Spice of Life column

Spice of Life column

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened

Brenda mourns the loss of her long-time faithful canine companion Shea

Since I stopped writing a weekly column many readers have kept in touch. You have expressed your frustration at life in general , sadness because restrictions have cut you off from friends and family and grief at the loss of a loved one.

Today I add my voice to those who are suffering grief.

Before you say it is “just a dog” let me tell a story about a dog who came here as a teenager back in 2012.

Shea was rescued with a group of dogs called the Telkwa 17. She was feral and the oldest of the group. She was fostered for a few months but was difficult to place. Too old, too big and feral. Just perfect for me and my other old dog Cody!

After a few months of leash-walking, I let her go free. Since then she had never left my side. She would choose certain people as her friends and accepted all new rescues who came here to settle into their forever home.

When the other dogs passed on she would grieve for them.

When little Tuffy died and was buried here, Shea took her special meaty bone and placed it on the grave. She stayed there in the pouring rain waiting for the little chap.

When River, the chocolate lab, died she tried to dig out of her compound.

It was then the old dump cat, Shea and me.

As time went on Shea looked after me in many ways until this past week when she suffered a stroke. She could not walk easily and at her age, in her 20s, it was time to let her go.

With help from Sara at the Northwest Animal Shelter, Dr. Katie Morton from the Bulkley River clinic in Houston came to help.

It was early morning when Shea’s senior people friends gathered to say goodbye. We sat around the picnic table talking to the vet about a dog’s life. With kindness to the dog and the seniors, Shea was put to rest.

“God’s finger touched her and she slept.”

Shea was wrapped in a green blanket and carried by her friends to the vet’s car. She was taken away for cremation. I could say that’s the end of the story of a very old dog, but those of you who have suffered the loss of a pet or a person you know that is not so.

As I grieve the loss of something special in my life I must remember to care about the old dump cat who is grieving as well. The cat groomed Shea every day and walked along with her.

Even yesterday, as death loomed over this bit of paradise, the cat stopped off and gave Shea her last face grooming. Imagine that?

As I grieve and still look for the dog, then give my head a shake, I know “Death ends a life not a relationship.” – Jack Lemmon.

A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered.

For all of you who have suffered, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

There now, another step in the process of grieving for me and the cat. Thanks to all of you who care about the suffering of animals and others.

A big thank you to Thom Barker for giving me this spot to speak to all of you once more.

“Dogs leave paw prints on our hearts.”

You can send an email to mallory@bulkley.net or call 250-846-5095.