This is my first blog entry in a long time, and I decided to write an open letter to honor my beloved dog, Georgia. I had always said that I would get back into blogging but always used a lack of time as an excuse even though writing makes me happy. Now seemed to be a great time to get back into writing and sharing my creative gifts to honor her memory and share my experience with someone else hurting.
Going through the loss of not just a pet but my first dog has been really tough, and it is especially difficult during the holiday season. I made the decision to put her down because she was suffering from heart failure and had gotten to the point where it was hard for her to be mobile because her body was literally shutting down. I didn’t want her to continue suffering daily just so that I could keep her longer. Despite life being incredibly difficult from missing her terribly, I know that I made the right decision. She is now running free in Heaven until we meet again, and this gives me comfort.
I wanted to share some tips that have helped me cope with her loss.
First of all, don’t let anyone tell you that it is just a dog. Dogs/cats or whatever other animals literally become a part of our lives; we see them every day and they become ingrained in us.
Next, due to the pandemic, I work from home for my job at the VA. Georgia used to sit right beside me in my home office space, but since her death I have worked in the bar area of my kitchen. I’m still equally productive, but I wanted to take some time away from that space in particular because that was where we were together for most of our days. I would suggest a change of space if anyone else is working from home and dealing with the loss of their pet.
I also encourage the usage of therapy or counselor. I spoke with a counselor when it first happened to help me process what I was feeling. This year has been filled with challenges, and to lose my companion of six years was tough to say the least. My counselor has been really helpful, and I mention this to let people (particularly people of color) know that it is okay to seek counseling. I have spoken to counselors at various points of my life, and I have never regretted it. Life can be very confusing and there are wonderful people in place to assist us when life gets overwhelming.
I also leaned into my support system; I talk to my family and my wonderful circle of friends daily and this helps me to get by. I do my best not to isolate even though at first I did. I also have found that sitting alone with my emotions when I need to is helpful. I allow myself to cry when I miss her badly, but I also give myself permission not to stay in that mindframe.
Georgia was a very happy dog, and I know that she doesn’t want me to be in a depressive state, so I do my best to continue moving forward. I encourage anyone going through a similar loss to do the same to honor your furry friend.
You left a pawprint on my heart that will forever be engraved there. For six wonderful years, you were my best furry friend. You always listened to me vent about work,dating, and other human nonsense on a regular basis. Your beautiful big eyes always seemed to be caring and understanding even when I was just being silly and trying to give you some joy. You made me laugh during times where I thought my world would come crashing down. You also kept me company during my lonely times and times that I wasn’t feeling well. You were my travel partner, too; always front and center where I needed you to be. You captured the heart of my family and friends; you quickly became their lil’ buddy, too.
Georgia, in addition to friendship, you also taught me so much about life. To most you were just a lazy beagle, but you enlightened me about the importance of rest. Yes, being productive is what we are supposed to be, but we also have to take time for ourselves to rest. We cannot pour from an empty cup. Even in your last days, you embodied resilience that I will apply in my daily life. You fought and you continued to rise despite not feeling well. I want to have that desire and fight for the remainder of my life.
You see my baby, your life and mine collided for a purpose. I gave you love that you never knew and you did the same thing for me. I will continue to home dogs that are in need to honor your life and legacy. Even though you left me around the holidays, I will not be a grinch. I will spread love and happiness because that’s what you would want. I love you, Angel Face, and I will see you on the other side one day.
Your friend always and forever,