In honor of Panda
I posted about Panda's death back in January. Panda was Crow's full brother, from their mother Otter's first litter. Otter was an amazing dog, fun and engaging, funny and opinionated, who lived a good, full life, passing her 15th birthday in mid-March. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 30th. I was fortunate enough to have been her friend, and to have seen her as recently as the weekend of July 4th. She was still herself, still certain of what she wanted and where she was going, and still perfectly capable of getting herself there. Much as I miss her now and will miss her always, I am profoundly grateful that she died on the same terms as she lived - sure of where she was going, and perfectly capable of getting herself there.
Those of us who are blessed with the presence of her children in our lives have perhaps lulled ourselves into believing that each of them would live as long and die as well as Grandma Otter. Yet, in the last year, two of her sons, only 12 - and I say "only" because neither of them were old or doddering 12 year old German Shepherds, but rather vital and strong and powerful presences until their ends - died of hemangio.
I could eulogize Grizzly and Panda here, but I won't. Like Otter, they weren't my dogs to eulogize, though I knew both of them well and loved them both. I have two of Otter's children. They are my family, and they are my friends. To have witnessed what Panda and Wendy shared, and what Grizzly and Suzanne had between them is enough of a eulogy for me. I need look no further than to the dogs who share my life with me to know what's been lost in their untimely deaths, and, maybe more importantly, what can never be lost from their having lived.
I have made my own small contribution to Wendy's cause, in Panda's memory. It is my eulogy to a great soul, my elegy, every bit as much as a mournful howl, to the losses that stay with me forever - to Doc, to Beckett, to Vali, Grizzly, and all the rest. My life has been so deeply touched and changed through the willing sharing and love given by these animals, it is the least I can do.