Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knowing When to Say Goodbye....

Animals have been a constant in my life. Looking back to my youth, I found refuge in their unconditional love. In my young adult life, they were my trusted companions. In my mid-life, they helped to keep me young and engaged in the realm of "wonder". Watching my dog or cat move, react, respond, answer, relax, or any other number of ways always catches my attention, and makes me consider what they are thinking, and why they are doing what they are doing. When I apply my own interpretation to whatever they are doing, I feel even closer to them.

Over the past 25 years that I have been married to my husband, we have had a total of 6 dogs, 4 cats, 5 gerbils, 1 squirrel, 1 bird, 1 rabbit, and several fish.

This week we said goodbye to our dog Billy. He was about 13 years old, had been a resuce, and had been abused in the first half of his life. We had had him for about 7 years, and as I liked to say, he was having a good ending.

Now, you might wonder what in the world this has to do with pottery. Well, Billy was my constant companion. He was always with me, or near me. He liked to be in the studio, but he LOVED to lay underneath the floor of the studio, right under my work table. We would talk to each other while I worked, and I could hear his tail wag and tap the ground underneath me. He knew what "go studio" meant and would wag his tail and follow me out the back and down the short path to our respective spots. He under the studio, me inside.

It is always a hard thing to know when it is time to say goodbye. Even in the midst of providing your animal that last moment of love and affection, you still question is this the right thing to do? In the end, when you look back on their physical state once all is said and done, it becomes obvious that perhaps you should have done things sooner.

Billy was a sweet soul. Rarely barked. Always happy to meet a new friend, or greet a returning friend. Always just around, but never overbearing. He had very soft ears, and loved to have them rubbed. We miss him, but we knew it was his time, and we were glad that we could be holding him and telling him "good boy, we love you" up to the last.

We brought Billy home, and we have buried him by my pottery studio. I think he would have felt happiest there.

So this post is for Billy... we miss you already...peaceful journeys.