It’s a sad truth that the average animal lifespan, certainly those that share our little patch of the planet anyway, is substantially shorter than we human’s allotted time. We celebrate the lambs, kids and chicks slither-drop-stumble- fumbling their way into our world sure in the knowledge that we will be, nine times out of ten, witnessing their departure and this fact makes the whole circle of life deal we aspire to live by somewhat bittersweet.
In the time we were incommunicado, The Homestead had a doozy of a lesson in bitter as Mel the Cat’s allotted span drew to an close.
One month shy of her seventeenth year arriving on the Homestead with her half tail and many, many stories (none of which included disclosing her age), it became obvious that her life quality had suddenly declined. Our aging-sometimes-disgracefully number one feline, she with her uncanny knack of knowing who was a little under the weather and in need of her unique form of attention and a David v Goliath fight stance to aspire to, had suddenly, within hours, become a very old, very unwell lady. An early morning, Christmas Eve, dash to the emergency vet confirmed our fears and her human entourage chose the only option that made sense.
We all miss her terribly, animals and humans alike, as she was the heartbeat of Union Homestead but she left this world the exact way she chose to live everyday: right at the centre of us all, her hands on the wheel and her finger on the pulse.
Something this way of life has magnified for me, however, is that without bitter the sweet wouldn’t be as wonderful. Although Mel would definitely disapprove of sharing any attention, including blogosphere byline, with the Homestead Hound, he provides this missive’s counterbalance as Saturday marks Colin’s second time around the sun. Yes, he of the overzealous, coffee-capsizing tail, ever empty puku (stomach), heart melting eyes, and window-rattling snores is turning two!
His time with us feels simultaneously like forever and just a blink of a moment.
Maybe his third year will be the one he finally learns that sofas are for humans only, not everything in the world is edible, and sheep, while they may react obligingly quickly when he plays sheepdog, have non-negotiable license to safely graze here on the Homestead.