We’re heading to Spain and we’ll be leaving many of our pets behind. No we aren’t heartless creeps who abandon pets when it’s a little inconvenient. The only pets we’ll be leaving behind don’t have any worries anymore. They’ve gone on ahead of us to Hamlet’s “undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns.”
Smudge, Sidney, Honey, Sherman, and Meg Dog all crossed that frontier five, ten, fifteen, or more years ago. They’re the pets we still remember, still love, even though they are gone. We’ve kept their ashes, the photos, collars and tags. But now we are cutting our possessions to the bone, moving on and the time has come to let them go. Not the memories, we’ll keep those forever, but it’s time to give their ashes back to the universe.
Smudge and the Oak Tree
My little bud Smudge came to me when I had a farm in western Oregon. His mama dropped him off when he was barely two weeks old. He was the first kitty the universe chose for me.
I bottle fed him and watched him grow. He always slept with me — on my chest. I still remember the aroma of sweet timothy grass and oak leaves. He always smelled so fresh. My little bud with the crooked tail particularly loved to climb the giant 200 year old oak that graced the northern boundary of our property.
I scatted his ashes last January in a stand of Oregon white oaks and left his little red collar.
Susan’s guardian angel looked like a miniature bear from behind. He stuck by her side through some of the toughest times of her life. I never met Sidney, but I was there when Susan said her final goodbye on Ona Beach. He loved that beach.
Honey, My Kenyan Kitty
She came in through the kitchen window when I was living in Nairobi. I’d seen her down in the shamba, a little garden, and thought one of my neighbors had a pretty cat. After a week or two, I learned the previous tenants had left her behind. Thank you universe.
I named her Honey because she was so sweet. After my assignment in Kenya was finished, she came home with me. She was the best friend I ever had until I met Susan.
When it came time to scatter her ashes, I thought about her transoceanic travels and left her on the shores of the Pacific. Maybe some day she’ll make her way back to Africa.
Sherman the Cat What Talked Like a Gangsta’
Sherman came into our lives through the Willamette Humane Society (WHS). He came into the shelter with Feline Immune Deficiency Virus and immediately charmed the entire staff, including Susan.
Sherman ended up as the WHS office cat and their mascot with his own ghostwritten column in the shelter’s newsletter. Sherman’s trademark style was a Jimmy Cagney-like pawtwa. One day a couple of young girls who were visiting the shelter asked if the could meet the cat what talks like a gangsta….
Shermie was Susan’s special office buddy. When eventually his health deteriorated, Susan brought him home and he charmed all of us here too — me, the cats, even Meg Dog.
Sherman’s back at Willamette Humane, the place he loved and was loved. His ashes are in the pet columbarium at the shelter.
Meg Dog on the North Fork
Our gentle girl had hip problems and never did like walking very far. But oh how she loved the short trails along the North Fork of the Santiam River in the Cascade Mountains above our home in Salem. She’s back there now among the Douglas fir, salal and the ten thousand shades of green she found so inviting.
How Do You Say Adios in Spanish?
I may be a sentimental fool but it eases my mind knowing each of our old friends, the pets who saw us through hard times and also shared the best of times are at rest in an environment they particularly loved.
Rest well my friends.