Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A couple of days ago my father lost his dear friend and faithful companion of about fifteen years, Flip, a Rat Terrier. While some may contend this topic is not about homesteading, I respectfully disagree. What home front, from as far back as you can imagine, were dogs not a fixture. Like the rocking chair to soothe the newborn child, the freshly baked fruit pie sitting on the window sill to cool while the men plowed the fields or that log of wood brought in from the cold and thrown onto the fireplace for the family to gather around; the dog was and most likely forever will remain a fiber that makes up the rich blanket of family life. Flip, so named for his circus like ability to jump and flip, a more common than not trait I understand for his breed, was solidly "man's best friend," yet never a cliche'. For years he gleefully rode from one coast of this country to the next in my fathers pick-up truck. He'd been to the Rocky Mountains and ran the trails in the summer and pounced the snow in the winter. He'd been on many a fishin' trips to lakes, rivers and streams, there to keep my dad company while delighting in the warmth of the suns rays. What a life he lived, one to envy for sure. I can picture Flip a few years back when he still had a spring in his stride, running to greet you, jumping straight up into a pirouette before returning back down to the ground. How nice it must have been to be greeted everyday with such unconditional love and enthusiasm. He lived through twelve grand children of all ages running, chasing, tossing and playing. Indeed it must have been grand to be Flip. Yeah, we'll miss you ol' Flip. But from someone who has loved and lost pets of her own, I know although they may not be a child, parent or spouse, they are as uniquely a part of our family. While the hole in our heart takes time to slowly heal from the lost daily dose of innocent, pure love and devotion bathed upon us, I like to believe he, like so many others, died happy, content and ready to once again feel the youth in his body that this time space reality can no longer offer him. Imagine if you can how excited he must have been on the day he passed away in my father's arm. Happy and thankful undoubtedly. For here he had been given the precious opportunity to come and be loved, play, travel and explore so much of what our wonderful world has to offer. He experienced in many cases more of life than many humans have the courage to know. Then, when he chose to go back from where he came, he was craddled by the warm, tanned hands that had once themselves enjoyed the deliciousness of youth, before eagerly racing into the open field for that eternal game of chase. We miss them when they go for we feel we have lost, but we have not. Our pets teach us the true meaning of friendship and love, you have only to look into their eyes to know they are content with there purpose here on earth to serve and give. This is a principal they understand much better than we. Animals I believe, instinctually understand their season here, so rather than choosing to spend their time caring what others think about them, being caddy or angry, making petty matters important, they choose instead just to enjoy. To enjoy life! Enjoy running, and playing and loving and being loved. And they especially enjoy and appreciate when warm hands are there to hold them when they leave. Farewell dear flip, I know life is good where you are, and I'm sure I'll see you there someday, but till then, why don't you flick a light bulb once in while just to let my dad know you're still around.