On Sunday a gentle soul left this earth. He was one of ours. We wish it wasn’t so. They are not just dogs to us but so much more. This one in particular
is was the most gentle, calm and unassuming of them all. We will miss him dearly.
I’ve written about Simba, my mum-in-law’s dog, in the past and I hope you will go back and read a few stories about this gentle giant. We lost Simba to liver cancer yesterday. He was losing weight and not eating for about ten days after which the diagnosis was made. The cancer had spread too far and Simba’s time on this earth had come. He was put to a long restful sleep on Sunday, surrounded by those who loved him.
It seems so unfair that one so sweet and innocent as he had to leave us. Now the house seems empty and quiet. No more thunderous barking at 4 a.m. No more long lumbering, languid strides around the garden. No more awkward flailing of limbs as he gaily pranced around to show us he was happy and well.
At this time, I’m all cried out. I can’t quite believe that this happy, trusting, carefree, giant bundle of love and innocence has actually gone. So I can only turn to the words of another, who loved his dogs.
“Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a Dog,
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead Abbey, Nov. 18, 1808.”
– Lord Byron
Simba emulates all of these qualities. Unlike most animals, he had all the virtues of man – compassion, kindness, gentleness – without man’s vices. He had not a malicious bone in his body, not a vengeful dominant thought in his mind. He was happy to be led, he was the happiest soul till the very end.
This is the fate of dog owners. We take them in to our hearts and homes and vow to do our very best for them, until the end. For Simba, his mother has done just that. He’s been plagued with many illnesses in his life and through all of them his mother has shown unfailing resolve in nursing him back to health. It’s not been easy and each illness has taken its toll both on Simba and his carers. I deeply admire her courage, strength and the unfailing medical attention she’s given to Simba. When you meet your maker if you can say, “I did everything I could for those in my care” then there’s nothing more that you or anyone else can ask.
Tonight I hold my dog a little closer and remind myself that life cannot be taken for granted. That the cancer that was spreading through this innocent life can one day come for us all. But if we can face it without fear and suffering, then like Simba we might just make it somewhere, over the rainbow. With a few pictures of Simba, I leave you with the words of the hymn, Amazing Grace:
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see…
When this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
SIMBA (Casper) KORULA