On the first day of spring this year, I lost my eleven year old Scottie, Ace, to a pulmonary embolism. Since that time, my remaining pets and I have been adjusting to life after Ace. Those of you with multiple pets know that they do, in fact, grieve when one of them passes on. The cats recovered fairly quickly – pragmatic creatures that they are. What surprised me was the depth and duration of Blue the Schnauzer’s grief.
When I brought Ace’s ashes home, I put them on my dresser with a framed photo of him and a bowl with his favorite toys in it. Each evening, as I sat reading in bed, Blue would stand below this “shrine” and sniff quietly at the toy bowl. He never tried to take any of the toys, it was almost as if he was breathing in memories of Ace.
Blue is now an only dog. Since dogs are pack animals this is not an entirely happy thing for Blue, especially when I am at work. The happy part is that he now gets LOTS of attention, extra walks, and more trips to the dog park.
As for me, I’ve been surprised to discover that the crazy puppy that I sometimes wanted to “divorce” has grown into a wonderful dog. In May, Blue was my companion on a weekend trip to Mendocino. We shared a lovely room at the edge of the forest, a trip to the botanical gardens in Fort Bragg, and lunch on the outdoor patio at The Moose Café (where Blue had his very own order of apple wood smoked bacon from the dog menu – seriously, them have a short menu of items for their doggie guests). To my great and pleasant surprise, Blue behaved like the bearded gentleman in a grey tweed coat that he somehow resembles.
Our companionship and expanding relationship is helping us both recover from the loss of Ace. It is sometimes really hard to remember, but positive things can come from even the most painful situations. While it is fine to remember the past, it should not keep us from enjoying the present or looking forward to the future.
And speaking of the future, I have started researching breeders with an eye to getting a Scottie puppy for Blue to train much as Ace raised Blue. Something to look forward to…..