Celebrate the Whippet Breed

THE JOURNEY

 By: Crystal Ward Kent

Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved

 When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a
 journey, a journey that will bring you more love and
 devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your
 strength and courage.

 If you allow, the journey will teach you many things,
 about life, about yourself, and most of all, about
 love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul
 cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

 Along the way, you will learn much about savoring
 lifes simple pleasures  jumping in leaves, snoozing
 in the sun, the joy of puddles, and even the
 satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.

 If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how
 to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf
 or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be
 overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled,
 pondered, and noted as being full of valuable
 information. Your pace may be slower ...except when
 heading home to the food dish... but you will become a
 better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in
 the field.

 Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal
 being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the
 journey. We miss the details the colorful mushrooms
 on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple
 snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk
 as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop;
 we browse the landscape; we kick over leaves, peek in
 tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn
 what any dog knows: that nature has created a
 marvelously complex world that is full of surprises,
 that each cycle of the seasons brings ever-changing
 wonders, each day an essence all its own.

 Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned
 to the world around you. You will find yourself
 watching summer insects collecting on a screen (How
 bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or
 noting the flicker and flash of fireflies through the
 dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of
 windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It
 does not matter that there is no objective in this;
 the point is in the doing, in not letting lifes most
 important details slip by.

 You will find yourself doing silly things that your
 pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty
 minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food
 brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday
 treats, or driving around the block an extra time
 because your pet enjoys the ride. You will roll in the
 snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber
 balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the
 house trailing your bathrobe tie with a cat in hot
 pursuit all in the name of love.

 Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will
 wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You
 may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and
 feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping
 bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves
 the crinkly sound.

 You will learn the true measure of love the
 steadfast, undying kind that says, It doesn't matter
 where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as
 long as we are together. Respect this always. It is
 the most precious gift any living soul can give
 another. You will not find it often among the human
 race.

 And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes
 often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my
 presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be
 cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her
 wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and
 dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth
 considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

 If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey
 is done, you will not be just a better person, but the
 person your pet always knew you to be  the one they
 were proud to call beloved friend.

 I must caution you that this journey is not without
 pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of
 loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your
 dear animal companion will follow a path you cannot
 yet go down. And you will have to find the strength
 and love to let them go. A pet's time on earth is far
 too short ... especially for those that love them. We
 borrow them, really, just for awhile, and during those
 brief years they are generous enough to give us all of
 their love ...every inch of their spirit and heart,
 until one day there is nothing left.

 The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too
 soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young
 pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the
 muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew this
 journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts
 they would be broken. But give them we must for it is
 all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the
 road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give
 one final gift and let them run on ahead ...young and
 whole once more.

 Godspeed, good friend, we say, until our journey
 comes full circle and our paths cross again.

Permission from Crystal Ward Kent to post to this site.

To learn more about "The Journey", visit Crystal Ward Kents website listed below.

Posters of "The Journey" available on Crystal's home page with all proceeds going to the New Hampshire SPCA

http://www.journeyforanimals.com//