Take Bob, Spare Fido

When wives talk to wives and husbands talk to husbands, shocking things are often said about spouses, how bad they snore, eat with their hands, skip their daily showers, and line up their underwear in neat rows in the dresser drawers. When all this gets a bit much, it turns out–if you’re a fly on the wall listening–that if the angel of death gave a married man or woman a choice, they’d rather see their spouse taken away to the world to come rather than their precious cat or hunting dog.

“After all, Mabel won’t hunt, won’t swim out into the swamp and retrieve the ducks after they’re blasted out of the sky.”

And:

“Bob is never as considerate as Fido because Fido never leaves the toilet seat up or tracks mud in the front door.”

Seriously, though, people who don’t own gets don’t understand that a pet’s death is truly a death in the family. When pets are part of a household for years, they’re still part of the household after they cross the so-called rainbow bridge. So those of us who mourn the passing of pets have lots of empty spaces in our lives where the pets used to be–physically and in our hearts as well.

Sure, we can make nasty jokes about our spouses’ habits, but speaking ill of a pet–except in good fun–is a felony. Sure, the cat tore up the best chair in the livingroom and the dog tore up our favorite pair of boots, but when they leave us, we forgive them everything and remember them fondly.

For spouses, on the othe hand, it’s sometimes good riddance. Or so people say after a few drinks.

I speak from experience when I say that when a pet dies, it takes a while to come to terms with that just as surely as it does when one loses a spouse or brother or sister. The pain is less, but not insignificant.

I’m still trying to get used to he fact that our cat Marlo is gone. I expect to see her everywhere she used to be. It appears that our two other cats feel the same way. None of us are back to normal yet, so give us a little time to grieve even though we’re still stuck with Bob or Mabel.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of multiple novels and short stories, including “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”