My sister’s dog died, and the how or where makes little difference. In in dog years he was probably 110 years old, wheezed like a steam train, and if there was such a thing as a dog cane, he needed one. Just a homely lop-eared dog, but while he was among the ranks of the living, he was her dog, my brother-in-law’s dog, and when I went to visit he appeared to be my dog and camped out where I slept. Consequently, he was stepped on a lot, didn’t seem to mind too much, and followed me to the car slobbering and snorting every step of the way when it was time to go.
So I called sis to express my condolences, and through our tears I believe I heard my brother-in-law in the background talking about ‘there’s no joy left in Mudville’. It wasn’t even one of my dogs, because my needy hounds were napping in the front room on a Persian carpet, but the whole dead dog ordeal left me spent and wondering about the pet thing. The thing is pets don’t know prejudice, race, religion, or creed, and wouldn’t care if you were Irish Catholic, Black Atheist, or anything between. They only know people, can somehow sense a good person from a bad person, but don’t care what kind of house you live in or even if you have a house, and aren’t interested in cars and wouldn’t know a clunker from a limo. They cannot tell a CEO from a factory worker, and wouldn’t really care which you were as long as you put food in their bowl, supplied them with water, and threw dog bones at them every now and then.
Simply, it’s the perfect unselfish love, and we miss them the most when they’re gone. You look at that empty dog food bowl on the floor, because you haven’t the heart to throw it away, and it damn near sucks all the joy out of Mudville.