One of the benefits of working from my home providing online counseling is to have a pet nearby. Often I’ll have a cat on my lap, or maybe even climbing up to my shoulder, and I never mean to be distracting! Sometimes a dog will even come visit. For folks who have worked with me, they know that I have 2 cats and 2 dogs. Well, that is until about a month ago.
Topaz was only 10 years old when suddenly (to us) she got sick. Within 24 hours, we knew she was dying of kidney failure, that this problem had been manifesting for quite a while. Topaz was a Siamese mixed with tabby, but she looked 100% Siamese. She had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, thus her name, along with the smoky topaz fur she had. She was also about 9 pounds, soaking wet!
Topaz was the first pet we got in the round of animals we have right now. As each new family member arrived, she let them know that she was boss. She didn’t seem to be mean about it; she just had a look, like the one our moms gave us to keep us in line. I thought it was actually great, that she seemed to keep all the brood behaving.
When there’s a sudden change in the household, everyone reacts. I take the death of a pet seriously, because they love us in a way that no other being loves us, and they are such a large part of our every day. My heart was broken when Topaz died, and I felt her absence everywhere. I know the animals felt it too, though it took me a while to see how it was affecting them.
First I noticed that one of our dogs was running around more, and spending more time with us in the family room. Then he started to play more with our other dog. Then the remaining cat started to come to the family room more. I had noticed that there was quite a bit of segregation in our home, though I didn’t really realize that this was Topaz’s doing. With her gone, our other animals actually seem happier! Could she have ruled them with an iron paw? But she was always so sweet, so it seemed.
And that’s how it goes in life. Things seem to be happy, and sometimes we only realize the hurtful parts when the situation is over. I hear this about workplaces and unfortunately relationships. I don’t think it was horribly abusive for our animals here, though it does seem less oppressive for them now that Topaz is gone. We have to be willing to look for this experience, to see how others affect and influence us. Maybe we don’t feel bad, BUT we don’t feel great, with a certain person or situation. Our self esteem is more affected by others’ influence than we may realize, so we need to be conscious about who and what we have in our lives.
I got distracted as I was typing this. I heard one of the dogs bark, and realized that the dogs were playing again. Sometimes when something feels so painful, joy can still come out of it!
Thank you for reading this!