Life Lessons From Our Dog
I am just really missing my dog today.
If you have experienced pet loss then you know where I’m coming from. We made a difficult decision to put our doggie Chloe to rest on Saturday, after being a part of our family for more than 10 years.
What is it about dogs that have us wrapped around their little paw? They roll on their backs for a belly rub and you’re happy to oblige. You drop a pretzel and instead of picking it up, you call their name for an unplanned snack. You arrange your schedule around their walks and feedings.
When my children leave on the bus, I would sometimes step back into the house and look at my dog and say, “Well Chloe, it’s just you and me.” As an older dog it was already a pretty quiet house, save for the occasional clicks of her toenails on the wood floors when she adjusts positions or chooses to sleep in this room instead of that. But now it’s especially quiet. And that makes me sad.
Our children are adjusting, each in his or her own way. My oldest (Mallory, 8) was
unusually quiet this weekend. She was the closest to Chloe of our three children. At one point she drew pictures to hang above Chloe’s dog bowls indicating which is for food and which is for water, just in case Chloe ever became confused. And learned to read.
Dylan (6) has been reading the picture books I chose at the library on losing a pet. He cried quite a bit the first night, and now has sought comfort and distraction in his Nintendo DS.
At Carlie’s young age (3.5) she is the most unfazed, in fact when I talked with her before we put Chloe down, I told her Chloe was not going to be here anymore, she is going to doggie heaven. I asked her if she understood what that means, and she nodded and said “Yes. I get a kitty cat.” Um, no.
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My husband and I have shed many tears over Chloe’s passing, and we know any grief takes time to heal. The life lessons we learned from our dog will take us far beyond what we would have imagined from “just” a dog:
- If you feed me, I will stay by your side.
- If you comfort me, I will be there for you when you need comforted.
- If you give me a belly rub, I will love you forever. Unconditionally.