Sometimes animals come into our lives for a moment, and sometimes they are with us for a life-time, our lives are always enriched because of it. The connection that bonds us to our furry, feathery and sometimes scaley friends is remarkable.
This year saw the passing of two dear friends. If you have read The Year of the Cicadas you understand the intricacies of my relationship with Ali the pit-bull. He became my un-wanted burden and then later my comfort and trusted companion. Sadie his sister-in-love bounded around our house, in and out during the turmoil of the summer of the cicadas. I can still see the happiness on each of their faces, tongues hanging out of their mouths, as they bounded around the house over couches, and under tables chasing each other in glee. Ooooh the exuberance of youth!
They were both cherished parts of both of my son’s families, first companions of unmarried men, eachadjusting through years of dating, marriage and children. Each dog showed patience and love while learning their new roles in the family. Years have come and gone, their joints stiffened and health concerns mounted and sadly both of our dear friends, Sadie and Ali, separated from each other by life and miles have passed on. Not only do they live on in our minds and photos but in the hearts of our readers as well.
My mind has wandered over the relationships of “pet-parents” and that of causal encounters. My question is, “who adopts who?” An elderly gentlemen’s health had been failing. He was no longer able to leave the house much and needed around the clock care. A small dove fell out of its nest and took to this small frail man. Each recognizing a need in the other, the bond was set. He fed the dove, talked to him and the hours and days flew by. Each was dependent upon the other for companionship and comfort.
Leaving the sliding door open the small youngster would fly inside the house and sleep on his pillow right next to his “adopted” pet-parent. Time went by and quickly this dove turned into an adult. He flew off to have a life, as all wild animals should. It was sad to watch as the aged eyes looked around for his small friend. He continued to put food out daily watching carefully for his feathered child, and then one day he came back. The winged friend had developed a life of his own, but comes back daily to eat. After that the old man encountered an extended period in the hospital with little hope of his recovery, all he talked about was returning home to see his dove. Was it this bond with his feathery friend that helped him to recover? I think so.
Another story of a small bird that flew into the hearts of a mother and son for just a few moments touched my heart. The bird landed hard and was stunned. He rested in the palm of both her and her son’s hands until he recovered and then flew away.
After years of living on a farmette, with dogs, cats, horses, goats and assorted animals that my children brought home and cared for, I find I am now without a “pet-family.” Time has moved on, the children grew up, the pets passed on, and there is a new-found freedom with that. Grandchildren replace the children in our lives and hearts.
A stray cat has been finding his way into my world for the past three years. I have been feeding and talking to him. He comes and goes by his own leave. He is spending time in my garden with me while loving on my grandchildren, finally I realize that this cat has adopted me and I him. Each giving what we both need at this point in our lives, a little freedom, a little solitude and sometimes a cuddle.
The bond that forms between people and animals is amazing. I am grateful for all of the memories, love and affection that has come and gone over the years. Good-bye Sadie, sweet dreams Ali, I hope you are both running around together you’re your tongues hanging out, young again in spirit and body.
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Without you, the readers of The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here. You rock.