Honestly, what did we do to deserve our pets?
If you're lucky, your furry little friend is with you for a good amount of time. Or in my case, you literally grow up before their eyes.
Over the years, they see you at your highest and lowest moments without an ounce of judgment. There is nothing like coming home to an excited puppy that makes you feel as if you're the greatest thing to have graced this earth.
As life goes on, we sometimes forget our pets are aging just like we are. I don't know why, but I guess I always had this thought that my puppy was like Santa and could live forever. Unfortunately, the time for my pup to spread his love somewhere other than our house quickly came upon us. This place is what I would like to call "puppy heaven."
For others who have lost their furry companion, I'm so sorry. I never knew a dog could become such a big part of your life and family that you feel as if your world is ending when it is their time go to.
The heartache is severe, but the memories will live on forever. I think we can all agree, no other pet could ever compare to the first. As I take time to reflect on my time with my dog, I realize he taught me more than I ever could have imagined.
First being, forgive and forget.
Life is too short to hold a grudge. Let it go. We spend so much time and energy being mad over problems that in the big picture are so minuscule. Think about it, how many times did you yell at your dog for doing something they weren't supposed to do? Were their feelings hurt? Of course, but they still loved you. They still decided to snuggle next to on the couch instead of sitting in their cage just to be near you.
Always be there for someone when they need you.
Although they can't talk, they're the best listeners. I can proudly admit there were MANY times when I put my pup on my bed and just cried for hours. But you know what the best part was? Shadow always knew when I was upset about something. I'm convinced animals know how you're feeling before you do. They're going to give you all of the love you need at that moment.
I've learned it's important to help someone when they're down because someday you'll need them to do it for you. Within the final year of Shadow's life, this came into play more than ever. My family and I suddenly noticed how difficult it was for him to get up on his own two feet. It broke my heart. He looked so helpless. But for every minute he paused his life for us, we had to do the same for him. No matter how many times we helped him, it could never equal all of the times he helped us.
Family comes first.
Seriously though. Cherish everyone in your life. Shadow showed me the true definition of unconditional love. Yes, you get frustrated with each other, but the love is always there. He was always so happy to be with us whether it was one-on-one or all of us together.
You don't realize how much enjoyment you get out of filling up a food bowl until you no longer need to do it. Our pets become such a significant part of our day's for years on end. Now, we feel as lost as they do when we leave them home for a weekend alone.
Needless to say, the house is much quieter now, and it makes you miss the times you would beg your pup to stop barking every time the mailman came by.
A guess a takeaway message from all of this would be to appreciate the little things in life. We spend so much time running around and stressing ourselves out while our dogs are so content with a treat after going to the bathroom. Slow it down.
Recently I saw a post about a 6-year-old's answer as to why dogs don't live as long as people. The response gave me a sense of closure. For those of you feeling the same pain, I hope it gives you some too.
"People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life. Like loving everybody all of the time, and being nice. Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
To my "little man" and our "unconditional lover boy" up in heaven, I hope there are endless amounts of belly rubs and treats for you. You were the best pup I could have ever asked for. I hope you knew how loved you were and still are.
We will miss you every day for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace, little guy.