From time to time, I write about our three pets; the golden, the English springer spaniel and a certain little black cat. Elsie, Sophie and Ninja are very special members of our family and they don’t mind at all when I share about them here on the blog or on Instagram, which by the way, is a really fun place for pet lovers to hang out. My human kids on the other hand prefer that I keep quiet about them. So I do. Mostly. Five years ago, when I got the call, the cancer call, the only ones with me were Elsie and Sophie. We didn’t have Ninja yet. Having a cat was never in my plans. Neither was cancer.
Now that both dogs are getting up there in years, Elsie is twelve which is old for a golden, and Sophie is nine; I find myself appreciating them even more. It’s not like I haven’t always appreciated them, but I know their time with us is limited. I know when they are no longer around they will be greatly missed for many reasons and one of these reasons is, of course, that they have been my cancer witnesses. They have also been my grief witnesses.
Not only did Elsie and Sophie witness all the goings-on that fateful spring day five years ago when I took that cancer call, they also witnessed considerable anguish during my mother’s illness and then more of the same after her death. Sophie even made a visit or two to the care facility my mother spent her last days in.
Both Elsie and Sophie were, and continue to be, wonderful therapy dogs, not certified, but therapy dogs none-the-less.
I love a lot of things about my dogs and Ninja, too, but one of the things I love most is how they witness everything that goes on around here, the good, the bad and the ugly.
And after my mother’s death and then again after my cancer diagnosis and on many days during treatment, there was a fair amount of ugliness to witness. There were days I sat around in my pajamas and never got dressed. There were times I cried, no sobbed uncontrollably. You know, the kind of sobbing that IS literally ugly, the loud blubbering kind that turns your eyes and face into a don’t-look-in-the-mirror-for-at-least-three-hours-blotchy-kind of mess.
Elsie and Sophie were witnesses and secret keepers during those times. They still are.
Elsie, Sophie and Ninja stick around for anything. Okay, sometimes Ninja runs off, but she always comes back. None of them miss a thing that happens at my house. And they don’t seem to mind much if I’m moody, inpatient, frustrated, sad, or cranky unless of course my crankiness is directed at them, which it almost never is.
My pets remind me about the importance of being present, of just being there. They remind me about how under-rated silence is. They remind me what it means to love unconditionally and without judgment. They remind me that no matter how sad or how low I feel or have felt, that feeling always passes. And they play a part in making that happen.
I love Elsie, Sophie and Ninja for all these reasons and more. Thanks, girls, for being my witnesses, my secret keepers and a whole lot more.
Cancer or no cancer, do you have a special eye witness and/or secret keeper or two at your house?
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