It's OK to Grieve - Update

For the last few weeks, I have posted events on the website that have led people to believe we may have puppies for sale. The readership ranges from 2500 to 3000 people a month that read the blog, and when I mention the pups, I will get nearly a hundred or so calls and emails a week from people who want one. Nearly 90% of the people, who call, have had a border collie before, and just wanted to experience the joy and thrill of the breed again.
The sad part, the same people have lost their best friend, companion and a large part of their life is empty because of a multitude of reasons including accidents and illness and old age of their pet.  Most everyone will share their stories and photos with me and I love to hear them, sometimes, bringing both of us to tears. I have even shared some of their stories on my “Rainbow Bridge” Section. Some people that I have never met or talked with before, will call and tell me their story about their pet and they “just wanted me to know” because they knew I would understand, and I do, only too much.

At one time I use to think it was un-manly to express grief when a dog or cat of mine had passed on, and I was even embarrassed by my grief. I was burying my beloved “TaT” in our "family" graveyard and a neighbor passed and stopped the car just to talk. I stopped him and motion for him to move on, because I was crying so hard and I didn’t want him to see me. Grief is very real and can affect a person in many ways. Everybody reacted different, but I know I was hurting and at times I still do. I even remember my very first dog, her name was “Daisy”.  I was five years old and she came to the house because she was cold and hungry. Little did I know, her stay would be very short, she had distemper and passed away a few days later. To cheer me up, my Mother bought me new crisp pair of blue jeans and a green button down shirt that I can still see in my mind's eye. Tears were streamed down my face as I tried them on but nothing would stop them. Little did I know how that event would shape my life.

I got an email from a friend about a new book by one of my favorite author, Jon Katz. He writes about border collies and life on his farm. He was a city dweller and purchased a farm to help with his border collie “Orson”. It’s a wonderful book called “A Good Dog”, until the end of the book. The only thing I will tell you, He did everything he could do to help Orson.   I would recommend the book.
The name of his new book is “Going Home, Finding Peace When Pets Die”. It puts a lot of things in prospective and in a positive way, helps with grief. It is an easy read I would highly recommend it too, especially if you have lost a pet.
Here are a few excerpts from one of the last chapters.

Going Home, Finding Peace When Pets Die  By Jon Katz
“Letters from a dog
Dear Friend,
It is my time to say goodbye. My legs are weakened, my sight is failing, smells are faint. I am wearying . My spirit is fading, and I have been called home and away from you.
I wish to be strong again, to roll in gross stuff, to snatch greasy bones, to eat all the things you hated me to eat, to have my belly scratched for all time, to run through the fields and the woods, to smell the stories of life, and to raise my nose to the wind and see the world all over again.
I am going home. I know I leave you in loneliness and pain. That is the way of people when they say goodbye. Dogs are different. We don’t have regrets or wish that we could alter the story of life.
Although I have been called away, I leave you with the memories of our life together.
I remember a cold winter’s night when you sang to me in the dark as the wind howled and snow drifted outside the window. I felt your loneliness and knew my work.
When you looked at me and the corners of your mouth turned up, you smelled and looked different. Lighter, happier. That was my life, my work. Nothing more clearly defined my purpose. When you smiled, I knew why I was here.
I never tired of watching you, of being with you while you lived your life. I sat by your side, entering into the spirit of the moment. I supported your life, wherever it went, whatever you felt, whatever you did. I was your witness, your testament.
I remember my heart jumping out of my chest when you came home and called my name, or grabbed a ball, or took me outside, or fed me. I hope you know that I loved all of these things-whatever you chose to bring me and give me, whatever time you spend with me, I loved.
And I thank you.
I always knew where you were, even when you forgot me or couldn’t see me. You had no secrets from me. You showed me everything. We trusted each other.
I smelled and felt all of the worries in a human life, but I am different. Like other animals, I want only what I need. Your life is too complex for me to grasp. There are so many things in it that are meaningless to me.
I am so much simpler that you.
I love you and I love all the people and animals in our home. And I love food and smelly things in the woods and balls and Frisbees and bones. There is not much more to me than that, and yet you loved me for that, and despite it.
By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadows of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passage. We come and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave when it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life.
I will see you again.
I will watch over you.
I hope, in your grief and loneliness, that you will consider how sad it would have been had we not had this time together, not had the chance to give each other so much.
I do not morn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walks through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.
Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.
And finally, I ask these things of you:
Remember me.
Celebrate me.
Grieve for me.
And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.
When you are ready, do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life, so you can give and receive this gift again....

I see a lot of  simularies in this story about myself, grief and also my dogs. One thing I learned from reading this book, it’s OK to grieve over your pet, that’s part of healing your soul.  As I think about my own four legged friends and companions and the hardships that will surly come, Lord knows I will need to understand it.
Thanks for letting me share part of my life today and to the many people that call for a pup, I'm so sorry for your loss, but "do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life, so you can give and receive this gift again", no matter where you get them from...
Run Free Daisy, I'll see you at the bridge.  In just a few short days, you made a big difference in the life of a 5 year old....Thank You.
Give your pet a hug today, they’re waiting for you, and always will.   Ken

I got this email just a few hours after I made this post...

It is with a very heavy heart that I send this email.  Our beloved Oreo was killed yesterday when a delivery truck hit her.    To say that we are devastated is a great understatement.  She lived with all us, but she "belonged" to my 8 year old daughter.  Telling her the news was the hardest thing we've had to do as parents this far.  Her little heart is broken-She cried herself to sleep last night.  Today is no better.  Oreo was absolutely the sweetest dog we've ever met, let alone owned.  We just wanted to say thank you for allowing her into our lives for the short year she was on this planet. We will always be grateful to have known her.   I just wanted to let you know.
Grief is tough, my heart goes out to the family.  Again give your dog a hug.  Ken