Same title as yesterday, but only because the thought did not get finished when I ran out of time. While talking with a Dal owning male friend about the fact that his first Dal was approaching the end of its life, I reminded him that it was OK for men to cry about dogs, and that he should not be embarrassed about doing it. That losing a beloved dog was similar to losing a family member. After his dog passed, he made a point of telling me that he remembered what I had told him, and it made him more comfortable with his feelings of grief. When Pepper died this week, he posted the reminder to Jess's Facebook page, which touched us both.
I've cried about many dogs in my lifetime. Dogs I've owned, dogs I've bred and sold, dogs owned by friends, and dogs I've never met. I can look at a picture of Rob and still cry, and he's been gone for over 11 years. I recently looked at a picture of Sid who has been gone for several years, and shed a few tears of him. Each of my dogs has left its own chapter in my heart.
I can't imagine owning just one dog and losing it to age, accident or illness. To have no dog to come home to, to greet me in the morning, sit quietly beside me, or accompany me on a walk. I've owned at least two dogs for the past 45 years and sincerely hope that I am always in a position to be a dog owner. If the time comes when I am forced to live without a dog or two, I will have to fall back on the memories. So many good memories of wonderful dogs I've known and loved.
It's hard to understand the people who say they will never own another pet because the pain of losing them is so great. Certainly the joy of owning them is even greater. We go into pet ownership knowing that most domestic animals live lives far shorter than our own. Although it hurts to lose one, it provides us with the opportunity to know a variety of animals during our lifetime, and each one has its own special story to contribute to our memories.
Coral (13 1/2), Watson (11 1/2), Josie (8) and Argus (6) received a lot of extra hugs this week. Hard to believe that my youngest adult Argus is already approaching middle age. Jess's other Shepherd Simmie is 12, old for a Shepherd. I told my dogs I am not ready to grieve again in the near future, so I expect them to stay healthy. And when the time comes for another wonderful dog to depart, I will say my Good Byes, shed my tears, and add to the wonderful memories that live in my heart.