“Like all of us in this storm between birth and death, I can wreak no great changes on the world, only small changes for the better, I hope, in the lives of those I love. – Dean Koontz
This is not a post I wanted to write as it is not a happy one. I called home from Georgia the other night and heard from my Mom that Joan had called and left a message that our little Tuff Twikett, the sole surviving puppy in Releve’s litter had died. Death is an omnipresent entity in the short lives of dogs and the longer I am around them, the more I realize how true this is. Not all puppies survive birth or the short weeks following and this time around there must have been something truly wrong because Releve never really accepted this litter. But Twikett was indeed tough and survived a couple of weeks.
Why? That’s always the question isn’t it? Why is life so short? Why does this one die and this one survive? Grappling with death is an ongoing debate. Some prefer to avoid it. What’s there to add? It happens to us all. This is especially true with dogs. The discussion can become repetitive, maudlin, overly sentimental because something touches us to the core when we lose one of our companions and we all struggle to make sense of it; sometimes dwelling in this stew of emotions. But Twikett hadn’t been around long enough to be such a companion had she?
She had. That’s what my time at Pugdom has taught me. It has become a microcosm of life and death, helping me to understand the process, to deal with the pain and questions. Twikett’s life was so brief yet she made her presence known. Joan’s friends gathered at her house to help her be born. We held her, named her, fed her. We grew from our care of her and from our support of each other. She knew the hand of a human, the warmth of her mother’s breast. She crawled and cried, snuggled and suckled and like with all of us, her time was too brief, but she lived. She may never have opened her eyes, but for two weeks she made small changes on the world. We may forget her name in the years to come, but not her presence. Life brings change and growth. It can’t be dismissed, overlooked or glossed over. Tuff Twikett survives in the love we gave her.