember the feeling of those deaths just fine. It is not a good feeling.

In Australia and many other countries it is commonplace to have pets. But after I came to Japan I met many people who had never had any type of pet. Apartments are too small, and many prohibit residents from owning pets. So many Japanese people never had the chance to experience the joys and sadness of having a dog or cat. Some people actually rent dogs or cats, but that is hardly the same thing.

I don’t know what the future holds, and I may never have another pet. But I’m very glad that I was privileged enough to have many in my life when I was young, and while the pain of their loss has never gone away, it is the same for people we lose. And we don’t stop having people in our lives just because they will die someday, and I think the same can be true for pets.

In a previous post In the Pink awarded me an “Honest Scrap” award for my blog and asked me to pass it on. I’d like to give it to 4-Lorn for writing the post about Townsend. It is a great piece of writing, and I think Townsend was fortunate to be taken in by such a caring family.



    Always preferred cats myself. Much more community oriented...


    Such a funny link about a dog and his owner. I just love having pets and my life is always fuller when I have one pet in my company, Typically a small dog that can get dirty to.

  3. Heya TDR! I've been reading your blog here and there for awhile in google reader so I finally decided to come out of my shell and actually follow publicly. I guess I'm finally stopping by just to say hi!

  4. @Anonymous - Cats are community-minded? I guess so, in the sense they feel that the entire community exists to serve them!

    @ITP - Thanks for that, it was a pretty well-done video. I know what you mean about pets make life fuller. I hope that I can have one again someday.

    @Running Circles - Thanks for reading, posting, and following. Hi to you too - I'll have to check out your blog.