Paws and effect

by Lorin Michel Monday, April 23, 2012 11:07 PM

I have a new piece of jewelry. It’s a small silver triangle, hanging on a 16” chain. On the front, there is a smaller black oxidized triangle with a silver paw print in the center; on the back, the name Maguire is etched into the silver. My sister and niece gave this necklace to me when they arrived on Thursday night. It’s made by a company in California called 4 Paws Forever that was founded to celebrate and remember the lives of pets that have passed away. Their craftsman use traditional methods of making jewelry using Earth-Friendly materials. Each memorial is designed to celebrate a pet that has passed. The piece currently hanging around my neck is the perfect way to celebrate my wonderful boy and to keep him close to my heart.

I’m forever amazed at the generosity of people when it comes to the loss of a pet. Anyone who has ever had a pet knows the joy they bring, the complete love they offer and should be given in return. Anyone who has lost a pet can immediately access the feeling of loss and despair; anyone who has a pet looks at him or her with the knowledge that someday they’ll have to endure the profound sadness that supplants the current joy. Knowing that others get it and are willing to share it with you – in this case with me – helps. It helped when we lost Maguire; it helps every day.

My sister is a big animal lover. She and her family lost their dear Hogan about four years or so ago. He was twelve, a shepherd mix, and they had had him since he was a puppy. The loss was profound as it always is. But when the time was right, they got a new puppy, a border collie/Australian shepherd mix named Lucky. She’s a spazz; she’s a good girl.

Khris gives money to animal rights causes; she gets incensed by cruelty. We saw a dog in the back of a pickup truck this weekend while she was here and both of us wanted to chase the guy down and tell him that if he couldn’t take care of his dog correctly perhaps he shouldn’t even have the dog. We didn’t. But we wanted to. When I found a site a week or so ago called Old Dog Haven, she and I shared long distance tears for the old dogs, our vintage puppies, that we’d lost. The dear old souls, with faces that seem so full of wisdom and sacrifice, humility and love, make me feel both sad and grateful. Sad for the fact that many have been tossed aside by owners; grateful to have known the wonder that comes from having an old dog. We’re both going to sponsor a vintage pup in memory of the vintage boys we’ve lost.

The joy that our pets bring is forever. Remembering them, keeping them close, wearing remembrances like this necklace help when they’re gone. I still want my Maguire to be here. I’d rather have my boy than the necklace, a sentiment I know my sister understands. But if I can’t have him, I can have my beautiful Paws Forever necklace, hanging close to my heart, bringing me comfort, and filling me with love. That’s always worth celebrating.

Tomorrow my girls leave, and I’ll be sad again. But I’ll wear them close to my heart, too. Forever. That’s paws and effect.

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