Today I've been editing an interview I did with Tim and Cathy Glass. Tim is the author of Just This Side of Heaven, a book which tells his and Cathy's and their Beagles' story. It's a beautiful book that depicts life - and death -with a dog. Or rather dogs, because both Cathy and Tim love Beagles. In fact the breed brought them together, but you'll have to read the book or listen to the interview to find out!
I often hear from people who have a lot of experience of those who have loved and lost a dog, that some people need to be given permission to mourn for a dog. They feel that their grief is in some way not as valid as that for a human loss. We could argue all day about the relative value of life and get nowhere. I would say a loss is a loss, and when you're hurting and missing someone it really doesn't matter what species they were.
It seems fitting that today I came across this on a forum, entailed Just a Dog:
From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up, it's just a dog," or, "That's a lot of money for just a dog." They don't understand the distance traveled, time spent, or costs involved for "Just a dog." Some of my proudest moments have come about with "Just a dog." Many hours have passed with my only company being "Just a dog." and not once have I felt slighted. Some of my saddest moments were brought about by "Just a dog." In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "Just a dog" provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it's "Just a dog," you will probably understand phrases like "Just a friend," "Just a sunrise," or "Just a promise." "Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person. Because of "Just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly into the future.
For me and folks like me, its not "Just a dog." It's an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just a dog." It's the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "Just a man or woman."
So the next time you hear the phrase "Just a dog," smile, because they "Just Don't Understand."
I think that says what needs to be said. If you are grieving a beloved dog - or other pet, or human - you may well find comfort in Tim and Cathy's interview which will be in Episode 85 of DogCast Radio which will be out next weekend.