My African Prince
Ah, I know, I’m ridiculously biased! Aren’t we all, whether cat or dog lover, pointy nose or flat face, virtually bald or a fur ball, big or small, the places they occupy in our hearts are huge. Way too huge at times, I think.
Do all pet lovers have one?
Long ago I read that there will always be a lifetime pet. Long after many other, much-loved four-footers have walked over the couch, there will always be that one. Perhaps it’s one that you can never quite think of without getting a lump in your throat. Or suddenly (but not inexplicably) feel melancholic. Or tears well up in your eyes and at times you even cry.
Poirot is that kind of pet for me. He died 5 1/2 years ago on a country road in Quebec, Canada. He was eight. I now have cats that I may be even more besotted with than I was with him. Yet, he’s my lifetimer.
He was born in Africa and never hid his hatred for the Canadian cold, where he experienced five winters in Quebec. Always full of snow and plenty very cold. He semi-hibernated during those winters, but what he hated more than the cold was sharing the kitty toilet with the other cats. So, rush out – tippy-toeing at high speed, do his business on the side of the barn and rush back in to carry on sleeping.
As I’m typing this, I’m thinking “Is it any wonder that he opted out?” Yes and no. He departed in May, so he could have had one more clammy summer of mouse hunting, his passion. He always brought a dead mouse home to show off, usually by late morning. That’s why I knew that day in May that something was amiss. By 4 pm he had not shown his face all day. After 20 minutes of searching, I found him on the side of the road, like a flat grey stone, which is what I thought I saw from a distance.
How do I accommodate this?
A Buddhist friend told me years ago that I should accommodate Poirot’s loss. I thought I found a way to do this, but after a while the old ache resurfaced. Perhaps just like the phantom pain experienced after the amputation of a limb, I will experience pain in my heart because he was cut out of my life way too soon?