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Dog Files Viewpoint: The Depth Of Our Love

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The Depth Of Our Love

By Nadine M. Rosin For The Dog Files

There’s little if anything I can think of that brings more instantaneous joy than time spent with a beloved dog. That silly grin, that waggedy tail, the rush you get from flinging your heart wide open without fear or reservation while simultaneously being showered with totally accepting, faithful, and unconditional love. What perfect and precious moments our dogs provide. It’s the stuff great mystics have described, this safe and blissful love.

Our furry apostles are constantly reminding us that regardless of circumstances, worldly events, or economic climate, life is supposed to be fun. It’s to be lived with our awareness seated in the present moment without regret, judgment or betrayal of others. One never needs to protect oneself emotionally with a dog. Instead, they show us by example, how to live freely and love completely.

There have been people in my life who have done or said things that I’ve reacted to by feeling extremely hurt, sad, angry, or irritated, sometimes for years on end. But the truth is, I have never felt irritated or angry towards a dog for more than a few seconds. Our canines embody the highest, best parts of our humanity, and I believe, they make us better people. So, is it any wonder, then, that the death of a beloved dog can cut so deeply, can be so utterly emotionally devastating?

Taoists, quantum physicists, and motivational speaker and author, John Bradshaw, all agree that emotion is energy in motion. But instead, in our culture, we are encouraged to keep our grief, one of the strongest of all emotions, under control, private, and subdued. Above all, we are admired for our stoicism in the face of profound grief. Those who care for us strive to help us get over our pain and loss as quickly as possible- to stop all that emotion, not to take the longer road of letting it move around and out at its own pace. And as pet parents, we are often hurt the worst by the words of well-intentioned friends when they ask us, “So when are you going to get another dog?”

When my heart-dog Buttons, died in my arms 1 week before her 19th birthday, I thought the pain, loss and heartbreak would kill me, too. But as I began to spend less and less time listening to those who were trying to make me feel better, and instead, spent more time surrendering to and leaning INTO the pain, it took me to a place where I could begin to find true, authentic comfort. I found that when I let the emotions move through me and allowed myself to experience them fully, they allowed me access to a place within my own heart that no mantra or meditation had ever taken me to. And there, in that very deepest part of myself, where the agony and the ecstasy merged, there was no pain- there was only love. Because, of course, the depth of our grief is in direct proportion to the depth of our love.

In the nearly 2 decades we were together, I never once saw Buttons try to squelch any of her emotions. Yes, I could have gone out soon after her death, gotten another dog and eased some of my pain, but oh, what a gift I would have missed by not letting that pain lead me into such a deep and special place.

I am honored to be a guest writer for The Dog Files and I look forward to sharing more about my perspective of pet-loss, grieving, and the holistic approach that gave Buttons and me so many joyful and healthy years together. In future columns I will be sharing about the cancer Buttons was diagnosed with at the age of 8 when she was given 6 weeks to live without chemotherapy, radiation and amputation and how she went on to thrive an additional 11 years with exclusively holistic treatments. I will also explore with you, the many tools and paths to emotional healing I have discovered when a beloved animal passes.

But now it’s your turn. Please, share with us about your own heart-dog. Talking about it is a way to put the energy in motion.

Nadine M. Rosin is a Holistic Pet/Toxic-free Living Consultant, Pet Bereavement Facilitator, speaker, and author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood: a true story about the human-animal bond, healing canine cancer naturally, and an empowering new take on the grieving process when a beloved animal passes away. Sold on Amazon.com and all online book retailers. For more information on the book and one-on-one phone consultations with Nadine, please go to: www.TheHealingArtOfPetParenthood.com


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Lisa
Lisa
10 years ago

thank you for sharing this with us. I lost my beloved heart dog Bear in May 2007 after only having him for 4 1/2 short but amazing years. I adopted him from the local SPCA as a 3 1/2 mo. old pup, named him Bear the second I laid eyes on him. He grew to be the best boy, but sadly his heart could not match the soul he was given. He was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure just prior to his first birthday.
Our time together was short but what an impact he had on not only my life but the lives of many people around the world. From his home in TX, up north to Canada and as far away as Brazil, my Bear was loved by people who never even met him in person.
Bear taught me so many life lessons and when I gave him his Angel wings I wanted to go with him. I thought I would surely die from the grief and pain of letting him go and having to live without him. It was my love for Bear that allowed me to open my heart to another furry friend and another and another. They are not replacements but they are heart healers and because of Bear I am better equipped to be a dog mom to all three of my furry faced kids with four paws.

Nadine M. Rosin
10 years ago

Lisa- thank you for sharing Bear with us here on The Dog Files 🙂

Renee
Renee
10 years ago

I'm so glad you've shared your story; it's always a comfort to find others who understand how very much we love our furbabies. We lost our little shih tzu, Chloe', after a yr. long battle with cancer in 2004, at age 10. We brought home 2 female tzu, Molly. 9 mo.s & Gracie, 12 wk.s, a short time later. Although caring for them & training and enjoying them, I still felt tremendous grief for Chloe'. I remember getting out of bed at night, leaving the girls with their Dad, to go to another room and cry. I didn't want to burden or upset them. Nights were more difficult. It felt wrong, that Chloe' could be gone & I could still breathe. Sometimes, it just felt wrong to smile or be happy, but I could always find it in my heart to go there with the two pups. Six months later, friends would tell me how they were so worried and that I finally seemed like myself, again. (but I know, I will never be the same, because of her love & my love for her.)

I know that Chloe's allergies & then the cancer, a reoccuring mast cell tumor, prompted me to begin to research. I wanted her healthy and comfortable and I desparately wanted more time with her. Because of that research, I changed cleaners, laundry detergents, foods, became aware of studies on over vaccinating & continued to research even after we knew it was time & I had to let her go. She continues to impact our lives by setting in motion, a new direction which has made our environment a safer place. Chloe' was truly my heart, that once in a lifetime furbaby, but I find that each little one in their own unique way teaches us….. about life, about love & about ourselves. In 2008, we brought home yet another little female shih tzu; now there are 3 girls in our pack. They sleep with us, travel with us & probably give us more than we can return. God has richly blessed us, surrounding us with so much love & the ability to continue to surpass the depths of our hearts, that we thought possible. Back in 1995, we rescued our little Chloe'….. & she rescued us right back!

Nadine M. Rosin
10 years ago

Thank YOU, Renee, for sharing part of your & Chloe's beautiful story. And thank you for being the kind of devoted pet parent who's willing to raise their consciousness as a consumer for the health and well-being of her entire family! You are going to relate to SO MUCH of my book if you read it. If so, please be sure to share your experience of the read 🙂

Titus
Titus
10 years ago

I’m the crazy Auntie Mame that children & animals swarm over, parents relaxing while their kids chant TaiTai instead of Mama or Daddy, but get jealous of when their animals ignore them. I’m just a jackpot treat – temporary fun, totally focussed in on them filled with love, but with firm boundaries and absolutely no immediate responsibility to LIKE unless you follow the rules. I’m a teacher, a couch, disabled and different, and perfectly suited to have founded & volunteer in a nonprofit that works with assistance dogs, youth, and folks that deal with being different – because we ALL are – every day.

I’ve had a lot of heart dogs, and I’ll have more. But there will never be another Gladys, she will be the hardest act to follow. I originally trained her as my duck retriever to share with my father. I was an anomaly for years using positive training for retrievers since the late 70s, starting when I was under 10, and my dogs won many competitions. I read a lot of books but my style was my own and I really switched over to teaching rather than training but I never really talked about it because no one would take me seriously. At 31 I became disabled and Gladys was the last dog I ever said I trained. When I finally got Dad to relinquish his “half” of her so I could cross-teach her to become an assistance dog, a job for which she was truly born, we blossomed together. Gladys had a demanding job ahead of her. I could barely walk, was homebound, wheelchair -bound, had become obese, and was living in tremendous chronic pain.

Before, Gladys had no competitive spirit. If there was another dog to retrieve, she’d rather kick back in the boat and keep your feet warm. But if she was the solo dog – she’d work the field like she owned it. As a service dog, she was the Queen, a perfect lady, attentive in uniform, playful but still with an eye on her charge when out of her gear. Gladys was a pushy partner, demanding that I improve my health, demanding each walk be a little longer – building my strength. She knew my PT schedule by heart. Gladys didn’t care about my agoraphobia and insisted I get out way more that her toileting required, and she forced me to be social. She sure found a competitive spirit – a take charge one actually!

When my mother became terminally ill she decided to take care of us both for the year that I move back home. When I would fall asleep she would move back and forth between us, fetching items, calming late night fears, waking me if I didn’t hear the “mama monitor”. Gladys had a lot of love to give and she took care of us both. When my mother passed away at home it was the three of us holding each other, surrounded by friends. Gladys keened as the last breath left Mom, and I respected her desire to sit with my mother’s body until the funeral home came to take her body away. She escorted my mother to the curb and then velcro’d herself back to my side and as if she & my mother had made plans for me she got even bossier about where my life was going to be headed.

We all know how if we listen, those we have lost to death will continue to guide us. If we listen too, our animals will give us advice as well, and I do listen. Gladys insisted we needed to start training a puppy, and boy howdy was she picky about the puppy. That’s how I met my second service dog Boatswain at 6 weeks. It’s also how I met a gal with MS that also want to go to the Assistance Dog Institute at Bergin U. in California so we could study under Dr. Bonnie Bergin, who conceived of the concept of service dogs beyond Guide Dogs in the 70s. So together the gimps headed with Gladys & Bo’sun to ADI. Gladys was motivating me to go beyond myself, ourselves, as usual and going to ADI was harder than anything I had ever chosen to do in my life since disability had trashed my world – besides survive, and Gladys had more to do with that than anything.

Well, Gladys had a secret. There I was at ADI, struggling to get through every class, every day. And she was making sure I got up and made it there. Made sure I was invested. Made sure I did my homework. Made sure that I was were I needed to be, that I knew that this was my mission, my future, that I was delivered into the right hands. (And yes, I’m crying typing this.) And one morning she woke me up, wagged her tail, and passed out. Her stomach was bloated, she was bleeding out.

One of my prior careers is a vet tech. Gladys had showed not one symptom. We got her to the vet at ADI & then ultra sounded her belly. Metastasized cancer EVERYWHERE. She was awake and I could see the message in her eyes. Don’t fail me now. Foe 7 years she had pushed me to exactly where she wanted me to be and lived a wonderful life. For 2 years she had mourned the loss of her Mimi, my mother, with me – going through the stages of grief and she knew I’d be starting all over again. She had smelled chemo & cancer & she didn’t want anything to do with it – so she didn’t tell me and I needed to honor her choice the way I’d honored my mother’s choice to quit chemo. She’d chosen her replacement and gotten me to ADI. Little did I know she’s already indoctrinated young Boatswain with much of her theories.

And so I respected her wishes and I gave her the gift of peace she wanted. It was me & Bo’sun & Gladys huddled together, dejavu. I cannot imagine the pain she endured to get her way – the love she had for me to complete her mission of setting me on the path I am on. This is for Gladys, the dog who set me free, who taught me that I have a responsibility to help others that don’t have the ability to train their own service dogs, who taught me that there is always more love to give, that there is always a way when there is a will, that a good mani/pedi will cheer you up when you are in the dumps, and you really do feel better when you are helping others. Thanks for the obvious and the obscure and teaching me how to do the . I can still hear you Old Girl! Live Life With Alacrityâ„¢

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