5 Route Adopting A Dog Helped Me Heal During My Grieving Process

Just after Christmas, on December 27, 2014, Spanky, a dachshund and corgi mix, was humanely put down because of bloat.

The second most common killer of puppies( aside fromcancer ), bloat is a common term used to describe the twisting of the stomach. It traps food, water and air so there is no way out.

Like a sneaky fox, the condition can claim a dog’s life without warning. It was 10 pm when I first noticed something was wrong. She was standing stoically outside with a full moon overhead, gagging like she was trying to force something out.

I ran upstairs and told my mother that “something was incorrect with Spanky.”

In response, my mother responded, “I know, she has been acting funny all night. She maintains wanting to go out and can’t lie down.”

As the minutes ticked on, Spanky started to display more signs of distress. The gagging became more frequent and was accompanied by distressing moans.

By midnight, we were at the veterinarian, where we were told news that no owner wants to hear.

“Spanky’s stomach has twisted, trapping food contents inside. The only way to fix this condition is through surgery, and given her age, she likely won’t survive. We will maintain her comfortable.”

A very sad night for all, Spanky was heavily medicated as we said goodbye to a sweet, yet sassy dog that had been apart of our lives for over 15 years.

The weeks following were filled with tears, fury, sadness and just about every upsettingemotion you can think of.

We didn’t precisely plan this, but a month afterwards, we received ourselves adopting Lucy, a Labrador retriever mix, from Forever Home Rescue New England.

Ironically, by opening our hearts to another dog, we slowly was beginning to heal from the tragedy and accept the reality of life and death.

Here are five routes adopting a dog helped me while I was mourning the loss of another 😛 TAGEND

1. Chasing The Sun

From the moment Lucy came into our lives, she’s enjoyed spending time outdoors, whether it be running around with her four-legged buddies at the dog park or taking pleasure in a relaxing auto ride. Both of these activities got the family out of the house and into the sun.

No coincidence, get up and get out has helped shake some of our sadness.

Sunlight cues special areas in the eye to trigger the release of serotonin, a chemical produced by the brain that boosts mood and helps you feel calm and content. If you have a inadequacy, you’re at a greater risk for developing depression.

My very first walking with Lucy was on a chilly winter weekend. It was cold and icy, but the sunshine was shining overhead.

For those 20 minutes, I was living in the moment and enjoying the little things we take for granted.


2. Therapy

I’m not ashamed to acknowledge I have a therapist.

Life can be compared to an imperfect, winding road that has no end. You have tremendous lows, tremendous highs and everything in between.

Having Lucy alongside me during my therapy sessions was very mending. She provided consolation, and every so often, I would hold her in my arms and devote her a kiss on her muzzle.

These are things that I was never able to do with Spanky. Spanky was as cute as could be, but she had a mean streak that regrettably stimulated her undesirable to most prospective pet owneds. A very special family was needed to love her as she was, and “were in” that family.

I’m proud about that. We signed up for the long haul with Spanky, and while most would have brought her back to the shelter, we stood by her year after year through all her shenanigans.

But at the same day, enjoying new experiences with Lucy, even the ones we usually take for granted, brought me happiness and peace.


3. Tummy Rubs

All three puppies that have been a part of my life Spanky, Graham and Lucy loved tummy rubs.

Lucy and Spanky mirror each other by lying straight-out on their backs, hind legs in the air. Graham enjoyed tummy scratches too, but he would always lie on his side.

Back when Spanky was younger, she would lie on her back, and you could softly rub her potbelly as she slept. She abandoned its own position as she grew older because it was uncomfortable. Lucy helps to bring back the little things we used to enjoy.


4. No Fetch For Lucy

At the same time, you don’t want your newly adopted dog to be exactly like the one that passed. You’ll start comparing in an attempt to recreate your pet that passed way, which can lead to unhappiness when you realize that no two puppies will be exactly alike.

Back when Spanky was in her prime, she was the dog that could fetch a ball over 50 times before tiring out. I tried fetch with Lucy one time, but itdidn’t work out.

She can run after a ball, but she doesn’t understand that you have to bring it back in order for things to work.

That’s OK, though. Some things should be left for the mind to reminisce.


5. Reality Of Life And Death

At this point, I’ve processed through the sorrow of losing two puppies, one from cancer and another from bloat.

Seeing Lucy full of life and in her prime has served as a reminder that all beasts, whether two-legged or four, is the beginning young, but will eventually grow old and pass on.

While a somber reminder for some, I choose to take a different route by acknowledging this truth and enjoying the time we have together.

Contrary to belief, adopting a new pet is not a means of replacing the one you lost.

It’s simply moving forward by starting a new chapter, while still holding on to the precious memories unique to the one that has passed. I’m confident Spanky wouldn’t have wanted things to turn out any other way.

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