Friday, July 8, 2011

on awareness

nea summer flowers

Been thinking about animals.
When we got Nea almost three years ago my main hesitation had to do with her dying one day, and how hard that would be. Selfish isn't it?

When I go to work, she wants to go too. When I take pictures of flowers, she's always trying to get in the damn photo.
One time we were doing a shoot here and she insisted on having her paw in the shot. Finally the photographer had to politely ask me to take Nea home.

One day Nea will likely get sick and die. She doesn't think about it, and that's nice for her. She just sort of enjoys the day. Panting silently most of the time, her eyes sliding shut until the UPS man walks up.
Then all hell breaks loose.
I can't stop thinking about Gus and this bit of animal behavior science:

"A 2005 study of elephant grief, reported in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, confirmed what experts have long sworn, that elephants pay homage to their fallen, visiting the remains of even long-dead relatives, and gently turning over the bleached bones with trunk or foot. Biologists tell of gorillas banging their chests with yowls of anguish during a wake for a fallen friend, of sea lions wailing when their babies have been mutilated by killer whales, of grief-stricken monkey mothers carrying dead infants around for days, of geese singing both halves of a duet when their partners have died..."


Sealicious said...

I'm glad I'm not the only "crazy" person already thinking how sad I will be when my beloved dog passes away . . .

dogs are the best. At least you already have so many beautiful recorded memories of her :)

Inessa said...

the bit about the UPS man just had me rolling with laughter, thank you for sharing. That was my same hesitation about getting cats, you get too attached and it just makes things difficult. When I go on trips I am embarrassed to say it but I miss them most of all, not my house, my bed, my friends or family, MY CATS>>>>

Anonymous said...

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

-Winnie The Pooh

Oblio and Arrow said...

you guys just need to work out the deal windsor and I have going. He is not allowed to die. I whisper it in his ear all the time, and he agrees with a look.

laughtrack said...

A Dog on his Master

As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.

Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods.

And if this ever manages
to cross his mind,
it would be the sweetest
shadow I have ever cast on snow or grass.

--billy collins

17 beats. said...

i wish i thought about my dog dying before i fell in love with her. these days i think about it every now and again, and it's crushing. it eases my mind and heart, though, knowing that she doesn't think that way ... and that her life would be much sadder without ME.

Janae said...

The thought of a beloved pet dying is almost too much to bear, but the cool thing about them is what you said: "She doesn't think about it, and that's nice for her. She just sort of enjoys the day." Pets (and children) remind us to live in the moment, and that's one of the best things about them.

laughtrack said...

She doesn't think about us dying, when we're with her. When we're not, i think it's the only thing she thinks about...

WPZ - Sandy said...

I don't know that this will make you feel any better, but thought it might be of interest to you...

Zoe said...

What is it about the man in brown? I once lived on a farm with a dear sweet egg-thieving dog who could spot the UPS van coming out on the hard road, a quarter mile away from the long farm road... She'd meet him, snarling, at the turnoff.

Nea must be the cattle dog? I am a fan.

What Possessed Me said...

When my dog died, my mom vowed not to get another - it was just too hard to go through. I still feel her presence in certain places. Meanwhile, I'm silently waiting for the cats to kick it.

I am still reeling from the bit about the geese. I had no idea that geese did anything except shit and fly south.

Jo said...

You have broken my heart. Losing a pet is so hard. But I think our time with them makes it worth it.
The bit about grieving animals slays me. We see fawns get killed often around here. Sometimes you will hear the mama deer come back after dark and call for her babe. It makes me want to cry.

count buckula said...

awww, i love little sha-nea-nea

Splendid Stems said...

I lost my 14 year old baby in January. It has been every bit as painful as I imagined it would be. I use to say, "I will go crazy when Mr. B. goes ", I almost did. Out of my sorrow came something wonderful - a big rescue dog named Carly. She is not a replacement, but has been a great healer, and a devoted friend.
* It did not occur to me that Mr.B and I never exchanged true spoken words because we had our own language - funny how that just happens. Many years of happiness to you and your fur child.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from a funeral in upstate NY today and wish I had a dog to come home to. You and Nea are blessed to have each other. Screw forever; NOW is the time. XXOO.

fleur_delicious said...

strange, just before I logged on, I got home and asked my Siamese, "how did we develop this little ritual?" as we went through our usual love-greeting. I haven't had a cat since I was a kid, but I love this cat. I love her to bits.
I know I will be devastated when I lose my favorite fuzzball, but part of me knows that the best of partings are bittersweet: the pain is there because what you had/what you did/where you were was good and meaningful.

ValHalla said...

Having already lost one cat (and of course the many (childhood pets), it is always present in the back of my mind, since I found the best cat ever. Also, somehow knowing that I will be at, near, or over 50 if she lives her expected lifespan makes me dread it more. Can a 50 year old fall apart at the loss of a pet? Perhaps it is a sign that I have lived a coddled life.

D.R.P. said...

Your dog is a big reason why I read your blog. She is a great muse - and also looks part fox? ;)

For design and fashion inspiration check out THINGS SHE MADE !

Fashion Hype / Graphic Content / Pretty Things

Fleurie Flower Studio said...

I have had several dogs that make their appearance in every picture! They are so funny that way. We had a Sheltie in the 80's, and when I look at old pictures, I still cry a little seeing her peek out at me in nearly every shot! Enjoy your todays, don't think about tomorrows.

Anonymous said...

We lost two old friends this year. I read this poem on a blog recently and it made me feel better about starting over with a new kitten.

Futile the doctor’s great patience and skill —
Somebody’s kitten lies lifeless and still.

Hot tears are blinding somebody’s sight
For a little grey kitten was killed tonight.

But outside another wee kitten looks in,
So small and alone and pitifully thin.

So somebody mourn not the one who is dead
But give of your love to the living instead.

Céline said...

i got my dog when i was five. from that day on i had the same fears you have now. and when he died 14 years later it was hell, just like i imagined. it took me over a year to deal with it but now i am good and i can think of the great time i had with him. i am studying veterinary medicine right now, and i will get a new dog one day.

so, just wanna say: 1. you are not crazy and 2. just enjoy it. dogs make life better ;)

Céline said...

okay, second and last one:

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits
Are closing in asthma or tumors or fits
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers, or loaded guns.
Then you will find--its your own affair
But--you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will
When the whimper of welcome is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You still discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

greetings from berlin

m.e.w. said...

I think about that all the time too. Don't know what I'll do when that day comes but I hope solace will find me. and you too.

angela said...

hilarious about the paw.