Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Encountering with Kindred Spirits

Some time ago I promised ter-o-fla to write a post in answer to her comment on my blog: Life Story of a Duck.

This was the comment that she wrote there.
Just recently my Mom mentioned talking to a stranger about their experiences with their dogs - this man had a young bouvier, the type of dog my family had when I was young - and it was very nice for my parents to talk to the man about the dogs; what they do, how they act, etc. It brought back lovely memories, but also the sadness because - of course - they are all not here anymore. (at least not here in the same form)”.
I told her that it was a coincidence that also I had a conversation with an old lady about animals and that I could almost compare this conversation with her story, it even ended in a friendship.

Well then – her follows my story.
A few months after Pipke had died I was waiting at a railway crossing together with a 77 years old lady accompanied by a greyhound.
At that very moment the alarm bell started to ring and just thereafter the barriers went down.
From the moment that the bell began to ring I noticed that the greyhound began to shiver very heavy. This really wasn't normal behavior, I had seldom seen a dog so afraid. The lady had to reassure the dog, she kept him close to her and gave him a cuddle. After a while he was more at ease. I thought: this dog must have experienced something very bad. So – I asked the lady if the dog was perhaps a rescued Greyhound, and yes I was right. She had adopted him one and a half year ago. He came from Spain where they really mistreat these animals. She told me that he was still afraid of the bell, probably he had heard this sound many times during the greyhound races. It must bring up nasty memories to him.
She also told me that she was a volunteer worker for a Charity Cause for Greyhounds.
After the barriers went open we walked further and we chatted for a while. I said I admired her commitment and that it was good that there are still people like her. She described the situation when he arrived at her home after being rescued. He was frightened of everything, he trusted no one. It took a long while before he could overcome his fears. Now he trusted her completely. He was now her best mate, the sunshine in her life. Every day she walked with him at least one hour. It was good for them both, it kept them both in form.
After a while we said goodbye to each other and while she went away she waved at me and said: hope to see you again!

Only a few days later, I met them both again, but this time at an other spot. “What a coincidence” we both said.
Again we chatted for a while and she asked me where I lived. She could speak so full of love and warmth about animals. They were the purpose in her life since she became a widow. I told her nothing about Pipke, I wasn't yet in the mood because I had still too much grief. After having a pleasant chat we said goodbye and as the time before we hoped to see each other again.

Then one week later I saw them both again – but this time together with an other old lady accompanied by a smaller dog.

This time it was at a whole different area. It was actually on a middle path between two parts of the village on an uncultivated land. She told her friend: “this is the lady where I spoke about”. And of course – you probably can guess – again there followed a conversation about pets. Her friend told me that her dog was also a rescued dog. She had adopted him after her previous dog had died. She had found him in an animal shelter.
He was mistreated, skin and bones, and he had a skin disease. She nursed him and it had taken almost half a year after he was cured. It was a cute little critter, a kind of everything: a mongrel. Very at ease he lay there waiting on the grass while the greyhound sat on his bump observing everything.
Then the lady with the greyhound said: "I'm so happy that I have him. You must know -- I became a widow two years ago. Two months later my previous dog also died and I must tell you, although I loved my husband very much, I had more sorrow when my dog died than when my husband died. The love you get from an animal is so very very different, it's unconditional love, they take you as you are. That's something you can't always say about humans. Actually the love that you get from an animal is the best that can happen to you".
The lady with the mongrel fully agreed. She also was a widow, they both spend much time together now. They walked the dogs together as much as they could.

Then I told them that also I had lost a pet not so long ago and that I was still sad.
They asked me which kind of pet It was and they were very surprised to hear that it was a duck. They asked me a thousand questions. I had to tell Pipke's story. They wanted to know everything about her and when I told them that she was a white crested duck they asked me if I had a picture of her. So – I showed them two pictures of Pipke which I always carry in my wallet. (One with Pipke on my arm under the Rowan tree, and one of her, laying on my breast one day before she died.)
They were very touched by her. I told them that we have many images of her and that they evoke lovely memories, but also much sadness because at the end we had to put her to sleep.

At that moment, while I was looking at Pipke's pictures I got tears in my eyes and they both tried to comfort me. They embraced me and gave me a big hug, it really gave me a warm feeling. They both had also experienced the loss of their beloved pets. They knew how it felt, and the lady with the greyhound said: "though the bond between you and your pet is very valuable, the importance of its loss may not always be understood by other people. I've experienced it. The difference lies in the value that is placed on your pet by your family and by society as a whole and for me my dog was the most precious".
They understood that Pipke was very important and dear to me. They both felt for me.
Meanwhile the time had flown by, we even didn't realize that we stood there more than one hour talking about our beloved pets. It really felt good to have met kindred spirits and that I could share Pipke's story with them.
Now it was time to go, and we embraced each other once more. We waved at each other and said one more time: hope we meet again!
When I looked around I watched them for a while. I saw them walking on with a smooth step, while the dogs frolicked cheerful up and down. This was such a warm and lovely scene, you could see that they “all” were very lucky with each other.

In this case the dog whisperer Cesar Millan would say: they are a happy well balanced pack.

Now it has been a while since I have seen one of them and I wonder how they are doing right now.
My thought are with them and their beloved pets, they really radiated warmth and love.
I hope I will meet those two lovely old ladies and their lucky dogs once again.
I will not forget their warmth and kindness. The small gesture of the hug meant a lot for me, more than they will ever know.
I'm gratefull for it.

PS: ter-o-fla, my family also had a bouvier when I was young. On this post you can see me together with him.


  1. Thank you for yet another lovely, thoughtfull post.

    There are surely many "kindred spirits" around; but, as you say, we often do not meet them, or if we do, there is seldom the chance to recognise each other.

    I hope that you do meet up with the ladies and their lucky dogs again soon. Who knows? :)

    It is nice that you also had a Bouvier when you were a child.
    I loved those dogs, and I hope to someday have enough money to afford to keep a dog myself. (When working, there is money, but no time; when no longer working, who knows if there will be enough money??)

    It s great when I meet people with dogs. Sometimes I am allowed to give the dog a treat; I always carry something with me.
    Where i live it is not "common" to talk to "strangers", so I have to be aware that people might be apprehensive; they sometimes seem to think I am strange to talk to them if we have not been properly introduced. ;)


  2. Oh that made me teary-eyed Fran. That was a beautiful story and echoes how I feel about my pets. I do understand your loss of Pipke and how much it hurts...I once had another little Maltese named Abby. Our vet found her on the side of the road, matted and dirty and flea bitten. Long story short, I had gone to his clinic for some medication for my goats and here comes this little dog running as fast as she can down the hall...I bent down and she jumped up into my arms and stayed there. You see...she adopted me. At first I said no...I have too many already but I had to go back to the vet the next day and she heard my voice and started crying from her kennel. Once again they let her out and she ran down the hall to me. I took her home with me!!! She was my only friend for a long time. She died three years later from lymphoma and I couldn't help it...I wailed piteously when she died. I miss her still.

  3. To ter-o-fla and Jeannie.

    Actually it's also here not "common" to talk to "strangers" ter-o-fla, and I don't do it if I have the feeling that they wouldn't appreciate it. In this case it was so very obvious, I felt we were kindred minds. The gentle smile she gave me was a proof of it.

    That's also a beautiful story Jeannie!
    Isn't it wonderful what a power animals possess. They bring out best in people.
    It must have been a wonderful feeling for you that she chose you. She knew it from first sight that you were “the right one”
    It's such a pity that you had her such a short time. To love them so very dearly makes the parting heartbreaking.
    I know how it feels to miss them so much Jeannie! :(:(
    We will never forget them.

    Thanks for your kind comments ladies!:)