As a Blogger, one of the things I enjoy most is discovering occasions that make us stop and think about things we might take for granted. Who thinks up all these weeks and months dedicated to almost everything imaginable? National Dog Week we know was started in 1928 by William Judy (although I still see a lot of misinformation floating on the internet about that), and someone by the name of Dr. Jan Yager started National New Friends Old Friends Week in 1983 as a way to encourage us to reconnect with our “old” friends, and welcome the new. The week, that begins with the Sunday after Mother’s Day, reminds us all of how vital our friends are be they casual, and newly “acquired,” or close, the result of a lifetime of experiences.
Having joined the Facebook generation, I have become reconnected with so many people, and have come to be acquainted with many more new “friends” in three weeks that it is overwhelming. Interestingly, many of my closest friends are not registered on the site, and have made it clear they never will be. I’ll keep inviting them anyway!
It seemed fitting that when I learned about Dr. Yager’s week of the friends, I could relate this to the brave new world of social networking, that is both a curse, and a blessing. It’s sort of like a surreal dream, in a ten minute session, your lifetime experience becomes compressed. High school and college classmates, past coworkers, customers, family, there they are, all beeboopin’ and scattin’ all over your Wall! Sometimes it makes you groan, but most times it brings a smile, and a much-needed laugh. Whether you hate social networking, or love it, it has definitely changed the way we connect.
And of course, I need to relate this subject to the pets in our lives. It got me to thinking about all my friends who have, while mourning the loss of a dog, have uttered the greatest untruth known to mankind, “I will never have another one.” My friend Gail Alverson, of Quintessential Quilts, said that very thing when she lost her beloved Yellow lab, Boomer. When Boomie passed, she lived that “lie” until one day, while minding her booth at a Craft Show, was befriended by another Lab that was in need of a new home. Gail paid the adoption fee, and drove home with Molly without telling her husband, Jim! Molly has been part of the Alverson family for several years now. And then there’s Elsa and Barb, of Tempest in a Teapot, designers of fine outdoor art. After the loss of two dogs, they also declared a time out. But not long after, while minding my own business at an art show, Elsa and Barb brought Lulu, newly acquired through the Petfinder.com site, to meet “Aunt” Lisa. But my friend Jeanne, who always likes to have two dogs, is taking a different approach, already planning for her next pooch when her aging Beagle, Bailey, goes to his hunting spot in the sky. Of course, her husband John does not know about this, nor does he seem to have any choice in the matter. It’s true, dog-lovers are forever.
One of the hardest part of pet ownership is experiencing the loss of a beloved animal. We help heal when we nostalgically recall the chapters of our lives, gazing at old photos of our pets, and telling those “remember when” stories that connect us to our pasts. Most people who are grieving over the loss of a four-legged friend really don’t want to go through the pain again. But they will. Because we know that somewhere out there, we can begin a new journey fueled by the eternal love we have for our animals. With a trip to the breeder, a shelter, or by divine intervention, we can welcome a new furry friend, while honoring those of the past.
So thank you Dr. Yager, for giving us this week that makes me “paws” to find yet another way to show how our animals really can be our best friends, helping us to connect with other humans.