Human Condition: Losing a pet has powerful impact _lowres

 

It was a Saturday morning when I received the call from my parents giving me the bad news. Our beloved Megan was gone.

She had been hurting for awhile and prone to seizures, so it was no surprise when the decision was made that no pet owner wants to make. The news was a relief — she had suffered enough, and her pain had finally come to an end.

Still, it was sad to learn that my visits home to the small town of Folsom, in St. Tammany Parish where my parents reside, would no longer be met by a mixed-breed running to greet me, her tail wagging and her brown fur brushing against me as she dropped to the ground for her belly to be rubbed. Or that my walks in the woods out back would no longer be accompanied by a proud, powerful creature looking for squirrels and rabbits to chase. Or that same courageous canine would not be waking me up on stormy nights by jumping up on the sofa because she decided she needed some relief from the scary thunder and lightning outside.

But now, those memories were all that was left as our Megan would soon be buried in the front yard with a small mound of dirt serving as a reminder of who had brought so much joy into our lives.

From the beginning she had seemed to almost be a gift from above. She had come to us unexpectedly one Easter weekend. Half-starved and with no identification, we found her on the side of the road while on the way to a relative’s house to celebrate the holiday.

We took her in and fed her and gave her shelter. And knowing a good thing when she saw one, she immediately took to us, seldom letting anyone out of her sight.

Gradually, she realized we were going to be there for her. And for the rest of her life she was there for us, another member of the family.

And just as it is hard to say goodbye to a family member, it was hard to accept that our beloved pet was no more, for she had become a part of us.

A few years ago, my parents were blessed with another dog, a chocolate Lab they named Martha, who never misses a chance to rub up against a stranger begging for attention. And most of them are as eager to give it to her as she is to accept it.

There is now a new member of the family to bring joy to my parents’ twilight years. Life is full of simple pleasures like that. Pleasures that only gifts like a child or a four-legged family member can give.

— Loyd lives

in Baton Rouge

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