In Memory of the beautiful Bark

There is no pain in the world as that of losing the one you love. I still remember the day when I lost my dog to an illness and it felt like every ounce of life had ebbed out of our lives. Nothing seemed to hold any interest anymore, and I had withdrawn myself from everything and everyone around. I never knew that grief could be so great. Without him, there was complete emptiness. Each time I would wonder — where is he? Then reality would sickeningly stab, that he wasn’t there! A close friend of mine tried to cheer me up and tried to do her bit to get me out of the blues, until she finally blurted out, “Come on, it’s just a dog!”
Many people will perhaps agree with her, but whoever loves the canine family, will know that the dog is anything but “just a dog.” He is family, he is love, he is life… And the grief one experiences is the same as when one loses one’s closest and most loved member of the family. But the truth is, not many people know how to cope with the loss of a pet, because they are never ready to accept that a dog’s life span is quite short. And if you love dogs and always plan to have one, you have to learn how to cope when he/she is no more with you—because this is life!
Allow yourself to grieve :
When your dog dies, it’s most natural to feel overwhelmed by the pain at his loss. After all, he was a part of your family, your confidante, your life. It’s only a pet dog who provides the unconditional love, acceptance, companionship, and emotional support that we human beings crave so much. And when we are suddenly deprived of it, we need to remember that it’s all right to grieve, to feel sorrow and need immense support to go through the loss — even though some people might think of it as ‘inappropriate’. Being able to express your sorrow is the first step towards coping with your pet’s loss.
Share the pain :
It’s true that only you know
the intensity of your pain, but you also need to find support and company of your family and friends, who feel your grief and probably are feeling the loss as much as you do. Remember, blocking your sorrow is no solution. Allow yourself to talk about the times spent with your dog, about his antics, his idiosyncrasies that made him so special to you. It’s a good idea to browse through his snaps and his things. It will tear your heart apart for a while, but it acts
like a catharsis, and is the only way to get over the pain.
Express yourself :
It’s crucial at this point to let out all that you are feeling. I have actually done this myself, and seen that it works. I have written letters to my dog, penned poems on him, and my sister actually maintained a journal for a month or so, sharing her thoughts with him and on him, till she felt she could move on, without the pain.
Helping the children and the elders cope :
If you happen to have children and senior citizens as members of the family, you will need to take extra care with them. For the child, since the loss is his first brush with death, he may feel lost and even angry with his parents, his vet and even himself, for not taking good care. So it’s important to share your grief with him and help him understand that it’s nobody’s fault. Make him understand that you gave your dog the best life he could have. It will help him accept the loss, and even be ready to let a new dog into his life.
As for the elders, the pet’s loss can be very jolting, especially if they live alone. Not only do they feel the loss of a very dear and close companion, but they also have to deal with having to do without a very strong support system. They are reminded of all the other losses they experienced in their lives. In such cases, it’s important to stay around them and help them regain confidence in life. The elders themselves need to find ways and means to keep themselves strictly occupied—even if it means joining a voluntary society. An old acquaintance of mine actually found herself resuscitated when she joined an organisation for animals.
Do something proactive :
Doing something positive after you lose a pet gives a lot of inner peace. Some families donate money or time to an animal shelter in the name of a pet who has passed. Alternatively, you can also create a memorial of some kind.
Get a new life home :
And last but not the least — never shut the door to getting another dog home. Most people make the mistake of vowing that they will never get another dog after they lose one. But I think, you can’t be more unfair than that—unfair to yourself, to your late pet, and to the new pup, who will be deprived of a nice loving home and a family like yours.
I have been really lucky to have those paw-precious years with my buddies. I still have beautiful memories of each one of them and they still have a very special place in my heart and they have spoilt me so much, that I can’t visualise myself without the beauty of their existence and presence in my life anymore.

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