“Grief is the price we pay for love"- Queen Elizabeth
There is a considerable amount of research showing us how having a pet enhances our lives. The benefits range from pets been used as therapy, helping people live with chronic conditions, such as blindness, deafness and epilepsy to name a few, reducing loneliness, teaching responsibility to children and introducing grief to our families. Dogs are used in schools and other facilities to help improve mental health, even help with reading.
Yesterday we lost our beloved Alfie. Alfie was 14 and almost to the day 13 years ago when we first got him. He was a nightmare, he barked all of the time, he 'nipped' people, he urinated on the furniture, to the point we had to stop him from having free reign around the house. However, he was most definitely his own character and we definitely all knew what he wanted, what he liked and what he disliked. The only time we've been apart from him is when we went on holiday. He has been a constant in our lives, through the milestones children transitioning to secondary school, university, moving back home, girlfriends coming and going, loss. All the time you could tell him anything and he'd never answer back, judge you or worry about protecting him from telling him anything. He knew all of our secrets, worries, fears and joy. He loved us and we loved him no matter what and he was so happy to see you when you came through the door, especially when a special treat had been gotten for him.
If you told me 13 years ago that I would feel the same sense of loss as I would have for a human being, I would have laughed at you. The memories of him are intertwined with our family and memories in the brain are next to the amygdala, which is the emotion gland. So of course the sense of loss is going to be great but also so are our memories, so many and too much to share in this blog.
Will we get another dog and put ourselves through this again? The answer is probably yes because the benefits far outweigh this sense of loss, but just not yet.
We love you Alfie, your family xx