Monday, October 05, 2015

Why Losing a Pet is So Hard



 "Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

Five days have passed since Maddie died and it’s still so hard. (Please don’t give me the advice, “Time for a puppy!” We don’t want another puppy and besides that, we have our beloved Max.)


Maddie wasn’t just an animal. She was family. I came across this article about how the death of a pet can hurt as much as the loss of a relative. People who haven’t ever have “fur kids” as many call them, will never understand that or much else about our relationship with them. 

I have thought about why the bond between people and their pets is so strong and there are a myriad of reasons. The first that most people mention is unconditional love. That's true. I also believe the loss of a pet is so traumatic because no one else is in your personal space so much, except a spouse. 

Max and Maddie (and now just Max) sit faithfully alongside while I put my make up on and blow dry my hair. They are there when I’m just walking around my room in my underwear.  They see me as no one else does except my husband. And, they listen for hours on end and provide endless affection. Rarely if ever do I take a nap without one of them nuzzled beside me.  


I miss so many things about Maddie and can’t wrap my head around the fact that she’s gone. Colder weather is coming and she always warmed up my feet before I went to sleep, laying at the bottom of the bed. Larry has always drawn the line at them sleeping with us, so they had to go to their own space while we sleep, BUT (and this is a big but!) they know when morning arrives even if it's not daylight yet. At five or six in the morning, they will whine to ask if they can hop up. Maddie was deaf from birth but one notable thing about her was her manners. She would always quietly whimper at the side of the bed, waiting for Larry or me to wave and let her know it was okay to jump up. She absolutely would not come up with us unless we waved to her that it was okay.  

When Larry went away by himself overnight to a men's conference or something, I would always tell the dogs, "tonight we get to break the rules!!" and I would sleep sandwiched between the both of them.


Our family has so many memories with Maddie including pulling together to nurse her back to health, 24/7 after her accident. She was loved by so many people not just our family, but people everywhere.

Maddie nuzzled against my thigh on a chair while I wrote countless articles and books. In addition to being deaf, she experienced a near fatal accident but rose above her challenges with the sweetest spirit. She was always an example to me in that regard. I would often tell myself that if she could rise above her obstacles, I could too. I have long said that my dogs have more fruit of the spirit than many Christians.

The price of love is grief.

I will grieve for a long time, missing our Maddie girl.
    

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