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Little Dog, Big Love

Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: January 10th. 2017
Times Viewed: 1,969

This weekend was a hard one; I had to face a death. This death was so little in the cosmic scale, so seemingly unimportant and so simple and average that it shall not be thought of by more than a tiny handful of people. And yet is so immensely heart wrenching that I am haunted a little by it. The death is that of a tiny ball of fluff, a little mutt of a dog who at 16 years slipped out of this life. The little dog isn't my dog, but was the dog of a friend of my husband and mine.

She called us Saturday night, having come home from being away to find her little dog, curled up in it's bed, cold and not breathing. It was not unexpected; the dog was ill and frail. Totally blind and partially deaf this little dog had begun to have some health concerns and there had been some heart wrenching talk of taking it for the last ride to the vet. Now that decision would not have to be agonized over. We came right away, driving the 40 some KMs into town with the car on cruise control to keep me from speeding. My husband and I said little on this drive; I think we both got lost in our thoughts and concern for our friend.

I won't describe the scene I walked into as we came into her home; it's heartbreaking enough just thinking about it. I wrote it out in my blue journal (the one I save for my saddest and darkest thoughts) and out of respect for my friend it will stay in that journal till I fill it and burn it. I can only tell you it tore into me in a way that no other scene I have ever experienced could. The grief that poured out of my friend caused me to cry a little while I was there, and a lot when I was alone.

We sat with her a long while, offering what little inadequate words of comfort we could. This little inconsequential dog had been her light, had been there in her ups and downs. Had comforted her in the night, and brought joy to her days. As the dog failed in health she continued to pour love onto my friend. And now the dog has passed, and the emptiness was palpable. We talked about the little dog, held our friend as she cried and reassured her that love never dies.

We then took the frail little body with us to the local pet crematorium. I know the owners and know the respect that they will give to this little body that contained a soul larger than life. We will go with my friend to collect the ashes when they are ready, and give my friend a small gift of a cast of the miniscule paw. It won't be much; it is all we can give her. I wish I could do more, I wish I could give them another 16 years; I wish I could pull out the pain and sorrow of the loss. I wish I could mend the broken heart this little life left behind.

I still hate death. The actual death itself does not bother me; all life is transitory and must someday end. Death is a doorway to the next life, releasing the soul for a chance at rebirth and renewal. I do not hate death for those things. I hate death for everything it leaves those of us left behind with. I hate the heartbreak, the shattering of the lives, the pieces that must be picked up and put back together (and they can never be put together the same as before) . I hate the sorrow and the loneliness, the guilt and the anger. I hate the feeling of loss, the feeling of being helpless at either the death itself, or the pain of those left behind. And I hate the wandering of the heart and soul that we all go through as we work through the death of a loved one, big or little.

I also hate sometimes how we as a society views death. For my friend the loss of her little dog is an immeasurable tragedy, felt just as deep as any other member of the family. And yet there are those who are poised to tell her "It's just a dog", like it's life was somehow worth less than another. Like somehow her personal grief is not important or worthy of them to take a moment and express sympathy. Like an animal who has faithfully been at her side for over 16 years is something that she should just be able to toss aside and forget. I wish I could change that mindset in people, for them to see how sacred and meaningful these bonds are, or to at least respect those who have those bonds.

For my own part I would like to take a moment and pause, to acknowledge this little death that will go unremarked by many. To give thanks for the life this little dog had, for the joy it brought to my friend. For the nights it sat with her faithfully, giving kisses and cuddles. For the love it shared with her, for being her baby for the past 16 years and giving of everything it had until it passed. And I would like to give thanks for the millions of other little lives, just like this little dog, who will be remembered by only a few, but whose love and devotion made their worlds a much brighter place. Thank you for your devotion, your antics, your joy and all of your love.

"Lord and Lady
Take these beloved animal companions
unto Your hearts.
Release their spirits to the
winds to seek
and find a place of peace.
Rest well beloveds.
Blessed Be"

- Adapted from Galen Gillotte, Book of Hours, Prayers to the Goddess.





Footnotes:
Gillotte, Galen (2001) . Book of Hours; Prayers to the Goddess. Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, Minnesota, USA.



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