Time, And Time Again

“You’re sadder about your dog dying than you are about your grandpa dying. It’s a little messed up.”

My friend said this to me as we walked across campus, on our way home from Political Thought and Theory.

It was winter. A wet grey day. His words echoed in my head, but all I said was “well…”

Well what?

When my parents got my dog for me, I was 9 and she died when I was 22.

Seizures, loss of motor function, dead before my final midterm that semester.

My grandpa also died when I was 22, a few months after my dog died.

Cancer, very advanced, dead before the end of that weekend.

It was a hard year.

It is a crime of nature that dogs do not live as long as we do, and when they die the loss is so immediate, so exquisite.

The loss of a person, though…in a way, it’s harder to conceive, and accept.

A whole other person, and a person no longer. A whole other universe of possibilities gone, snuffed out.

When my grandpa died, it was hard enough to try to come up from under the loss and stay ahead of it somehow.

We talked, but not often. I would have liked to get the chance to know him better.

But even that…no more!

Wrap your brain around that.

It was when my friend’s girlfriend’s parents’ dog died,[1] a few years after my dog died, a few years after my grandpa died, that I got to watch the unexpected tears well up in his eyes, the sudden bursts of sorrow, the excuses he made to leave the group and grieve in private as he tried in the weeks and months that followed her death to cope.

He loved that dog.

I loved my dog…and I loved my grandpa.

And there were so many moments during his mourning period that I almost said something to my friend, who today probably doesn’t even remember what he said to me on that grey and useless day.

Maybe now, I almost said, you know.

How easy it is to grieve for dogs.


[1] Yes.



Filed under Dogs, Family, Philosophy

2 responses to “Time, And Time Again

  1. Three years ago now, my wife, my daughter, and I brought home a three-month-old Bichon Frise, Sassy—the runt of her litter. The lady practically gave her away. I was against it from the start, and for good reason. Sassy was the first dog I ever had living in a house with me. She barked at inconvenient times, waking me up in the middle of the night. She peed and pooped everywhere. She chewed on things not meant for chewing. In short, she pissed me off.

    Now I can’t imagine our family without her. She’s often the first person I greet when I walk in the door (and why not? she’s the most excited to see me, at least at first). She belongs in this house, in our laps, and in our hearts. She is family. I used to laugh at people who cried at the passing of their dogs. When it eventually happens with Sassy, I will laugh, remembering her, but I may shed a tear too.

    • I can say that that feeling of loss and devastation passes with time, but it hurts every time it passes. There’s also laughter; I laugh too. It’s funny sometimes, how these things work themselves out.

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