Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Finding Words.

It has been four days since I said goodbye to Brisbane. The grief comes in waves, and the smallest things feel like a punch in the gut. Preparing for agility class and realizing I'm still set up to take two dogs. Realizing that I no longer have to read ingredient labels carefully. The good memories come in waves too, though. Briz pushing his head into my chest and leaning hard when greeting me. Kissing his ginormous floofy ears.
Here's a happy picture of Sisci and her buddy Ernie that I took yesterday.

The first couple of days, I had a lot of disorganized thoughts running around in my head. Some of them surprised me. I think it's important to maintain positive self-talk, and give myself space to feel all of these big feelings. Humanely euthanizing a suffering animal is an absolutely agonizing decision, and it hurts a lot.

"I killed my dog." I think everyone who goes through it thinks this at some point. For me it is an extremely intrusive thought that I find quite distressing. I cope with it by calmly telling myself, "Cancer killed my dog, I chose to end his suffering." I don't deny the original thought, just accept it and respond with that affirmation.

"It's not fair." This is a relatively weak feeling for me. I'm pretty accepting of the ephemeral nature of life, and I feel that by choosing to have dogs in my life, I must acknowledge that they will eventually pass. I was expecting 4 or 5 more years with Brisbane, but I don't feel wronged by the universe or anything.

"My baby is gone." I don't have a good mental response to this one because it simply is. This feeling doesn't come with any pent up rage or frustration, just a deep and weighty sadness. Not so much sadness that it stops me from doing anything, but more sadness than I've ever felt before.

There will never be another dog like Brisbane. I am immensely relieved that Sisci came into my life before he got sick. She got to follow his lead and learn how to be my dog, which is a very big job. For me, having an old dog and a young dog is ideal. I can't imagine not having a dog to do activities and sports with (sorry Ru, you don't count), and Sisci is really helping me keep myself together.

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