I have been grieving. I have been wallowing. I have been creating.
I have run the gamut of tears to laughter, sadness to joy, and still that which I must accept remains present.
There is an emptiness to my home. A quietness in the garden. I stillness in my heart.
And still, I must accept.
I have been fascinated by this journey. Choosing not just to go through it, but rather, to observe myself going through it has brought me up against things I do not want to touch, or see, or feel.
And still, I must accept.
They are there. And I am okay. Regardless of the presence of sadness or joy, tears or laughter, I am okay.
I removed her bed from our bedroom. I removed her bed from the den and my office. Her toys remain scattered throughout the house. Her water dish remains full. Marley the Great Cat likes to drink from it too.
And I have heard stories. Of other people’s mourning of their beloved pets. Stories that brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache. Stories that strengthened our human connection.
And I have written. And painted. And gardened. And created.
It took but a moment for her to wriggle her way into our hearts. It will take eternity to erase her footprints.
And here are some of the things I’ve learned.
A Dog’s Guide to Life.
- Get outside. Get into nature. Go for a walk. Garden. Run. Play in the snow. The river. The mud. And don’t forget to take me with you. I like being outdoors. There’s so much out there to explore and it’s so just good doginess to share it!
- Smell the roses. Smell the air. Heck, smell my fur, even when it’s wet. Bury your face in the sweet, juicy aromas of life. Sure, it can be messy and prickly. But it’s always beautiful and fruitful and full of sweet smells and reminders of how wonderful it is to be alive.
- Pet me. Rub my belly. Fuss over me. I’m a dog. That’s what I need and it’s what you need too! Love all over me and know, no matter what, love really is the answer. Try it with the people in your life too. It really works. Why do you think I do it with you?
- Sit. Sprawl. Laze about. Let yourself sink into nothing but the pure joy of doing nothing. Block doorways. Lay in the middle of the room. Take up all the space you need to get comfortable. It’s your life. Your space. Fill it and do it often. Life looks better when you’re stretched out filling the whole canvas of your life.
- Chase butterflies. Dragonflies, even bumblebees. You don’t have to catch them. The joy is in the running about, chasing after nature and feeling the wind against your skin, or fur if you’re me.
- Dance in the rain. Run barefoot in the grass. Don’t be shy. Don’t tell yourself you’re too old or too proper or too whatever. You’re never too anything to act silly and free. Kick your shoes off and feel the earth — I’ve never understood why people, and horses for that matter, wear shoes. They’re so distracting.
- Talk to yourself – which is like… talking to me. Tell yourself all your sorrows, your secrets, your fears, your dreams. It’s okay. No one else can hear you except me and I will always listen and never judge and never tell another soul. Your secrets are mine to keep.
- Greet everyone you meet, even strangers and that girl with the tattoos and piercings and dog collar around her neck, with a big happy smile. I also don’t understand why people wear dog collars. They’re for dogs, people, because we’re special. But I digress. Greet people like you’re really, really happy to see them. Try some wiggles and squirms, lick them even! Or, as you humans like to do, give them a peck on the cheek, but really, really mean it! Be happy to see them. Let your happy shine, where ever you go! Heaven knows, the world needs more wriggles and squirms and happy greetings. And by the way, so do you.
- Always, always, clean your plate. Yup. I know. Your parents told you this. Difference is, what you don’t eat, you can give to me, I’m not picky and will eat anything you don’t, and then some! (and that’s how you clean your plate btw while also savouring every morsel of life) Oh. And no artichokes please. I don’t like the prickles. Which brings me to my final point;
- Only consume, buy, eat, do, speak, think, create, the things that create more joy, laughter, love and caring in your life. Be picky! Don’t settle for something just because it’s there. Make your own choices. Make your own path. Make your own waves. Remember, I chose you and you’re the bestest friend a dog could ever have, even though you’re not a dog. And you truly are great, especially when you remember to follow your heart, oh, and let me be your guide.