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When The Dog Dies

I’m sitting here at my computer feeling numb. And yet I want to write about a moment in life that many of us face or have faced––- the loss of our beloved four legged friends. Our dog died on Friday morning and my heart is broken. Ironically, I’ve been asked to write about resiliency in the next two months and so this moment is timely in a most untimely way. Since the moment when I lay weeping on the floor of a veterinary clinic anguishing over the decision(s) to be made; Should we do anything to keep our dog alive? How will I ever live without his amazingly gentle soul? I knew also that grief is and takes time.

My heart is broken; my house is eerily quiet of the tapping his paws made against our wood floors. He is not pacing the house with large bones in his mouth—Spencer walked his bones and rarely ate them.  I ache beyond measure but the knowledge of my own resiliency tells me that I will go on—with an extra hole in my heart but also filled with so many great memories and funny stories.

I know that life can take everything out of you (or so it seems). I also know that much like a cut or a wound, with time, we heal from the inside out. We go on to more loves because life without love is hardly worth living. And this is the definition of resiliency.

I have been here before—choosing gentle, painless death over endless tests, surgeries and possibly chemotherapy. I promised my furry friends that I would never make the end of their lives painful—they deserved more for the loyalty they show me. But this time the end came in an hour, even faster than the last pup we lost in 36 hours. In the hour before I knew my dog was dangerously ill, we had been out walking in the humid air and like always he had stood by his cookie bowl as soon as we re-entered the house.

I admit I asked the question, Why me—perhaps that question comes from having sustained so many other losses in my life that this loss seems that much more unjust. And then Why him? A sweet, docile, beauty with so many more promised years. Oh that word “Why”? We always seem to ask it when there is no answer. Today, I am working to remind myself that life just is and that to love and keep loving is the only way I know how to live. Really, it’s all anyone of us can do.

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