A Tribute to Pickles, Part 2

Posted by Pia

I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of your kind comments following Part 1 of my tribute to Pickles last week!

Soon after joining you here at the DW, I wrote about the challenges of losing a companion animal. And it is now that I am sharing some of my personal thoughts on the very special Ms. Pickles, who appears in my bio photo with me.

I hope you find part 2 equally helpful. Be sure to also check out some clips of Pickles and me when we hosted the Save-a-Pet show, interviewing such adoption supporters as Drew Barrymore, Dick Van Patten, the late, great Rue McClanahan and others.

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What a little love she was!  And those teeth... so much for a mama to love?!

1 What a little love she was! And those teeth... so much for a mama to love?!

Happy girl!

2 Happy girl!

Pickles was there with me through all sorts of antics!

3 Pickles was there with me through all sorts of antics!

Kitty Pickles!

4 Kitty Pickles!

As co-

5 As co-"spokesbeings" for Adopt-a-Pet.com, together we spread the word about the benefits of adopting!

Two wacky little girls! But never a dull moment.

6 Two wacky little girls! But never a dull moment.

Such a special girl- but only one example of the many treasures in our shelters!

7 Such a special girl- but only one example of the many treasures in our shelters!

My little flower girl!

8 My little flower girl!

Pickles helped me teach nephew Winston about compassion and the human-animal bond.

9 Pickles helped me teach nephew Winston about compassion and the human-animal bond.

I will love her forever! May she rest in peace.

10 I will love her forever! May she rest in peace.

A Deeper Understanding

So as I reflect on Pickles life and how she came in to mine, I am aware that on that fateful Friday in 2000, when I received the email about a “Chihuahua to die Monday”, I did not say, “I don’t have the space or time…” I said, “I will make the space and time.’

And it is when we make this space, both literally and figuratively, that our world opens up in ways we could never have imagined.  Each time we make such choices we continue to become who we are meant to become.

We never know the outcome of such choices but the important part is that we make them and not remain rigidly attached to things or ideas that limit us in our ability to give and receive love.  The same goes for new ideas and beliefs.  They may serve us for a time but it is maintaining a degree of openness to change and expansion that can bring about the most profound and gratifying shifts in our respective lives. We need not set up house with them right away but at least invite them in for 'a cup of tea' and then decide.

So pickles came in for 'a cup of tea' of sorts, and what followed was a shared life that I would not trade for anything in the world.  She made me a better person. She made children and adults smile. She made people aware of what treasures exist, young and old, in each and every shelter, in each and every city, each and every minute, of each and every day.

People say she was so lucky to have had me.  And while I know this to be true, I feel deeply that it is I who have been lucky.  She gave me the chance to actually become more of who I am.  And that is what our little creatures do for us in any ways. They allow us to experience our ability to make a positive impact. They introduce us to the ways in which we can be flexible and creative; to expand our lives or alter our routines to include the very ingredients of a life well lived.

We become defined by our commitment to these fellow souls. We pick our housing, our jobs, our schedules and some even choose their own partners around them.

For some, an even deeper understanding and kindness is born of the connection they see between their own companion animal and the millions of other animals who reside in city shelters and share this earth.  It is what we see reflected in little faces like that of Pickles that plants the seeds of a greater humanity. A humanity that I know for me has come to define who I am.  And I am grateful.

For children and adults alike, many find the only solace they know in the gaze of their furry best friends.  We learn about the sanctity of life overall, not just that of the human animal.  And my hope is that we can each hang on to those early instincts that refute what the world will ultimately try to teach us about other species; That they are somehow of less value, less worthy of experiencing joy and protection from suffering.

I cannot imagine my life without my little girl.  I feel like I’m missing my touchstone and unsure how to proceed.  But at the same time I feel calm and grateful, as I know she made a positive impact on all who got to experience her freckly little ways. And she is at peace. A feeling all animals should get to have, both during their time on earth and once they have passed on.

Pickles was my ever present little companion. She was my partner in crime.  My equal. Really more than my equal but I like to think we had a fair amount in common. Sounds a bit grandiose, but I saw myself in her in many ways. Small. Scrappy. A little disheveled. Cute but not pretty in a traditional sense.  Well-meaning feisty little souls. Quirky and unaware of how awkward we can be at times.

I sit and reflect on what I, and others, can take away from knowing my little friend. I guess it’s that we can really only be who we are.  And that to love the imperfect in ourselves and in others is as genuine a love as there is.  We need not be perfect- or some societal version of perfect.  We simply need to be ourselves, and love is born from there; The kind of love that does not allow ‘imperfections’ to lead it off course but is in fact strengthened by these very anomalies; A love that celebrates the under bite, freckly feet and low growl in each and every one of us.

And so my beautiful little Pic, I bid you farewell.

Rest in peace my amazing little girl…

I will love you always and I’m so proud to have been your mama.

Thank you for sharing your life with me.

In kinship,

Dr. Pia Salk

Comments (4)

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    What a great story about a great, although not very big, dog. Pickles was just right for you Dr. Pia. You know, sometimes it’s strange, in a good way, of how pets seem to exist just for their owners. Or is it the other way around? I would like to think that I exist just for my owners. Or do they really own me? I think that I own them; it’s a very thin line there. It’s like my finding my daddy’s cancer. I exist because of him; and now he exist because of me. We are a good “fit” for one another. You are missed Pickles.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Your LOVE shines through for Pickles and I'm sure she Loved you just as much...two peas in a pod.

    Thanks for sharing your heart....

  • Hi Dr. Pia, WOW, what a fantastic blog about wonderful little Pickles! I know she was as happy as you were with your wonderful life time together. I've had six different dogs since the'60s and each and everyone has meant the world to me. Sure they were all different, but they all reacted to me with absolute love because that's the way I reacted to them. I understood what they wanted and they did the same with me. I can't imagine living without sharing my life with a dog. Two of them were rescues and when I get another one, it will be a rescue, also. Your photos were terrific! God Bless you and Pickles! Jan

  • As I write this, Babycakes sits in my lap. He has advance cardiomyopathy and needs to be close to me all the time. I don’t know how long he will be with me, but I treasure the time I get. It started with just one stray cat that came into my life and ended with 25 cats that I could not say no to. There are now only 7 left and all except one is 15 to 17 years old. All are my babies and each one is special! I know all of their likes, dislikes, and wants. I know how lucky I am to be their mama. My life has been enriched beyond measure and as I lost them one by one, I grieved. I will never forget them and am so thankful that they picked me to be their mama!

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