It’s been a strange ten days. Even now, I can’t even begin to make sense of it all. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the emotional repercussions of having my mate put to rest. I feel like my universe shifted gear. I feel I have been left reeling. I came to consider that grief is like a sock. Unless you are actually in it, you can never really understand or explain the feeling of it wrapped around you. Up until last week, I’d never experienced the euthanasia thing. It’s made me rethink all the basics in life. Integrity, responsibility, guilt, shame and love to name but a few. I admit to loving my animals far greater than I love any human. Perhaps that’s why the pain is close to unbearable at times. When unconditional love slips through your fingers, the loss seems all the more heartbreaking. The perfect love has escaped you.
I always told Ollie that if he wasn’t a dog, I would marry him. Aside from the odd bit of thievery, he had all the prime qualities I would want in a partner. He was loving and loyal. Faithful, intelligent and caring. Not to mention adorable. And he was fun. Beyond all measure.
If only I could find someone with his dog like qualities. Someone who simply loved having their belly scratched, who ate everything I put down in front of them like it were gourmet food for a God. Someone who beamed love at me every time I walked in the room. And someone who wanted nothing more than to please me. What I think is most apparent is that perhaps these qualities are the ones I must work on in myself, in order to attract that which I so desire. He was a teacher. My best. No doubt about it. What I do know through all of this is that I am changed. Through this experience I am no longer the same person.
I turned up to my first shift back at work and folded. Just couldn’t do it. Wasn’t ready. I was sent home in tears. I searched for a grief counsellor but no-one could see me for at least a week. Hard to put all those tears on hold for a week when I could barely manage an hour without weeping. A friend called and I asked her to contact my vet. It was a last ditch effort to pull the pieces together. She came back to me with a name. Karlene Bradley. I rang the number she gave me and was eventually led to a woman who didn’t know me from Adam but who spent over an hour on the phone talking me through the worst of my grief. She was a pet bereavement counsellor. She was an angel. She knew what I was going through because she had been through it herself. She wore the sock. She let me wail and talk and she talked and listened until there was nothing left to say. I was wrung out. She picked up the threads of my frayed spirit and she tugged and she tied and she knotted. She rethreaded my heart strings and the mending began.
From there, I began writing. I poured my heart and soul onto paper. Writing also became my saviour. It wrapped its inky arms around me and welcomed me into the fold. It accepted everything I lay down before it. Never questioned. Never doubted. Just let me be as I was at the time. It led me through the rough. I am so grateful I am a writer. I am grateful to have this outlet that helps me to heal.
I have tried to keep busy in these past ten days. I have surrounded myself with photos of my beautiful boy. It helps just to see him framed in a corner, a lucky dog biscuit pressed tightly between his lips. And I have taken Little Moo on adventures away, for she too is grieving the loss of her mate. From both of us, thank you to all of you who cared, thought of us, called us, emailed us, messaged us, hugged us and supported us in any way. There are a lot of you. And I am grateful to every single one of you. But a big thank you to Karlene. This world needs you. And I am eternally grateful to you. You helped mend me.
Below: How Little Dog and I have spent some days…