Friday, April 10, 2009


Grief is big. It throws this blanket over everything and you could smother in it if you aren't tall enough.

I lost my dog this week. She died. We had to "Put her down". It was the "humane" thing to do. I was ready for it, had been preparing for years, but things are not so cut and dry as you wish they would be. Her life had become sad, mostly, with little moments of happiness. That's not a life, even though most of us live that every day. Life should be full of joy, especially when you are a dog and when things are going shitty you have no idea why.

Grief is full. A lot of people say they feel empty, but I feel full. I feel like at any moment my sorrow is going to burst me.

She would have been 15 next month. I have known her over half my life. We went to high school together, got two university degrees, endured many shitty schedules for many shitty jobs. She always looked to me like "what's next?" with a silly grin and lolling tongue. My favorite days were spent with her and SB curled up on the sofa. She tucked neatly behind my bent legs and would lay her chin on my hip.

Grief is joyful. Because thinking about the last few months of sadness and stress and patience, impatience, fear and frustration, I have been contrasting against all the years we had that were full of joy.

The older she got, the whiter her face. Her eyebrows became even more expressive, if that was possible, since you could really see them raise and lower in her interest and apathy. She did not have much apathy, until the end. She usually basked in any attention whatsoever, desperate for a pet or belly rub. Her favorite was ear scratches, and she would grunt and moan with her mouth cocked to the side in pleasure.
Grief is funny. Especially if you are me and you find humor in absurd and inappropriate things, even when you shouldn't.

When we brought Gabby to live with us at Bishop's, she had never lived with a boy, only girls. And girls are more docile, and more calm when they play with animals. The first thing SB wanted to do was wrestle with her, which he promptly did, which promptly terrified her and caused her to not eat for a week. She would take her toys or treats and hide them in the corner behind the bedroom door, pushing them in tight with her nose. This caused her to rub her nose against the carpet, making it burn and bleed. As she was relaxing from the sedative on Wednesday, I touched that spot on her nose, and it made me smile.
Grief is comforting. If we do not love, we do not feel loss in our hearts, where it counts. So to feel grief means you have loved big, and loved fully, and loved wholly.

She gave me a lot of happiness. I hope I did the same for her.


Anonymous said...

She was loved and lived her life to the fullest. She will be missed and she was a very good dog. No dog could have asked for a better owner then you. I love the post it really says alot about her.

She will be missed.


Jallápenno said...

Beautifully put, Julie. Can't really think of what else to say.

Anonymous said...

Jules, I know how you feel. Just remember all the happy times that you had with her and her memory will always be alive.

Jenn said...

I hope there's some small comfort in knowing that even now, she, and your love for her is touching people in very special ways

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that I got to spend a day with the family in Montreal. I did experience the Gabby I always knew.
It is so funny to see in this time of sorrow how different and great memories flow into your mind as I think of Gabby.
She loved you without fear, lived everyday to be beside you.
I know she is in a better place and still cuddled next to your heart.
My heart goes out to you in this time of loss.

Uncle Rog