When Dagger traveled over the Rainbow Bridge last month on January 17th it was devastating to my family and me. Especially that his passing was so sudden and unexpected.
I felt hopeless and deep sadness. I still do. I know that it's going to take time to ease the pain of my loss. Dagger was bigger than life. Through Dagger, I was able to do the things that were hidden inside of me. He did that for me. He was my soul mate, my companion, my inspiration, and my creative partner. And, yes, my baby! It was exciting to plan his painting demonstrations and workshops. He loved every minute and let everyone know. He knew when I needed extra love and care. In four words...HE WAS MY LIFE. So now what happens? Where do I go from here?
I've been told that grieving is normal...I also learned that there's a good and bad way to grieve. Holding your feelings in is not a great way to grieve. Expressing your grief is a good way to grieve.
As the feelings were expressing themselves, I decided to google up... How I would be able to cope with the grief I was feeling. Below is what I found helpful to me and perhaps if you've lost a pet, it will be helpful to you too.
"While grief is a personal experience, you need not face your loss alone. Many forms of support are available, including pet-bereavement counseling services, pet-loss support hotlines, local or online pet-bereavement groups, books, videos, and magazine articles.
Here are a few suggestions to help you cope:
The loss of a pet may be a child's first experience with death. The child may blame themself, their parents, or the veterinarian for not saving the pet. And they may feel guilty, depressed, and frightened that others they love may be taken from them.
Trying to protect your child by saying the pet ran away could cause your child to expect the pet's return and feel betrayed after discovering the truth. Expressing your own grief may reassure your child that sadness is ok and help them work through their feelings.
Coping with the loss of a pet can be particularly hard for seniors. Those who live alone may feel a loss of purpose and an immense emptiness. A pet's death may also trigger painful memories of other losses and remind caregivers of their own mortality. What's more, the decision to get another pet is complicated by the possibility that the pet may outlive the caregiver and that the decision to get another pet hinges on the person's physical and financial ability to care for a new pet.
For all these reasons, it's critical that senior pet owners take immediate steps to cope with their loss and regain a sense of purpose.
If you are a senior, try interacting with friends and family, calling a pet-loss support hotline, even volunteering at a local humane society.
Surviving pets may whimper, refuse to eat or drink, and suffer lethargy, especially if they had a close bond with the deceased pet. Even if they were not the best of friends, the changing circumstances and your emotional state may distress them. (However, if your remaining pets continue to act out of sorts, there could actually be a medical problem that requires your veterinarian's attention.)
Give surviving pets lots of TLC and try to maintain a normal routine. It's good for them and for you.
Getting another pet
Rushing into this decision isn't fair to you or your new pet. Each animal has their own unique personality and a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. You'll know when the time is right to adopt a new pet after giving yourself time to grieve, considering whether you're ready, and paying close attention to your feelings.
When you're ready, remember that your local animal shelter or rescue is a great place to find your next special friend."
I found the above extremely helpful.
I've also felt the love and kindness that has been expressed to us by so many people. It's been incredible....to say the least! The outpouring of love, sympathy and condolences has helped in so many ways with our grief. We received phone calls from people from all over the world, articles written about Dagger and his incredible life, an ABC 7 Eyewitness News Segment hosted by Brittany Bell about Dagger's passing, cards, flowers from so many people including a gorgeous arrangement of white roses from Rachael Ray, plants, cookies, a photo album filled with pictures of Dagger from the time he was born until now, plaques, ornaments, sun catchers, a blanket filled with photos of Dagger's life. a wind chime...and so much more.
We are so very grateful to everyone for everything!!!
Each was a expression of the love they all have for Dagger.
And each meant the world to us!
Someone once said that when we love our pets, we open our hearts to a life full of joy and when we have to say good bye we welcome them into our hearts to live there forever.
Hilary Stanton Zunin said it best in this quote:
"The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”
I don't know where life will lead me now.
But, I do know one thing's for sure..
Dagger's message of Kindness, Hope and Love
will live on in me and through me.
Dagger and I always lived life organically. We treated it with the saying, "whatever happens, if it's for the good of others, let's take a chance,
try our best, and make it happen."
I'm planning to do just that!
Happy Tales to you,
In the near future, I've decided to plan to have a little Service for Dagger. As soon as I have the venue, date, and time, I will let all of you know.
A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger