When I step back and think about the dogs we work with and the dogs I have lived with over the years, I am truly amazed at the love I feel for them and the love they give back to me. The bond between humans and dogs is a gift we are blessed with and having them in our lives is so enriching and wonderful. I cannot imagine a world without dogs.
When a dog dies, whether from old age or an accident, injury or illness, it is heartbreaking. The sense of loss is palpable and the grief is real. The house can be so quiet after the loss of pet. We are so used to the patter of nails on the floor, the snork-snork sounds, the greeting when we come home. All of those sounds, smells and quirks add up to make a dog who they are; their unique personality, and a big reason we love them so much.
Everyone grieves the loss of their pet in their own way. One approach to grief that has helped me is to remember all the wonderful times I shared with our pets and the joy they brought into our lives. I like to imagine them sitting in their sunspot, dozing away on a Sunday afternoon, always happy to have a scratch behind the ears, but content to just lay and soak up the warmth of the day. Imagining them in a happy spot, content, safe and warm makes me feel better about their loss because I know they were loved and they enjoyed life.
Those small moments and memories are the events that make up a dog’s life. Picturing a big, broad smile on a dog’s face and knowing they were living in the moment and happy to be in our home makes me feel good. The loss of a pet and the grief that comes with it is inevitable. Giving our pets happy, long, rich lives is the way we give back the love they always show us, the devotion they have to us.
The pictures above are of Rewey. Rewey was a wonderful, sweet, gentle and humble pug. He was loved and cherished and enjoyed the time he spent with his family. He passed on after a long and full life. Remembering him through pictures and events is a wonderful way to celebrate his life and the joy he brought to his family. Our days are busy and we often rush through them, but it is so important to step back and recognize how much these dogs mean to us.
You may not know that there are also support groups for pet loss. The Anti-Cruelty Society offers an “open educational group is dedicated to working through the emotional rollercoaster that can occur when we lose a beloved pet.” You can learn more about this group here: Working Through Pet Loss.