By the time I hit my early 20’s, the only grandparents I knew, had passed away. I wish I had gotten to know them better, but, due to my parents’ divorce when I was young, it didn’t happen.
One of the few aunts I got to know, passed away a couple of years ago. I wish I had gotten to know her better, too. I was just really getting into that process over email when she got sick. I stopped hearing from her, until one day my phone rang with her number on the caller ID. It wasn’t her, though. Instead it was someone telling me that my aunt had died.
Death and loss, however, is not what this post, is all about. What this is about is how fortunate I feel to have known people, even if it were for a short time, who were true ‘animal people’. I spent enough time with them to learn the lesson that I’m about to impart. Bear with me.
Both my grandmother and my aunt absolutely adored animals. They had cats. They had dogs. They loved them. They loved me enough to teach me this.
I’ve been playing with big dogs since I was a kid.
I’ve been playing with big house cats since I was a kid, too.
(New England seems to grow some big house cats. Just my experience and observation.)
When I was a little girl growing up in the woods, there was none of this ‘cat people’ or ‘dog people’ stuff that I’m seeing more and more of in our increasingly specialized, species-specific world.
The example put forth to me as a youngster, was simply a love of whatever creature(s) was (were) in the house.
The rules to loving creatures were at once wise and simple: If it is hungry, feed it. If it is dirty, wash it. If It is sick, make it well. If it is lonely, love it.
As we are taught, so we become. It so happens, that I was taught that to feed, make well, wash and love animals was very much a good thing to do, and it didn’t really matter which flavor of housepet it was. It also happens that part of my becoming, is being a part of a business that helps other people experience and understand love no matter the species.
Perhaps it is not the most sophisticated marketing plan, to have and display a love and deep-ranging respect for cats, and dogs and for the people that love them. But..this is who I am, and it’s what I do.
The truth is, is that love and connection are not species-specific.
Connection, irregardless of breed or species or whatever the hell else, is no more a feline or canine construct than it is a human construct. It just is.
and that’s what I was taught..and so, that is what I live, and what I teach.
Rest In Peace, Grace Ellen, & Grace Elizabeth. I love you, and I miss you. and thank you for what you taught me.