Luna, the black labrador. She was almost 15 years old. A methusalem by labrador standards. The most beautiful, fun, loyal dog. She went over the rainbow bridge on Christmas Eve and is now enjoying the smells and sounds of the eternal hunting grounds in a place we only can fathom.
Luna spent her first years of life in the city and moved with Barbara and Peter, her humans, to the countryside after they retired from their professional careers some 10 years ago. She enjoyed living in a traditional stone house in the Périgord, loved running around in the garden and her superior nose would have made her an excellent truffle dog, if only she had moved earlier to the area. During the summer months there was a lot going on in the house with friends and family visiting. In the winter months it became quiet. Very quiet.
It had become even more quiet since Peter’s untimely death the year before. He left a big gaping hole in Barbara’s life. Her husband and partner in crime of more than 30 years had gone. Simply gone. Without a warning. Went out into the garden to bring in the last veggies of the season and didn’t return. What a wonderful way to die, Barbara often said trying to find some comfort. Just dropping dead between red tomatoes and green lettuce in the veggie garden that he had been dreaming of ever since the word ‘retirement’ appeared on the horizon.
Barbara knew that Luna wouldn’t live forever, and she had dreaded the day she would have to make the decision to put her down. Luna had helped her through the initial period of grief, forcing her to go out on walks, greeting her cheerfully in the morning and sitting with her in front of the fireplace watching useless TV shows in the evening.
And now Luna was gone too. It was eerily quiet in the house. Silence, the sound of loneliness.
Barbara had thought about selling the home. Shortly after Peter’s death she had put the house on the market. The real estate market was down, and nobody really showed up to look at the property. She would have to lower the price considerably, and even then, it would not be certain that she would find a buyer. And even if, where should she go to live?
What if she got a new puppy, Barbara wondered? Most likely that dog would outlive her. What an awful idea that a similar fate could hit Barbara and she would suddenly drop dead. It might take days until anyone would find her, and who would take care of the dog? The idea of leaving behind a dog or a cat was torturing Barbara. Let alone the idea that her children would have to come and deal with all the stuff in the house. Those handwritten letters from her grandmother or the kitchen cabinet that had been handed down from one generation to another.
Property is a concept I cannot relate to anymore. “The last shirt ain’t got no pockets” they say. What’s the use of schlepping Grandma’s kitchen cabinet along, Mum’s collection of Venus of Milo lookalike statues, Dad’s broken watch, the kid’s tiny first pair of shoes. Grandma, Mum, Dad – they are all gone. What’s the use of keeping their stuff, just things, when the most important to keep would have been the beloved person? The kids are grown up, instead of size 16 it is now shoe size 46. All those books that I will never read again, if I ever read them at all.
Ownership of a living creature? How can you possibly own a dog or a cat? You don’t own a person either, do you?
Sharing is caring. I want to share a home with friends, people who take care of each other. Share laughter and tears, chores and responsibilities. What a luxury not to have to worry about pets when I want to travel for some time, because there is a whole community that takes care of them. What a soothing thought to know that the animals are well taken care of when my time comes to go on the eternal journey.