Yesterday marks the six-month anniversary since I lost Maverick. It was also one of my busiest work days, which was both a blessing and a curse. In one way, I’d have loved nothing more than spending the day at home reminiscing his memories. In another, keeping busy saved the bucket of tears that no doubt would have led me to go shopping to replenish my tissue supply.
It got me thinking about how random grief is. Just when you think it’s getting better, it comes out of nowhere like a gust of heavy wind making you struggle to stay upright. One minute you can be thinking about items on your grocery list, the next you experience an intense wave of longing for your Heart Dog because the cheese on your list was his favourite treat.
Life without your Heart Dog becomes an army of reminders about his existence. The corner he often sat in, his place on the bed that is now empty, the furry magnet paws I no longer step on by accident, the food bin that goes down much slower feeding one mouth instead of two, or the pictures of him on the walls that catch my gaze daily and will never be updated. The whammy of all reminders occurs when chatting with new people about my canine counterparts. My response is no longer plural. It's simply “I have a dog”. “Her name is Marti". "She’s a sheltie”. It feels very unnatural to eliminate Maverick from the conversation yet getting into the full story with people I have just met seems a bit awkward. Sometimes, if it's a mutual dog lover who I feel comfortable with, the full story comes out but as a whole, my dog mom identity is now singular ... this is taking some getting used to.
But like anything in life, grief is not a straight arrowed path. It comes with many curveballs, unexpected twists, makes you fall on your behind like nothing else can, and yet it also offers a source of pride for the strength you didn’t realize you had. Grief also provides the opportunity to bond with others having gone through the same thing and awakens the truest sense of gratitude for the unconditional love and loyalty your Heart Dog provided.
Proof of the randomness of grief comes when it overshadows even the busiest of days. Currently I have a full time job, a part time job, and a business (as well as this blog). My days are filled to the brim from the moment I wake up to the moment my head hits the pillow (and then some!). But that doesn’t stop the memories of Maverick flowing into my mind at all random times – whether in the car driving to or from work, in the shower, or at night just before bed as I’m winding down and my head isn’t quite as filled as the rest of the day. Night time was always our cuddle time (and his “More treats please!?” time..lol!). The best was falling asleep and feeling him snuggled up against my leg and then waking up to him relentlessly bouncing all over me under I fed him breakfast.
Maverick was my Heart Dog, my canine soulmate. My fluffy companion that glued himself to me 24/7. Whether six months, a year, or many more thereafter, nothing will change what he means to me and I will continue to embrace every random moment of grief as an opportunity to remember all the wonderful things he filled my life with.
How does grief from the loss of your Heart Dog creep up on you? What lessons does this offer you? Share in the comments section below.
To share your Heart Dog Tribute today, fill out this simple form. It’s an opportunity to reminisce, reflect, and rejoice all there is to love about your Heart Dog.
Read past Heart Dog Tributes here: Westie, Pebbles, Oliver, Shadow, Wynston, and Maverick
How can this blog help you?
This website and blog originated from the experience of learning to let go of my beloved Heart Dog, Maverick. By sharing my story and offering the opportunity for you to share yours, I hope we can all truly celebrate their lives. pay tribute, and heal from the loss of our one true canine companion. I hope this website will also raise awareness of the meaning of a Heart Dog because it is a concept that is not largely understood.