Sometimes writing this blog is so simple, and other times it is nearly impossible. This one is beyond difficult. This week, our friend Duncan passed away. Duncan belonged to Janet, or more correctly, Janet belonged to Duncan. They were literally inseparable; where there was one, you saw the other.
Many of us have had animals in our lives, be they dogs, cats, horses, or hamsters. We take care of them, we love them and we grieve when we lose them. But Duncan transcended the typical human-animal relationship. He was a best friend, an anchor, a wise counselor and a gauge of the world around him.
Almost always, the people who come to Old Friends for tours are animal people. But everyone, animal person or not, would notice Duncan. People invariably would be drawn in by his eyes, sometimes walking over to him as if they couldn’t help themselves. I don’t know what Duncan saw, but I have heard people claim he looked right through you. I guess he looked you over, and in his eyes you could see yourself for who you are; he saw you, the good, the not-so-good, and the sometimes kind of bad.
I remember the first time Duncan decided I was OK. I had known him for some time, and while he was always gentle and kind with me, I knew I wasn’t anywhere on his list of favorite people. But after a while, for some reason, he decided I was worthy of a kiss. No big slobbery kisses for Duncan, though. No, his kisses were just like him—a slight buss on the cheek, a gentle glide of his wet nose. There were no ostentatious displays of affection. He was a king bestowing his blessing on his subject.
Some people, on the outside looking in, would assume that Duncan was spoiled. He was not. He was offered the best of everything: the best food, the best care, and always, always, the best and most love. And now, with his passing, he is being grieved in the same way—deeply and with great respect, admiration and love. No one, human or animal, can ever hope for more.
(thanks to Rick Capone for the photo)