One more goodbye


Tomorrow two more of Griffles puppies go to new homes and Joan is wondering whether or not to bring Griffles along. "Who knows maybe she feels nothing?" Joan says, but you can tell she thinks differently. The thing is we don't know, when it comes down to what animals really feel and think, we don't know. So, we make assumptions based on what we feel or we guess based on the science, but we know nothing. Is Griffles prepared for her babies to leave? You can't answer by comparing her to us and you can't answer by comparing her to wolves and you can't answer by saying she's ruled by instinct and you can't answer based on emotion. We don't know. So, we're left with doing our best and trying to do what's right because the reality is the puppies need new homes. Joan can't keep them all and they will be cared for and loved in their new homes, each one as individuals. And, Griffles has a good home where she is loved and one puppy will be staying with her.

It seems like she can count though. When you pick a puppy up and it is gone too long she gets nervous and goes looking for it, but after Trump left Monday, Joan says Griffles seemed okay. "Who knows?" she says, but tonight Joan asked my advice on whether Griffles should make the trip with us tomorrow. You can tell Joan's not sure. Will Griffles grieve? Is it better for her to stay behind or see her puppies leave? Will she cease to look for them if she sees them go? Or will she ache the way a human mother does? What good does it do for us to observe and say she looks okay to us, she seems to be going on just fine? Are feelings any less strong because you've learned to survive them?

There may be an arrogance to assuming animals feel the same way we do, but there is also a danger in going too far the other way and not acknowledging the feelings they may have. What is the fine line separating instinct and emotion? Mothers know their children, dogs know their puppies. Will it upset her to see them go?

Griffles is our dog, so we do the best by her. We feel for her because as humans compassion is our birthright. It is at the heart of who we are. We grieve for Griffles and her puppies as they part because as humans saying goodbye is never easy and our instinct is to avoid loss.