Monday, September 28, 2009

Ode to my Dog

My poor dog Schon (pronounced Shawn) will soon be gone from this life. I know it sounds vulgar and sad, but truth is, he has a tumor in his heart and is given only 3-4 weeks to live. If he had it removed, they would have to repair his heart, but the tumor is too big right now so is inoperable. This to me, really made my heart stop. He is 12 years old, about 80 in dog years and though he lived a long life, a part of me still hopes that he can still survive. The shock of his impending death made me weep for about half an hour where I couldn’t stop the tears. When I heard of the bad news, I was on a plane on my way to Martha’s Vineyard to attend a wedding, a time when a new adventure and phase in life begins, and yet I was being faced with the end of another’s life, the life of my sweet Maltese, Schon.

Why was he given a ‘human’ name? Well, Schon is pronounced S-h-a-w-n, and my sister thought she was being clever by giving him a special spelling, but really, it confused everyone. Whenever Schon was lost and we put up “lost dog” signs, neighbors would mispronounce his name and say "Skon or Swchon", and it would take days to retrieve him.

Poor Schon has escaped twice from our house. Because he is a house dog, when he goes outside, he sets out immediately to explore, but since he doesn’t know where our house is by memory, he gets lost easily and loses his way back. Every time he’s been lost, it’s been a massive ordeal to find him. We’ve had to stop everything, make “lost dog” signs and then spend the next anxious, worried few days waiting for him to come back home and praying for some compassionate family to find him and return him to us.

As I reflect on Schon and our memories with him, I thought for a minute “If I was Schon, I would do the same thing!” I would run out of the house, make my presence known, and have a grand adventure in life. I would venture out and see the world, see what is in store for me, live with other people, and get a taste of someone else’s life. I think Schon’s spirit was very similar to mine. Schon was a loving soul that yearned to see the world and in his lifetime, got to see just enough. I’ve taken him hiking, long walks at night and during the day, get a taste of the neighborhood, and meet other pooches like himself. First time I took him out, he didn’t know what a fire hydrant was, and barked at one for a few minutes. After the fire hydrant didn’t respond, he gave up, and walked away. I laughed during the entire experience because he was so sweet!

The truth is, Schon has inspired me to spread my wings and fly and to never stop my curiosity for life, trusting with earnest and innocent eyes that life would always work it out for me and I would always land on my feet. He really had a heart of gold, and I realized that this little dog who had a tumor in his heart had really touched mine.

I thank Schon, who has lived with my parents for 12 years, for blessing us with his spirit and giving us unconditional love. I thank him for being our little guard dog, always ready to attack any intruders to our home, and stand guard at our side.

I thank Schon for all the love he gave me, and I hope the whole world knows how much I loved this dog. He will forever be my guardian angel, and I’m sure he’ll be blessed to be an angel in heaven as well.

My mom always said that having pets are sad because eventually they all die, as humans do, but I truly feel that my life has grown and I better understand what unconditional love is because of Schon. As Anais Nin said, “your life expands and contracts according to one’s courage,” and because we all had the courage to love Schon took and took that risk to love, our lives have become richer and our hearts bigger because of him.

Thank you Schon for being a part of my life. Thank you for being such a good friend, for being an unconditional love in my life. Every time I saw you, you were always embracing me, despite my faults. That’s the beauty of animals and that’s why we should treat them well. All sentient beings on this planet deserve the same love and respect we give to human beings. We should love them, embrace them, and give them a good life. I ask that God in heaven will take you to a wonderful puppy dream world and a fantastical puppy heaven so you can meet your old friends again.

I love you, and will miss you. And all of us, grieving in our own ways, want to tell you that you were loved.