ALL THE DOGS IN MY LIFE
LIVING LOVE
                               By Martin Scot Kosins

If you ever loved an animal, there are three days in your life you will always
remember……….

The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring your young new friend home.  
You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed.  You may have asked for numerous
opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder.  Or, perhaps in a
fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter – simple
because something in its eyes reached your heart.  But when you bring that chosen pet
home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room – and
when you feel it brush against you for the first time – it instills a feeling of pure love
you will carry with you through the many years to come.

The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later.  It will be a day like any
other -- routine and unexceptional.  But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your
longtime friend and see age where you once saw youth.  You will see slow deliberate
steps where you once saw energy.  And you will see sleep when you once saw activity.  So
you will begin to adjust your friend's diet – and you may add a pill or two to its food.  
And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming
emptiness.  And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally
arrives.

And on this day – if your friend and God have not decided for you -- you will be faced
with making a decision of your own on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the
guidance of your own deepest Spirit.  But whichever way your friend eventually leaves
you – you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.

If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must.  And if
you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be
able to understand your grief, or comfort you.

But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled
years, you may find that a soul – a bit smaller in size than your own – seems to walk with
you at times during the lonely days to come.  And at moments when you least expect
anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg –
very very lightly.

And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay –
you will remember those three significant days.  The memory will most likely be painful
and leave an ache in your heart.  As time passes, the ache will come and go as if it had a
life of its own.  You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you.  If you
reject it, it will depress you.  If you embrace it, it will deepen you.  Either way, it will
still be an ache.

But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when – along with the memory of your pet
and piercing through the heaviness in your heart – there will come a realization that
belongs only to you.  It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal
we have loved, and lost.  This realization takes the form of a Living Love – like the
heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted.  This Love will remain
and grow – and be there for us to remember.  It is a love we have earned.  It is the
legacy our pets leave us when they go.  And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we
live.  It is a Love which is ours alone.  And until we ourselves leave -- perhaps to join our
Beloved Pets – it is a Love we will always possess.
They will not go quietly,
the dogs who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.

Old habits still make us think
we hear a barking at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.

Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And sometimes coming home at night,
We miss them terribly.

And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts belongs to them......
and always will.
Thank you for allowing me to share my memories of all the precious dogs that
have gone before me and are waiting at Rainbow Bridge.  Each and every one
of them has its own very special place in my heart and will never be
forgotten.

With each loss there are many tears and so much pain.  But through all the
tears a light shines in the distance.  That light is a reminder to me that even
though my wonderful furbabies are no longer with me, their memory will
always be alive in my heart.  I am truly thankful for the time that we had
together and the chance to build those memories.

I am also very thankful for my little ones that are still sharing my life.  
Having already gone through the pain of grieving for those no longer
physically with me, I can truly treasure every moment of every day with the
ones that are left.  Now is the time for building new memories with them that
will also  be forever cherished.

Please join me now and meet all the dogs that are waiting at home for me
everyday.
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