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A Dog Who Grieves

You always hear about dogs losing their owners and asking yourself if dogs, or animals in general, actually grieve when losing their owner. I have never really thought about what goes through a dogs head when their owner has passed away until my brother, Brett, passed away about two months ago. I immediately wondered what Darla was doing and if she could tell something was wrong. I asked a million questions when I heard the news about Brett and one of them was about Darla.

When I got home the day Brett passed, Darla seemed very overwhelmed with the amount of people at our house. She was confused and seemed very concerned when we cried. She was constantly looking out the door for Brett’s truck, wondering when he will be home. When she heard a truck go by, she barked and ran up to the door. It was heartbreaking.

About a week after the funeral, we decided to bring Brett’s truck home. Not realizing what Darla would do when I pulled up in the F150, my mom let Darla out to greet me. When I pulled up, she was extremely happy until I got out of the truck, and she realized it was me and not Brett. She sniffed the truck for about fifteen minutes and ran back inside. Once she came back inside, she sat right in front of me and looked deep into my eyes with the saddest look on her furry face. She then climbed into my lap and whimpered. My heart shattered into a million pieces.

After that moment, I realized that dogs grieve just as much as humans. Just like humans, dogs are in shock. They experience the same emotions as we do, just a little different. Sometimes I will walk in on Darla laying on Brett’s bed by herself, knowing she isn’t allowed to without being told she could. There are days when I can tell she is sad and feeling lonely. Most of the time when we are laying in his bed, she lets out a big sigh followed by some whimpering.

Darla not only lost her daddy, but her best friend. She lost her cuddle buddy, her hunting partner, her ride or die. She is taking every day step by step just like all of us, but in a different way. Like humans, Darla has her moments and some moments are better than others. Even though she may not understand me, I remind her every day I can about how much Brett adored and loved her and how happy he is now.

So if you’ve ever wondered if dogs grieve, they do. During their grieving process, they will need you as much as you need them. Giving them a little extra loving won’t hurt them either!

A New Journey

On New Years Eve, I sat down and thought about what I wanted my goals to be for the new year. I wrote down goals that pertained to school, friendships, family, health, and ways I can better myself as a person. Some of my main goals were to focus more on my school, stay in Cleveland as much as possible so I can really soak in my last semester as a freshman, and to strengthen my relationships with family and friends.

The first two weeks were perfect. I spent my first week of the new year with family; it was the last week of my Christmas break. I wanted to spend as much time as I could considering I wouldn’t be home for a while. Every day ¬†I did something with each family member and really valued that time with them. Then the next week, I was back in Cleveland attending my second semester at Delta State. That first week back at school went by really fast. They always say, time goes by when you’re having fun, and trust me, it was fun.

That first Sunday back at school, January 15th, came around and I was awaken by a phone call I will never forget. My mom called me to tell me my one and only sibling, my brother, had passed away at our deer cabin. A lot of emotions came over me and I knew I would have to step up to the plate and be strong for my family. With the help one of my best friends, I packed up my things and headed back home.

That coming week, I would experience sadness, grief, anger, comfort, and eventually peace. This is the week that the community I grew up in, would really show love and support for my family; support and love that I, personally, have not felt in a really long time by a large group of people. A new journey with life, family, God, and friends would soon begin without my brother in it.

During the process of losing Brett, I never questioned God or asked “why”. I more so thanked him. I thanked him for the time he gave Brett on Earth and for the memories I am able to cherish now that he is gone. I thanked him for rescuing him from a life he knew Brett couldn’t handle.

Even though it has been really hard living without a sibling, I have stepped up to the plate to make sure I am strong for my mom, dad, and grandad. I have come home every single weekend for two months now, making sure I spend as much time as I ¬†possibly can with my family and helping them cope with the loss of Brett. My goal this semester was to spend as much time as I could in Cleveland, but God had a different plan. A plan that is much greater than what I imagined. One of my main goal still remains- strengthening relationships with friends and family. Over anything, Brett’s death has strengthened my relationship with each and every person in my family, and that I am thankful for.

They always say take a bull by it’s horns, and I would say that bull was a big one, but one that we all could slowly take.