As I sit on a cold and gray January day I think back to the events of the past year. It has been all but easy in a rude awakening sort of way. Although we have not faced economic hardship, violence or betrayal we have endure a year of sadness. Many people would not understand the pain that is caused by the loss of a non human companion and friend. Although, it would be of greater magnitude to lose a human family member or friend it is not without great suffering that one loses a pet. So it is with a heavy heart that I look back at 1997.

Crickett was the sort of dog that could walk into a room and literally steal the hearts of everyone who laid eyes on her. She prompted many questions and interest in the Tibetan Spaniel breed and lit up the lives of those who knew her. Was it her petite little face with a warm chocolate eye that melted your heart? Or was it the way that she pranced about with a tail wag that literally shook her entire body? Well whatever it was she touched the people around her ,both young and old, in a way that I have never seen before. In her short but meaningful life she fulfilled her role of companion so eloquently. The liver disease that ravaged her body was the result of a birth defect and could not be cured by the conventional method of surgery. Although attempts were made, it only served to prolong her suffering. Without her love and companionship at my side the world seems a very unforgiving place! If this wasn't enough to make me want to close my heart the loss of Regal, my sixteen year old cocker spaniel, would surely finish the job. Regal did not posses the same kind of charisma that Crickett had but he held a charm all his own. He was A very quiet and kept to himself but he radiated a sort of calm and comfort that you feel when putting on your favorite jeans and sweatshirt reserved only for Saturday morning. He lived a long comfortable life but it seems unfair that he had to join his sister at the Rainbow Bridge. The Rainbow Bridge is a place where, pet owners believe our loving companions go to wait for us to join them one day. They say time heals all but one can't help but be skeptical when the hole in your hears feels as big as a Saint Bernard on steroids! As I look outside at the cold snow blowing across the yard, I feel I will never again enjoy the warmth of sunshine and a frolic across a summer field with my little furry companion not far behind. This feeling of despair has forced me to an act of survival and thoughts of a seaside vacation.

submitted by Kelly Ruehle
age 35
rural Michigan, USA
submitted January 1998

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