A friend of mine called me up a few days ago to let me know she was going to be putting her dog to sleep. Her dog, Zeke, a white Whippet, had a cancerous growth that was now affecting his quality of life. I went to go see Zeke last night, he was not doing well and it was visible. He was weak, so weak that all he could do was flop on his side, and it was obvious that he was struggling for each breath. I sat with him, gently petting his head, said goodbye and let him know how much I enjoyed having him in my life.  

As a Muslim I was raised to look at dogs as filthy creatures. There are a few misinterpreted Hadith which allude to The Prophet as warning people about the potential spiritual and physical deficiency of dogs. However, I could never buy into this. It just did not make sense that God would create a creature as loving, gentle, loyal, and giving as a dog and then tell us to abstain from experiencing this grace in our lives.  

The companionship of a dog is uniquely different from any other creature. I don’t have a dog, but do get the chance to dog sit for a few friends. I am amazed at the almost instant connection I develop with this creatures. Yes, when I dog sit that means the dog comes to live with me, and no, I do not believe that angels leave my home when a dog enters.  

Just like humans each dog I have encountered has a unique personality. With Zeke I will remember his calm almost Zen like nature. How he would hide at the first sound of a thunder storm. How he would sit still enjoying the warmth of the sun.  

With Zeke I will also remember how I caught my breath the first time I saw him run, and when I would take him for a walk people would look at him, smile, and tell me how beautiful he was. And he was a definite beauty.  

Each animal I have encountered has reminded me of the more important lessons of living this life. Zeke reminded me of the beauty of creation. Beauty so striking and so mesmerizing that I am left in a state of awe. From the gentle lines of his form, to the gazelle-like grace of his stance and walk, to the softness of his disposition.  

Goodbye Zeke. Thank you for your company. Thank you for your warmth, grace, and affection. You will be missed.