Let me be clear that I dont equate the lives of people and animals.
It makes me feel guilty that in the western world, we treat our pets better than we treat Humans in the Third World. And it disgusts me to see photographs of pampered dogs wearing jewelry in Beverley Hills.
But nevertheless many of you reading this will have pets. You might as a cat person be sitting there with Daisy between you and your lap top or you might as a dog person just be home from taking Rover for a walk.
And again I emphasise they are not human…not even close…but we grow attached.
We usually have cats.
It wasnt easy taking Alf on his last trip to the vet. Made harder by the vets callousness. But Alf was cremated and “sleeps” on our hearth.
It wasnt easy when Buffy went missing in action, probably to a predator that was flying about for days.
Keano will be 19 in the summer and is still going.
We have all been changed by the last few weeks. Family life totally disrupted up to the point that we cant even say goodbye to loved ones or even attend their funerals.
But Family Life is not just made up of Births, Marriages and Deaths. Thats just the headline events…hatching, matching and despatching.
Mostly it is routine, interupted by good stuff like a grandson being under 14 player of the year. Or bad stuff, the loss of a pet.
Our second son is a dog lover and a few years ago made the trip to the vet with Apollo.
Our granddaughter (7) was crying her eyes out when Simba (her kitten) went AOL for 24 hours. Happily he came back.
And this morning our first son (in 12 week lockdown with his family). Smokey their labrador has been in decline for over a year. My daughter in law got some medication from their vet this morning. And he didnt expect it to work. And it didnt work.
So before 10am, my son phoned me to say that the vet would be making a house call to see Smokey for the last time. We did not get the chance to see him one last time.
I will miss big lovable Smokey. In between houses, Smokey lived here and Keano and Smokey ignored each other happily.
But CoronaVirus intrudes on everything.
Smokey could not get up. Could not move at all.
So my son and grandsons put him on a blanket and brought him out to the back garden. The vet could not come inside the house. And he put Smokey “to sleep”
Again I emphasise that animals are not human.
The humanity is within us, caring for a creature and sharing fun and sharing (a degree of grief).
And around 1.30pm, the Family Whats Up group had a text “Smokey is playing with A****” (our other granddaughter).
A lot of people will get worse news today…a man, a woman, a child……or “an elderly person with underlying medical conditions”…that grotesque phrase that we now live with.
We are now in a world where grief is a community thing. Global even.
That should never be the case.
Grief should not be a daily event. A news story.
We need it to get it back to being personal…a family thing.
Like it was for us today.
But Smokey was…just a dog.