The Love of My Life

by Robin Ketchen
(Vestal NY)

Words cannot express the loss and grief that I am experiencing. The love of my life, my child, my beloved Shadow, passed away on Christmas 2012. He had a stroke on Dec 23, and all of the vetrinarian clinics were closed for the holiday. He passed away at home at the age of 17.5 years.

There is a constant ache in my heart from his loss. He came into my life when I was 12, and left when I was 28 (he was a rescue). He was with me for more than half of my life, and I don't know how to adjust to being without him. I come home from work and see an empty floor (instead of a sleeping bundle of fur). I watch football and celebrate alone (instead of receiving hi five/paw for every touchdown). The hardest part is sleeping. I can't sleep. The walls are so quiet. There is no sound, at all. No gentle breathing. No squeaks (from a nightmare, I presume). There is nothing.

He wasn't a dog. He was my baby. Everyone called him 'baby'. When he wanted something, he would cry. It sounded exactly like a baby. He would tell you when he was hungry, or when he wanted to go outside. One time at my aunt's house, I was making a cup of coffee. He thought the spoon was for wet kibble, so he started screaming. He wouldn't stop. My cousin ran downstairs in his underwear yelling about the 'baby'. That's how Shadow got that nickname.

The humans in my life... they just don't compare. Compared to Shadow, they seem indifferent. I could scoop Shadow up, kiss the side of his face, set him down and walk away. He didn't care. As long as I had a spare piece of steamed broccoli for him or an empty lap. Whether I had a bad day, a good day, a fat day, a thin day, etc it didn't matter. Shadow's tail would wag furiously whenever I entered the room.

I know it's been 5.5 months, but time hasn't made his passing any easier. It's beyond hard... I'd give anything to have one more day with him. My heart, my soul, the rest of my days... Name your price. I just want my baby back....

Comments for The Love of My Life

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Jul 22, 2013
by: Robin

Dear Robin, my name is Robin also as you can see. I am so sorry for your loss, I too know how you feel and I feel the same way. My beautiful baby boy was a 15 yr old Cocker Spaniel named Wrigley. He was my first pet and quickly became my first child as well. I knew his time would come sooner rather than later due to his life expectancy but nothing can prepare us for the loss. We must grief fully as we loved fully. And yes, the house is too empty and the nights too quiet. But, you are not alone. May each day that passes bring you just a bit more comfort until one day you feel more blessings than pain.

Jun 15, 2013
by: Aussie

Sorry for your loss, I know how you feel. I lost my little man 7 months ago and still miss him and some times have a cry, but it is starting to get a little easier, I speak to him everyday and a friend suggested write a journal of all the things that made me smile, love and even get angry at him. You start to remember things long forgotten. You could also do a collage. God Bless.

Jun 09, 2013
The Love of My Life
by: Doreen U.K.

Robin I am sorry for your loss of Shadow. A pet is one of the lovliest experience of one's life. they don't argue or cause trouble. They are very giving and forgiving unlike humans. I can understand what you are saying and how you feel to lose your dog from your life. It feels like the end of the world. It is a loss that can't be put into words. It can only be felt so deep that the pain is so unbearable. You can't begin to feel how you will ever get over this loss. I have had pets and lost them and I know the pain of such a loss. I have lost people from my life and I am facing grief at the moment. My daughter wants a dog to fill the gap from losing her father 13 months ago to cancer. But I am not ready to take on a pet just now. I feel deep sorrow for the loss of my husband. But I do know and understand that having a dog would be good company for me. Robin try and keep a journal of Shadow and write out all your thoughts and feelings and write in your journal how you feel and tell Shadow how his death has affected you and how you miss him. This will be therapeutic and you will start to heal from your loss due to expressing how you feel. You will have these memories forever. You will also be able to look back and see how far you have come in your grief. You can also go and see a grief counsellor for support and just to have the space to talk about how you feel and to cry as much as you can. Expressing this raw grief will help you to heal from your loss. You may be able to introduce another dog into your life in time to continue the cycle of giving and receiving love. This way you will be able to build your life up again. introduce new memories and experiences into your life will help you in time to move forward from your loss.

Jun 09, 2013
by: Debi M.

Robin -

I totally understand your feelings about your Shadow. So sorry for your loss. These children with fur come into our lives and give us such unconditional love. It is so hard to lose them. I lost my bulldog Chewy a year ago and still cry for her. Keep your Shadows picture near for comfort. Bless you for giving him a loving home.

From one animal lover to another,

Debi M.

p.s. I have a small sheltie mix - named Shadow. He is 18 and on his last days. I call him my old man baby.

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