Friday, July 5, 2013
On and on, and ON went a recent article in Time Magazine
-- "The Mystery of Animal Grief." (that's a link).
Author Jeffrey Kluger quoted experts, authors, scientists, researchers, who have studied emotion in animals -- all kinds of animals, elephants to ants. And concluded, after many tests, controlled studies, and films -- that "beasts honor, mourn, and even hold wakes for their dead -- beasts feel grief and much more."
My husband and I had a Lhasa Apso we bought when she was six-weeks-old, to be a pal, companion, and teacher for our five-year-old son, JD. That's why we named our puppy, "Teechi."
We lived in a five-story building on a busy commercial street in Manhattan. Teechi had a very friendly, loving, personality that became more so, as she responded to training -- learned her name, responded to sit -- here Teechi -- no -- nice Teechi -- bad dog -- walk? Any sentence with "walk" in it got Teechi, grabbing her leash.
More than likely, you know this story. Teechi became a part of our family. But as our son was growing up and my husband and I succeeded in our professions (which involved a lot of traveling), our pet stayed with a neighbor. Teechi finally became part of the neighbor's family, until she died at age 12.
In my mind, Teechi is still alive, frisking around -- I chuckle, and remember moments with her, sometimes feel guilty that we couldn't take her with us when we traveled, but more than anything, I truly miss her.
Kluger's article told me nothing about what I'd like to know. Why do we need pets? Why are pets so important?
Throughout time, even in ancient history, pets are referred to as a huge part of peoples' lives. Beloved and adored like children, when they die, they're mourned forever -- as a lost child or a dead parent is mourned.
What is it? Is it that we, as parents, even as grandparents, remain the child? Is the pet you -- the innocent, needy, hungry, helpless part of you that needs loving care -- petting, treats, pleasures as well as feeding, exercise, and grooming?
I find myself thinking that you -- yes, YOU -- need what you give your pet, and giving it to your pet nurtures you -- that loving a pet, tending a pet keeps you alive.