Has anyone here raised and cared for a canine? I know this may come across as some mundane babble dressed poetically, but I think caring for a dog is an expression of yearning. There are an almost limitless number of distractions from life to waste your money on, and almost none of them will leave any lasting impression. When you are taking your last few breaths, do you think you'll fondly reminisce about your fifth HD t.v.? Indispensable portions of your life are such because, without them, your life would not have that same sense of worth. It's almost inconceivable to think of life without these indispensable, fond memories - such as your grandfather's 67th birthday, your child's first day at school, or those long walks through the small patch of woods outside of town - and that's because they are the very essence of life. When you ask yourself if life is worth living, you are either immediately inundated with these memories, or (hopefully not) overwhelmed by regret. But I digress. Why would a dog qualify as such a priceless piece of existence? Many of us have witnessed clueless, middle-aged people purchase a rat-like mutt that has been bred into an inability to be self-sufficient, and then proceed to buy all of the self-perceived necessary dog products like blankets, coats, and massaging beds. Not only do they feel that such extraneous possessions are necessary to have the "dog experience", but their attachment to the creature seems to be surface level, at best. If the dog dies, they simply rush out to the nearest breeder and find a replacement. Yet they too are searching for something invaluable when purchasing their rodent-esque companions; even if they don't necessarily find it. What they are searching for is that tug on the heart-strings late at night, when you think about life without your dog and realize that it just wouldn't be what it is, and thus not as worthy. These people want that meaning, that ability to say, "I loved the hell out of that dog, and I miss it every day." Even if that relationship is something only we perceive, and has no material value in the world around us, it makes all the difference. It is our choice to carefully raise that puppy: to be stern with it, to laugh at it when it's goofy, and to cry when it finally let's go of its weary existence. We didn't have to think of such a thing as important, we could have coldly decided that the mourning was too much bother, but we did anyway. Have you ever seen someone talking about a dog they had as a child? They may have tears in their eyes, but they often smile. They smile because, even if the dog is gone now, they had the experience. They are able to look back and say, "Gah, remember Jackie? Remember when she was little, and she wanted up on the couch with us so badly, but she was too little to reach, so she would hop up and down for what seemed like forever trying to make it up there with us? Remember when she finally got big enough to jump up there, and she looked so triumphant? I miss Jackie..." Of course she will be missed; she was an indispensable part of your soul.
EDIT: For the record, Jackie is very young, and still alive and well. I look forward to seeing her every time I come home.