It will be 2018 in a few days. The last time I welcomed the new year in mortal form was 2013. I remember it well. Pocket and I were snuggled in bed with my parents.
There was a big countdown, a ball dropped, best wishes for the coming days were expressed, and Daddy wondered what the New Year would bring. He doesn’t ask that anymore. The answer will present itself, with little either of my parents can do to prevent it.
I began writing about pups who went to Rainbow Bridge in 2009. Back then I was like a journalist writing about a war I had never experienced. I thought when I arrived at the Bridge I would understand. But I have been in the battle for four and a half years, and while I have seen the war, I still don’t comprehend it.
Why is a dog’s lifespan so much less than humans? Why would a benevolent creator make the perfect match between dogs and humans then make dogs lives a seventh as long as humans causing pain, pain, and more pain? It is nothing less than a failure of creation. Dogs and humans should be paired for life.
Humans need to admit that a loss of a dog is as sorrowful and life-shattering as the passing of a human, sometimes more so, because humans grow up, move away, but dogs are constant, always home, always devoted, always loving, until suddenly they are not.
Parents who lose a child often join support groups to share their grief. But a support group for pet parents is met with eye rolls and “it was just a dog” comments. It is time to get past that. I have read countless posts on the Internet about parents who have struggled for months dealing with the loss of a pet. Grief is grief no matter what caused the sadness. Hopefully, someday humans will realize that and people will have to stop suffering alone.
Until then there is the Internet where kind people help one another with their grief. I know it helps, but it cannot replace human contact. No one recovered from addiction by talking with people over the Internet. I don’t know if people can recover from the loss of a pet over the Internet either. Do not be afraid to seek people in your community suffering from pet loss and share your stories. Your vet may know someone struggling with pet loss. Talking and sharing has been proved to aid healing.
Pet lovers should be able to access every tool possible to begin the road to recovery.
I hope writing about pups who have crossed the Bridge helps their parents if is only for a few minutes. I had thought, at one time, when the day came that my friend Hattie crossed over, that she would be my last tribute. But there will be others that follow Hattie’s footsteps. And I will continue to chronicle their journey. Hopefully, I can help ease their grief parents grief a smidge.
We can’t stop pups from crossing Rainbow Bridge, but maybe we can help those they leave behind.
And we can stop thinking of us as just the dog and start thinking of us like the family members we are.