A CONSTANT COMPANION
by JEAN NORFOLK
There is so
much pleasure and happiness in owning a dog, but when a dogís life comes to
an end there is so much pain and anguish.
When I lost my
dog, William, I was totally devastated. I know it may sound callous and
harsh, but the grief I felt when he died was far worse than anything I had
felt when close members of my family passed away. Perhaps it was because all
my children now had homes and families of their own and ĎBillí had been my
When my dog
died I felt such a dreadful sense of pain and loss. For the first time in my
life I found myself in such deep despair. I wanted to die too. He had been
my life for so long that I couldnít contemplate a future without him. Every
single corner of my home had a reminder of Bill. His favourite rug where he
would curl up and sleep, or the rug on the floor at the bottom of my bed
which he claimed as his. I was filled with such a powerful longing to see
him once more and would stand by the window and look out at the spot by the
gate where he sat for hours waiting for visitors to arrive. I began to think
that if I concentrated hard enough I might actually see him!
Now, when Iím
out walking on my own, I feel that a part of me is missing, because for the
best part of 14 years he was my constant companion. I walked, ran, played
games, fed him and talked to him right through from our first tentative
attempts to get to know each other, to the rich, beautiful years that
followed when we had formed a relationship that was beyond compare. He was
my joy and my true friend, and I simply adored him.
Having him put
to sleep was the most traumatic experience of my life and I honestly didnít
believe I could cope with my loss. It was catastrophic. The heartache I felt
was dreadful. Now I have come to realise that when a beloved pet dies the
most important thing to do is to talk about them. I desperately wanted to
talk about Bill, but as I lived alone there was no one there to listen.
If my family
visited it seemed that they purposely avoided mentioning him for fear of
upsetting me, whilst I was longing to let out my grief and talk about this
lovely old dog who had such a colossal impact on my life.
believe that grieving alone simply extends the grieving process and makes it
far more painful. You need to talk about your loss with someone over and
over again if necessary. Pouring out your thoughts, feelings and memories
means that you pour out your grief too, and even after one such conversation
your spirits are a little lighter.
Now almost two
years later, I still grieve for Bill and deep inside I always will, but time
(and talking about him!) has eased the burden that I carried around for so
long. I now accept his passing as one of lifeís lessons.
Jean Norfolk 2006