This has been a very sad week at our house.....
Our beloved little dog of 11 years died. He was actually Megan’s dog. We all loved him, but maybe not as much as she did. After all, she named him "Romeo" and the two have been virtually inseparable since the day she brought him home.
As we have moved through this difficult week, I have made several observations and have had a couple of insights I would like to share:
First, people who love animals are awesome!
Nine out of ten people who offered their condolences to us in person actually teared up while trying to comfort us. Of course they were sorry for our loss, but the tears were for the loss of their own pets, even though, in many cases, their pets had died several years before. They each proceeded to share their story and somehow we were comforting each other. What surprised me the most is that many people stated that the loss of their pet was surprisingly more difficult to get over than the loss of a family member! They would quickly add that they dearly loved their departed family member, but surprisingly, it was more difficult to get past the loss of their pet! Apparently our furry friends leave a permanent imprint in our hearts.
I hope no one is offended by my sharing this, but I found these statements so fascinating that I wanted to dig a little deeper. What is this power that our pets wield over us?
As a nurse, I have been in many emergency rooms, ICU units, hospice facilities and have had the privilege of witnessing good patient care...but nothing like the care Romeo consistently received at the Veterinarian clinic. Each and every staff member gave a level of care that I have never witnessed in “people clinics!” Each member of the team from the front desk to the Veterinarian showed care, concern, and superior service at each visit. When Romeo was in critical condition, a staff member who had particularly bonded with him over the past year traded shifts to be able to hold and comfort him during his final hours. She personally took his bed and blankets home, washed them, and called to arrange to return them or dispose of them as we wished. We received flowers, cards and phone calls from several of the staff members. When we commented on their outstanding service and care, they all respond that they love their jobs because they love their patients. (Not always the case when dealing with people patients:)
I have seen the effect pets, especially dogs, have had on my patients in the hospital. I have
observed lowered heart rates, reduction of pain levels, and decreased anxiety levels. I remember a hospice patient who became unresponsive. The family had just flown in and desperately wanted to be able to communicate with the patient, but he was not able to rally. By "chance" the therapy dog was on the floor and the trainer took the dog to the patient's bedside. The dog began licking the patient's hand and within 10 minutes, the patient opened his eyes, and began petting and talking to the dog. We quickly called the family into the room and they enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship together. The patient shared that he thought he was dreaming of the dog he loved as a little boy. The patient actually sat upright and visited for several minutes with his family. We were all amazed!
Personally, I think it is the power of unconditional love that they offer. They have short memories and don't seem to remember the last time you scolded them or forgot to give
them fresh food or water. Romeo would always meet us at the door with unabashed enthusiasm whether we were gone 5 minutes or 5 hours. He wasn't moody or fickle. He was focused and consistent. The only thing on his mind day and night was to see how close he could sit to Megan!
He was fiercely protective. He always trusted us. He always pursued us.
My take away from this? I want to be more like Romeo! I want to be more loveable. I want to keep no record of wrong. I want to always protect others, trust them more, and always strive to love unconditionally! Well I'll just say it...I want to be like our dog! When a friend or family member comes over, I want to greet them enthusiastically and give them my
undivided attention, even if it is for a brief moment. (I draw the line at sitting in their lap, though.)
Who knows? Maybe God created these lovable little bundles of fur to illustrate 1 Corinthians 13 for those of us who are little slow to learn. Just a thought....
Wishing you a tail-wagging week :)
p.s. Megan’s sitting this week out, but she’ll be back for the next post:)