Adding Patches to the Quilt

Pets are God’s way of teaching us to love, to let go, and to love again.

It’s hard for me to understand why, when some folks lose a beloved companion animal, they say, “I can’t ever have another one; it hurts too much to lose them.” This is true: the death of a beloved dog or cat leaves a ragged dog- or cat-shaped hole in your being. The passing of a best friend hurts, and the pain lasts a long time. If you think about it, the pain never goes away, but becomes a part of your self that you learn to live with, day-to-day. But to deny yourself future joy because of present pain? Were the years of loving companionship not more than worth the ache of loss? Would it really be better never to have loved at all? Is your heart not big enough to hold a new love?

Of course we can’t literally replace a beloved pet who’s gone, but through the rescue or adoption of a dog or cat who is homeless and in need of love, we can fill an empty space in our homes, hearts, and daily routines, and add another patch, stitched in place with love, memories, and tears, to the multicolored quilt that is the animal lover’s heart.

Each animal who pads across our life enlarges and enriches it in a unique way, adding another color, another pattern, and another layer of warmth. Loving one strengthens us just a little more, so that we can keep on loving. Every dog who has left my life to cross the Bridge left a warm, cozy, dog-shaped hollow in my emotions, just the right shape and size to fit another homeless dog who needs a protector and a lifetime friend.

Saving another life in honor and memory of one who has “crossed the Bridge.” That’s the essence of paying it forward, and we can keep doing that for a lifetime.

[originally published on Facebook 4 November 2012]

2 thoughts on “Adding Patches to the Quilt

  1. Yet again ~ beautifully written and so very very true. I have rescued many cats and dogs and will continue to do so until I can no longer and am very old and grey. Each one will come in loving memory of one who has passed as they do now, for there are so many who need the love I can give them for what remains, long or short a time in their lives. I know that the ones who have passed left me a legacy of untold love, to be given and shared with another in need ….. but in the same respect I know that I will only find my own Peace when I join them at the Bridge for the heartache never ends and as you said, we just learn to live with it and learn to love again and again until ~ in the end ~ there is nothing left to give …….

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