To say goodbye is something humans always have to do, although it’s always hard. And a farewell is as important for people as it is for animals. Mia Mattsson-Mercer writes about it in her chronicle.
We mourn with great emotional strength and for a long time. We may even become depressed after losing our beloved pet. Some people who have not had any animals may raise an eyebrow in surprise at the great grief some have after losing their pet.
We who have lost our furry friend know what kind of pain it is, and it is debilitating. It feels as if someone has ripped out your heart from your body. For a long time we have been together with our pets, experiencing their unconditional love. No demands from them, only love. Our beloved four-legged friends, which are always there for us, happy and comfortable.
When death knocks at the door and takes our beloved friend away a huge emptiness replaces him. Pain and silence vibrate in our homes and our hearts.
But animals also grieve. Our Labrador dog Ranger, left us too quickly. We were not prepared for his sudden death. Nor was Shiloh, our youngest dog, a mixed breed. Also for Shiloh, Ranger’s death came as a shock.
Ranger died in the animal emergency room, never waking up from emergency surgery. We brought his body home and laid him in a room on his favorite blanket. We opened the door and let our three dogs come in and sniff around him and make a last farewell. Clyde and Tjojs went to Ranger’s body and sniffed at him and then lay down in the doorway, as if they were ready to guard him from enemies.
Shiloh loved his “uncle” Ranger. Ranger always took care of Shiloh; we have pictures of Shiloh literally sleeping on top of Ranger. Shiloh walked up to his body and began to show great concern. With her nose she nudged at the blanket surrounding him, trying to bury him. Shiloh was not herself for several weeks. It hurt to see Shiloh mourn her departed best friend.
This week I had the honor to meet with Mira. Mira was a beautiful goat that lived as part of the same (human) family for over twenty years. Their three children who are now in their upper twenties grew up with goat Mira.
What a wonderful charisma and wisdom Mira radiated when I sat down with her! I didn’t want to leave. She showed no fear, but was pleasantly at peace.
Mira shared happily with me her memories. She liked the small wagon that she had had in her younger days. How she loved it when the children were playing that she was a horse!
Mira’s owner told me that “Little owner” used to play horse and circus with Mira, who was one of the most family-oriented goats they had ever had. Mira could also tell me about the family’s different personalities, even about the grandmother who was no longer alive.
Mira’s wish was to be buried on the hill among the trees on the family land. The family had an apple orchard where the apple trees were in a beautiful valley. But it was not for her own sake that Mira wanted to be buried there, it was largely about the owner and “Little master”, now both in their twenties.
Mira knew her owner would not be able to let Mira be taken away from home. Her owner needed a place to go to where she knew Mira was to mourn in the months and years ahead. The owner cried as I told her this, as did I, but it was pleasant tears, lovely and caring.
The family had talked about driving her away when it was time. The thoughts were slightly different in the family now that it was Mira’s own “words”. It also meant that the owner became stronger in her decision. Mira had confirmed through me what her owner had felt from the very first moment.
With all my heart I love animals, because even at their end, they think of us.
That’s why I always call the animals my mini-Buddhists. Because they know more about the big picture than we do. Even if time doesn’t exist for them, they know when it’s approaching their time (the time is there to go over the Rainbow bridge)