It's an odd phenomenon that when friends go away, we can find ourselves integrating into our lives what they have taught us by example. It's a kind of psychic sloughing, where special cells merge, and some of their essence lives on in us.
Our animal friends revel in the moment, which is their great gift. Their core simplicity can show us how to live and love, with compelling presence.
Free of human passions like envy, deceit, avarice or doubt - unworried by image, how many toys they have, or what it all means, they live full and contented lives. Sometimes you can see they are bored or maybe lonely, but they're always willing to respond to your attention.
I miss my four-legged friend Kip in the mornings when he would go out in the garden to gaze at the sea, or in the evenings when he would greet me with a big wet kiss. I miss him on long road trips when he'd rest his nose on my forearm as I drove for miles and miles. His soulful eyes are always with me, as is his canine smile.
Once, when arriving at an exclusive spa south of Partington, that place with the sulfur baths, what's it called again ? ? We were stopped at the entrance with a scowl, and were told that I could come in, "but not the animal". I looked at Kip in the back seat and I swear he did a double-take as if to say, "Who, me? An animal?" And then the guard recognized him, granting us access after all. "Oh, it's Kipling," he said happily, and that was all that was needed.
My goal now is to embody Kip's enthusiasm, simplicity and trust in life. His ability to drink in the beauty of where we live, his playfulness and his glowing, deep loyalty to those he loved. And Kip loved everyone. Some more than others, of course, but everyone was of interest to him, an opportunity to love and be loved. If he followed you with his eyes, greeted you with a lick, or sang out to you when you appeared, jumping up and down with joy, then you knew you were special.
The mantra I use to keep him close is WWKD? What would Kipling do? And then I must act honorably and simply.
I still see him at the end of the driveway when I come home; in profile, his royal white ruff fanned out below his gently inclined head. Waiting for me. My most profound hope is that I get to see him again someday. We'll take a lovely stroll to our favorite spot, then sit in the sun on the grass together.
Kipling Rowland-Jones 1999 - 2013