Clyde our lovable kitty of eighteen years died in June of 2019. Those of you who are pet people know that whether they are cats, dogs, hamsters, or horses, animals are family. Sometimes they are better at relating to us than some of our human family members.
During our semiannual visit to the dentist in May of 2020, our hygienist talked about her cats. When I mentioned that we’d lost Clyde a year earlier, she said a stray kitten had followed her friends home from a walk. They’d been feeding her but couldn’t take another cat and hoped to find a good home for her. Were we interested? If you’ve lost a beloved pet, you know the feeling of wanting another animal and yet hesitating remembering your grief when they passed.
After a conversation with my husband, I called her friend, Tyler, who texted me a photo of the adorable Calico; our hearts melted. Tyler and his wife drove to our home that same afternoon delivering a cat box, cat food, cat toys, and Emily. They hadn’t named her, but when I took her out of the crate, I knew she was an Emily. She lifts our spirits and adds joy to our household. Elliot even wrote a song for her.
Last week, my youngest sister, Carole, who’s been an animal lover since before she was born, has always attracted animals. She started with a rat, then a bird, graduating to dogs and cats, and in her preteens added horses. Animals are her life. She’s a horse trainer, dog trainer and teaches anyone who’s interested how to ride and care for horses. I think she’d move into the barn and sell her house before she’d abandon her animals.
She purchased Cody in 1994, a three-month-old thoroughbred gelding, trained him and loved him. She sold him several years later to a couple who wanted to show him. Last year Carole heard that Cody’s current owner had neglected him, so she arranged to get him back and accomplished it with lightning speed. Once home, she pampered him and showered him with gobs of love; he rebounded. Yet, a year after his return, despite her care, new symptoms arose. The veterinarian’s prognosis was dire, and at 27, Cody moved to greener pastures. The image of my sister with Cody licking her face and nuzzling her as she wrapped her arms around his neck, in those final moments of his life, broke my heart.
As deep as grief goes, the ability to love again brings healing and hope. Several days after Cody’s death, Carole shared a photo of a puppy looking for a loving home. Resilience is one of the gifts of the human heart.