Most of us have a variety of friends: old friends from childhood and college, new friends we meet along our journey, social friends we hang out occasionally, peripheral friends (acquaintances we meet through others.) Some of us are fortunate enough to have best friends–the kind who accept all of our proclivities and still like us. Best friends are never too busy to answer our calls for help or for advice or to listen to our stories of woe. Best friends laugh with us, cry with us, and hug us when we are in need.
Even though the adage dubs “old friends as the best friends,” I recently discovered that’s not true in my case. In fact, I’ve created a new category–exceptional friend. An exceptional friend is as rare as an honest politician or a bird without feathers. Few folk could earn this distinction. In fact, in over 70 years, I never encountered anyone–until Thursday, June 30th, my grandparents’ 100th wedding anniversary.
I found my aged dog dead in the backyard. Her abdominal cavity was totally gone, like the carcass of a Thanksgiving turkey. In my hysteria, I thought she was the victim of a coyote attack. In retrospect, I believe she died due to her heart failure condition. (The vet had diagnosed 6 months-to a year survival rate almost a year ago.) Scavengers, like owl or rats, may have claimed her corpse. My grief was uncontrollable, and I was shaking so hard I could barely hold the phone when I called my next-door neighbor. Sass immediately came to my rescue. Even though she had open heart surgery eight weeks ago, she loaded the remains into a box for me and we drove to the emergency vet clinic to arrange cremation.
Granted Sass has saved me before when an errant snake slithered into my yard, she held my hand through my other crises, but what she did for me and for my beloved, fourteen-year-old Roxy was extraordinary. May you all find a rare, exceptional friend.