September 11 is Pet Remembrance Day. We each have that one special animal companion we’ll never forget. This is the perfect day to pull those memories out of storage. Today, I remember my Gina Marie.
September 11 – Pet Remembrance Day
I’ve seen it in my own life as well as the lives of others. It always amazes me how quickly an animal can become a full-fledged member of a family or a household, with all of the rights and privileges that go along with that status. I’m not saying that all pets turn into Lassie or anything. They just sort of weasel their way into our lives. (Weasels can make pretty good pets, by the way.) And we let them! Heck, we encourage it!
How many photos have you seen posted online where a dog or cat takes over the entire bed? They can make it extremely challenging for the human to claim any territory. How did that behavior begin? By the way we encourage that little puppy or kitten to snuggle up in the bed with us. Many pet owners claim that if they only had a small amount of food left, they would give it to their beloved animal companion and go hungry themselves. I believe them.
Our Deep Attachment to Animal Friends
There are a number of theories on why we get so attached to our furry friends. I think that some of it stems from that awful knowledge that we will outlive them. To make that a little easier to deal with, we do tend to spoil our pets. We indulge them in ways that don’t necessarily seem “normal” to our non-pet-owning friends. But we know that there will be a day when all we have left of our relationships with these hairy little gifts are memories. September 11th is Pet Remembrance Day and it should definitely be observed. But we all know that the remembrances our departed pets leave us with can occur at any time in any place and each of those instances are precious.
My Gina Marie
I’ve had many animal companions in my life. I have loved each and every one of them but, as they say, “You never forget your first.” (Well, maybe they weren’t talking about pets, but it still applies.) My first pet was a black lab mix named “Gina”. She was a gift from our next-door neighbors when I lived in Lima, Ohio. She arrived in a cardboard box with a sheet of wrapping paper laid gently over the top. That was many years ago and I was only nine years old, but I still remember her pushing the wrapping paper out of the way with her tiny little puppy nose. She attempted a bark that only came out as a little yelp. It was love at first sight and Gina and I hung out together for a lot of years as I grew up and she grew old.
A Dog of Many Travels
Because of my father’s job, we moved around a lot and Gina lived in 9 different states in her very long lifetime. We romped together in the snow in Colorado, watched Saturday morning cartoons side-by-side in St. Louis, and she was known to take a dip in the pool with me when my parents moved to California. By that time, I had grown up, married, and had my first son. Every time I went to visit my parents I always wondered if Gina would still remember me, but she never disappointed. I would walk through the door and she was instantly all over me, just like when I used to come home from school in the afternoons. It hurt my soul when Gina crossed that Rainbow Bridge, but she left so many good memories that still pop into my head at the darndest times.
Every Day is Pet Remembrance Day
I think that’s it’s a wonderful idea to have a day of remembrance for our animal companions. No doubt you have many great memories of yours, but don’t just save them up for one day a year. (As if any of us could!) Gina has traveled with me for over 54 years now and her memory always brings out a smile in me. Keep those pets in your heart all year long. When you have a free moment or are feeling a little “down”, remember your special friend and take comfort in the fact that you were the recipient of one of the best and most pure gifts you could ever receive. You had a pet’s unconditional and eternal love. Your furry buddy felt that you were worth it, and who are you to disagree?