I try most Sundays to wake up, grab some coffee and sit down to write. Some weeks prayer comes out of me and some weeks it does not and I try and allow for whatever happens. But today was different. I was not in my yellow chair, waiting to see if words made it onto paper. This morning, on the Feast of St Francis, I sat in my car in the ER parking lot of an animal hospital.
Gertie was just released from the hospital and it recuperating at home! Thanks for the love, everyone.
I'm a veterinarian and this piece touched me in a personal way. We are trained doctors, but do become grief counselors, and some days it is so overwhelming. I will keep your Gertrude Stein close in my heart as she convalesces and I will pray for those caring for her. As care providers for the four legged members of one's family, our responsibilities are sizeable. Please keep us posted about Gertrude's progress, I hope for a swift recovery!
Love to you and Gertrude! Thank you for the psalm and great meditation. It soothes my soul.
Since birth, I have preferred animal company over human company. (I didn't plan it that way - it's just the way it is.) I found this poem when I was really young (middle school) and now in my elder years, it's still my favorite:
"I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.whole earth.” Walt Whitman
I know this grief and worry, and if it helps to be heard, you have it here. I now adopt senior rescues and so the end hastening is even faster. When my heart was broken over a sudden death of my beloved Bear (Mastiff/Newfie), a friend sent me this poem by Kipling. It described my heart. Maybe it will help others.
The Power of the Dog byRudyard Kipling - 1865-1936
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.
When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.
We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
Nadia.....I am thinking about and praying for you and Gertrude!!! Last night at the Ally event, each time you spoke, I listened for a bark .........
I sensed your sadness.
Would you consider an update on Gertrude????
God....be with this beautiful lady and her beloved pupper.
Let the warmth of merciful healing flow in and through these girls
Hi Nadia and commenters--first., I'm glad Gertrude Stein is better. I was touched by other's comments about grief for sick and past pets. I just ran across a book that I want to read: Pets and Heaven", what the Bible says about animals. It's by ELCA Pastor Neal Hively. Pr. Neal loves animals & will be blessing animals late Oct at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Cocoa Beach, Fl.
Thank you for this. I’ve lost 3 companions (I run a sanctuary) in the last month. I really feel this message.
(And I’m so glad your pupper is doing well.)
That’s so moving. We’re on the verge of getting a dog, as the pandemic has been super hard on our 8 year old, and pretending to be the voice of her stuffed rottweiler every evening only makes it more apparent how much she needs one. Sending holy thoughts eastward towards you and GS. ❤️🙏🏻
Praying for you and Gertrude Stein. I've loved many dogs and cats over the years, and I know just what an integral part of our lives they become. Our pets are truly gifts from God.
Nadia, I hope Gertrude Stein is better. All dogs with cute little noses seem to also have breathing troubles at times. I'm a Cocker Spaniel mother so we know. Pneumonia is treatable.
Thanks for mentioning Anne Lamott's beloved church. I fell in love with her wise and wonderful pastor -- I think her name was Veronica. I'd love for you to do a chat with both of them together on the Insta.
Thank you for this very meaningful pet devotion. You said it all !!
Thank you so much for sharing this. Being animal lovers and having gone through the grief of losing several this really touches heart and spirit. I especially appreciate your thinking on what our role is in praising God, He, She, or Just the Great Mystery.
Thank you for your ministry.
Me and my kitty, Skippy, are on our way to the vet. We are thinking of Gertrude. We lost Skippy’s sister to lymphoma a month ago after only being sick for a few weeks and only diagnosed for 8 days. We definitely could have used a pastor. She was only two. Me and Skippy hope your baby is ok! And that Skippy will be as well. ❤️
Prayers to St. Francis for Gertrude. And thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all about the animals.
1.praying for GS 2. How beautiful to see your ad for Anne Lamott's church store-- I scream/shout/harass anyone in shouting or typing distance that you,Anne, and Jon Pavlovitz are my contemporary REAL Holy Trinity.
Nadia, my love for dogs is and was incarnated in my Gt. Danes (over 20 years). When I encounter a Gt. Dane (anywhere,) my heart and my mouth involuntarily break into a huge smile and I touch my heart. Of course, I had no idea you were a Gt. Dane "parent" as well. They ARE "house ponies" and so docile. Mine always bent themselves around the furniture and wanted to be near me. Thank God for the love of our animals and the hope that I can know that God loves me. That's it!!
In Thornton, Co, we have a vet who developed a practice coming to your home when it's time. He is not cheap but he gives you all the time you need before and after. I love this man. He spends time talking with you learning about your guy, taking photos, letting you hold and cry as long as you need. Unfortunately, I've needed him more than I would like but he is a blessing.