Odd Thoughts: Debts to pets settled with love

Age has a way of bringing pets closer to us as the Great Divide nears

By Bob Groeneveld

As we age, we naturally grow closer to our pets. And as we approach our own dotage, we naturally tend to dote on our pets more, particularly as they age past us, because of our differing rates of aging.

As we grow old ourselves, we develop a better understanding of what our beloved furry, scaly, or feathered friends are going through as we begin our own slouch and shuffle towards that Great Divide.

I believe that’s why seniors tend to indulge our pets more readily than we may have before our own backs started complaining at the thought of getting out of bed in the morning.

Or perhaps it’s because our aged pets are more credible harbingers of our own futures as we come closer to our own reckoning with reality.

Whatever it is, Sam gets away with a lot these days.

You must consider, though, that “these days” are long past the days that were allotted to him by two different and very capable veterinarians through the course of 2019.

Just a little more than a year ago today, we were told to expect that our very sick Sammy would not likely last more than a few weeks, or perhaps, if we were lucky, two or three months. But Sam unexpectedly recovered from the immediate illness, and an underlying problem remained dormant.

Nearly eight months later, we had cause to once again seek acute medical attention for our dear friend, and we were offered palliative medication for him… if he survived more than a few days.

Admittedly, he has aged a great deal over the past year. From needing me to walk beside him for moral support to get up the stairs, to sometimes needing to be carried up, to now almost always needing a lift up, he has slowed down a lot.

And though his meals include a medicinal anti-nausea boost every day, not to mention finding new and sometimes exotic foods to interest his palate, he goes through periods of weight loss from which he never fully recovers as his appetite returns.

However, he still spends much of his day at the front window, ensuring that traffic rolls along smoothly and passersby keep passing by, thank you very much. Loiterers still receive stern warnings to “Move along now, folks. Nothing to see here!” His tail still wags happily at the realization of a job well done when the transgressors have moved beyond the line of sight.

And he still demands backyard sessions with his squeaky toys.

His health takes a lot of work some days, but as long as that tail keeps wagging – and as long as he has the strength to order me out of my chair in front of the television every evening – we won’t be saying good-bye.

Sometimes, all the love you get through the early years has to be repaid at the end.

It’s a welcome debt when you come to realize that it is the essence of life.

Just Posted

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

International Bat Week (Oct. 24-31) is a time for people to learn more about the nocturnal creatures and how to protect them. (Photo by Cory Olson)
Holy Halloween, it’s Bat Week!

Bats have been getting a bad rap — B.C. Bat Program looks to change that

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

Sail Canada picks military facility at 19 Wing Comox for wind, waves and accommodations

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Most Read