The Brevity of Life

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. ~Indian Saying

Darling Doggie Dallas and I took a walk the other day and stopped to chat with one of my old neighbors beneath his walnut tree.

Now, before you accuse me of being ageist, he’s going to be 98 on his next birthday, so I think “old” is an appropriate adjective, don’t you?

Anyway, as we were talking, he mentioned that he and his wife had lost Charlie over the long winter.

Charlie was their bird dog, white with tan spots, and he went everywhere with them.

He traveled in the back seat of their car snuggled atop a colorful quilt. He patrolled their back yard fence line on sunny days and, I imagine, hounded them inside their house. He was a good and loyal friend, and my neighbor was still suffering over his loss.

Enter Dallas, who was only too glad to ease the pain, sidling up to him and insisting he stroke Sheltie furs for a while.

Everybody knows how calming it is to pet a dog, how many benefits dog ownership brings. Another neighbor would swear to that. He, too, recently lost his Maltese-mix, and he and his wife can’t find a new dog fast enough.

Charlie lived to the ripe old age of 15 years; the Maltese was only 9.

My Dallas has already lived 8 years of a Sheltie’s expected lifespan of 11-15 years.

Yikes!

Every dog owner knows that, chances are, they’ll outlive their precious fur-kid. Law of averages and all. Still, we don’t want to think about losing our beloved friends.

Perhaps the better option is not to fret over what surely will happen, somewhere down the road, but to enjoy our pets as much as we can, for as long as we can, while we can.

Right?

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.~From a headstone in Ireland

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35 thoughts on “The Brevity of Life

    • Thanks, Professor! Having already lost one Sheltie (way back when), I know how hard it’s going to be to lose Dallas. He’s ALWAYS near me, a fur-angel, so to speak. But he’s still a young’un, so I refuse to even think about the inevitable! Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

    • Life is too short, especially for fur-kids, Lucy. I wonder if we’d appreciate them as much, though, if they lived 80+ years?!? Thanks for your condolences. Charlie’s owner, I’m sure, thinks he and his wife are too old to get another pet; however, the Maltese has already been replaced (well, not “replaced,” exactly, but you know what I mean!) Have a super weekend!!

        • I feel the exact same way about Dallas! Sometimes he gets on my last nerve when he refuses to leave my side, but he’s by far the best dog I’ve ever had!

  1. “Everybody knows how calming it is to pet a dog, how many benefits dog ownership brings.”

    You are so right about that, Debbie! Pets can sense when their owners are sick or not feeling well and can be very healing during those times. Even cats can be the same way. When my father was in hospice and dying, his cat never left his side. She snuggled next to him on his bed, which gave him much comfort. It was such a sweet and touching thing to watch.

    “Perhaps the better option is not to fret over what surely will happen, somewhere down the road, but to enjoy our pets as much as we can, for as long as we can, while we can.

    Right?”

    Right you are!

    Love the quotes you shared; especially the first one!

    Have a super holiday weekend, my friend!

    X to you and Dallas

    • Thanks so much for confirming that, Ron! Dallas stayed right by my late dad’s side when he was so sick, too, and I know he drew comfort from the company. When we walk and I see somebody who looks like he/she needs “lovins,” I’m glad to let them hug on Dallas a bit!

      Sometimes it’s not easy, caring for a pet. But when we take on that responsibility, we have to be prepared for the “yicky” parts, too — things like cleaning up after them and comforting them at the end. It’s the last best thing we can do for someone who’s done so much for us, after all!

      Happy weekend, my dear — enjoy the holiday!

  2. I’m sure Dallas lightened and delighted the day of your neighbor.
    I love seeing the companion dogs delighting the old folks in nursing homes…such a joy to see them smiling!

    • Suzi, it truly is a wonder to see how these older folks relate to pets! They’re to the age where they don’t want the bother or work of having a pet themselves, but they miss the companionship. “Borrowing” some of Dallas’s is good all the way around! Happy holiday weekend to you!

  3. It’s the balance of the joy of the present and the knowing that there will be heartbreak sometime in the future. When my last, very beloved, cat Soxy died, I thought I could never face going through that again, but within six months I found life without a pet unbearable. Enter Tommy and Tuppence… not replacements, just new friends in their own right.

    • Aw, it’s such a good thing you found TWO kitties to keep you company! I’ve never owned a cat, but have had several dogs along the line, and every time I lose one, it’s hard. Knowing we’ll meet up again one day at the Rainbow Bridge provides some comfort, though. Here’s to a fantastic weekend!

  4. We should live as if they will be with us forever. We lost our SilkyTerrior last July after thirteen years and I still am not over it. What made it especially hard was she had terminal cancer and I had to make the final call. Every year was a blessing and so many memories.

    • Oh, gosh, John, I’m so sorry. We get so attached to our pets. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’ve had them just a little while or for many years. I lost a Spitz when he was just two, and I literally cried for months. Pets add so much LIFE to our lives and need us even more than kids do. Perhaps that’s why we love them so. (And it doesn’t hurt that they’re so non-judgmental!).

  5. Dixie Rose is starting to have some slight problems now, and even though I’m sure it’s “Mechanical” (arthritis) rather than anything systemic, it’s a reminder that she’s fifteen, and time is passing. I expect her to go before I do, and I hope that’s true. If there’s anything that hurts more than the thought of being without here, it’s the thought of her not having me, and not understanding why.

    Life is hard, sometimes — but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth living!

    • This is so true, Linda! I hadn’t really thought about going before Dallas, but I imagine he’d mourn himself to death. He’s so attached to me and follows me everywhere. He’s gotten a bit “worse” about it, too, the older he gets. His breeder says he’d adapt to another home with shameless ease, but I doubt it. I think he still expects my late dad to come strolling into the house at any minute! Thanks for giving us another perspective!

  6. Sometimes I think dogs are angels in disguise. Think how easily they melt our hearts, make us laugh, sense when we need a cuddle. Think how unconditionally they love us no matter how badly we’ve behaved.

    I feel sorry for your neighbor. I think particularly as people get older, the reality of having to part from a beloved pet becomes harder to accept. Older people, particularly retired people, find their social circles shrinking. Pets are often their most constant companions. I’m thinking of my parents as I write this, and how much they depend on their own dog to provide cuddles, love and laughter. He is 11 years old and I dread the day he leaves them. It’s going to be SO hard for them.

    • I love the idea of dogs being angels in disguise!! For most of us, they truly are. The neighbor who lost the Maltese didn’t wait a month before finding another one; of course, he and his wife are way younger than the 98-year-old guy who lost his beloved Charlie. It’s hard to think about our parents aging, Terri. I’m so glad your folks have you close by to lean on when they need to!

    • Pat, you ought to see my phone — more pictures of Dallas, I’m afraid, than of Domer, ha! It’s funny, you know. I’m closer to Dallas than I was to any other dog I’ve ever had. We just “click,” I guess!

  7. So true. Katie is 8 too. She’s slowed down a little, just enough to make life a tad easier, and I wish she could stay like this forever. Perhaps Dallas could visit your neighbor regularly while they adjust to life after Charlie.

    • Dallas still has a lot of “puppy” in him, but he definitely knows when to rest (and let me get some work done!). Good idea about visiting, Dawn — we stop every chance we get, and it’s heart-warming to see Dallas sharing love with my neighbors!

  8. Love the headstone quote. Like you, I think of Henry’s life, who is about the same age as Dallas. (Only a Cavalier’s span is about 10) In fact I started to fret about his life span when I saw the film, Marley and Me, or whatever it was called. I sobbed over that film and when I got home, I hugged Henry dearly. He was only two! But I cried for my future without him, for now that I’ve had the privilege of having him and Oliver in my life, and the love they give in such abundance, I cannot bear to think of a life without them. Uh-oh. I’m getting weepy all over again. I need a tissue. Stat!

    • Isn’t it the truth, Monica?? I lost a Spitz when he was two and another Sheltie at age 16. Both were hard on me, but the thought of losing Dallas one day is unbearable! Ever since Domer left home, Dallas has been my sidekick, my hug-bunny, my always-at-my-side companion. I can’t fathom life without him! Oh, I know it’s inevitable, and I know I’ll handle it when it happens, and I know we’ll meet at the Rainbow Bridge, but still….Oh, rats, now we’ll have to bawl together!

  9. I think you’re right – we shouldn’t waste the time we have with them worrying about when they will die. We should enjoy their company while we have it (actually, this applies to people as well as pets.)

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