As I sit down to write this missive, I do as we all tend to do, and think backwards instead of forward. (Although if the quantum physicists are right, it doesn’t matter which way you go on a timeline.) In many ways 2011 was a banner year, and in some ways it was quite ordinary.
We have lost two more of our furry children:
Jezebel in May at the ripe old age of 19 people years and Samson in July just two days after my fiftieth birthday. Samson and I had been together for more than 14 years and the vet estimated that he was at least 2 years old when I adopted him. Jezebel and her sister Delilah (who passed in 2010), kittens born in July 1992, were a housewarming gift from my mom.
Recently I read that the loss of a pet is harder than the loss of a human friend, because we spend more time in the company of our pets than even our closest human friends. From the moment we wake up in the morning they are with us until we leave the house, through the toothbrushing and dressing and breakfasting. Then as soon as we come home again, they are there to share the mail with us, and sit by us as we prepare dinner or work on the computer. We think of our departed friends or family members when the big events that mark our lives happen without them there to share. Pets fill our lives in the small moments that we don’t even think to count and they are always, always there hoping for a tiny bit of our attention. And it is those small moments that feel so empty when we lose them.
After Samson died, Steve was hoping we would not get another dog for awhile. And one fateful night in August when the moon was full, something crossed the road and then it went back across the road and soon was obviously a dog trotting down the road ahead of us, desperately searching for something. After watching the dog for a little bit, I pulled the car over and got out. And then I couldn’t see it anywhere, so I softly called, “Come here, baby” and a little nose poked from behind the back of the car. I opened the rear passenger door and invited the dog to “Jump in.”
Soon we were back on the road and I called Steve, stopped at my house long enough for Steve to come out with a leash and then I took Mom home. By the time I got back, Steve had determined that the dog was an intact male with a docked tail and while he had an expensive spiked leather collar, there was no identification of any kind – no tags, no phone number written on the inside of the collar, nothing. I called the vet to see if she could squeeze in a visit on Monday and started posting on lost pet sites and sent pictures to local rescue agencies. On Monday, the vet checked for a microchip with no luck and suggested that we foster him for as long as possible because the shelters were all jammed full. So we learned all about belly bands to keep boy doggies from watering inside and waited for the owner we were certain would contact us to get back such a sweet doggy. Two weeks later with not so much as a nibble, we took the plunge and got him neutered and gave him the name Buddy.
For ourselves, we have used the year to try to develop our skills and start moving in the path we have seen laid out for us. My first step outside my comfort zone was to take a class on social networking through my job at Mayo Clinic. So you can now find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and Twitter. In addition, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (www.NaNoWriMo.org) with the goal of forcing myself to do what I’ve always wanted to do – write. It worked and I was able to complete the task, ie, write a novel of 50,000 words in one month from November 1 through November 30. I met some great people in the process and really enjoyed myself. Yes, I wrote a lot of crap – it’s one of the things they tell you will happen, because you have to put away the inner editor and just pound out words in order to get it done in a month (while still working a full-time job). I also have some gems that I can use to seed other projects and I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year.
Steve, after much soul searching and thinking, buckled down to put his design in motion and applied for and got a conditional patent on his cat bowl design, so he is hopeful that he will find a company willing to produce and market it. If you know anyone in plastics who could help, please share Steve’s email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As we begin a New Year, we wish you blessings and the drive to accomplish great things.
And if it all ends by this time next year as the doomsayers predict, then may you go out with a bang and no regrets!