Doggone Wisdom

DSC_0828Our sweet bulldog, Roman.

He died recently and though the loss tore right through our hearts I find myself so grateful for having his gentle and giant presence in our lives. He was the coolest guy ever!

I learned more from this dog in the 9 years we had with him than he learned from me. Like:

  1. Have patience with the little ones. Mad patience!
    He would quietly sit while babies would stealthily pull on his ears, smack his rear, roll over on him or ride his back while our heads were turned the other way.
  2. If a situation doesn’t work for you don’t get mad, just remove yourself from the equation.
    When he’d had enough he would just stand up and walk away. Never, ever growl or snap.
  3. If someone just keeps badgering you, stay calm, stay calm, stay calm. When necessary – sometimes in one swift but gentle move – let them know that’s not how you roll.
    Roman would put his big ol’ paw on the offending dog’s head and briefly hold it to the ground. ‘Nuff said!
  4. Don’t complain.
    That guy was never unhappy. Ever. He never whined, whimpered or fussed. If he was uncomfortable he simply found a way to make himself comfortable. Boom.

Not everyone is an animal lover but those who are benefit from it. Greatly!
From petting your animals to watching fish swim in a tank this link tells you all you need to know about the positive medical effects from interacting with animals . http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-pets-improve-your-health.

So it’s a raw part of the deal when they die. We know their life spans are not as long as ours and we grow accustomed to their presence. They are these sweet, funny little personalities – full of charm, mischief and other quirks. Their loss cuts deeply. But it is SO important to expand yourself and open up to that unconditional love and the vulnerability that brings us. And to conquer the fear of doing so.

It’s not for the faint of heart.

I sobbed when he died because I had to say goodbye to his soul.
I sobbed when we took him to be cremated because I had to say goodbye to his body.
I sobbed when I picked up his ashes in a cedar box because it was so damned final.
I cried when I told my closest friends and family of his passing.
I’m crying right now as I type this because it still hurts.

He was the best guy ever!

But then the outpouring of love that we received via social media or phone calls was so heartwarming. Each and every “I’m so sorry”, “He was so great!” or “Oh no! That’s terrible!” helped stitch up the most painful part of losing him.
And my favorite part? 
I was telling my sweet neighbor about his death and trying very hard not to lose it and sob all over her (she’s not an animal person so I wasn’t sure of her emotional tolerance on the subject) and she said, “Oh, I’m SO sorry. By the way, if you need to cry? Cry. Go for it.”

I loved that! It was so freeing. And once she said that I cried a bit more and then I was done. Brilliant!

So don’t be afraid to love. Animals or people! Yes, it hurts when it ends but the layers of joy and richness it brings to your life is beyond measure.  The sorrows that accompany relationships are difficult, it’s true, but that’s where you bend, grow, strengthen and rise stronger than before the pain.
It’s what builds your character and your backbone.

It also connects us more strongly to each other – the love, obviously, but even the loss! People find out about your situation and flash back to their own loss in the past or fast forward to the future of possibly losing their loved one and they connect to you.
Sympathy. Empathy.
These are beautiful emotions. Allow them into your life!

Loving is the bravest thing we can do. (So do it!)

Imperfect Pearl

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