Sunday, October 22, 2006

There’s No Place like Home

There’s No Place like Home

Here in our sanctuary and warmth of our home the family sits in front of the crackling fire and enjoys each others company. The night is not particularly cold but the advents of last evening presented a chill in our bones. The warmness and affection of love generated in our home is like no other. To me there is no other place on earth like home. Home is where they love you, where there is no need for acceptance; you’re already a part of a loving component ~ a family.

I personally like to get out on drives and go vintage hunting but then this terrible urge to get back home consumes me and no other thought becomes more significant than reaching my dearest destination. My fulfillment of grasping a part of the past has passed me and I’m contented with the collection of the day. I suppose a part of the reasoning for the rush to get back is the altering feeling of discovering and excitement of the unveiling of treasures to a feeling of complete anxiety in displaying the gathered objects in the house creating a cozy home. But that is not all that it takes in cultivating a home. There has to be love and a family. And we are fortunate to have the most precious thing on earth ~ each others love.

Grace had a wonderful time the other day as I had taken her with me to a park trail by the river. She had enjoyed the walk and exhausted from the long trek decided to take it into her own paws that she would cool her self off by going for a swim. Unaware of her private decision, I had lost site of her for a moment while gathering pine branches. I searched for her when I heard a dog’s bark coming from the bottom of the embankment on the opposite side of the river. I called out her name when out of the clump of burr bushes by the water’s edge, she peeked. I was relieved that she had not gone far into the river fearing she could have drowned, but she was quite alright!

Climbing back the embankment with a happy smile on her face I was beginning to think that this was not an undertaking I should have taken at this stage in my life. I hoped I didn’t have to pursue her to the river’s edge but fortunately she made it up on her own and the bonus… not a smear of mud on her coat but a few burrs. I came out of this quite lucky; we both came out of this lucky.

So today was without exception that Grace longed to have that same feeling of complete free and utter liberation and having no collar or leash in restraining her from venturing into the woods discovering. But it was not to be for I was content in staying indoors. It was the first day that actually felt like winter. A quick and brisk walk around the yard was sufficient for the two of us and we quickly retracted indoors. Sitting at my desk I looked out the window at the golden foliage of the white birch; now weeping from the heavy down pour of the day’s icy rain. Winter I feared had finally arrived.

The approaching night was getting colder and wetter; driving was hazardous but drivers seemed unaware of the unpredictable slippery road ahead and didn’t bother to slow down.
Not surprisingly a three car pile up met us at the intersection.
Another soccer night and this time my husband joined us. I was comfortable and content with my husband doing the driving tonight.

The United Church in Merrickville was having a sale this evening and Saturday morning and I was a little disappointed that I would be missing both time slots; but there never really was a choice. A million times over I pick my son’s practices and games over the church sales. There would always be church sales but these moments shared with my son and my husband would never return. Soon he would become a young man with a wife and have children of his own. Yes, the right decision was made.

A succession of lights without pause lit the wet road ahead, cars still speeding, still following much too close; drivers still ignorant to the perilous conditions. Without warning a black lab wearing a bright red collar jolted out erratically into the blinding lights. He was prancing back and froth onto the road and shoulder in a confused state of mind. He didn’t look scared and seemed very young and inexperienced. The rain now poured and the poor animal had no sense of direction. Only rude, uncaring drivers kept their speed and continued on their route. The helpless little guy looked as if he was trying to find someone or spot some familiar landmark all the while having a friendly smile on his face. I refer to the dog as he because he just looked like a young male puppy; I’ll never know.

In the moments that followed that comprised fractions of seconds we decided to turn back and find the little guy to give him a lift home. Coming around the bend of the road, there was no site of the black lab, the fields’ barren of any visible life. And then…. on the opposite side of the highway something visibly black covered a patch of the rough gravel of the road’s shoulder. Approaching closer, red emerged out of the black darkness materializing into a collar. The broken outline of a lifeless dog broke into view. This was ~ the black lab we had seen wearing a red collar that seconds ago had frantically searched for its owner. We were too late. There was complete silence in our company. We were shocked and devastated. A life swiftly snuffed in a split second; so suddenly unexpected.

My son looked to see if the dog was still alive. The dog was still and the silence was broken, “I wish you never told us to go back I knew this would come of it” Ty remarked. It was just an irrational comment from a young boy that obviously was very hurt. Beyond the lifeless body of the black lab about 500 feet away, a weather-beaten old man in a grey raincoat with an aged shaggy golden by his side, stood at the opening of a trail. Standing statue like, starring towards the direction of the dog. He didn’t move as we slowly drove off; the ending vision implanted in my mind.

How could anyone leave so quickly from the deadly scene? How heartless. An accident it was but didn’t the creature deserve the dignity of being placed off the cold hard rock of his end and gently laid on the green grass that grew beside? We too were to blame for we could have moved him onto the green plot; no excuses. Was the old fellow his owner that had stood motionless in a gaunt and mournful look, shocked by how time had fled him of his opportunity to save his pet? The night that we had looked forward to had now left us with the reflection of how life is fragile. We watched the practice with a conscience of much gratitude and sorrow for a creature’s life lost.

Driving home, the rain had stopped and the traffic had trickled to a few cars lighting the dark highway sporadically. The tone in the car was happy yet you knew that everyone’s mind was still thinking that soon the spot where the dog lay would soon appear. Coming around the bend of the road where we first discovered him dead my son spoke up and said, “Dad put on your high beams. Do you think he’s there still?” “I can’t forget his eyes; how they looked”. I knew now why he had been so upset at discovering the dead dog; the impact was more intensified by the visual look of death.
If the dog was still there, then the old fellow was not its owner, but if the little pup was gone; most probably he was its owner. In any case here was our chance to do right and move the little guy off the side of the road till morning until someone could pick him up.

The beams shined on the spot where the dog had laid;he was gone.
Tonight inside a house there would be crying and pain. Someone had lost their dear devoted pet, maybe would have feelings of guilt for losing them on the trial or calling them back from the road; a soreness that would sting some time to come.
In another house there would be sorrow at a failed attempt in saving a dog’s life but having great appreciation and gratitude for having each other in the warmth of the blazing fire and room which they call their home.


A Poem for God's Little Creature

Painting by Jim Warren

The Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, they go to this place, there is always food and water and warm spring weather. Those old and frail animals are young again. Those who have been maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.
But there is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches, the ears are up, the eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group!
You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take them in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated!

Until we meet again…

Poem by Paul C. Dahm


carolyn said...

A few years ago now I was driving along and saw a dead cat in the road. I pulled up and got out, a man was actually in his garden opposite the body so I asked him if he knew whoes cat it was. Can you believe it, he just said no and turned his back. I have to admit my thoughts were great now I have to sort out a dead body so imagine my surprise when I noticed the cat was still breathing. I quickly bundled him up and drove home leaving his unconsious form in the car while I went to phone the vet and get a blanket. He was bleeding a little. When I got back to the car the creature had come round and was quite literally running round the car. Now I needed help and fortunately my husband was home and he held the cat while I drove to the vets. We were lucky with our choice of vet not only did they treat him free of charge but they also kept him overnight and returned him to the accident spot so that he could make his own way home.
Accidents do happen but everyone should check that they are not leaving an animal in pain. Hit and Run is unacceptable with animals to.

Anonymous said...

I am always so sad to see an animal that has been hit on the road. It especially bothers me when we are traveling on the interstate. I wonder what brought this dog/cat out this far from its home.
I love the rainbow poem. Our vet gave us a copy of this when we had to put our cat Misty to sleep this summer.

Anonymous said...

I tried a few times today to comment without success.
Our vet also sent a copy of this to us when we lost our cats. They also did something else that we found very touching. A donation was made in the names of our pets to a local University that specializes in the training of vets and animal care. It was made to a fund that studies 'Companion Pets' and their importance to us.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

When I was a teenager, a dog ran out in front of our car. We hit it. I remember going from door to door that evening trying to find the owner...and when we did...oh it was devasting, emotional, anger and sadness.
Being responsible, being caring is not for the weak.
The man standing on the side was he the owner?

cityfarmer said...

We lost a black lab a long time ago named Annie...then found her in a rainy thunderstorm...I will never forget the glee of my children.

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Such a heartfelt post and so beautifully written. I’ve noticed that you have a very special talent for descriptive writing and I always anticipate a good read when I visit you. Thanks for that. The poem is beautiful too, I’ve made a note and will keep it. Marion

miss*R said...

Annabelle - you are a loving, caring soul. reading this -I felt your pain & sadness. Sending you lots of love & blessings for being who you are. xo
I also want to say thankyou for the caring support & love to me & my daughter over the past week or so - it is so heart warming to know that there are people on the other side of the globe who are my friends xoxo

Annabelle said...

Hi Robyn,
If you got a heart, these sad circumstances will pull at its strings; it did with me. I have a thirteen year old daughter and seventeen year old son. When they hurt, I hurt; we both feel the pain. We love each other dearly and when in troubled waters we’re there for each other. For the bad that there is in this world there still exists good. To listen, share on common ground and rally round one another when in need is what a good friend does. Take care and remember that this will not vanish quickly; it’ll take a bit of time but time does heal in its own way. Your daughter will come through it fine if she has the love, devotion and guidance from her loving parents and family.

Annabelle = ^..^ = xo

Annabelle said...

Dear Marion,

Writing a piece has to come from the heart for me, and then I struggle with the grammar. My daughter has been stung by the same bug, so more reason for me to continue my effort so that I may encourage her to develop her talent. Her teacher pointed out to me last year {after she had read her writing assignments on Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” and the Outsiders} that she should continue her writing and could foresee a future for her in this field. I find that if I work on art or poetry/ writing that Emma always finds inspiration from me and starts creating. My biggest thrill is seeing how I have guided my kids to be the best they can. Obviously I must be doing something right as a parent if only now I could inspire my son! So glad you liked the story and the poem. Thank you for the compliment, I do appreciate it very much.

Annabelle = ^.. ^ = xo

daisy cottage said...

Annabelle, what a poignant, thought provoking, beautifully written post.

Naturegirl said...

So very sad to read this..sob.:( I hope the angels carried this beauty to rainbow bridge which I am very familiar with. Black labs are jewels so gentle spirited my daughter has one.No more words very sad to hear this story.

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