As an animal lover, we all know that it is never easy to lose our four legged friends. No matter how much we prepare ourselves that they will not live forever, when they go, there is little comfort. I experienced that myself on January 1, 2018 with my beloved Bulldog, Bertie.
Although I have owned dogs my whole life, my bond with Bertie was as deep as possible. She was my ‘daughter’ in every sense of the word. Since her death, I have struggled to find a new normal and the waves of grief I have experienced have been extremely hard to manage. I just miss her.
She came into my life on July 5, 2005, and from her first butt wiggle and kiss, we were inseparable. And as most of you know, Bertie came to work with me every day. She was so much of a part of the thread of my workday as well as those who came to visit the humane society. I won’t say she was patient, but she did tolerate the many times she was dressed up by us as we celebrated holidays and birthdays.
I was lucky enough to have her for almost 13 years, and every day with her was a gift. Her outlook on life was so infectious that I gave her the motto of ‘every day is her birthday’. Sadly, her health had started to deteriorate over the past four months, and although I wasn’t surprised, I did everything possible to prolong her life and my time with her. While on vacation in Florida, she started to act strange, and I could tell something was wrong. I took her to the veterinarian and they hospitalized her overnight. When I arrived at the clinic the next morning, Bertie was unable to walk and it was determined that her body was shutting down. I truly believe that she held out for me until I could be with her. I was there with her at the end, and my heart will be with her forever.
The only ounce of comfort I have had since January 1 is the support from our animal loving community. The words of encouragement and compassion have kept me afloat. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping me through my grief.