When we lived in Australia we watched a programme by Kevin McLeod, a guy who usually fronts a series about the challenges facing home builders. On this occasion, Mr Mcleod spent time in India among the very poorest of the poor in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum.
The 2-part series indeed showed poverty, hardship and really horrible working and living conditions, but on the other hand it showed the community supporting each other, the close family ties and the sense of pride in their lives, however difficult they were. In one scene, the presenter was appalled at the working conditions of one of the workers and its long-term effect on his health.
The translator simply shrugged and said: “He lives his life.”
We, in the West, are obsessed with long lives instead of lives lived well, however long or short they are. And so I come to the point where I am sad to say that our beloved Ziggy lived his very short life to the max. Our little dog climbed off the sofa on Monday, laid down with his head on my husband’s feet, and quietly slipped from this life. His death is a mystery as all his vital signs were fine – he did have ehrlichia, a tick-born disease, but still in a treatable condition.
So we are faced with the fact that Ziggy lived his short life well and with passion. He was like a comet zooming across the sky like a bright light – he was happy, merry, mischievous, raucous, lively, a trickster and a larrikin. We miss him immensely but we know he is over the Rainbow Bridge and is safe.
How do we know?
Well, after he died, I asked for him to let us know he was okay, if he could. It was more a way of coping with his sudden death at only 2.5 years old, than really expecting anything in response. I slept badly on Monday night so after lunch on Tuesday I went to have a sleep. I was woken by a dog scratching loudly and, when I got up, asked my husband which of our three remaining dogs had been scratching while I was asleep. He said none of them, they’d been sitting quietly with him.
And then I realised – Ziggy used to sleep on the bottom of the bed and often scratched as he was allergic to fleas. It used to drive us nuts as it would wake us up. Ziggy had found the one way to let me know that all was well with him – scratching loudly enough to wake me and realise – eventually – that he’d sent a clear sign he is alive and kicking and dancing merrily in the meadows of Never-Neverland over the Rainbow Bridge.
R.I.P. Ziggy – a wonderful dog with so much love to give us when was alive, and so much love to ensure we know he is okay, even if he is not here physically any more in our lives.