Occasionally an animal will come into our lives that is more than just a pet. Often coming to our lives when we least expect them, they become somehow bonded to us, and it’s apparent that this is not just a furry footwarmer, but the creature to whom we return Home. I have seen a few of these in my life; Jake, our family’s second collie. Eek!, Ben’s cat whom I met when it was a kitten, with whom I lived for four years when Ben and I were roommates, and who lived with me and Luke for the last year of his life. Spider, Angela’s giant black furball who lived with me while she was in school. Sylvia’s sweet cat who made it into their wedding vows. Thumper, Jade’s vocal polydactyl. Jasper.
Some animals bond with other animals, or are simply soft and happy, or they’re beautiful purebred creatures only; these bond to us. They know when we’re upset, they look at us like they know what we say and sometimes they talk back. They run to the door when we return home. They’re the reason we don’t want to be away from home for more than a week or so. They’re the barometers by which judge the new people in our lives, and they’re never wrong.
Saying goodbye to these creatures is to say goodbye to a part of ourselves; the part that represented the kind, non-judged and non-judging open heart that we otherwise guard so well. They are our familiars, our daemons, if you go in for that kind of thing (whether or not you do, actually), and like our own shadow (shadows that sometimes trip us), we carry them with us forever.
Jake died Christmas day 1996.
Eek! died July 5 2011.
Spider died January 4 2012.
Sylvia’s cat died this past year.
Thumper joined them today.
I loved Thumper. I didn’t see him enough. I always said to Jade that, I swore, I just wanted one foot. One giant polydactyl paw. She could have the rest of the cat. Every time Jade and I went to one another’s homes, we would go first to the cat and, upon leaving, try to sneak out with the cat. Thumper was Jade’s Jasper.
She had to say goodbye to him today and I am so glad that Ben was there with her, with them. Nothing I say will make it better, and today I am hugging Jasper closer and not pushing him away even when his horrible breath is right in my face. Jade, you can visit us any time… but you can’t have a paw.
Jade’s blog, and beautiful posts about Thumper, are here: http://terminallysnarky.com