[Lady – 15th April 2001- 14th March 2013]
I’m going to tell you a story about my german shepherd called Lady.
She passed away a day ago, but I knew she wasn’t well before. She was sick in January but thanks to the medication she felt happy and well.
About a week ago we started to recognize some changes in her behaviour again. Instead of her usual self – being in charge – she looked bewildered and had some trouble with sitting and walking. We knew she was getting old ( she would’ve been 12 in April) and we’ve heard that this can happen very fast with german shepherds. One day they’re running around like puppies and the next they will lay on the ground.
She was breathing hard and no longer leaped for her evening meal, but she still licked my hands and kept her ears and tail up, which gave us hope.
Her suffering was a hard thing to watch. She was alone with it, like every creature on earth, human or animal, feel alone in their pain. But what was different?
She didn’t expect any special treatment from us and she wasn’t pitying herself, like humans tend to do. She was positive that she would go on doing her dog business. And her dog business basically meant sniffing and running around with Donna, our other dog, guarding the house and barking on trespassers to show them who’s in charge. And when she found out that it didn’t go as planned, she made her own adjustments. Her main object in life was to be happy and make us happy. She was delighted to do so and please us.
So do animals suffer differently than humans? I sincerely hope so. Animals are pure beings and shouldn’t suffer from the agony that comes with human pain. Animals live as we are always told to live- one day at a time. They don’t plan their future, they live in the present. They are cared for and watched over.
Lady, like any other dog, knew things that I didn’t know. This is something that I didn’t think about before. What were the things she knew or saw, too deep or pure for me to be entrusted with yet? Well, she definitely wasn’t thinking about the things that twirled in my mind – money matters, the origin of evil, the fairness of suffering…It was not her job to worry about such things. She was a dog. But what was required of her, she did passionately and thoroughly.
These sad events make you wonder about any friend or family member who has passed away . Where are they now? We know different people believe different things: some believe that if we die we go to Heaven, some believe that we will be reincarnated, some believe that death is the end and there’s nothing more to it.
But what about pets? What happens to them?
I remember reading a story about a woman who was grieving because the Bible doesn’t say anything about animals going to Heaven. The pastor of her church came to her and said: “If when you get to heaven you want your little white dog, I can assure you that your little white dog will be there. ” He said that because there will be nothing that we long over or grieve for when we get to heaven.
If I asked someone what Heaven looks like, they wouldn’t describe a plain room with white walls. Rather, they’ll picture a beautiful outdoor scene with green grass, sunshine, trees and flowers. Now, if I picture a wonderful outdoor scene, why shouldn’t there be my fellow companion, my beloved dog?
It is still very sad, and it will take time to get over the grief but thinking about that makes it a lot easier.
Our pets love us unconditionally: they don’t care how much money we make, how we look like or what we do for a living. They don’t judge us, all they want is a little time and attention.
I am thankful for such a gift, our time and memories we shared.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” – Luke 12:6
Until we meet again.