It’s a truth universally acknowledged that pets — especially our dogs and cats — are experts at wrangling what they want from us with their eyes. Oh, those expressive eyes! Few among us are spared the instructive desolation of “hungry eyes” or the let me out already why don’tcha! look. Without a word (or a woof), those beseeching peepers make perfectly clear what’s supposed to happen next.
Every so often, when we are lucky enough or caught off guard, that creaturely gaze reveals something more remote, even profound. Moments when our animals quite frankly behold us. When we are fortunate enough to be graced by the tangible presence of their absolute, compelling being-ness. As real as our own, and no mistaking it.
I have no exact word for this, but I know it when I see it. All of us pet people do, even as we wonder what the wide world looks like through their eyes. The photos in the Nature’s Recipe for Moments Scrapbook capture some of what captivates them. (Hint: collar cameras!) Don’t miss the snapshots from Corgis Cooper, Otis, and Corgnelius and Stumphrey.
Not long ago, I had the good fortune of being deeply beheld (there is no other word for it) by my elderly cat. With her uncanny gaze — asking for nothing, hiding nothing — she fixed me with a look seen only in the faces of those who know and love us best.
Kitten Girl has been mine (more precisely, I’ve been hers) since her tiniest times. By now her abilities have been dulled by the indignities of arthritis and very old age. She sleeps a lot, is often restless, slightly hard of hearing, and at seven pounds, weighs less than half her once pleasantly robust self. Eighteen years of togetherness have bound us in ways I never thought possible with a cat. My daily ministrations (pills and fluids and injections) keep her going, and her appetite for both food and affection are assurance of her will to live a while longer yet.
Is there at least a small amount of luck at work here? Yes, and I am grateful for it. More than ever I am grateful for these rare and unexpected moments of connection and clarity. When I am reminded that who she is, this cat, is far more than the state of her body. Her eyes, their velvety dark pupils, reflect back not just the years of care and friendship, but an ability to see quite clearly who I am. As with anything honestly sacred, it’s something to exalt in and be humbled by.
My beloved cat will not be with me forever. I know she has fewer days ahead of her than behind. But I also know that these moments, uncommon and unforgettable, will endure when the memories of her decline, her confusion, her stiff limbs and nocturnal complaints have long since faded. The sure knowledge that I had the good fortune of having been known and loved by Kitten Girl will sustain me. Not just because I loved her, but because she was a whole enough soul to love me back. To see me for who I was, to reflect gracefully the best in me, without words.
Our story is a part of the #RecipeForMoments blog hop hosted by BlogPaws. Link up below to share your story of the bond you and your pet share. What do you think your pet feels in your special moments? Five random U.S. winners who link up their blog post will win a Nature’s Recipe® lightweight collar camera to capture special moments from their pet’s point of view. See BlogPaws for official rules and details.
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