Some folks like little smushy faced dogs. Others like tall elegant dogs with needle noses.
There are dog lovers who take their pups everywhere. And dog lovers who just stay home.
And let’s not even think about the different ways people feed their dogs.
But there’s one way every dog lover is the same.
And that’s the way we miss our dogs when they go.
If you don’t believe me, read the comments at 11 Steps to Grieving My Dog. Whether we lost a dog 30 days ago, 30 months ago, or 30 years ago, we all understand that aching grief.
Unfortunately, not everyone around us understands it. I can’t imagine what kind of moron would say to a grieving person, “It’s just a dog (or cat or guinea pig or ferret…). But apparently that’s a response that many grieving people get when they lose an animal friend.
The crazy thing is that, at times, grieving an animal is more intense than grieving a person. Why? Because our relationships with our animals are less complicated.
Humans wound each other.
In addition to the grief, loneliness, and sense of loss we feel when we lose a friend or family member, we have all kinds of other stuff to work out in our complicated relationships. But most of us don’t have complicated personal dynamics with our dogs.
We love them. And they love us.
A man I know has told me twice how hurt he was that his children cried more when their dog died than when their grandfather died. For it to come up twice in our rare and casual conversations tells me that this is a deep wound for him.
I wonder if I should try to explain it to him. His kids loved their grandfather. But no grandfather will give a child everything they want from him.
Sometimes he’ll have to spend time with the grown ups instead of playing with the kids. He’ll live too far away to visit all the time. He may be distracted and give them less attention.
But your dog is always there. Just for you.
When you walk in the door, you’re the center of your dog’s whole world. Everyone should know what this feels like. And it’s the simplest and purest relationships most of us will ever know.
Our dogs aren’t perfect. But I’ve never felt let down or neglected by my dog. Probably none of us can say that about the humans in our lives.
So your choices for your dogs may not match mine. And your 11 steps of grief may be 27 or 3 or in some different order.
But we know how it feels to love and lose a dog. And that makes us just a little bit more the same. No matter how different we are.
Note: I’ve been very touched reading everyone’s comments to yesterday’s post. I may not have time to respond to each one personally but I’d like to thank everyone for sharing their love of their dogs with me.
Stop by tomorrow to see where I go for a laugh. I have a feeling we’ll all need it.
Your Turn: Do you find it different to mourn a dog than a human? How?