If you have ever seen the movie Old Yeller, you will understand.
Spoiler alert: the dog dies and everybody cries.
I don't know how old I was when the movie came out, but we saw it at the Brook Theater in Bound Brook, NJ. Showing with it was some sort of Disney life in the desert movie. I remember running up to the candy stand to avoid seeing the snakes...and there were lots of snakes. So many, they almost made me forget the end of Old Yeller.
But not really.
Here, so many years later, dwelling in the shadow of this movie and hearing all sorts of publicity about the current Star Wars movie, I guess I draw a parallel.
But I won't spoil it for those who have not seen the movie. I haven't even seen the movie, but I know what happens and Old Yeller flashes before my eyes.
Dogs cannot die in a book or a movie without getting a very negative reaction. About the worst thing, next to the protagonist in a story biting the dust, is to have the beloved dog die. Cats never die in books or movies, but dogs die horrid deaths frequently. I can rattle off at least five important dog deaths in books/movies that tore our hearts out. But no cats. They never reach the end of their nine lives.
We've had a few dogs. Not as many as other people, and we haven't had one in about fifteen years, but last night I remembered the demise of those beloved pets and it hurt all over again. More than the lost babies I never really got to see, the dogs had been with us a long time and loved us as much as we loved them.
No, they are not more important than people. Lots of lovely people I know have passed away and their deaths hurt me terribly. But in a weird way, not like Old Yeller. I can view the dog romping through the fields with Tommy Kirk and Moochie over and over. The loved ones who are gone, though, I can't flip a switch and see them laughing and singing and hugging me any time I want.
There's something oh so sad about this, but you can't make something happen that didn't happen when it should have.
Tell the people you love how much you love them. Do it now! Don't wait. Don't put it off! Do it now.
You need to do this for your own sake.
Old Yeller was a good dog, until the end.
Think of the good times, not the bad.
Tell people you love them today!