In Celebration of Small Things: Love and Loss
In this house sitting lifestyle my animal companions have taught me many things about love and loss. Important lessons on how to live and love in the moment without any expectation or guarantee that either will continue. I’ve also learnt the depths to which an animal will go to express their love for their human, even taking on an illness and mirroring it so that the human can see where they are wounded and take steps to heal themselves. I’ve also learnt that those animals who have suffered deeply at the hands of humans can have the most tender hearts.
This week a homeowner told me about the sudden death of Mischka, a cat I cared for while living in Hobart for four months last year. Mischka was a beautiful ragdoll who had been maltreated by his first owners. Although he seemed aloof at first, he really wanted nothing more than a peaceful environment and to lie in front of a roaring fire dreaming his cat dreams. His owners cared for him deeply and I know he came to feel secure and serene in his beautiful home. It wasnt hard to fall in love with him and soon he was sitting on my lap while I meditated. His ‘bête noire’ was a big Bogong moth that fluttered at the window at night, bringing out Mischka’s feline desire to get rid of the pesky creature!
Another Mischka also passed away recently and this magnificent Alsatian was like the cat from Hobart in name only, a name that means ‘Little Bear’ in Russian. Although powerful in stature, this Mischka was a gentle soul who at times suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder of the ball so that whenever I went into the garden she moved swiftly next to me with a ball in her mouth. Her owners had trained her well and she was extremely well behaved especially around dinner time. Yet she, like all of us, had her moments.Each morning and evening when I went down to feed the horses, she and her brother Sam, a beautiful long haired Alsatian, would accompany me. For some reason this was the time when Mischka wanted to assert her authority and would bark at and harangue Sam throughout the entire walk. Her deep bark was enough to scare off any unwanted visitor, yet like many dogs she was frightened of thunderstorms and slept next to me when they rolled in. After sizing me up when we first met, Mischka decided that we were to be firm friends and quickly accepted me into her life.
Both Mischkas offered me the gift of their companionship and opportunities to learn about the special place each animal has in the hearts of their owners and carers. They also helped me to understand even more deeply this time, that animals come into our lives to help us understand unconditional love and deep acceptance of loss.