As you know, nothing cures depression and the pain of mourning like a dog. Most of my stories revolve around pups helping people mourn another dog, but we get the job done when it comes to losing a person too.
When Abigail Rabbet’s mom passed to the Bridge, she lost her parent, best friend, and confidant.
Abigail felt lonelier than she ever been before.
She experienced all the worst stages of grief. She could not work because she had lost the ability to concentrate; she could not stop crying, she dyed her hair in an attempt to feel differently, and, most concerning, she binged watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Before her mom passed, while she was very ill, Abigail became her full-time caretaker. They spent all day together, watching TV, talking, drinking tea, and supporting one another through the crises. Then, in a breath, it was over.
After the passing, everything that had given Abigail and her mom pleasure now brought pain. There was no escape from the reminder that Abigail was now alone.
Abigail’s dad knew that he had to break his daughter from the cycle of grief. He coaxed her to leave the house on a special mission to find a dog.
While growing up, Abigail and her parents had a beloved black Labrador who lived to 17. The family was so devastated when he went to the Bridge that they could not get another dog, but now her dad decided it was time.
The breeder was a friend of the family. He agreed to let them take a puppy right away if they so chose, not his usual policy. The dad immediately bonded with a little black pup and insisted on bringing it home that day.
Abigail was skeptical, but when the little pup curled up on her lap on the way home, she began to experience true euphoria. Still, that night the joy turned to sorrow as she began to feel guilty loving a dog like she loved her mom.
She did not realize that her mom and her Labrador angel were pulling the angel strings to make sure the family found the dog, who they knew would cure her daughter’s, broken heart. Abigail fell into a restless sleep where she was visited by her mother, who told her it was alright to love again. Abigail didn’t remember the visit, but when she woke up, her mind had changed, and she accepted the dog into her heart and home.
When she woke up, the dog began to follow her around the house. She named him Shadow after his devotion and black fur. He needed a lot of tending to, which helped fill Abigail’s lost hours devoted to her mother. Shadow may be exaggerating his issues, like crying in his sleep, at Abigail’s mom’s instructions because she knows the more Abigal is needed, the better she will feel.
Now, as she heals, Shadow is Abigail’s constant companion. Shadow accompanies her on her long walks to the grave, something she could not do before he joined the family and giving her the support she needs as she improves every day.
She is also beginning to understand that Shadow’s was her mom’s final gift and maybe the best she has ever received.