Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A faucet

Yesterday I went to a pet loss seminar. It wasn't a group therapy session but rather a city wide seminar for vets and nurses and pet owners who were interested. Why are you going to put yourself through that Tanya? asks Tetsu. He knows I crumble very easily when we start talking about animals and loss.

Well, my vet was holding the seminar. A speaker with strong American Veterinary Association connections was going to be speaking. My vet knows the trials I go through (American thinking versus Japanese thinking) when each of my pets leaves and even when we acquire a new one. I've had a couple months of a pretty balanced life. I'm not sobbing at the mention of any past pets names. I actually felt this was an area I could talk about without getting all emotional (it is the strays and lost animals that still send me spiraling into the dumps).

Hah! I am worn out today from all the crying! It is so embarrassing that the tears come like a faucet and I don't even know what I'm crying about! Just listening to other people's situations, even listening to the funny stories about reactions from non-animal lovers towards slightly batty pet-owners. My handkerchief got soggy. And then I even put myself through a two hour video, much of it in English, about Pet Lost therapy in the States and the need for it in Japan.

I threw caution to the winds and even offered the opinion (with wavering voice) that euthanasia was too hard a decision to leave to the pet owners and that the veterinarians needed to assertively suggest the option. I think I hurt my vet's feelings since he defended himself by saying that my family is unique because I have one opinion and Tetsu has another and the vet is stuck in the middle. I let everyone know that though I've had my doubts about lots of the doctors I've encountered I've never been unhappy with my vet. And I gave him a very American hug in front of everybody and told him I loved him! (Well, in Japanese it comes out that I like him very much, but he was surprised by the public hug!)

A couple things though stood out in the seminar. That pet owners who lose their pets aren't strange to be in grief even for months afterwards. That different people deal with losses different ways, some go out an get a new pet right away, some can't think about it for years. However being afraid of the grief and never having a pet again is probably not the answer. Think of all the wonderful memories that would never get made!

Good glory, just writing this has turned on the faucet again. Sometimes I don't even think this is grief over pet loss. I think it is a general compassion for animals and for all the people who love them.

This is a picture of our old dog Shoko taking up room on the sofa. She had a dislocated shoulder so she often felt it more comfortable using the arm rest. I always thought she looked like she was joining in on the conversation around her. She is also wearing diapers in this picture which was very bad for our sofa. But I didn't feel I could ban her from the furniture when she was old just because she needed diapers. Now you know the real reason why I do not want Choco up on the sofa!


R.H. said...

Tears welled up just reading your post today. 2 of my 3 dogs are getting up there in years. Booker was found in a snow back one winter with his siblings, he was the only one left alive. Nursed him back to health, he's now 15. Taco we adopted about 6 years ago. He was badly abused and taken away by animal control and placed in a foster home. His right foot was broken and never taken care of. When I saw him, I fell in love. I figured if I didn't take him no one would. He's my baby. Louie we just adopted also, he's a hand full to say the least, but was given up by his owner who could not care for him. We are still in the process of training him, he's 11 months old. I know how you feel about your furry friends, mine are my children. Rae

Quilt Pixie said...

While I do not have the gift of tears, I know many who do -- and a wonderful gift of compassionate love, of displayed freedom to be emotional, of willingness to share thier vulnerability is given each time they are blessed with this gift and share it with those of us not so blessed. I don't know whom your gift touches most closely, but I do know all gifts, properly use, bring glory to our Father.

Margret said...

I cry too, Tanya! Think, that their meaning in life is to bring love and happiness into ours.
I like very much this quote by Anatole France: "Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

andsewitis Holly said...

Tanya, you are so tenderhearted and that's a good thing even though I know you wish sometimes you could hide it.

I want to wish you and Tetsu a Merry Christmas! May you be abundantly blessed and refreshed now and throughout the new year!

The Calico Quilter said...

Being especially tenderhearted is a blessing and a curse. Thank goodness there are people out there like you, to counteract the callous and the cruel. Just talking or reading about the loss of a beloved ped destroys me too. I just finished reading "Dewey", about the Spencer Library cat, and while I loved the book, after the last three chapters I was completely undone.

chi-mi san said...

This is a heavy story, but I'm glad you have a nice vet, Tanya.
I miss Shoko who was the sweetest lady.

Mart Bright said...

I'm right there with you--running the faucet. I am so attached to my animals, right down to Merle, the meanest rooster in town. I remember once when I was in my 20s, my boyfriend, who was Mexican and not into pets, asked me--"How can you love animals, when so many people are suffering?" And I said that unlike many things in this world, love is inexhaustible. The more you love, the more you can love. Everyone and every sentient being. Merry Christmas!

Marilyn R said...

I so understand grieving for a past pet. I had to put my dog to sleep because of an illness and it took quite a while before I could think about her and not cry. Pets become members of the family and it is so difficult when the pet is no longer around. I guess I am a typical American when it comes to pets.