I miss my cat Dolly. She was a beautiful tabby and I bought her from a pet shop in Kilburn, London in 1987 when I was 20 years old. She died at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve in 2006, having reached the grand old age of 19.
Yes. Six years later and I still miss her often, especially when life gets me down or I need her here to listen, as she did so many times. My private journal has taken her place as my confidential ear but it is a cold, unfeeling thing in comparison. I’ve had other cat friends since but, while I adore and love them all, with many of them now departed from this world and remembered well, I have never had as close a kinship with another animal as I did with Dolly.
I rarely even mention her to others now, as the only way to do that is to reduce her to a sentence or an anecdote. She was neither.
It’s hard to explain connections of understanding with animals to those who are disconnected from them and always have been, although I admit now I’m older I can’t be bothered putting in the effort. You either get it, or you don’t. We are all different and that is more than okay—but mock the bond so many share with animals and you show such pathetic ignorance and arrogance, well… My heart goes out to such people, for they are seriously in need of help and don’t know it. They hunger but their stomachs do not rumble.
It hurts when those of any species we love and care for leave us, especially but not exclusively our fellow human beings. But it is also greatly comforting to have sweet memories—of friends, family, dogs, cats, chickens, horses, pigs and all of creation in its infinite majesty—to fall back on whenever we need the reassurance of knowing we can not only give love generously but have received love generously ourselves.
How great a thing is love, how fragile and easily broken yet noble, beautiful and energising? And why do so many people in an allegedly advanced civilisation so very easily dismiss the primary importance of love, throwing it away, valuing transient novelty over lasting intimacy, chasing money, things and moments of pleasure through drink and drugs that do not last and harm us in their passing?
The answer to the first question is that the greatness of love knows no bounds, has no enclosure that can contain and stem its flow, other than the pretend fences of the human mind. The answer to the second question, that’s not for me to provide but rather for us all to meditate upon and find for ourselves so we may better equip ourselves for personal and social transformation, away from the politics and policies, beliefs and religious constraints that have harmed too many for too long.
These are but words of an unknown writer, make of them what you will. Some may call me an idealist and I am, absolutely I am, for I believe in love being the only hope for man, the only solution to fit every coming crisis, address and disarm every hatred and fear.
I would rather seek the ideal than use cynicism to mask a lack of self-belief and a fear of the future. I ask only that you think, and smile more, and ponder what you can do today not for yourself but at least one other—human, animal, the form it does not matter.