Having recently become adoptive parents of our perpetually peppy puppy, Kayla and I are reminded how easy it is to bestow human-like intention and meaning upon the behaviors and actions of those non-human members of our families. I’m constantly trying to figure out whats causing the latest episode of puppy angst, always hesitant to attribute it to the fact that Kesey is a puppy. But he is exactly that, a puppy. Prone to behave like puppies do.
As we welcome this bundle of energy into our lives which requires great amounts of love, attention, routine, and discipline, it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to one of the best friends this life has given us, Tess. We didn’t get to see her as often as would be preferred, but every time we did, we were greeted with wagging tail and doggy joy.
It is easy to attribute to this greeting some very human emotions, thinking that she must have missed us and is glad we’re back. But part of me has to think that impossible, as we’ve never lived with her, and she’s spent much more time without us around than with us. I get stuck between two modes of thought, thinking that I’m crazy to project my feelings onto an animal, and then feeling true empathetic connection in the next moment.
I’ve never felt that empathetic connection more than during our last visit to Minnesota. We were given so much love from Tess, even though it was clear her health was declining and getting around was becoming more difficult for her. On the day we were leaving, it felt a little strange when she came down into the room in which we were staying while we were packing up. This was unusual behavior for her. I became overwhelmed with a feeling that she knew this was her last opportunity to see us, and that she wanted to say goodbye. It shook me much more than I expected, but made me so happy to have known such a sweet soul. I packed with tears in my eyes, and was reluctant to leave. It stings to know I won’t be able to play with you again, but I’m thankful for the times we had. I’m glad I got to say goodbye to you, Tess, the gesture was amazing.
Thanks for all the love.