Farewell To A Dog

Kim’s dog, Blossom, died last Thursday, apparently of a brain stroke, and left us a huge void. A beautiful, gentle, smart, and eternally playful golden retriever, Blossom was considered the fourth member of my sister’s family, and for some eight long years she was their guardian angel, barking at any stranger even approaching their home, in Palo Alto, California. So, as we celebrate Nowrooz and the dawn of the new year, my family is grappling with the sadness of Blossom’s untimely departure.

Of dogs and humans, so much has been written of the unique ability of the two species to forge close bonds of friendship and solidarity, not as master and pet, but as companions. My sister thinks that Blossom died of immense sadness caused by Kim’s new life at a distant university, a viable theory. But, it could well have been caused by Blossom’s distance from a new friend she had picked up as of late, a relative’s male dog with whom she had gone from intense hostility to intense attachment in a matter of few months.

Whatever caused it, one thing is for sure: Blossom lived an enviable life, well-fed and well-groomed and immensely loved, no comparison with the wretched condition of most dogs in Iran, where they are often the object of vilest cruelties, especially by children, who are taught that the Prophet disliked dogs and liked cats instead.

I, for one, grew up in Shiraz, witnessing, and at a couple of occasions even taking part, in dog lynching, just out of pure fun, as if hitting them with stones and make them bark in pain meant pleasure for us, the more the better. I often wonder if the roots of cruelty in our society does not rest with our cruelty toward animals, dogs in particular. The day we pass a law banning animal cruelty in Iran is the day we have made a huge stride against capital punishment in the country.

Back to Blossom. She had fine ears for music, loved to sit under the table where my sister’s husband played sentoor, and would beg to be let in from the yard whenever she would see him carrying his sentoor case from one room to another. Blossom was an avid sport dog and ran wicked fast to catch freezbis or balls thrown in the air, and boy she LOVED swimming in the pool, although lately she had fallen out of that.

What will Summer be like at my sister’s home, at her fabulous cookouts with children searching frantically for and calling Blossom without receiving an answer? So many little girls and boys in the family will be heartbroken, no doubt.

May her soul blossom in the heavens.

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