Circle of Life

We’re watching a cute impala fawn frolic on the savanna. A lioness leaps out from the long grass and grabs it by the throat. Blood splatters on the brown dry dirt as the children cringe. The grown-ups say “it’s the circle of life”, almost expecting the accompanying deep zulu notes from the Lion King to play in the background. The phrase has rightfully or otherwise become one of the Great Cliches.

In a very different way, our family experienced this last month. Ouiser turned one year old and that same day Tori died. Here’s Tori from over three years ago.

You never had to look for Tori or call her. She was always close to Carol’s feet. If you distilled loyalty and poured it into a living being, that was Tori.

When Ouiser first met Tori, one was a pup and the other a grande dame. Tori tolerated Ouiser. But till the very end Ouiser never stopped hoping that Tori would shrug off her slow stiff old dog walk and come run with her. That never happened. Tori grew stiffer and in the end lost use of her hind legs. So she dragged herself to stay close to Carol. Loyal to the very last breath.

Ouiser meanwhile celebrated her first birthday with a parade of toys that she joyfully destroyed. Young dogs and children are the quintessential snapshot of a family, holding back Father Time for an instant. She enjoyed all the extra attention she got, and wondered why she didn’t get as many treats or toys the day after her birthday. Two days later when we went to visit Carol, Ouiser sniffed around for Tori. I wonder if she missed her or will come to realize that Tori is gone or if that is an anthropomorphism. Or maybe animals innately know the circle of life.

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