Loss of a Companion

“My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet.”

 -Edith Wharton-

There are many statistics with regard to the benefits of companion animals from lowering blood pressure to relieving stress and depression.  I believe all of these benefits to be valid and I am so very fortunate to have had pets of one type or another in my life.  Often my pets were the only constant, safe and sure thing that I could rely on for unconditional love and companionship.  But, what about the loss of that one pet that really tugged at one’s heart-strings.  The loss initially leaves such an empty space once filled with a wet nose, a constant wagging tail and a wildly beating heart.  What has gotten me thinking of this?

I got a phone call from one of my dog grooming clients to cancel their dog’s appointment…she has passed away the day before.  We were privileged to have gotten to know Sadie not only as a groom dog but as a boarder numerous times over the past 2 years.  She was a 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel ; she was quite crippled up with arthritis but still a delightful companion to have about the house.  She was totally deaf and very weary from the pain of moving with arthritis…she slept mostly.  But what a joy to care for her when she would pick up the pace to see if she could get to the other dogs’ food dish before I got to it…she was on a strict diet for allergies.  Sometimes she would wake up in an empty room and howl until someone showed up to reassure her that she was not alone.  She loved to eat apple chunks and raw carrot slices; in fact she had a good appetite and could be relied on to eat her entire meal…medication and all.  She was a very patient and good-natured dog for grooming…sometimes I had to help her stand or let her lie down for a bit.  We often commented that we hoped that someone would enjoy caring for us as much as we did for her when we get that old.

There is a great deal to be learned from our beloved pets.  They teach us not only how to care and to love but also how to grieve, let go and carry on.  It is sad to lose a pet even when it is not your own.  My heart goes out to her “people”; I can recall how lost I felt when my sweet Dexter died.  But I would not choose to deny myself the joy, pleasure and love of having my pets in my life…the more the merrier.  They are good medicine.  We are good for them and they are most definitely good for us.

Today’s “stone” is  Day 61  puppy love, loss, grief, memories

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