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Giving thanks for the animals

We can think of no better way to mark this Thanksgiving than with this piece, written by Alcestis “Cooky” Oberg, a contributor to USA Today who remembers more than a few dogs waiting for scraps under the dinner table…

“Spaniels, shepherds, setters, poodles, ridgebacks, Labradors and whatnots. All these dogs were strays — lost canines who wandered into our lives and nestled into our hearts. We lived together as a multispecies family, enjoying the seasons, the feasts, the joys together. The dogs were there to soothe our sorrows, too, and to ease the passage of time in the lonely moments of the night.

In an op-ed piece, Oberg gives thanks for her animals and their rescuers.

“This Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for my animal companions in life and for the hundreds of organizations and thousands of people who take notice of such creatures throughout the nation — rescuing them, defending them and finding them homes. It is hard and sometimes unpleasant work, and nobody gets rich doing it. But the ultimate test of our humanity is how we treat animals, and these people redeem our species by saving millions of helpless creatures every year.

Oberg writes of adopting her dog Sierra.

My local SPCA’s efforts brought me my dog, Sierra, 13 years ago. My kids urged me to go there after a beloved pet dog died suddenly. I was crying as we walked past the cages — and in the last one stood Sierra. She was a large spayed female Labrador/shepherd mix, about a year old. She wagged her long magnificent tail confidently as soon as I looked at her, and her brown honest eyes spoke to me as if to say, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

And of losing her.

“My old girlfriend Sierra died in her sleep this summer at a very old age — the human equivalent of 105 — with three generations of my family and my large circle of friends mourning the loss of this true and noble soul. We buried her in the shade of the pecan tree she favored, not far from the large sand pile where the children play with toy soldiers and trucks, and beside the path to the barn we walked together twice a day to feed the horses. She will remain in death as ever she was in life — in the heart of my family.

“I’ll especially miss my sweet old beggar with her soulful smoldering eyes beside my chair this Thanksgiving. But I’ll say a prayer of thanks for having known her, for how lucky I was to have found her that cold day at the SPCA 13 years ago.

“She brought us laughter, protection, devotion — and a kind of love that was distilled to a purity that we’ve rarely found in any other aspect of our life journey.

(Photo: A Viszla named Laila — who just so happens to have her own blog — appears thankful for her owner, and vice versa, during a walk in Baltimore’s Riverside Park; by John Woestendiek)

Comments

Comment from bluhawkk
Time November 28, 2008 at 9:36 am

Perfect photo, perfect moment in time…….happy pup embraced by adoring human in colorings of red and reddish-brown.

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