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A Pet-Shaped Hole in Your Life

This is Baby (given name Rascal; nick name Bubbas, Bubs, Bubbers, Dude). Baby came into our lives when he was just 4 1/2 weeks old. He had been abandoned by his mother, he belonged to a Craigslist 'Free Kittens' post, and we fell instantly in love with him as we would cuddle him to our chest swaddled in a tiny blanket as he would suckle on his pet nursing bottle and let out the tiniest little 'Mews' that would melt our hearts to pieces. The name Baby just kind of stuck. Having pets through the years has just always been a part of what makes our family whole. Baby, well- he was no exception.

Through the years, Baby has belonged to everyone--and no one, all at once. He was a lover boy, a Jekyll and Hyde, a faithful companion, and a little sassy sh*t. In his lifetime, he lived in Oregon, California, Minnesota, and all the way back to Oregon again. He journeyed by car, airplane, kennel, carrier and by doggy stroller. These past few years, Baby stepped into the role of being my emotional support animal. Not that he wasn't through years past, but the last three plus years, his commitment to me intensified dramatically. If you are a pet owner, you know there is nothing (nothing) in this lifetime as wonderful as sharing your life with a pet. They make your emotions come alive- love, anger, frustration, laughter, joy, loss, solace, aggravation, fear... you name it, they have made you feel it. Personally, I believe God gives us the gift of a pet to help us learn how to navigate our human emotions. But when a cherished pet takes on the role of an emotional support animal, the entire pet/pet owner dynamic takes on a whole new color. The relationship evolves to a much deeper level and the pet-shaped space in your life that they fill expands. For me, Baby was so much more than a pet. He knew instinctively when I was sad, full of happy, hurting, angry, frustrated or grieving. When I felt sad, he would kiss my nose and rub his furry head across my tears. When I was in physical pain, he would climb up into my lap and lay his body across my hips where my pain resided--or he would lay behind me and rest his head upon mine when a migraine was keeping me down. He has kissed or nibbled at my nose to wake me up from a fitful dream. He has pawed at me to wake me during the night when I am in physical distress. He has head butted me when I stay on my computer too long helping me to avoid a worsened headache. He has curled into my chest when I nap to comfort me. He has dined when I dine, stepped outside with me when I've stepped outside, peed alongside of me in his litter box when I peed, and talked kitty talk to me when I have gotten caught up in feeling lonely. When I have spent time away from him, he became physically sick with my absence, he was that invested in being a support for me. I cannot even adequately recount all the ways that Baby took on my pain as his own in an attempt to make my life more pleasant and pain-free. And one of his favorite places to be was tucked in tight right up against my leg when I would have a morning up of coffee, journal open in my lap. Baby became so much more than just my furry companion. The loss of him was so sudden and has left a pet-shaped hole in my life.

The scripture that came to my mind this morning was Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 KJV

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

I do feel so very blessed that God gave us 12 whole years with him in our lives. He will surely be missed <3. I believe that in time God will fill that pet-shaped hole as I (and we) heal from the loss of Baby. The very fact that he leaves a pet-shaped hole speaks volumes of the gift he brought into our lives. My heart hurts just a little less knowing that he is now reunited with our Augie who we got to love on for 13 whole years. #youwillbemissed #lossofpet #emotionalsupportanimal #furrycompanion

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