It’s been a rough week at the Frazier household. On Monday, our beloved Peanut, who was a Pom-Yorkie mix, was eaten by a cougar. Or at least that’s our best guess given the evidence that we have (which includes cougar footprints and some mighty freaked out dogs). We have three other dogs, but there is a hole in our family that only Peanut could fill. Pets become family. At least in ours they do.
Peanut was a good dog. Loving, loyal, protective. We called him “Nurse Peanut” because if anyone was sick, he would lie next to them all day long, sneaking concerned glances along the way. We also called him “Sockmorton” because that dog loved socks. No matter how hard we tried to put socks in places he couldn’t get to them, which wasn’t hard given that he was only six pounds and had no vertical jump, he always turned up with a sock in his mouth and a twinkle in his eye.
I’ve always known that loss is part of life. Pets, especially, bring that home because they are with us for such a short time. When you pick out the new puppy or bring home the new kitten, you aren’t thinking of the inevitable that will occur 15 years down the line. We all know it happens with pets, and yet we welcome them into our homes because the joy of loving inevitably outweighs the pain of eventual loss.
Loss is part of life. Not just with pets. With everything. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Whether it is a job, a relationship or something else, all things in life are finite. Eventually we wind up coping with the loss of something we considered to be valuable. If we’re lucky, we do it with grace and take what we can from the experience.
If we start at the beginning of every story fearing our sense of loss at the end, then we hold ourselves back from the joy of experience. Everything ends, but there is a whole lot of in-between. If I’d met Peanut fearing his inevitable death, then I would have missed out on all of the joy, love and gifts he brought with him in his life. Loss is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to keep us from fully giving ourselves to the joy of the experience. If anything, it should motivate us to treasure those experiences as they occur, because they are so fleeting.
As for Peanut – his end was quick but his life was full. He was beloved, well-cared for and happy. He loved racing out the door without a care in the world – his tail high, held wagging because he was so excited to tumble around with the other dogs. He liked to watch out the front windows to see what the neighbors were doing. And he loved socks.
Peanut’s life was short. His end was abrupt. One moment he was there, vital, alive and cute as the dickens, and in the next moment there was only silence and small reminders of his presence. In spite of his end, I am grateful he was here. He vastly enriched my life. He let me fall in love with him. And he never met a sock he didn’t like. Soon, those are the things that I will remember instead of the pain of his passing.