loss

Leroy, the Maltipoo (Maltese/Poodle Mix), (part 4)

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“We’ve had a lot of losses.

Their have been deaths in our families, and friends, too.

Leroy has been there for us.

He gives us snuggles and love and I really believe he knows when we are sad or sick.

He instantly calms down and curls up on our lap or chest.”

Jean Luc, the companion French Bulldog (part 4)

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“Eventually I took Jean Luc to daycare and printed the photos they posted on Facebook.

I put those photographs on my mother’s  mirror.

With Jean Luc, there was always something to talk about with her.

A few days before she died he wouldn’t go on her bed.  He wouldn’t even go in her room.

He was with her as long as she was consciously aware.

After she died and I brought him back to her house he helped me cope.

Snuggling and having Jean Luc around helps fill the hole.”

Kirsten, the animal lover and pet care giver (part 2)

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“Two of the dogs that I have a deep connection with are Carter and Rocky.

I have been taking care of Carter for 3 1/2 years.  I met him when he was 6 or 7 months old.  He is a very sweet dog–  it’s the way he interacts with dogs and people.  When he meets dogs and people he puts them at ease.  Even though I can tell he’s excited, he gets low to the ground or finds a way to be non-threatening, and patiently lets the other dog sniff for as long as it takes for the other dog to be comfortable.

He seems to be able to judge if a person is interested or unsure or afraid.  He matches people’s behavior.  If someone is interested, he approaches them right away, but if someone is sure or afraid, he gives them their space and lets them be.  He’s always up for a good time.  He adapts to any situation.

I brought him home with me for Christmas, which involved a car ride with my siblings who he’d never met and then meeting my human, canine and feline family in a new place in the suburbs.  He had a blast and chimed my family completely.

The one split second where he lost his cool, and gave in to his dog instinct, he tried to play with the cat.  The cat was having none of it and fled.  Carter went back to socializing with the rest of us (humans) and new dog friend, unphased.

I started walking Rocky at the same time as Carter and we just clicked right away.  He had a lot of energy and was very outgoing.  He seemed as excited as I was to go out on the streets of NY and see the sights.  He was my co-pilot.  I took him on multiple guided walking tours of Central Park through the Conservancy.  I would keep him out for entire afternoons even if he was only scheduled for a short walk.  I even once asked his owner to bring him to a dog luau that I was bringing Carter to, so that I could hang out with my dog friends on the weekend.

Last Spring Rocky started knuckling under with his hind right paw.  That leg continued to get weaker.  Eventually, he was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal chord disease.  He got around on wheels for a few months, which meant he could still find grass to graze on and patrol for squirrels.

The disease was progressive and incurable and ultimately took his life.

It was an honor to help his family take him to the end of his journey.”

My Dogs and Me

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I got my first dog as an adult, at 34.

While I was watching my mother’s dog, Harley, my cat, Lucy, died.

I couldn’t imagine coming home to an empty, lifeless apartment.

Also, I had gotten attached to Harley.

At first, I asked my mother if we could share Harley, as Lucy had passed and I was grief stricken.

Guilt goes a long way.

She dubiously agreed, because not only did she love Harley, but her boyfriend, soon to become her husband gave Harley to her for her previous birthday.

As the story goes, Harley became my dog full time, after much begging.

When my stepfather, Frank, who I loved dearly, passed away I had Harley as a loving reminder of Frank and his unconditional love and kindness towards me.

Harley was my last vestige of Frank, and he too, was a loving character. Harley had been through several romantic relationships with me and never left. We had conversations about what to eat for dinner and when we would take our walks. He let me know if we were going to the park, by turning left or the pet shop, by turning right.

Harley died two years after my stepfather, and when he passed, I grieved for both Harley and Frank all over again.