simonUnless you live with animals, I am not sure you need to read the rest of this blog.

Simon is our soft coated Wheaton terrier. He is named after Simon who carried Jesus’s cross (we picked him up around Ash Wednesday nearly 14 years ago—my wife is Catholic). Our first two Wheaton terriers, Alex and Abby, both passed along after about 10 years. Since Alex is now approaching 14, each and every day is a gift. Recently he suffered a bite to his leg. He was staying at Pet Chalet, his groomer and home-away-from-home. This is one of the most amazing kennels we have ever experienced. The staff are true pet lovers and totally comprehend the “family member” aspect of owning a pet. They took Simon to our veterinarian at Planned Pethood. It was so rewarding that he was on the care of others who cared for him as much as we do.

Publisher’s Weekly‘s review of the wonderful Coffee House Press poetry book “Why We Live with Animals” Alvin Greenberg states:
“This charming book-length sonnet sequence answers what Greenberg (Heavy Wings) believes is the only serious question: “why do we live with animals/with all those people waiting to be our pals . . . ?” In reply, he tells us that we keep animals (most often household dogs and cats, here) because they need us. . . . In Greenberg’s poems, animals evoke nostalgia for lost childhood and restore for us the primeval world of our ancestors—bones and blood. They are an essential mirror; without them, we cannot discover our true natures. . . . convincing us that ‘if animals didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them.’”

Each of our beloved dogs have brought us immeasurable joy. We love them, they love us and then they pass. Their passing, however, is only physical. Somedays I catch myself “seeing” Alex bouncing along or Abby fetching her beloved chew toy. Short tiny ghosts flickering before my eyes. If you have never stood very still and just looked deeply into the eyes of a dog, you have missed one of the most life-affirming moments ever. We know that Simon will not be with us much longer. This saddens us but daily we are reminded that each day is a gift.

Dogs seem to live perfectly in the moment. They acknowledge the importance of solitude and “aloneness.” They exercise and eat purely by instinct. Their connection is not, like we humans, bonded with words or physical actions. It is bonded through simply being. This is what I take from my experience with Alex, Abby and Simon: Embrace yourself in the moment, be content with what is and enrich your life through solitude and loyalty. 

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