I haven’t posted in a long time. Months in fact. I have some pics ready to go up on the blog of the finished renovation. I’ve been doing some running too. But I had been a bit overwhelmed with the move and work so I didn’t get around to writing the posts. And then Bonnie got sick. My little menagerie of a household was put on hold as I tried to get her well or at least pseudo-stable again. It didn’t work. Bonnie passed away at 11pm on Sunday April 6, 2014.
I know what you are thinking: she’s just a dog; here’s another over 40 woman confusing her dog for the babies she decided she never wanted to have; and maybe if she wasn’t single this wouldn’t be such a big deal. It’s ok. I have thought some of those things myself – even as I dismiss them because I am very happy in the choices I have made. But still – it’s just a dog right? Why mourn?
Over the last week I have been thinking a lot about dogs, animals in general and our role in the biological sphere that we call earth. I saw the movie Noah which started me down the “be a good steward path”, which then led me to a “why are we here” path. It was deep thinking at its best, done late at night with a glass of wine, some low fat Cheez-its and Comedy Central playing in the background.
Why are we here? That question is the same as “what’s the meaning of life”, which if we are really going to be honest actually means “am I important?”. Biologically speaking the purpose of life is simply to produce new life. To pass on genetic material infinitely so the species can continue. It’s hard wired into every living thing on this planet. We are not unique in this respect. Now, if we ask the real question – the am I important one – the answer is not so clear cut. No – In the larger universe, each of us individually is probably not that important. As long as humans exist the species can continue. Yes- to your family, friends and anything/anyone who depends on you, you are Important. Very important. Yes – to your future offspring you are of extreme importance so you take care! Anyway – the whole meaning of life is kind of a mixed bag it seems. How about another way to ask that one? Do I have a purpose here? I say no, we don’t come into this world with any purpose other than reproduction. It’s up to us to carve out some kind of meaning in our lives, to determine for ourselves what gives us purpose and satisfaction. And, that led me to being a good steward. I find truth and honesty in the idea that we should assume responsibility for the environment around us. Everything from the trees, to gardens, to habitats, to animals etc. Humans, being at the top of the (as currently discovered) evolutionary scale, are transformative in nature. We don’t operate solely on instinct the way animals and insects do. We shape the nature of our surroundings, sometimes for good but too often with negative results. My good stewardship responsibilities are limited as I am not a farmer, or a rancher, or a shepherd. I don’t have children to raise, or even chickens! But, I do have pets, I do run my own little household, I can manage the impact I have on the earth through the choices I make every day. Maybe the purpose of my life can be found in the satisfaction that good stewardship brings.
Now that I’ve meandered a bit let me tell you what being a good steward had to do with Bonnie’s passing. I tried looking up being a good steward on google and all I got were religious references. Forget that – I don’t want someone’s opinion, I want facts, data, specifics! (Also, I googled what is the purpose of a dog’s life and I found these three top results: A Dog’s life by W. Bruce Cameron, why do dogs have whiskers, and why do dogs wag their tails? Lots of deep thinkers on the internet it seems). In my opinion being a good steward means the proper care and feeding of my animals. They need to have regular meals and clean water. They need to have shelter and medical care. They need discipline in order to create a harmonious environment and for their own safety. They need play time and affection so that they are happy. And they need someone to make the hard decisions for them because they have no voice, no concept of the future or the past, only the present.
In the end, as hard as it was, and as much as I wish it wasn’t necessary, I made the hard choice for Bonnie. I know she is at rest and that whatever it was that made her so uniquely her has gone back to that from which it came. I believe she is part of the fabric of our universe – one thread amongst the many threads that hold this whole thing together.
Really this is all mumbo jumbo though. I am no philosopher, just a humble every day human trying to find purpose and happiness. All I really know for certain is that I sure did love that little dog.