Remember when you first laid eyes on their furry face?
In that moment, something in you knew there was something about them, that they were the one... or, maybe something didn't. Maybe he drove you crazy, destroyed your oriental rug, dragged you around, and you wondered what in the hell you got yourself into. Maybe she bit you or trampled you or just straight up ran away. But eventually, despite all odds, in some way or another, our animals always, always ignite something in us. They make their way into our hearts as only they can. They are our saviors and our teachers. They show up, they love you the very best they can, and ask only that you accept them and love them in return.
Now I'm assuming you're an animal lover, so you know all of this. Heck, I'm basically preaching to the pet choir. But I know that sometimes I personally get so accustomed to having animals in my life, that I need to step back in amazement at how truly cool our dogs, cats, horses... really are! Like on days when everything is hard, and you're steaming mad or you're just collapsed and devoid of everything, somehow, even though they are an entirely different species, they get the memo. They do something ridiculous or adorable or sweet, or heck, they just look at you, and as if by magic, that love and happiness that you were 100% sure you would never feel again.. *poof* bubbles up through you, and you smile. Try and resist it all you want, but you wont be able to. I'm still amazed (and thankful) every time they pull it off.
There is nothing else on the planet with such an ability. Think about it... friends, family, even at their most helpful and caring, they require something from us, no matter how giving, they just don't have the magic. There is literally nothing else that can touch this most fragile and hidden part of ourselves. It's no wonder the animals in our lives are so, so important to us. In families sharing their lives with dogs, "40 percent of married female dog owners reported they received more emotional support from their pet than from their husband or their kids" (American Animal Hospital Association). Does this surprise you?
So when the worst, most terrible day comes, as it always does, to say goodbye forever to such a support system, to such a huge, beautiful, gift of friendship and love and hair. You're never ready. How can you be? The final lesson of loss is always the hardest one to learn. Saying farewell, being thankful, and letting them go.
But years and years and decades later, you'll still be reminded of their stories, their quirks. Even after all that time they'll still be able to make you smile, you'll still miss them. Because in many ways, our animals are one of the most meaningful relationships in our lives.
You'll never fully get over the loss of the animals you love, and that's a great thing. Because they have changed your life, and they have changed you. You are without a doubt a better person because of them, you're kinder, more patient, more empathetic, and if that wasn't enough, you likely have lower blood pressure to boot. Who would ever want to get over any of that?
Enjoy your animals now, learn from them, let them make you a better person, so that when the time comes, their loss stays with you, and you never get over the gifts they spent every moment giving. ❤
Here are just a few of the beautiful animals who've passed on that I've been honored to draw. So much love in these faces! They've all touched my heart just by drawing them, and I know they meant the world to their families. It's heartwarming to know that whenever they're missed, they're still close by, watching over the ones they love.