The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Lost for Words

Posted by thearrow on December 1, 2008

It’s hard to put in words how much a pet can mean to you and it’s even harder for me to describe how painful it was to leave Romania, knowing that I wouldn’t see Flip very often from then on. In seven years, I saw him 6 times; 13 weeks in total, many times almost two years apart. Always extremely excited to see me, he was decidedly cooler the last time, in January this year. I thought that he had relegated me to some far corner and that everyone else, who loved him and took care of him every day, had become more important. It made sense, of course. But Flip got more excited every time I would come back home and, while that filled my heart with joy, it also saddened me. I knew I was bound to disappoint him. When I left for the airport, he came out to the doorstep and was looking at me as I was waiting for the elevator. And there was one moment when I could see the absolute resignation on his face as he realized that I was gone for a long time again. It was heartbreaking. I didn’t think I would never see him again. He was in good shape for a 12-year old cocker spaniel and, even though my mom kept telling me that he wouldn’t do one thing or another anymore because he was an old dog now, the notion of “old dog” just didn’t register with me. I was always hoping that one day I’d be able to visit more often and that he’d be with us a couple more years.

When I called my parents every Saturday he was the first I would hear. Many times half the conversation was about Flip’s latest tricks, which greatly amused my parents and which my dad was more than happy to indulge. Like when he was sitting in front of his armchair whining that the pillows weren’t arranged just so for him (see pic below). Or when he would go to the bed where my dad napped, install himself comfortably for his own nap, and then dad would plea with him to make some room for him, too :). And, of course, no one would have it any other way.

I will always remember our long walks in the park on sunny afternoons, his running in the grass or plunging in the lake or some (usually muddy) puddle. One thing was clear early on: you could not put yourself between Flip and water. Then, whenever I see a big stretch of grass the first thing that comes to mind is that Flip would love to run on it. Because I was the only one who took him to bigger parks and offered the more exciting adventures, I felt great regrets at not being able to do that any longer once I left.

I will also fondly remember our holidays at 2 Mai and Vama Veche, where we camped on the beach, and his delight at the freedom he had. I trusted he would not run away because I had taken him there when he was 8-month old; all of a sudden he found himself alone just with me and he never lost sight of whoever he was with. Bathing and swimming whenever he wanted were priceless.

And then, the simple pleasure of regular days. I now know that I should have enjoyed those as more special moments than they seemed. We need to learn to step back from our daily grind and look at things from a longer-term perspective. That way we can appreciate every little thing we have more fully WHILE we have it. And we’ll be able to see that we need to give less importance to the things that bother us, and far more importance to those things that make us happy.

In that spirit, I will try to take comfort in the fact that we loved and protected, and took care of Flip as best we could. That our neighbors loved him, too, so he was surrounded by an extended family. And that, for the most part, he lived a good life of almost 13 years.

I will miss my furry friend terribly…

Photo Octav Tibar

In 1996, when he was 6 months old, happy after having plunged in a puddle. (Photo Octav Tibar)

Photo Costin Tudose

In 2004. Loved those paws... (Photo Costin Tudose)

Photo Costin Tudose

In 2004. (Photo Costin Tudose)

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2 Responses to “Lost for Words”

  1. ~m said

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your pet. I know that some people see pets as “just animals” but really, it goes so far beyond that. There’s something about sharing your house and heart with an animal that goes beyond the describable. No, they aren’t human but they are mammals, too, and in their animally, mammally way they bring in a different dimension to life and really become a part of the family. I don’t want to sound too weird about it…but it really is sad and I’m sorry for you, especially having to live so far away….

  2. thearrow said

    Thank you so much for your kind words, ~m. Pets are people, seriously. If you love them and take care of them, there are ways in which they communicate with you and love you back that are hard to understand by people who have never had pets. Oh well… 😦

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