04 June 2010
To love animals means you will sometimes grieve even for the ones you may never know, the ones you have never held or raised but nonetheless care deeply about.You will turn your head away from the roadkill on the highway; you will avert your eyes at the images of marine life and wildlife languishing near the torrent of oil bleeding its way into the Gulf of Mexico. The pain of acknowledgement is too great.
So it is with our grief over Yoda.
This tiny squirrel was rescued in the Czech Republic, and her caretakers quickly sized up her many infirmities: mental dullness, poor swallowing reflex and no dental growth which, at her age of more than 6 weeks, should have been fully developed. Yoda had serious physical and mental disabilities but was not handicapped by any lack of love for her. The rehabilitators at the rescue station where she had been taken were committed to giving her a good life for as long as she remained on this Earth.
A Facebook posting announced Yoda's passing earlier today, and included photos of the tiny, innocent little one. People from around the Czech Republic, and even here in the U.S., from New York to Florida and beyond, had followed her saga, which opened the eyes of the rehabilitators there to the fact that even wild animals, such as squirrels, can be born with such conditions as Down syndrome.
Yoda's story nested in our hearts, and concern for her made friends out of strangers.
She was a brief wisp of life on this planet. It was not her fate to ever leave footprints in the trees. No doubt, then, her greater imprint remains within each of us who cared for her - either by ministering to her needs in person, or wishing her well from afar.
Nothing can take that away.