Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ode to Bear

I've been neglecting my Blog again. I think it's because I haven't been very inspired lately. Need to fix that.

Perhaps it's just because I've been really, really, did I say REALLY, busy lately. City Council meetings (please just vote on the Walmart and get it over with for cryin' out loud!), restructuring the Chamber of Commerce, twin daughters in their Senior year at Pleasant Valley High School, planning my sister's wedding for October 4 in my backyard, getting Deputized by the County to perform said wedding ceremony, and oh yeah, just trying to be a good wife.

It's been an interesting 6 weeks.

Yesterday something happened that did give me some inspiration to put some words down. My Mom and Dad's 12-year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever died unexpectedly in his sleep. His name was Bear.

Yes, I know, he was a dog. But he wasn't just ANY dog. He was the most beautiful specimen of his breed I ever recall seeing. He should have been a "calendar dog", he was THAT handsome.

But more than that, he was the smartest, sweetest, most well-behaved animal I've ever been exposed to. Seriously. He never jumped up on you. He never licked your face. He didn't beg or whine or chew on things he wasn't supposed to. He would pack his own duffel-bag when he knew they were leaving for their cabin. No joke...he would bring his bag into the kitchen, wait for Mom to load up his food, cookies and leash, drag it out to the front yard and wait by the pick-up until it was time to go.

Bear was my Mom and Dad's constant companion for a dozen years. We delivered him as a birthday gift for Mom the year she retired from the bank. He was 8-weeks of cute, cuddly, brown, slobbery puppy, and the entire family fell in love. It sounds crazy, but he was almost like the son my folks never had, having survived raising three girls.

It's the craziest thing. I don't know that I've ever been as saddened by the loss of an animal before, not even those that I've raised myself from puppy/kitten-hood. Bear was special. He was so special that the majority of our family rallied to Mom and Dad's house to share in their grief. All three daughters, 1 son-in-law, 3 adult grandkids and two new great-grandkids, showed up to say goodbye to Bear. Clearly, he was more than just a canine.

I think he had the soul of a person behind those big brown eyes. He would stare at you when you spoke to him and it felt like he was looking right into your thoughts. I believe he truly had the capacity to love, and he loved all of us unconditionally. Not the "I know you feed me so I love you" kind of love. It was more like "I know what kind of person you really are, and I will love you until I die" kind of love. That's what makes me so sad. I feel like I've lost someone who really, truly loved me.

Imagine what kind of world we would live in if everyone took the time to look below your surface, like I will always believe Bear could. Imagine if we were accepted and treated as the soul we truly are, instead of the labels people place on us because of where we work, or who we associate with. If we could be as transparent with everyone we encounter as we are with our family (even if that family includes animals), would people have a harder time judging us harshly?

Don't really know where I'm going with this...I just know that I feel a little better doing it. I also know I will miss that dog for the rest of my life. Goodbye Bear...you were so very, very loved.

3 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Jolene. My condolences to your parents and the entire family. We lost our beloved labrador Sam at age 14 last fall. His canine sisters moped, sniffed and whined for weeks waiting for him to return. Ok, we did a bit of that too. Dogs are incredible creatures (Bear packed his own duffel bag - WOW) with unconditional love and yes, us humans could learn a thing or two about how to treat each other. Your post makes me ponder once again the coincidence that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

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  2. Jody,
    It really does leave a hole in your soul when a beloved dog leaves your life. I wish you a lifetime of great memories in dog years!

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  3. Brenda Austin PetersenSeptember 24, 2009 at 11:12 PM

    Lovely tribute to what sounds like an amazing friend! I'm so sorry for your families loss. Thank you for sharing from your heart, and yes, wouldn't our world be a better place if we didn't judge people from only what we see on the outside? Blessings to you.

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