Goodbye Daisy, three years on

Grief is a strange feeling, and one that is not easily explained to the outsider. I don't think it matters who, or what has left from your life, the experience of grief is different to each person experiencing it. The loss of a dog leaves a big hole in your life and people who have not had the love of a dog may not understand why you are mourning for so long or so deep. It is even harder to explain that after three years, and having a new dog, that I still feel down around this time of year.

Daisy was my first dog that I truly owned, and wasn't just the family mutt. She was there through a lot of my growth years from 10 - 19 years old, where my life appeared to always be in utter turmoil. Looking back now, it most definitely wasn't, but young minds always believe that everything is a big deal. She was the one constant in my life as my parents split up, I went to intermediate, then college, had my first boyfriend, lost my first boyfriend, moved house plenty of times, left school, became an adult doing full time work. Throughout these times she was always there when I got home, and seemed to know what mood I was in. She would cuddle me when I was upset, or grab a toy and go crazy when I was in a better mood.

In Daisy's last month, she went down hill quite drastically. She went from her usual crazy boisterous self to a depleted soul. She lay around the house a lot, and didn't do any running or barking which was strange for her. In my mind I knew that her time was near, but I didn't want to believe it as I had always been told we would be 'stuck' with her til she was at least 15. Her disappearing at nine seemed cruel and completely wrong. I was lucky enough to be on temporary work at the time, meaning that I was only working one or two days a week and spending the rest of the time with Daisy. We went on a lot of road trips together, more so than usual, and shared many a McDonalds Ice Creams. It was nice to be able to spend that last month enjoying each others company and celebrating the amazing life we shared together. The weekend before she passed we even took a road trip across the country to pick up my sisters from our dads and she seemed to get a new lease on life. We stopped off at a fenced dog park where she ran around, and even completed the agility equipment. I believe this was her final farewell to us as the next day was her last day with us.

The worst part is, that even though I had a month of acceptance, I never got to say good bye to her. She went into a seizure that she never really came out of, and I had to make the tough decision to put her down. I never got that final goodbye and that effected me for a long time after her death. I wish I had that last connection with her before she left this world, but I think that if that had happened it would have been harder to let her go. Least now I know that she is in a happier, more pain-free place.

Three years on, I still think about Daisy a lot. She taught me a lot during her nine years of life and it still effects what I do to this day. The things I learnt from Daisy have changed what I have done with Diego, including socialising him early and making sure he had a solid recall, both of which Daisy did not do. She is the reason this blog exists, and helps me push through some of my writers block moments knowing that these posts could be helping at least one person out there. I think that you can never replace a dog, which seems to not be the general publics opinion, and that there will always be a soft place in your heart for all the canines you own over the years.

It's hard to explain the feeling that they are just going to one day come back. I have never lost a family member or close friend, which I am insanely grateful for. For a year or so after Daisy's death I still imagined that she was just away from me and would come back soon. Then it would dawn on me that she was never to return and it hurt a lot. That feeling hasn't really left, it has just dulled. I don't think about it as often and when I do, the realisation hits me sooner. Diego has helped me deal with the pain, but has definitely not replaced her.

If you have lost a dog, don't worry if people think you are crazy for mourning their loss. They are a huge part of your life for the time they are with you, and each has a different personality that infects your life. Dogs are mans best friend, and therefore you are allowed to feel sad at their passing.


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