If you have a dog, you will understand by the title of where this post is going to lead. And chances are, like me even you would literally do anything for your dog. Being a pet parent is not all glorious, between picking up their poops, to fur all over our clothes, and planning our entire lives around their bathroom and meal schedules – there’s still a powerful and extremely tangible bond that exists between a human and a dog.
As a mother to two beautiful Labradors – Casper and Junior, it gets so overwhelming sometimes with the thought of living without them and it hurts. It hurts so bad, that I can literally feel physical pain from my thoughts.
Casper first crawled into my heart 12 years ago and made it his home for five and half years. Too young to go, but the tragic event of him passing has left a lifelong trauma on me, and the void cannot be filled no matter how much I try. Casper was a very handsome and smart dog. I would always joke around that he is a human in a dog’s body. He was extremely protective about me and would get jealous if I ever patted or played with another dog. He always looked healthy. Never once he had a dry nose or was lethargic or lost sudden weight is which we consider the signs of a sick dog (besides when he got tick fever).
Casper has travelled a lot with me. He was a well trained, calm and mannered dog. It was easy for me to take him around people and other dogs. He never left any chance to show his unconditional love for me. That’s why, when he crossed the rainbow bridge, I slipped into depression. His going was sudden and left me with a permanent scar on my heart. My fondest memory with him was when I was at my lowest and crying, and was even considering suicide; he jumped on me and started licking my tears. He saved my life, but I couldn’t save his life.
On the other hand, Junior was that rascal puppy who didn’t understand the concept of peace. He would always irritate Casper and there was not even one day where I didn’t come to a messy house. Always up to some naughty moves. It’s moments like these that sink into your heart, memory and build towards the ball of satisfaction and love that you hold for your pet. These memories and moments make your dog something more than just a pet.
Now that Junior is nine and half years old and started showing signs of aging, I fear about his health all the time (he is absolutely healthy at the moment). I love him so much that it hurts. You see, Junior is just not a pet dog, but my family. As pet parents, we understand this incredible bond that exists between human and dog. We just get it. Our pets are our lives.
It’s just not expressing feelings of love or considering your fur babies as family and developing a strong bond, it’s even backed by science. There have been many studies that explain why our warm fuzzy friends give us such warm fuzzy feelings, including a more well-known study by animal behaviorist Takefumi Kikusui. He found that level of oxytocin, the feel-good chemical, and bonding rise by merely looking into our dog’s googley eyes.
As a living and breathing example of all the above, I can tell you why it hurts so much let a dog go. Whether you have to put them to sleep, or they go naturally, either way, it hurts. Being a dog parent is one of the greatest joys of life. Dogs just don’t give us unconditional love, but they also help us humans live longer. We stay fit because of them; we never have a dull day. And even if we have one, they are always there to uplift us. They greet us every day when we come home as if they have been waiting for us for a lifetime.
What else do we want! In today’s world, where one human is ready to flip on another without giving it a second thought, there are dogs who only know love and loyalty. Dogs lives are too short, that’s their only fault; and it hurts too much.