Seven years ago, my husband and I adopted our first baby, a black Newfoundland that we named Simon. My husband and the dog were best buddies. Call it the traditional pack leader/big dog arrangement, Simon was the ever loyal 150 lbs shadow that followed my husband every where. In a matter of days, we’ll bring that dog home again, but this time in an urn. Simon died on Feb. 3, very unexpectedly. We have no answers as to why. We have no idea if there was something we could have done differently. Maybe we aren’t meant to know. But we loved him in all the ways a dog could be loved. And he returned the favor.
People thought we were nuts when we got a giant breed dog. It’s true-they come with their own issues. Bones, hips, hearts, eyes…it all can be complicated because of their sheer size. They eat a lot. They take up a lot of space. They require extra doses of medicine and a ridiculously long time at the groomer. However, that giant size comes with giant hearts.
We dealt with the shedding, the drool and the massive piles of poo that he left in the yard, because of the way he knew when we were upset, how he always ran to the door to greet visitors and the way he let our kids set up tea parties in front of his face, climb over his big fluffy body and the way he pulled their wagon.
When my grandpa died a few months ago, I felt like my grief was nothing in comparison to my grandma, my dad or my uncles. I held in the sadness and grieved privately. The uncomfortable feelings of losing someone so amazing were accompanied by those of relief that he was at the hospital when it happened and he was no longer in pain.
Yesterday that same scenario played out. The dog was at the vet, sick, but we had no idea with what exactly. He was in pain. My husband was with him when he took his last breath. I mourn the dog who would sleep in our tub, keep watch over our babies and cuddle. However, my hurt can’t equal the magnitude of the grief my husband feels. Or my kids! I’ve been trying to be strong for them. I fed the other dog last night and attempted it again this morning (the middle girl took over) because I just didn’t want to have them think about not filling up the other bowl.
I can handle my pain. But I want to take every ounce of what they feel away.
I guess it’s just how we grieve.
We’re remembering the happy times we had with Simon and rejoicing that we have seven uneventful years with our healthy Newf.
We have also decided to do something to help educate others about Newfoundlands and giant breeds in general. We don’t know how this will play out just yet, but we look forward to sharing it with you when we figure it out.
Until then, hug your pets and your grandpas today because the ones I have lost this year are on my mind a lot.