I've just read an article entitled Jessica Simpson to replace dead dog. It's an emotive headline isn't it? Like most headlines, it's a little misleading. Jessica isn't rushing out the door right this minute in hot pursuit of a replacement for poor little Daisy, the dog she lost when coyotes took her from the back yard. Actually all she said is that one day she'll be getting another dog. She added that she didn't think Daisy would want her to be on her own, and that she would want her to get another canine companion.
So what do you think ?
Well I agree with Jessica. I don't think Daisy - or your dog or my dog for that matter - would want us to be alone forever. I believe that if our dogs could understand the concepts involved and articulate their response, they'd want us to be happy again. Dogs don't major in misery. If there's a minute to spare they play a game, or chew a bone, or just take a quick snooze; they live in the moment, not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. We humans are of course a more complex can of worms. I know that when I am mourning my dog (hopefully a long way into the future) knowing that he would not want me to be unhappy will not stop me clinging to grief. And we need to grieve for our dogs. We love them and they love us. They add so much to our lives on a daily basis, and it's right that we should honour their passing and their memory.
But life has to go on, and I think our dogs would want it to.
I recently had an email that brought tears to my eyes. It was from a listener who said that in the past few months DogCast Radio had helped her make very difficult decisions and cope with the loss of her beloved dog. It was wonderful to get such meaningful feedback, and I'm delighted and honoured that we helped that lady. And you know what? - one day I hope she gets another dog and I hope she finds joy with that dog. She said that imparticular Episode 94 Finding Peace After Pet Loss which contains an interview with author Sid Korpi was a comfort. In that interview Sid points out explicitly that getting another dog is not betraying your dead dog. She says it is honouring the dog you lost, not forgetting him or her. I hope that interview and SId's book help many people cope with grief.
If you are looking for help with coming to terms with the loss of a pet we have quite a few shows that might help you. Episode 93 - The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood focuses on Nadine M. Rosin's book. The story of her dog Buttons will offer hope to many whose dogs are fighting terminal illnesses. Buttons was diagnoses at eight with terminal cancer, but thanks to Nadine Buttons lived to the grand old age of nineteen.
In Episode 85 - Just This Side Of Heaven Timothy Glass's experiences with his amazing dog Penny will comfort and help those dealing with loss - be it of a canine or a human companion. Timothy has had wonderful feedback about the book, and his approach that it's the "dash" that matters - not the dates either side indicating birth and death - is incredibly insightful.
In Episode 67 - Coping with the loss of a dog Melisa Wells beautiful book Remembering Ruby will help youngsters dealing with the loss of a loved dog.
Of course it's not just death that can separate us from our dogs, and in Episode 68 - Dogs in divorce Jennifer Keene has some excellent advice on how to get through a divorce where dogs are involved with your - and your dog's - mental and emotional health intact.
While we're dealing with difficult subjects in Episode 53 - Dog estate planning Dawn Antoniak Mitchell has some very relevant suggestions for pet estate planning. If you suddenly couldn't care for your dog who would? Dawn has some easy and effective steps to help you make contingency arrangements.
So I wish Jessica Simpson lots of luck when she does get another dog, and if you're feeling a little down after reading about such serious subjects, don't be - your dog wouldn't like it!