That is one of the most difficult things for a pet owner to do. I don’t even like calling them “pets” because they are fur baby members of the family. I recently had to say goodbye to one of my own fur babies. To say that it was difficult is an understatement.
She was the most kind hearted dog I have known in my life. She was always very gentle and unassuming. She was also a therapy dog. At work she would see that someone was struggling emotionally and immediately go over to them for pets. She would lay her head on their lap as they were in tears and the person would instinctually begin to pet her, thus lowering their blood pressure and slowing their metabolic rate. Before long at all they would be completely calm, yet still releasing what was needing to be let go.
Her name was Penn. I called her that because when I first adopted her from my children and their mother her name was Penny. But I already had a friend by that name and, frankly, if I was going to be saying things like, “Sit down and stop wagging your tail all around the coffee table” I wanted it to be quite clear to whom I was speaking. So I named her Penn. I also would call her Penn Penn, and Baby Girl.
She was with me through the loss of my late wife and, frankly, I think that she is the one who gets most of the credit for my surviving such a trauma. My favorite memories of her are of us walking the “tri-park area” around my old neighborhood. By the time we would get to the third park I would need to just sit down for a moment. She would get up on the park bench beside me, lean into me, and together we would watch the sunrise or watch children play over in the playground area. We would meditate together and have very deep conversations. I do call those conversations because there was definitely communication between us.
We were also telepathically linked to each other. I would know by instinct what she needed, be it to be let outside or that her water dish was low, or whatever else. She would hear my telepathic commands and just do whatever I needed her to do without a word spoken between us.
Moving to our new location was a bit difficult for her. That is when she developed an urge to bark incessantly at young men. My step-son’s friend accidentally scared the living hell out of her and from that moment on she would not stop barking at him. Then that extended to my daughter’s boyfriends. Then it also extended to my daughter. This was likely because she could smell her boyfriends on her.
It was not until she began growling and barking at clients that I had to retire her. Something was definitely wrong. And I could not have her doing that with my clients. Later we discovered that she had severe arthritis in one of the lumbar in her spine. Numerous forms of therapy and medication helped her to be comfortable…for a time. And then she began to not have any strength in her hind quarters, and not be able to feel when she was needing to have bowel movements. Eventually the bladder also gave way to the loss of sensation for her.
As much as we loved her, I could no longer stand to see her suffer, especially as she would drag herself down the hallway, trying to get to her bed, after losing all control of her bowels and bladder. It was time.
Right to the end she was completely appreciative of the love we felt for her, whether or not some of us were able to attend her passing. My daughter was there with me, for which I am grateful because I did lose it a wee bit.
About 3 seconds before the vet declared her dead, her spirit left her body. I knew it was done. But I also saw that this was just the beginning of the rest of her journey. She was greeted by my grandmother, who also had another of my fur babies with her. The two of them came out fo the Mist and greeted Penn warmly. And for a moment Penn was also able to say hello to Sandy, Rod’s fur baby who had passed away a year and a half ago. Sandy went back to Rod’s mother, on the other side, and Penn went back through the Mist with my grandmother and Shema, my other fur baby.
And I knew that she would definitely be okay.
I have often wondered why I keep adopting fur babies. This part of their journey with us is so hard. Yet we keep doing these things to ourselves. But once one bonds with a fur baby, those bonds will develop with other animals as well.
We also have adopted a new puppy as of last summer. The bond with him is undeniable. And the telepathic communication is happening quite well. He is helping us all to heal from the loss of Penn and over time will also be a therapy dog. He is still young, but he is almost there. And when that happens, all that joy and love will, once again, be spread to my clients.
No matter who it is that we have to say goodbye to, there is this thing that happens…called life. We do need to experience and express (let it out) our grief. But we cannot hold onto our grief. When we do, we get stuck. Instead, we need to look at each day that follows the loss as an opportunity to experience life in a different way. I have had a LOT of death happen in my life. Death does not bother me at all. Watching someone suffer DOES bother me a LOT. So once the suffering is done, I look to each day with a new sense of hope and even, at times, adventure. That way, in saying goodbye, I don’t get stuck.