It's hard to adjust after a furfriend passes. If you’re anything like me, you find yourself muddling through the day, going about your routine, a routine that once included your furfriend, but then the harsh reality sets in. You don't need to fill that bowl with water or food anymore, because he's not there to eat or drink out of it. And those toys that you were constantly tripping over because he would drag them all out of his toy box and leave them lying everywhere, are now neatly placed in his toy box right where you put them last, never to be touched again. And that well-worn leash hanging on the hook by the front door that has not moved since that dreadful day you said goodbye, is a constant reminder that you and your furfriend took your last walk together, maybe not even knowing it would be the last. All these reminders hurt. It's an affliction that you know will lessen in time, but you just don’t know when?
For some, adjusting to a furfriend passing is easier than for others, whether it be because they see no sense in dwelling over what they can’t change, or perhaps because they only saw their dog as “just a dog”. But for others, their furfriend was family, and the loss is so profound that there is no bottling up their emotions, because it’s all they can think about. Regardless, there’s not set length of time or style of mourning because everyone’s experience is unique to them. Therefore, there is not correct way or incorrect way to mourn the passing of a furfriend.
Here at Woody’s Place, like it or not, the passing of a furfriend is inevitable and part of the process. After all, we work solely with German Shepherds eight years and older, so it’s clear that their life span has been mostly spent by the time they arrive here at the sanctuary. Still, we get to know the senior German Shepherds that reside at Woody’s Place like they were our own, and we mourn their passing like they were our own. And regardless of how many times we’ve been down that road, it never gets easy.
Last year was a particularly hard year with the passing of many furfriends, not only of Woody’s Place dogs, but several of us on the board lost our own personal furfriends, some expectantly and some out of the blue, and we all mourned their passing differently.
This year, we’ve already had one loss. Our Mr. Rock, who came to the sanctuary in August of 2016 finally succumb to his cancer, which he’d been living with since November 2017. The decision to have him euthanized was not easy to make, but there was no doubt he was declining, and declining quickly, so giving him peace was the last act of love that we could give our furfriend as much as it hurt us to make that decision.
On the day of Rock’s appointment, a few of us got together to spend time on the kitchen floor (Rock’s favorite spot) with him. We talked with him, pet him, and gave him all the comfort and love we had to give. As an added bonus, for breakfast Rock had two eggs (sunny side up), toast, and bacon, and right before his appointment, he had his favorite chicken sandwich and french fry meal, all of which he ate, except the lettuce, of course. :)
At his appointment, everything went as smoothly as possible, and Rock passed peacefully in my arms. Still, even though he was ready to leave us, we weren’t ready for him to leave and now have to adjust to him being gone.
The days are passing by, and it’s still hard to walk by his favorite spot in the kitchen and not see him there, or see his bowl with his name on it in the cabinet not being used. It’s hard not being able to listen to him breathing as he slept right next to my side of the bed at night, and touching his soft fur first thing in the morning. It’s hard to get through feeding the dogs twice a day and not having Rock be front and center because he knew what I was doing like clockwork. It’s hard not having to go through the process of leaving the house without Rock blocking the door because he didn’t want me to go. And It’s especially hard having to adjust to something we didn’t want to happen in the first place, but we manage with our furfriends forever in our hearts and memories.