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Thankful for Dog Love in Times of Loss

Dogs Love Us More

Just a super-short post today: My family is in mourning the sudden loss of my sister’s husband, Dean. Yes, this is the family with three noisy little dogs, who have been Otto’s go-to dog-sitters since they moved to my town about five years ago. Otto loved and is going to miss his time on the sofa with Dean, enjoying hours of TV-watching and distracted petting.

Our hearts break for Dean’s loss, but our grief is nothing compared to my sister’s. She and Dean were a match, 28 years married (no kids) and still passionate about each other.

While all three of her dogs are barky and I find two of them to be whiny and neurotic, always clinging to my sister’s skirts, at the moment, I am just so thankful for their clinginess. She needs all the love (and even the distraction of barking) that they have to offer right now. She reports that they are all very lost, looking for their Dad, and in their confusion, are spending all their time underfoot or, when in bed, under the covers with her. She can’t even roll over without moving their little bodies first; they all want to be touching her right now.

I never anticipated saying this, but at the moment I am grateful that they are so demanding. They BARK when they want food and BARK for play and BARK to go for a walk. These demands will help my sister get out of bed and get outside. I hope she will eat when she feeds them. That’s enough to expect for now.

I spent days at the hospital with Dean and was with him when he passed. When I got home, I needed (and a week later, continue to need) to spend long moments with my face buried in Otto’s grass-scented, scruffy mane, feeling his tail gently wagging. And when yet another kind comment on Dean’s death announcement online makes me start crying again, Woody always seems to notice and gets up to shove his nose under my elbow, insistent with concern.

I don’t know what any of us would do without dog love.

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