Why I Can’t Accept That My Dogs Won’t Be Here Forever

You probably know the story. Someone comes into your life, stays for awhile, and then…all of a sudden, they are gone. We live the same story over and over again, whether it is a person that we lose, or a furkid. And yet, even though we know the ending, we keep on loving, and we keep on letting our hearts be broken. And we also can’t accept that it will happen again. I won’t. Because I can’t.

The last time I went through the heartache of losing my furkids, I swore I would never go through it again. I am sure the story is one you have lived as well. And somehow, three weeks later, I had a little pound puppy back in the house again, and back in my heart. And somehow, this time, the bond was deeper than ever, even though I fought having a connection with him. The more I fought, the more I knew that one day, this loss was going to be something I could not go through. And I still feel that way.

When I look at Brickle or Digby sometimes, I can’t help but look to the future. What is going to happen to take them out of my life? What is going to be like after they are gone? And I just don’t know why I do this to myself. Sometimes, I think it is to prepare for the inevitable, thinking that maybe if I am prepared that it will be easier. But I know it won’t be, and I don’t know how I am going to live without either one of them. There. I said it. I just don’t think that I can.

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Voicing the way I feel about my dogs has sometimes brought a look from people. Maybe you know “the look”. They may think that I am crazy, and I am. They may think that I love my dogs too much. Maybe, I do. They may think that I went through some traumatic experience to make me into the most devoted dog parent around, and that the voids I am trying to fill are making me crazier. But even if that was the case, do I care? The meaningful life I have because of my dogs is something I would never trade. And I suppose that the ending is part of the deal. And I just don’t think it is a fair deal. There. I said it again. I just don’t.

Give a little bit. #drivingwithdigby #california #jeep #sonomaproud

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Being a dog parent comes with a lot of trade offs. Maybe you don’t go out as much with friends, or maybe your house isn’t as clean. Maybe your life changes more as your dog gets older.  But when you love someone so much, you simply don’t care, and you no longer view those things as trade offs.  If we are to start enjoying our dogs as much as we can, I know that thinking of when our time is going to come to an end is not a healthy thing.

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So for those moments when I get angry that they won’t be with me forever, I have started to stop and try to forget.  Am I being naive? Unrealistic?  No.  But why try to deal with something that hasn’t happened yet? I won’t ever be able to accept that one day I will wake up and they won’t be with me.  I won’t accept it even after it happens.  Because in some ways, they are a part of me.  And that won’t ever leave.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs

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9 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Accept That My Dogs Won’t Be Here Forever

  1. Oh that you can open your heart and love so deeply, knowing that your love will be returned unconditionally. True the pain of losing your precious fur child cuts deeply, but after the pain slows down, the memories come flooding back to those precious days when you remember him running through the leaves with joy, laughing and tossing his head like a racehorse for the pure joy of the wind and sun on his face and his fur shining like a new copper penny. Love makes your heart bigger and prepares you for the next fur person in need. When people say that the loss of their dog was so painful that they could not go through it again, I know how they feel, but how could you deny yourself that feeling of looking deeply into their eyes and seeing the pure love, trust, adoration and gratitude that comes from that relationship. Truly the love trumps the grief

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  2. Sally

    We love our boys so much…rescues as well….and all we can do,is love them more each day and thank them for making our lives so good. We plan all we do around them! There’s just no way else to,live. You e given your boys life…they have sooo returned the favor!!!!!❤️

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  3. Susan Butkus

    I’ve loved and lost four furkids in the past thirteen years – at one point having to say goodbye to three of them within less than three years. I’ve got two now, one of whom is 13-1/2. I also occasionally think about having to say goodbye to them, but it reminds me to make the most out of every moment we have together.

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  4. Marguerite Ives

    I know how you feel . Every time I lose one of my fur kids it breaks my heart. Eventually I get another and they worm their way into my heart. I currently have 3 rescues. All with a sad history of abuse and neglect before I had them. They still have issues but I love them and will work with them to get them over their fear

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  5. Kathy Dubree

    I lost my dear sweet furbaby Oscar two months ago. We had fourteen years together. He helped me thru a lot,empty nest and losing my husband. I still grieve for him and look for him on the end of my bed. I’ve lost other furbabies but I was not widowed and living alone. I still have one baby and I dread when I lose her it is so hard to be alone

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  6. Maggie W

    It’s as if you read my mind. I think about the future not only without my furbaby but have done so with the people I love most in my life. Getting angry with myself for thinking such thoughts but crying because I can’t imagine my world without them. Such a crazy cycle and I wonder why my mind drifts off into these sad thoughts. My furbaby is my one true love and I literally hurt all over thinking of life without him. Can’t believe I scrolled down my Facebook feed and found your article. I really felt as if I was the only won who did this often questioning my sanity. Thank You for sharing…it helps to know I am not alone

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  7. Mary Maynard

    I feel the same way. 2 Years ago I lost my beloved black lab, Tess, and a year before that, my male black lab, Mulder. I was devastated, but they had been ill, and had lived full, wonderful lives. Both lived to be 15. Four months after losing Tess, I got my beautiful rescue boy, Benny. I felt guilty for loving him so much, as if I was disrespecting my love for my labs. However, every day I see traits of my two labs in Benny. My take? My Mulder and Tess have rolled themselves together and have come back as Benny 🙂 Honestly, though, my labs will always be a part of me, and now Benny will be my focus for a beautiful and happy life. I feel lucky that the stars aligned and I got him!

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  8. Marjean Hawkins

    I love my two boys so much, that my decision to have a lung transplant a year ago was easier because I wanted more time with them. My life has changed in so many ways because I am a dog mama. I have wept for four sweet babies already. Each goodbye seemed to take a piece of my heart, but I found a way to bring another rescue into my life. I can safely and happily say that my dogs have made me a better and happier human. I wish you all the best as you search for your tomorrow! ❤️

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  9. Jacqueline

    Oh. Miss Rachael. So poignant, but it’s Truth. My family has always had pets: dogs, cats, one parrot, parakeets, chameleons and one turtle and one lizard. The turtle ended up being a snapper, so I released him back into the water, but it broke my heart, and the lizard died from respiratory failure, never really found out what happened? The parrot also, never really knew, he was just on the floor one day unresponsive (we let him fly around and kept his cage open so? I was only 8 then.) But my parents were always of the mind-set that you teach more to people by letting love into their hearts, and having pets is the most beautiful way ever. And in opening your hearts, there will be the sadness of letting go. And it teaches so much about being human and also, spirituality, I think. My brother has a dog, Romeo, who is now 17 yrs.old, but for the past 7 years my brother has said “Why even have pets, all they are going to do is die on you and break your heart.” And his precious baby is still here, so why does he do that to himself? I’m not going to lie, I just did it to myself a few weeks ago, thinking about what am I going to do, and my baby is 5 years old and plenty of good life, but my brain just did it. Another way to keep me up at night, basically. I think it’s natural, but like you said, every family member in our lives, every friend we let in, it’s the same, but you can’t be part of life without, sadly, being part of death. It’s the anxiety and depression Monsters that make us think all of the worst parts when we can and should only be embracing the BEST parts. And loving other beings on this planet is what it’s all about, I think. What you wrote was beautifully said, sorry I rambled, apparently it sparked something in me as well, so thanks for making me think of that!!! Another reason you should be a writer, you invoke people into going places and thinking about things they might not have!!! Love you!!! xoxoxoxox

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