“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that dogs teach us valuable lessons about life. They seem to know how to be present, to forgive, to love, to protect what’s important, to play and enjoy the simple things in life. If you pay attention to a dog’s approach to life, they can also teach you about resilience, the ability to adapt to and recover from challenges like loss and grief.
I’ve been a dog owner for most of my life, and it’s certainly true that their companionship means everything to me when I’m feeling discouraged, sad, or lonely. If dogs could talk to you, they would share some wise words about how to take care of yourself when you are grieving the loss of your loved one. They are great listeners, helpers, and loyal friends.
When you are grieving a loss, what you need most is a best friend, which dogs are certainly famous for being.
So, my dog (Cotton) told me that he’d like to write to all of you today who are grieving the loss of your partner/spouse/best friend. He has lots to share and has been waiting for his chance to love on you.
I’m just taking notes:
1. “Seek comfort from the pack.”
You don’t have to go through this alone. There’s a pack somewhere that will accept and support you in your time of sorrow.
2. “I’m here for you.”
Just let yourself be with someone who cares, without them even saying a word. This can be so comforting and healing.
3. “You’ll feel better after a walk.”
Moving your body – especially by getting out in the fresh air – will lift your energy and mood.
4. “It’s cuddle time.”
The healing power of touch is so important. Get in the habit of giving and receiving at least 3 hugs per day.
5. “Let’s go for a ride – and be sure to stick your nose out the window.”
Getting out of the comfort zone of your house and going for an adventure gives you a chance to air yourself out and feel more joyful.
6. “Shake it off.”
Getting drenched in the torrential downpour of your own tears and snot? Come out of the rain for a bit and shake it off.
7. “Belly rubs are good for you.”
Ever seen a dog lying on its back with its underbelly on display? It’s ok to be vulnerable and trust in the universe to be kind and offer up a rub instead of an attack.
8. “Take a nap.”
You need lots of rest when you are grieving. Pay attention to your body when it tells you it’s time to rest.
9. “Loyalty is a given.”
You don’t have to prove your loyalty by staying sad forever. Your loved one wants you to be happy, not suffering.
If you’ve been growling at yourself or biting at your own heels about your feelings and your process, it’s time to re-evaluate that strategy. Does criticizing yourself for “not moving on” or being “stuck” in your grief really help? I hear so many people doing that to themselves and it makes me sad. (Time for a puppy pile)
How about doing something else instead – like trying one or all of the tips above? Be gentle, compassionate, and patient with yourself, my friend. Take all the time you need.
There you have it. Tough love from the pooch.
Oh, and be sure to give yourself a treat for being such a good person.
Love and Blessings on Your Journey,