The longer you live, the more dogs you love, the more mourning you’ll have to do. As author Agnes Sligh Turnbull said: “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
A friend of a friend got some awful news this week – her dog has an untreatable condition that will soon take the dog’s life. “Coco” is small and only nine years old. The woman expected to have many more years with her best friend. And now has to reshape her vision of the future.
Dog bucket lists
In the last couple of years we’ve seen stories about dogs completing “bucket lists.” And if it helps the people cope with the impending loss of their dogs, that’s what they should do. But we’ve never been big fans of lists of “things to do before death.”
If there’s a goal you want to reach, accomplish, attempt – make plans and go do it. For yourself and your dog.
If you’re facing a similar situation, instead of projecting new stuff on your dog, do more of the stuff your dog loves. Not all dogs will enjoy, or even understand, a sudden change in routine. As we’ve said many times, most dogs are big fans of schedules.
Preparing for the day
Some people think it’s better to have time to prepare for a dog’s death. We’re not so sure. Over the years we’ve lost dogs in all different ways – none of them is “better.” Sudden is shocking. Slow is a constant ache. And, no matter how you try, you’re never prepared for the quiet emptiness when you come home.
Coco has been diagnosed with the same silent killer that took our dog Teddy a couple of years ago. That’s probably why the news is hitting us hard. We’ll never “get over” it, but we have learned to live with it.
And, fortunately, the community of people who understand and sympathize is easier to reach and larger than it was before the internet. Back in the day, there weren’t social groups whose common interest was dogs. And non-dog people just don’t understand the impact.
Sorry for them
Actually, we feel sorriest for people who have never known the love, and loss, of a dog. They don’t understand the selfless, unconditional love that dogs bring to life. As badly as it eventually hurts, loving a dog is never a mistake. Their loss never overshadows the smiles they brought. We can’t let it.
It’s advice we’ve given many times over the years. People, mourning their dog’s death, will say “I’m never getting another dog. It hurts too much.”
Yes, it does. But to honor your dog’s life, you can’t let their death be more important. Dogs’ lives are too short. The joy they bring is disproportionately large. Hug your dogs.