Canine Grief

My remaining dog—Nunu—is grieving for Nessie. Nunu was about 8 weeks old when we brought her home and one year old Nessie quickly became the big sister even though Nunu quickly dwarfed Nessie.

I think Nunu, who is now 10 years old, has not been alone in the house for more than 8 hours total in her life before Nessie died. Nunu doesn’t know what to do. She eats because she always eats but I can’t get her to go for a walk or even to go outside for more than a couple minutes.  She follows me around but I’m gone most of the day.  If I drive her to a park, she’ll walk there but I can’t drive her to a park every time she needs some exercise.

We’re giving her lots of attention. Unfortunately, Nunu never was much for playing with toys unless it was taking away Nessie’s toys. So we can’t start a game with her. Why a retriever doesn’t like to play fetch is not clear to me!

Actually, Nick and Dave used to play Nunu in the Middle with her and a soft toy so perhaps Nick and I can try that.

Anything to get her up and about again.

Sweet Nessie

I haven’t been corresponding much lately because we’ve been dealing with more loss and bereavement.

 Our sweet little dog Nessie turned out to be quite ill. I thought she was dealing with arthritis or some sore muscles because she wasn’t eating much and she wasn’t her usual energetic self. Eventually she became so lethargic that I called the vet.

 It turns out that she was very ill and I ended up taking her back to the vet less than a week later to have her euthanized. Such a hard thing to go through. Nessie was the mixed-breed supposedly healthy dog. She was going to live a few more years with me. The vet said it was probably cancer or an autoimmune disease where her immune system was attacking the red blood cells.

 We got Nessie when Nick finished kindergarten. Memorial Day weekend, in fact, so it’s an anniversary coming up.  Dave picked her out. She was living as a foster puppy in a barn in Boston Heights. Her brother and sister were there too. We often regretted not taking her sister when we adopted Nessie.

Nessie was a wonderful dog. She was so sweet but with just enough mischief in her to keep us on our toes. We will miss her mightily.

 Poor Nick and I are back to being heart-sore.

Speaking of Beds…

My husband died over 6 months ago and I still sleep exactly on my side of the bed. The other night the two dogs were sleeping on my side of the bed when I came to lie down. I decided ok, I can get in on the other side–talk about major decisions! As soon as they moved, though, back to my side I went.

Dave’s alarm clock is flashing because we lost power some time months ago and I’ve never fixed it. Apparently I want to ignore that whole side of the bedroom.

OK, I confess that I have not put his giant pile of pillows on his side. I felt pretty rebellious in doing that. There are TWO pillows there now–a much more manageable amount than the five or six pillows that he insisted on having.

We spent a lot of time fussing over pillows, it seems to me. I had to have MY pillows–no touching allowed. He had to have this giant stack of pillows. Now nobody cares about my pillows except for me and it’s hard to get too excited about them when nobody’s grabbing my pillow by mistake.

One time I yanked my pillow out from under Dave’s head while he was sleeping. He didn’t appreciate that. Boy, the things you miss.




Nessie and Nunu Need Love Too

My two dogs, Nessie and Nunu, now have to hang out with me though they like my son too. They both loved Dave a lot–Nunu was Dave’s dog but nobody had told Nessie that. She thought she was Dave’s dog too.

For several months after Dave’s death,  when I would say it was time to go to bed, the dogs would come upstairs with me. Nunu, though, would always stop at the room where Dave’s hospital bed had been, stick her head in and look around, determine he wasn’t there, and come upstairs with me. I said this dog is breaking my heart.

I guess they’re adjusting. Both dogs now sleep with me. Well, Nunu takes up two-thirds of the bed and I get the rest. Nessie sleeps on a dog bed by Dave’s side of the bed.

That’s the only difference really about the dogs’ sleeping arrangement. Nunu would not have enough space when both Dave and I were sleeping so she’d start on the bed and then move to the floor to spread out. Now she just spreads out on the bed.

We’re all just making our way along as best we can.

Grief Catches You at Odd Times

I never know when I’m going to miss Dave. The smallest things can cause me to feel so sad and lonely.

The other day I went to a yoga class. I haven’t been to yoga for a while but I used to go regularly. So, while I’m supposed to be meditating and labeling thoughts as “thoughts,” my mind instantly began to roam.

I thought about how I used to go to a Sunday morning class and Dave would wake me if I slept too late to make it on time. I loved the original teacher for that class. She touched me one time and I started to cry. Why? I can’t remember. I know it was summer. Hmmm, it was when I’d just lost my job and I was very stressed…My first yoga instructor was Susan and she used to work with Dave at Roadway. I went to her first few classes when she was learning how to be a yoga instructor. Then she quit her job and taught yoga full time. I helped her get a job at the local YMCA and I went to her classes there. I always enjoyed her.

And remembering Susan and remembering Dave calling to me on Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed with grief. Then I recalled that I was supposed to be meditating and said, “thought!” to myself.

Maybe it’s not surprising that grief comes when I’m relaxed and clearing my mind. It’s only surprising to me because I’m so rarely relaxed with a clear mind.