I am often asked to create memorials for family pets, or at least sculptures to remind the owner of the love of a pet. If you remember I recently sculpted a little boy and dog, the boy whispering in his dogs ear. When the commission began I was touched when they said the dog was aging and they did not expect him to live long. I had to create the dog as part of the sculpture and did so at no charge. My client arrived at the studio yesterday and informed me the dog did indeed pass away a few weeks ago. She lovingly stroked the piece, attracted and looking at it even before she did her son. I could feel her sorrow. I identify. Her son is growing up, and this dog has been a part of his childhood. I’m going through something similar with my daughters cat of 16 years. I gave my daughter the cat when she was 6 or 7. (you don’t really take into consideration, that when they grow up and move away after college you now have a cat)
Anyway…the cat is not well. I’m more attached to the cat because of what it represents as my daughter’s childhood, then just the cat. The cat and I have both gone through our own struggles as my daughter left for college, and then moved away to Oklahoma. I guess we bonded as we each dealt with the loss, and our goodbyes and coming to terms with the new arrangement. We drew to each other in her absence.
I recently heard someone tell about how their childhood poodle helped them through the difficult times of growing up, through the alcoholism in the family and a divorce and that this poodle dying was so traumatic for them they never again had another pet. I on the other hand, foster dogs, work with shelters and at this point in my life I have two cats, two dogs, one of which is being fostered by us and has come through some horrible physical problems, two turtles and a bunch of fish in the pond, they pretty much take care of themselves and am now the feral cat lady as a mother cat found our house and dropped off her kittens, all 4 of them, which also brought two teenagers. I have no idea what to do with these cats, the shelters won’t take them. I keep feeding them and trying to get them used to people, but something has to be done.
This is my life with cats and dogs and pets. No wonder my heart goes out to those commissions that includes the family pet.