Dealing with the Death of your Dog
Me and Poppy
Getting over the death of a dog
I had never owned a dog or any kind of pet before. Then my son left for college. I was experiencing the empty nest syndrome when a friend took me too a pet store. Even after he left for college I had reservations about getting a pet. I wasn't sure what was involved and didn't know if I wanted the added responsibility since I had just been relieved of all responsibility after my son had gone. Nevertheless, the second time I visited the pet store with my good friend Wendy was the clincher. Even though my head said no, no, no my heart would not let go of this irresistible Pomeranian puppy. I must of sat there with him for over an hour hosting the argument inside my head for and against this little entity. Even after I bought him I had second thoughts and tried to return him the next day. The pet store refused to take him back so he was mine no matter what.
The days went by and I learned how to take care of him, how to house-train him, bath him, discipline him and eventually he wormed his way into my heart, into my bed and into almost every area of my life. I was surprised to feel the intense love I felt for this little animal, it was very similar to the love I had felt for my son. Even when I eventually moved to Manhattan where I knew having a dog would be a pain in the ass! I still could not bring myself to part from him. Every decision was made with him in mind. I paid an extra deposit for the apartment, I specifically sought an apartment next to Central Park (so that he could walk there) and I got an apartment with a little terrace so that he could go outside whenever he wanted. I refused jobs that would require overtime or travel.
What I didn't realize until after his untimely death was how much joy he had given me. He died suddenly after 5 years, pretty young for a Pomeranian. The aftermath of his death still bothers me. I went through a terrible depression and even felt like I was experiencing an identity crisis. I was no longer Poppy's mother. I was no longer the woman who walked the beautiful Pomeranian in the park, no longer did children come up and ask if they could pet him.
The pain of his death was worse than most human deaths. I was severely depressed for about 6 months, unable to work or even leave my apartment. Most of my experience with death came from older relatives dying. They were supposed to die, they were older and I didn't live with them, they didn't greet me happily every morning and evening nor did my identity come from living with them. I bought books on how to deal with the death of a beloved pet. They helped a little. I even tried anti-depressives for awhile, but they didn't work. Eventually, a friend's comments started the healing process. She said "you must have received a lot of joy from Poppy to be so sad at his passing, how wonderful that you had that in your life". This began my healing process. Instead of missing him I started thinking how lucky I was to experience the love of a dog, the love of my companion, unconditional, joyful, completely loyal and unforgettable. How lucky I am to have had him for 5 beautiful years.
Gratitude is what helped me to overcome the loss of my companion. I think gratitude is a gift that is underestimated. When we are grateful for something or someone it allows us to realize that every good thing in our lives are gifts to be received and to eventually relinquish. We come to know that life is transitory, good will come as will evil and to be happy for whatever good we have in our lives because we never know when that will be removed. Instead of grieving for the loss of my dog I was grateful for the joy I experienced when he was with me.
Gratitude made all the difference in the world.