by Joy Davy, MS, LCPC, NCC
Even after death, the relationship goes on. This is an idea that brings comfort to many. You have your animal companion in your heart, a part of you, and as you go on through life, and think of your friend, the relationship continues to develop.
Your perspectives change, your appreciation may increase, and the love is always there.
Whenever we get a big snowfall, my husband and I always think of Buddy, our American Eskimo mix, who loved to run out into snow showers and scoop up the soft snow on his nose, and then roll around in it, making snow-dog-angels.
When our kids would go to the sled hill, Buddy would go, too, running up and down the hill, greeting every man, woman and child there joyfully, beside himself with happiness.
When the kids would be shoveling, Buddy would be right there, lying in the snow, soaking in the crystal white ambience.
When the children would make a snowman, there would be Buddy, running in circles, playing, and guarding “his kids.”
“There was never a dog like him,” I say, whenever we get a good Chicago snowfall.
“There will never be another,” my husband says, looking out into the snowy yard that Buddy would love to dive into.
“What a great dog,” our (now grown) children say, remembering the sled hill.
And although we loved and appreciated Buddy at the time, I think our understanding of his special qualities continues to grow as time goes by.
We remember when we first got him as a pup. We had stopped in to a local shelter “just to look,” and came out with what looked like a little polar bear cub. He grew to be a strikingly beautiful dog, with a swagger and a smile that would make you think he understood full well what a charismatic impression he made.
He was gentle and tolerant, and tuned in to the emotions and needs of his human family.
Even now, five years after his death, I feel a warmth in my heart when I think of Buddy. I feel his support, his sense of fun, his unwavering optimism that each day was going to be a great one, and each motion I made might result in something good to eat, or an adventure of some kind. And for Buddy, any time spent with his people was an adventure.
Even now, I think of Buddy as one of the important beings in my life, one of those milestone influences whose message of love and support stays with me always. He gave his full attention to making us happy, and we were his sole purpose in life. He was with our family during the growing up years of our children, and in my mind he stands for everything that was fun and beautiful and full of heart about those days.
I feel that even now, his message to me is, whatever you think it’s all about, think again: it’s all about the love.
Thank you, Buddy, for being who you were and are. Love you.
Please write your memories of your animal friend. What are the memories that still bring warmth to your heart?
Joy Davy, M.S., L.C.P.C., N.C.C.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
15 Spinning Wheel Road
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521
please see my Pet Grief Blog: http://joydavy2013.wordpress.com/