Remembering those we love

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

To the editor:
Our companion animals leave their footprints on our hearts forever.   We never forget them, even long after they are gone.
I remember finding my first dog, Jake (a goofy Golden then two years old), lying motionless on the kitchen floor. He seemed not to be breathing and for several awful seconds, I was sure he was dead. I thought about that terrible moment often in the next dozen or so years we had together.
When his time came, it was actually easier to release him than I thought it would be. By then I knew that I would never forget Jake and therefore, he would live forever.
Many famous people have had similar thoughts about animals and immortality. Mark Twain said, “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”
Here’s what James Thurber thought: “If I have any beliefs about immortality it is that certain dogs I know will go to heaven, and very few people.” Albert Schweitzer felt the same about cats: “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
Or, anonymously: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.”
At Foothills Humane Society you can ask any of our longtime staff and volunteers about a certain animal that was in their care years ago, and more often than not, they will remember that animal by name.
Amazing are the bonds we form with our animal companions; sometimes they are as strong as those with family members, friends from childhood and (apropos of the forthcoming Memorial Day), classmates and neighbors lost in times of war.
As a nation we have had a day set aside to remember those that gave their lives for our country since the Civil War.
While each region had its own date for what was then called “Decoration Day,” most were in May. Some early observances in areas like ours where family graveyards are common became occasions for large reunions.
People often traveled hundreds of miles, gathering to place flowers on family graves, share food and renew ties with kin.
Although we do not have an “official” memorial day for our beloved companion animals, this year Foothills Humane Society is inviting the community to visit our shelter on May 26, the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend.
You can view our pavilion patio with its 100 engraved brick pavers. We have room for many more should you be inspired to add your own brick honoring a loved one (two-legged or four).
Don’t forget: to be remembered is to live forever!
– Gerda Hook,
FHS board member.

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