Love, Loss And A Beautiful Pug Named Shirley


My 19 year old pug, Shirley, passed away yesterday peacefully in my arms on the way to the animal emergency room. Grief is a tricky thing. I’m finding that I can’t escape it unless I’m working. Otherwise, it feels like a heavy coat that I can’t take off.

I feel uncomfortable everywhere I go except when I’m in between destinations. In other words, I’ll make plans to do something or go somewhere, and I’m ok while in route, not overly sad.  Yet when I arrive, what I thought would be fun is not, and everything feels disappointing. The grief pours over me and I just want to leave. I suppose that I’m ok while I’m on my way because I have hope that I’ll enjoy myself when I get there. But I can’t escape the grief; no one and nothing can take away the pain of my loss.

As hard as it is to lose someone or something we love, I wouldn’t want to feel less pain. My grief honors my pet and my love for her. I wouldn’t want to feel nothing, as difficult as what I feel is.

We can’t feel love without feeling pain. It’s not that it takes one to recognize the other, it’s that if you want one, it comes with the other. If you remove yourself from society, you no longer experience the pain of rejection. However you also don’t get the pleasure of connection. I’m grateful for the good times I had with Shirley and I wouldn’t give them up to avoid the pain of losing her.

After a loss, there is a hole in our worlds. It takes time to adjust so that the gap isn’t so big and doesn’t hurt so much. I know it takes time to feel better, and there isn’t much that can be done to speed it up. I’m honoring my relationship with my dog by being uncomfortable and grieving. I’m not trying to move on from it because I know that my broken heart will heal. There’s nothing to move on from anyway. It’s not like I can drop my pain off somewhere and be on my way. I can stuff it down and pretend it isn’t there; but it is, and it would come out in self destructive ways. Unfortunately, the only way to move away from suffering is to move through it. So, tonight and probably for a while, I will sit and shed a few tears in honor of my sweet little dog Shirley.


  1. Sorry…

  2. So sorry. 19 years is a long lucky life.

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