The Racket #22 : PETS
Poster by Angie McDonald
08.23.2018 - ADOBE BOOKS - 7PM
The pets of our lives.
We are pet people. We coo at dogs on the street. We stop important conversations to point out a puppies frolicking on the sidewalk. Dogs and cats and newts and a handful of turtles have dropped pins into the timeline of our lives. It is a simple task to mark the days and months and years of our existences by simple drawing a line from a golden retriever whose brain outlived his legs to a box turtle that fully expressed itself only once.
Each animal, it's beginning and its end, an era of our lives. Fourteen years with an overweight dog that couldn't catch a ball even before it lost an eye. Twenty-two with a cat that still lives in a parent's garage, seemingly sheltered from the ravages of time. Mere days with an escapee newt discovered dried and desiccated in the shadow of a stairwell.
We are pet people, but as we've aged, there is a nagging sadness that comes with the love of our animals. There's no doubt in our mind now that we will out live each domesticated beast that slips into our time streams. That each creature we feed and run and nurture like furred children, will one day depart leaving us only with the memories that have managed to dig their claws in. And yes, that our companions will, at the latter edge of our lives, be a countdown to our own ends. We will one day look down at a small spotted dog nestled at our feet and think, "this might be my last. This one right here, might be my last."
It is sometimes difficult to not sit next to our animals while they slumber and see them as older, thinner, marked with grey feet and a white snout, their breathes clogged by old lungs, their teeth gone brown with use, their eyes misted opaque with time gone past. To see them on a table in a sterile room with a stranger and a needle. To see the time afterwards, a hole gouged in a what we thought to be our normal routine, an empty hour suddenly punctured in the space where a morning walk once took place.
All said, if pets are the signposts that lead us, smiling more often than not, through our days, then it is all we can do to appreciate the fleeting slivers of life we are afforded with them. They will disappear, and we will disappear, in the relative blink of an eye. It is all we can do to be present as the time slips past.