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Dogs and Death: How Much Sharing is Too Much?

I know one dog lover who didn’t do this and many others who have done it. I’m not against it but I’m not going to do it, at least I don’t think I will, and I haven’t done it yet for all the dogs I have had.

I’m talking about Facebook (or Instagram) sharing news of our pets’ passing. Most of the time when I see that someone has done it, I skim past it. It is too upsetting. I get the need for support, but I prefer to get it in the real world.

Community support can help some

One friend even wrote a newsletter about his pet’s illness and final days. This was a childless couple that considered the dog their baby. The dog had his own Facebook page on which he referred to his people as Mama and Papa. My dog Maddie and I had fun with this dog. We went to birthday parties in which the dogs got hats and special treats. But still, I didn’t want to read about all the details of his final days.

In the past month, I sent condolences to one friend, even though it was also a bit much. The friend said that her dog was sick and awaiting tests. People wrote that they were praying for the dog and sending healing vibes. Then she posted a photo of the veterinary clinic with the word disappointed. Then the news that she was heartbroken.

I can see why the community outpouring can be helpful to some, so I am not knocking it. This friend said her house was too quiet. I said I know that empty feeling. That’s why I never go too long without a dog. The next thing I knew, the friend was posting a photo of herself with her new puppy! Everyone said it was good to see her smiling again.

My furry friend, Maddie

Like many, I have written that my furry friend is the best medicine. Maddie is a big dog, a Labrador retriever, and she has lived longer than any big dog I’ve had – 14 ½ years. She has arthritis and has trouble getting up. She walks slowly instead of running around like she used to do. We have been through a lot together, and I am so afraid of the moment that she will no longer be with me. Sometimes when she is sleeping soundly, I worry that she isn’t breathing.

Maddie

A cousin gave me the book A Dog’s Purpose, by Bruce Cameron, about a dog’s many lives. I didn’t want to read it because I don’t like to read about dogs dying, but I think I am missing the point. In reading the reviews, I saw that it is heartwarming and uplifting. The gist is that our dogs never leave us.

I read The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein and survived the sadness. It is also about the eternal soul of a dog. I was glad that I read it. Told from the perspective of the dog, it made me feel for a while that my dog understood everything I was saying.

It's hard to not worry

If you are always worrying about your dog dying, you are not living in the moment. Who knows how long they will live? If you waste your time with an old dog worrying about the dog’s eventual death, you are doing just what the words imply: wasting your time. But it’s hard to do otherwise sometimes.

Old dogs and puppies share two qualities: Both can be cute and annoying at the same time. Nature must put in the cuteness to soften the annoyingness. Sometimes she stares at me, and I have no idea what she wants. I admit I sometimes raise my voice and say GO LIE DOWN. I shared a photo of this look in an Instagram/Facebook post. I wrote that she is a little annoying, but we have been through a lot and I don’t know what I would do without her. I enjoyed reading the comments. So, while saying I am slightly anti-sharing, you can see I am pro-sharing also, up to a point, that is.

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