Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2007

Old pet provides Christmas gift

December 20, 2007

It was a dark, cold, grey, morning as I dawned cap, glove and coat to head out on my regular walk up the road. The county man had graded a path through the ice and snow of the previous day, so footing was adequate. I noticed my old buddy Jessie had stirred from her deep sleep, so I unlatched her cage door and set her free. She had that look of a full bladder, so we proceeded without haste to the door.

Once outside, we were both greeted with a "Northeaster" near gale forcie nipping at our towns. Jessie hesitated and returned to the safety of the front stoop, as I trekked off with my walking sticks crunching holes in the new fallen show.

Jessie doesn't join me anymore on my walks, as her arthritis and heart condition has slowed her down appreciably. Thanks to glucosamine and chondritic, my joints are fine for the age of half a century. Regardless the conditions out, I felt great to be alive.

Upon returning, Jessie met me at the entrance with a look that said, "What took you so long? It's freezing out here. I'm not a spring chicken anymore."

I let her through the home's gateway, following her in to the encompassing richness of the home's warmth.

As I filled my coffee cup a second time, I could see Jessie scavenging the floor for a rare crumb, fallen down from the previous meal, as was her habit all these years.

I settled back at the sofa and she soon followed me. Our eyes met and I knew the lookas "pet me, dad, like you always do..."

I reached down to stroke and caress her soft fur, relishing in our warm bond of friendship. At that moment I felt overwhelmed by an emotion so sweet, as if her spirit transformed and moved through my fingers. It was evident at that moment she had handed over her only precious gift this Christmas - her love.

Even as a child I had sensed this gift. But had not recognized the depth of it's power. No wonder I chose the path of life I had. Yes, on this grey and forlorn morning, a dog's love lifted me and was the greatest gift of this Christmas.

As we hustle and bustle through this most wonderful time of the year, let us take pause to relish in the great contributions our pets and animals of the farm have bestowed upon us. It is truly a gift from God, from the beginning of time and creation. Remember, too, we are given the responsibility and privilege of caring for and husbanding these beasts. Never abuse that right, as their lives are precious and wonderfully conceived as ours.

Jessie was now curled up at my feet. Her distasteful breathing brought on by congestive heart failure and tachycardia, kept her system working overtime to breath her breaths of life. Oh sure, she has three different medications she takes daily, much like all of us. But, she has earned the right to live a few more years in dignity for her contribution to our family and home. I am always reminded of the photograph of Jessie and my daughter Katie this is posted atop our bulletin board in the waiting room in our office. In this photo, Katie a 2 1â2 years old stands beside Jessie, her trusted companion at over 11,000 feet above sea level, with the Rocky Mountains unfolding in the background. I seem to see another loving expression on her face. "Thanks for the memories, Dad."

Jessie, thanks for the gift of all your memories, I thought as I reached down lovingly and patted her contentedly snoozing head.

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