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"The Journey" - by Crystal Ward Kent

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey - a journey
that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known,
yet also test your strength and courage.

If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life,
about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away
changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its
mark. Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple
pleasures - jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of
puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.

If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly
experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go
unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air
will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable
information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the
food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been
taught by an expert in the field.

Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete
the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the
colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple
snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does,
we see a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick
over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we
learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously
complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the
seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world
around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting
on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or
noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will
stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the
air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in
this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's most important
details slip by.

You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends
might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle
looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog
birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because
your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with
chewy toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even
run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a cat in hot
pursuit - all in the name of love.

Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark
clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your
pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic
shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the
crinkly sound.

You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind
says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do, or how life
treats us as long as we are together." Respect this always. It is the
most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find
it often among the human race.

And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often made me
feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some
flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only
her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed
them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to
love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you
will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew
you to be - the one they were proud to call beloved friend.

I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all
paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the
sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you
cannot yet go down.

And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A
pet's time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love
them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief
years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch
of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail
and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up
stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew
that journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would
be broken.

But give them we must for it is all they ask in return. When the time
comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one
final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more.
"Godspeed, good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle
and our paths cross again.

I thought you all would enjoy this.

Carol ox

1,929 Posts
Thanks for posting. Every word of it is so true. I think that only our animal companions can give us a true idea of the way God loves us. They truly love us unconditionally just like He does, despite our flaws. God bless everyone and our pets.

16,037 Posts

Dobes stole my heart <3
3,418 Posts
Thank you for posting that, even after so many months have passed, it still feels unreal that Mysti isnt laying next to my bed when I wake and those words help to ease that emptiness. I am going to print it and put it in her album with some of the other stuff I have collected, thank you again for such lovely words.
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3,981 Posts
"We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken" ...and we do it again and again. I learned from you "Live life to the fullest".
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