I have had pets all my life and have always appreciated their presence. Losing a pet was perhaps the first lesson in life I experienced regarding death. I can’t tell you how many tears have been shed over a fur friend whom meant so much to me. I also couldn’t even begin to measure the vast amounts of unconditional love they have given me in my lifetime. Pets always have been and always will be an important aspect of life for me.
Recently, we had to make a tough choice for our youngest cat and unfortunately while we we were on vacation. This really crushed me. She was essentially my oldest daughters cat and they had such a cool bond. I think that is what hurt me the most is knowing she was going to already going to experience the loss of something so precious and important to her. It has always been upsetting when a pet dies but like I said, this really wrecked me between the shock, not being there for her, and dreading having to explain this to the kids once we were home. This was also the first time I had to make the decision about what to do and it felt horrible having to say it out loud. I am so appreciative to the vets office for their honesty along with the kindness and compassion they could offer for us from a distance. That was about the only thing that made it remotely bearable. Of course, this will not be the last time we have to go through this. I can only hope it will be slightly more foreseen and we can be there with them.
“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” – David Ellsworth
Even with all the heartbreak the loss of a pet causes it truly does not outweigh the love they gave during their time with you, however long or short it may have been. Already the second time I will be mentioning it, and likely not the last, they give us so much unconditional love. Animals are perhaps where we can look for the best example of it. In their eyes you are everything and more. They do not judge or criticize. They are there to greet you at the end of a long day with jumps, licks, nudges, or whatever is kosher to them and likely to you, there to make your bad day better or your good day even more special.
Though I’m guessing most of you reading this already know I want to share the definition of unconditional love…
“Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. The term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love… most will agree that it is a type of love which has no bounds and is unchanging.”
I pulled this from a google search and wikipedia link. Even though I could have dug deeper for maybe a more reputable source, I find this explanation spot on and matching my own understanding of what unconditional love is. For me, this is exactly what I have been gifted by the animals that have come into my life and all too quickly stepped out sometimes. I will forever appreciate that ability to experience what they offer. I love to see the connection between our cats and dog with our kids. (The cats and the dog have zero connection still, it’s very much a work in progress and may very well never happen.) It is my hope that they continue to enjoy pets in their lives and maybe even pass the love for them onto their own kids. I find having pets to be a great thing while growing up and I don’t have many reasons as to why other than that I pull only positive memories from it and, you guessed it, the unconditional love they offer.