A friend of mine recently asked me how ‘The Girls’ were doing since the passing of their mom in November. Mom was ten year old Ammulett, the center of my home; ‘The Girls’ are Vision and Echo Echo, sisters from an all girl litter, Ammulett’s only children. They turned seven this past January. Though they are considered senior adults for Leonbergers, they are not as mature as their sisters Luna, Meadow and Sprite who had the advantage, or disadvantage of having to leave for their new homes thus ‘growing up’ a bit. Vision and Echo had been with their mom since they grew their first breath; they never had to be anything but her puppies. Blessed with the constant guidance of their mama they never truly matured no matter how many birthdays we celebrated together.
When Ammulett crossed over her puppies were adrift in a sea of doubt. For days when they wanted to go outside the pair would stand on the threshold of the open door, scan the back yard and not finding what their hearts were searching for, would look up at me and return to the house unless I went out with them because their mom always led the way. During the day they were never quite sure where to lie down. Should it be the kitchen? Maybe the living room? Up. Down. All around the house they would bob not knowing exactly where to ‘be’. Echo lost her appetite. Vision made up for her. When it was time for a walk they would scurry off to their respective crates where they traditionally awaited their turn, as Ammulett was always first.
Five months have gone by since her passing and the house has settled into a new rhythm. It will of course, never be as it was, but as happens life continues on it’s inevitable journey with only an occasional pause when our hearts become lost. Love is the same where ever it is found, in whatever heart it resides in and grief is universal. Grief recognizes no line to cross. My heart, their heart, broken is broken. There are no degrees of pain dictated by species. Vision and Echo’s subtle little changes in habit and personality bear witness that in many ways our animal companions are emotionally much the same as ourselves. They grieve as we do, they learn to accept as we do and, after a time, we all learn to find joy together as life rolls merrily long.