This week hasn’t exactly been the best for me. My family’s beloved 18-year-old kitty, Lily, passed away peacefully on Monday, which has rendered me heartbroken over the past few days. Anyone who met her could tell you that she was a very special creature, with, as my sister puts it, “a personality bigger and louder than her meow.” She loved to sunbathe, eat my leftover cereal, drink out of unattended water glasses and greet everyone who came through the door with several boisterous meows. She was very beautiful.
Lily taught me so many things over the years – about love, about loyalty, about being yourself and yelling at the top of your lungs to let everyone know that you’re the boss. But perhaps the greatest lesson she taught me is one of having compassion and respect for all creatures on this Earth.
Sometimes, I see pet owners who have a tendency to “collect” animals, like they’re possessions or American Girl dolls or something. Or worse, I see rescue dogs and cats that have been saved from neglect or abuse. I’m grateful for their saviors, but so sad that people can be so ignorant and malicious towards a living being that just wants to be loved. Which is all anyone wants, really.
Lily taught me that pets have a special place in this world – they have ears and eyes and lungs and hearts and souls and deserve love, respect and attention. When you adopt a pet, you are making that animal a part of your family. And that’s exactly what she was – seeing as I’ve had her since age six, she truly grew up with me and my sister, providing unconditional love for the both of us.
I am, of course, very sad about her passing. She is completely irreplaceable, and has been an integral part of my family for almost my entire life. But I carry her vibrant spirit with me and hope that others can remember to have empathy and respect for all humans and animals, no matter their shape and size.
Make sure to hug your friends today, whether they’re dogs, cats or people!