I had some fantastic clients go through some horrible circumstances this year. It comes with the job, the grief and the sadness, and you get used to it to a degree, but there are some stories that hit you even with your walls in place.
A couple of weeks before Emmett died, one of my favorite clients lost their beloved 3 year old dog. That dog was, for lack of a better word, their kid. They had no human children, and they funneled all of their energy and emotion into her. She was their life. She died suddenly, in a tragic accident that could have happened to anyone, but it happened to them, and the grief that would have pummeled any of us truly flattened them.
I know that some people who have children- and even some who don’t- scoff at the people who say “my pet is like a kid.” It’s hard to explain. Obviously they are not the exact same, but it’s in a similar vein. And to them, the grief etched on their faces was no different than that of anyone who has lost the one creature in this world they hold most dear.
They called me today to ask if I would be a reference when they were ready to get another dog. Of course, I said, and told them how happy I was to hear that they were thinking about it. They expressed some reservations and some guilt about wanting another dog, so I told them about Emmett and Brody. As much as I blab about them here, I try not to spend too much time at work dong the same- I’m getting paid to listen to other people’s stories, after all, but in this case it seemed OK. That made them feel a lot better.
Pets are like big furry band-aids, aren’t they? The wounds to our heart don’t heal any faster, but it cushions the blow and makes it easier to bear to have them around. Forgive me, but I have to. I’m going to quote Sleepless in Seattle. Leave now if you must.
(waits for the guys to exit the blog)
“People who truly loved once are far more likely to love again.” Profound words via Rob Reiner. Deal. Dr. Marsha said that to Tom Hanks when he was talking about his wife, but it works here too. It doesn’t JUST apply to humans. I can’t wait for these clients to come in with another pup to dote on. 🙂
Funny that I read this today. I stood in the kitchen this morning looking out across the green space behind my house when a wet nosed nudged me. Cookie thought she would get some of my juice if she looked at me with her big brown eyes. Her tail slowly wagged as I looked down at her but then she begin the true rottie butt dance: tail starts slowly, then wags faster and faster as her entire rear ends erupts in shakes. And at that moment, I thanked her. Because she’s grown on me in the last two years. If it wasn’t for her (her love, her comfort, her constant shadowing) …I’m not quite sure what would have happened to me two years ago.
So true, I wish more people understood this band-aid theory.
I brought a new puppy into our home over Labor Day weekend — almost exactly two months after my beloved 12-year-old lab/golden mix Bailey died on July 4. She was my sole companion for a while after my divorce from her “dad,” and she was the flower dog at my wedding three years ago. She was my doggy soul mate, and I absolutely agree that our dogs are our children. Bailey was 10 when we added Sophie, a golden/shepherd mix, to our family. Sophie worshiped her older sister, and it was very hard on her, as well, to lose Bailey. The new baby is a (now 11-week-old) male pyr/golden mix and he is adorable in that way that only puppies have. I feel a little guilty for getting him so soon, but I explained to Bailey that he wasn’t here to take her place, because no one ever could, and that it was because she opened my heart so much that I was able to rescue him. I had a much harder time losing her than I have had losing beloved humans in my life — had to take time off from work, cried every day for over a month, and still cry sometimes. Most people don’t understand that, but those who get it REALLY get it.
I hope the new puppy brings the same kind of solace to your clients.
We do not have human children, so our dogs ARE our children. No if, ands, or buts about it.
I think the reason we haven’t gotten a new dog since Chase passed in February, was that we still had 2 and well Akira was only 8 months old at the time. I am sure I don’t need to tell you how an 8 month old Siberian Husky is. 😉 Now that she is hitting the year and a half mark and KIND of settling down (YEAH RIGHT!!!), we are thinking of getting back to being a 3 dog house… but even that won’t be until the Spring time I think, when Akira will be almost 2.
No doubt about it though, if Chase had been our only dog, we would have jumped on another one… probably fairly quickly. Even my in-laws asked two weeks after Chase died, if we had a 3rd dog again already, lol.
Good for them. I can’t imagine what they’ve gone through. I don’t think I would have gotten through Bailey’s illness and death without the other pets. Of course a few of them decided to go a bit further and give us something else to worry about to let our minds focus on something else (they’re nice like that ;)). I can’t imagine going through it fur-free.
Georgia Jewel says
I brought Shorty into my heart and home less than 48 hours after losing my Beau Dog. He doesn’t replace her, just helps remind me of what a wonderful life she and I had together. I am a better person, friend and mother because of my animals.