Have you ever loved someone so much, that you would pick them up half-asleep and drenched in their own pee, cover yourself in pee, and hold them anyway?
Yeah, I have. And now I suddenly know that this is a great way to define love.
My puppy, ok early-middle-aged six-year-old dog, Girlscout, has been acting depressed for a few days. She typically acts like a beam of selfish sunshine, so for her to hide in the basement or under chairs is totally abnormal.
I took her to the vet (which, just like taking your car to the mechanic, undepressed her very fast), and he said the words I hate to hear, “we need to keep her for observation and blood draws.” The vet also suggested we clean her teeth, which if you don’t know, they do under anesthesia. A teeth cleaning is kind of like major surgery in the canine world.
About six hours later, I was able to pick her up. She was damp (maybe from pee, maybe from the cleaning) and totally out if it, but she still recognized me. She took a nap. I picked her up. Pee pee all over us both. So I gave my sedated dog a bath.
She got the shivers. We spent the next forty-five min with the blow dryer, warming her up. She has always loved warm air blowing on her.
I can’t describe the feeling of seeing someone you love barely able to hold her head up. I knew Scout was gonna be fine, but I was imagining parents in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) and how they must feel, or an adult child from a loving family of origin, bathing their parent in hospice. Yeah, nobody was home inside that furry body that I am so crazy about.
Many people think the way I feel about my pets is “weird.” Look at it this way, I grew up raising, breeding and caring for horses, dogs and cats. There was a time in the history of humanity when this was a highly profitable skill. I know my animals like other people know their family tree, favorite song or sound of their lover’s car engine turning down their street.
If you don’t have love like this in your life, if you have never felt it, if you can’t name a being you would lift out of bed, pee-stains and all and carry to the tub, I just want to say: “Go find this.” It doesn’t matter if it’s your husband, child, pal, plant or parakeet. This is love. This is the meaning of life.
“Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” – Viktor Frankl
And so begins Pet Month on ArtDuh.com, dedicated to the memory of Mimi “Miles to Go Before I Sleep” West, 5/31/2000 to 11/17/2005.