I am not a dog lover. Nor am I a dog hater. I am indifferent overall. However, I am a people lover and if people love their dog - then great! But late last evening I got a rare glimpse into the depth of feeling that dog lovers have for their pets. I say pets, it is more like a family member.
I am setting in the nice air conditioning of my home (It was in the 90s with incredibly life draining humidity), watching mindless reruns of something or the other, and my daughter brings me the cell phone saying that Ms. ____ wants to talk to me. Ms._____ is crying. The family dog was run over in the street. The dog they got from an animal shelter 6 months earlier. Her husband is upset. Its their daughter's 10th birthday. This is not a good day for them. They ask if I can come over. I say yes of course.
Its a 15 minute drive to their home and I take my daughter with me as she wants to cheer up her friend. While driving and my 10 year old daughter is chattering about something or the other, I am trying to think what I will do or say in this situation. What do you say to dog lovers who just lost their pet. Its a mind set I don't understand, but I do understand grief. Had my share. So I figure its closely related.
I arrive. Its hot. Sticky. Barely any light as night creeps in. Mosquitos and the buzz of insects and tree frogs fill the air. I am met by a teary eyed man in his 40s who has lost his best friend. I give him a hug and go about the business of helping him bury his dog. He reminisces. I listen. He cries a bit. I put my hand on his back. We have a beer together afterward and just set there.
The deed is done. The grieving process is well under way. Recovery is around the corner. A man remembers a good dog. Life moves on.