There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
— Rudyard Kipling
I know it’s coming from the moment I lay my eyes on that newborn pup … my heart will eventually be torn in two by the loss of yet another true friend. So why do I always arrange for more? It’s the question every animal lover asks when they lose a precious pet.
Our beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog left us on July 1. Sonny was almost 9-1/2, which some will tell you is a good age for a big dog. Well, they’re wrong. There is no good age for losing a friend, big or small, and 9-1/2 years is never enough.
I’ve lost three dogs in the last four years. It’s my own fault – I brought them into my life knowing that this would be the outcome. There are always the tears, the heartache of having to decide when is the right time to say goodbye, and still more tears. But Sonny’s death has hit me differently. He is certainly missed, and I think about him often, but this time it is more about the loss itself. This time I’m angry more than sad.
Angry that a creature that can give its heart to me with no questions asked is allowed so little time to share that love. Angry that diseases progress in a dog at the same time-warp speed that dogs themselves seem to age. Angry that with all the advances in veterinary medicine, oftentimes there is still no answer and nothing you can do to change the outcome. And angry that I know I will be doing it all over again in a few short years.
So why do I always arrange for more? Because I would not be who I am without the pets who have left their paw prints on my heart – and I cannot imagine who I might become if I never added another to the tally of my soul.