What Having a Dog (and losing one) Taught Me About Love.

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[Jasper and the Three Chins]

Some of you who are reading this may know of my dog, Jasper’s, recent unexpected passing. He was my friend for 6 years, my roommate for 4 months, and my spirit animal forever. If you don’t know me all that well, I should say that I love dogs and animals more than I like most humans. Losing Jasper may seem trivial to some of you, but he was a constant in my life and now I am trying to fill his void the only way I know how. By filling up the silence that has taken his place with noise, hoping that helps me cope.

I never thought I could take anything good away from losing my dog. I have sat here for days trying to rationalize and place logic on his passing. In the end though, it just really hurts. I am not a very emotional person, not someone to cry in public or make a spectacle. I hate how emotional I get just thinking about him. I hate that I can’t just let it go, convince myself he was “just a dog.”

But he wasn’t. He was my companion, roommate, and snuggle bug. He IMG_0780would lick the tears off my face if I was crying (he may just have liked the taste, but I’m going to make it sentimental for sentimentality’s sake). He would do this little backward shuffle dance each time I got him food, or run for the door each time I put shoes on, thinking we were going for a walk. He was fiercely loyal and extremely lazy. The perfect combo.

He showed me something in myself I didn’t know I had. A capacity to love. After being single for so long, I sometimes wonder if I could ever love someone completely and unabashedly. I never knew the depths of my own heart. Having, and losing, Jasper showed me that I can, indeed, love and even though it hurts like hell right now that he is gone, it was all still worth it. A dog’s life is so considerably short compared to our own. It is likely we will outlive our dogs and yet we continually take them in, show them love, knowing the whole time that time is limited.

One of my favorite Shel Silverstein’s quotes reads,

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“There are no happy endings

Endings are the saddest part,

So just give me a happy middle,

And a very happy start.”

I’m glad for our beginning and middle. In the end, that’s what I’ll remember.

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