Okay, this isn’t your typical post under a personal development blog, but I feel compelled to write about the loss of my dog ‘Sully’, a) in the hope it will help me and b) in the hope that it may help someone else out there.
When We Met
Firstly, let me tell you a bit about my beautiful Sully, he was a black Shih Tzu, just 3 years old (he would have been 4 on 30/10/18). He was a birthday present from my then partner in 2014. Leading up to getting Sully, we had discussed having a dog, but I didn’t feel the time was right, I was working full-time and doing a part-time BSc Degree, so I didn’t have a lot of free time. Anyway, long story short, my partner had made an appointment for us to go and view Shih Tzu pups, despite the fact I had told him I didn’t want a dog at that time. In my mind, I was going to go and see the pups and tell the breeder ‘I will think about it’. Oh Boy, did that plan go wrong, that was the first time I met Sully, he was as taken with me as I was with him, I held this tiny ball of fluff as he snuggled in to me. I remember the breeder saying ‘Oh, he likes you’.
We picked Sully up the day before Christmas Eve 2014, little did I know how this cute little fella would change my life in so many ways, including my perspective on life. I spent the next 3 months sleeping on the couch, as I could not bear to leave him. Never having owned a dog before, I had noooo idea of the bond that would grow between us.
The Joy He Brought
Sully was a lively little fella with a huge (if sometimes cheeky) innocent, child-like personality. He was the most loving, affectionate, loyal, gentle, good-natured little thing you could ever meet. He made me smile on a daily basis, he filled me with joy every time I looked at him. He loved people, especially children, if you visited my home you would get the warmest welcome from him, he would make a fuss of you and invite you to play with one of his toys.
They talk of dogs having separation anxiety, I think I had it for him, if I was out of the house, I could not wait to get home to see him to play with him, tickle his belly and have him curled up like a cat on my knee. He was everything to me, I used to say this often to people but he was my ‘baby’, I didn’t care what people thought, it was how I felt.
In the days leading up to his passing, Sully started to change some of his usual behaviours. Some days he would not eat, two days before he died, he stopped eating altogether. I had to carry him home part way on a walk, he just refused to walk any further, this was not like him. He also started to drink an unusually large amount of water. I took him the vet and they told me he had a cough, possibly kennel cough, I told them he had never been in kennels (apparently this does not matter). Anyway, I took Sully home and he perked up for a couple of days.
The night he passed, 9th September 2018, Sully was in his bed and his breathing sounded louder than usual, I went over to stroke his head and asking him was he okay, I often talked to him like a child. But, he got up and walked outside, I thought he had just gone for a pee, I went the bathroom and when I came out I looked around the house and could not find him, I then went into the garden and shouted him, but he didn’t come running like he usually did. I found him laying on his side and his breathing was now laboured, he looked very poorly. On the way to the vet (we were 1 minute away), Sully stopped breathing, my nephew did CPR on him. We got the vet, they grabbed Sully and ran with him to a room. They worked on him for 15 minutes, in my head, even though I knew he had stopped breathing, I really thought they would bring him back, but they didn’t. I can’t describe how I felt at that moment, when I got home I could not stop shaking, I could not breathe, I felt like I was fighting for air, I believe this was me hyperventilating, I am not sure, but possibly shock.
It’s been 15 days since Sully passed, there has not been a day when I have not cried, I know when that day comes, it will be progress. I still have his toy box with all his toys in the living room, his water and food bowl in the kitchen, his treats and food in the cupboard, his bed in the kitchen. I cannot move his things yet as it would be like saying goodbye to him and I am not ready to do that yet, it still doesn’t feel real.
A few nights ago, whilst falling asleep, I suddenly got this feeling of pure love filling my heart, it was beautiful. It honestly felt like Sully’s love for me, I can only describe this feeling as ‘bliss’, I felt peaceful, like nothing I have ever felt before, it was beautiful. I have not been able to recapture that feeling since, but I do keep feeling the love I had for him, I believe this will get me through my grief.
Thank You Sully
I am so grateful that Sully was a part of my life, if only for a short time, he came into my life at a difficult time, and taught me all about unconditional love. One day, I will focus only on the happy times we shared, his funny little ways, not to mention his ADHD, lucky for him he got all the attention he wanted. I am not religious, not in the traditional sense anyway, I don’t buy into ‘man-made’ religion, but I do believe in something spiritual and I believe one day I will be with Sully again ………
The challenge for me now is continuing my self-growth journey whilst feeling such intense grief.
If you’re struggling with the loss of a pet, visit Bluegrass; https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss
The article below will give you insight into why you feel intense grief when you lose a dog; https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/out-the-ooze/201701/getting-over-rover-why-the-loss-dog-can-be-devastating