Trying to get over the loss of our family Dog

by Sybil Sage
(New York City)

Memorial Vase with Pictures of our Dog

Memorial Vase with Pictures of our Dog

Coming home one night, my husband and I were shocked to find white stuffing strewn all over the floor of our Manhattan apartment. Z.C. Our Tibetan Terrier, generally docile and inactive, greeted us with her usual enthusiasm, unaware that what she’d done would lead to a costly reupholstering expense. Alone for a few hours, she’s obviously found a way to get the remainder of a baguette we’d left on the kitchen counter and buried it in the couch. She then occupied her time by clawing through the fabric and Dacron filling we’d expected would last for decades.

Looking at her innocent face, I was unable to get angry. She was, after all, a dog and occasionally behaved like one. She hadn’t intended to create a problem. In Obedience Class, she’d been taught the “heel” and “come” commands, but not that the antique rug in our dining room shouldn’t be confused with a litter box. We'd brought her into our environment and, therefore, we had to absorb whatever damage that resulted. Having a dog showed me I had the ability to forgive.

She protected us as much as we did her. It took losing Z.C. for me to recognize how much of my daily routine revolved around her. My schedule revolved around her walks and feedings. I never left her alone for more than a few hours and would, when possible, take her with us on vacation, choosing pet-friendly hotels.

When she died, my husband, son and I were overwhelmed by grief. For 11 years, we’d been a threesome. We were extremely upset for a long period of time. Seeing another black and white Tibetan Terrier, I chased to catch up to the owner, disappointed that he raced off, making it impossible for me to pet the dog who looked so much like Z.C..

The vet had asked if we wanted her cremains returned to us. A morbid cremation urn was not the way we wanted to remember our beloved pet. What comforted me most was looking at photos of her. It was uplifting and reminded me that she’d had a good life. A comedy writer who did mosaic art as a hobby, I experimented until I came up with a way of designing an urn that incorporated pictures of our dog. Pleased by what I’d done, I make them available to others.

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