Finding Love in The Art of Racing in the Rain

When I was a little girl I had two hamsters named Cherry and Pretty.  Cherry was given to me by an extended family member shortly before my family moved cross-country when I was seven. He travelled those 2,000 miles with us to our new home out west. I believe my mom made a little nest for him in a tupperware container as I have a vague memory of peeking through some sort of breath-able lid we had on it. We bought Pretty at a pet store in Wyoming as I was convinced that Cherry was lonely.

But as Cherry was a boy and Pretty was a girl they weren’t actually allowed to spend time together. Our family had a strict no-breeding policy for everyone at that point, human and hamster alike.

They each lived a few healthy, happy years and then passed away quietly in their sleep. By the time Pretty, the younger of the two, grew old I was as ready to say goodbye as any kid could be in that situation. I loved her and would miss her but I could tell by her stiff gait she felt more uncomfortable every day.

After Cherry and Pretty died I wondered where they went and if they’d remember me if we met again. As cute as they are hamsters are not the most intelligent creatures. 😉

This unforgettable book reminded me of the bond I shared with my pets growing up.

Enzo and Denny have trudged through some very dark days together.  As Enzo nears the end of his (canine) life and prepares for the next one he does everything he can to study how men behave and take care of his human family. A TV documentary once taught him that when a dog has finished his or her canine lifetimes he or she will be reincarnated as a person and Enzo is ready for it.

Enzo would stay with Denny and Zoe (Denny’s daughter) forever if he could. Because he cannot he vows to do the next best thing – find them again in his next lifetime.

I won’t spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain yet. Sufficed to say it left me blinking back tears and thinking about love. Is the emotion we call love the same set of feelings that some animals seem to have for the humans in their lives? I’d like to think it is as I’ve known some incredibly loyal and loving pets in my day.

But it also makes me wonder if my definition of love is the same as yours? While I’m better able to describe what I mean by the term love it’s just as impossible for you to step into my shoes as it would be for you to become a dog or hamster for a day.

What do you think?

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0 Responses to Finding Love in The Art of Racing in the Rain

  1. tammy

    Cherry and Pretty had birthday and holiday parties. Tiny bits of our feast were given to them. Remember the times they escaped and we found them in various places, including the toy box?

    This sounds like a great book. Some research on love equates it entirely with lust or survival. That seems wrong to me. I do see near-altruistic love in some people.

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