Not adoption related, but maybe it is…

07 Jul

I love having dogs and/or cats in my life; there have only been a few brief moments in my life when I didn’t have at least one animal friend keeping me company. I’m now without a buddy for the first time in probably 30 years, if not longer, and I’m lonely, a lonely that human contact can’t fix. Granted it’s only been a few weeks and I’m still tearing up when I think of my dog, but I truly think some of us get something from animals we can’t get from people.

My little friend was at my side when I got sick all those years ago, hubby says she also sat at the front window and pined until I came home from the hospital weeks later. She was my constant companion through the early days of recuperation and, through the highs and lows of accepting I’d never be who I was before. Honestly, if not for her, I’m not sure I’d be as good as I am today.

What is it about an animal in your life that makes them so irreplaceable and unforgettable?

They don’t talk to you, yet they instantly know your mood and respond to where you are at, and somehow, they know more about you than anyone ever will, or ever can. They just know you.

Damn, I miss my dog, my confidant and best friend, ever patient, ever there just for me.

When she was nearing the end and we entered the final months of slow decline that required carrying her up and down stairs, yet still mobile, happy, eating well and not suffering, I struggled with whether I’d be able to be as kind to her when it was time, as she’d been to me all those years.

Endings are hard.

I’ve thought a lot over the years about whether I’d get another dog after she was gone. I didn’t think I should knowing my activity level and health challenges, I thought it’d be selfish and still feel that way, but I think my need for a dog in my life will bring my selfishness out and stare me in the face, daring me to disagree. It’d be selfish, that I know, but I’ll probably be selfish and get another dog down the road a bit, maybe a senior who needs a quiet place to land would be a good compromise and salve on my conscious. I do know I’m not ready yet, not when I’m still missing her this much that everything I do reminds me her constant presence by my side is missing.

Having said that, that’s not the only thing that’s bothering me…

Why can I grieve this hard and allow my emotions to be somewhat visible to those closest to me for my little friend, but when I lose a loved family member or good friend – I go into stiff upper lip mode and can’t show my emotion to anyone other than maybe tearing up? Sometimes I can’t even show my grief to myself. Is it just who I am, how I was raised to accept death as a natural part of life and, to remember them for who they were in life? If it’s that, then why can’t I apply that to animals? Why the difference? Or is it having a family member having lived a long good life, ready to go that makes it different; their verbalizing they’re ready, or is it somehow related to being adopted? That being adopted starts with loss, the ever present knowledge that people always leave, not if, not always voluntary, but leave they do and we have to accept that loss as part of being adopted. Those are the questions circling in my head, what’s the difference?

If you’ve managed to get this far, I appreciate you for doing that for me, thank you, and thank you for reading.



Posted by on July 7, 2019 in Adoption


Tags: , ,

24 responses to “Not adoption related, but maybe it is…

  1. Dannie

    July 7, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    I’m sorry about your dog!!!!! Animals truly are a wonder. I grew up always having a dog myself so it’s weird now not having one but also I’m wanting to make sure when we do have one it’s a permanent home for the pet. Pet peeves of mine are people that give up their pets because of inconvenience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Claire 'Word by Word'

    July 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your close companion, your dog. I think the fact that a dog offers genuine unconditional love has much to do with why their loss is so insignificant. And just reading your post as you ask why we don’t feel the same towards humans, it reminds me of something I experienced when my daughter was born.
    I was adopted at 10 days old, removed from my mother. But when my daughter was born 3 weeks early she was taken from me because of a medical condition that required surgery, they took her to another hospital and I had to wait for someone to visit me so I could follow her. Those first few weeks I lived in hospital with her, in the same room, and I never felt emotional, and I wondered why, as all my visitors seemed more emotional than I was. But months later when I saw or read about other mother’s whose babies went through what mine did, I would sob.
    I think it was a combination of a maternal instinct and a survival instinct that made me cope with the situation and a kind of PTSD that allowed the emotion to come out at a safe time afterwards.
    Are we as adoptees survivors of a birth trauma, who’ve had the best chance of experiencing unconditional love ripped away, by humans, so we are likely to attach to an animal be sure it’s safe and that grief at their loss is compounded by that initial loss? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me.
    I think you also offer something special to an animal, I hope in time you’ll allow another into your life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • TAO

      July 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      Thank you Claire, that was beautiful and also very helpful, safe resonates with me. Welcome.


    • journeyformybaby

      July 7, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      I don’t have any adoptive perspective to offer, but just reading this I think Claire hit the nail on the head. It makes sense to me!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lara/Trace

    July 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    OMG – this is true, Tao. I mourned for months when my dog died (car accident) but didn’t do that when my a-dad died at the same time. It made me feel guilt. Wow – I never thought about this before…there is a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gayle Swift

    July 7, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks for opening this conversation … I believe that our companion animals give us a kind of unconditional acceptance, profound experience of being unconditionally loved That is unique and profoundly touching


    • TAO

      July 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks Gayle, the unconditional acceptance is true and important to consider. Thank you for sharing many of my posts, it’s very appreciated.


  5. Lori Lavender Luz

    July 7, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    I had a comment all ready but WP chewed it up (I have trouble getting comments through here for some reason). Anyway, it was about how I don’t have an answer to your big question, but I am abiding with you on the loss of your beloved dog. She has walked alongside you through much, and I’m sure the loss of her is immense. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      July 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks Lori – you can always email me a comment to post…


  6. Nara

    July 7, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve said this a lot. I can cry over animals but not humans. It’s something I always felt was broken in me… until I gave birth to “my own” human. Maybe I’ve always felt disconnected to a certain extent from other humans. Now I feel like I see danger [to my child] everywhere and I often feel on the edge of tears. I don’t think I have anxiety or whatever; I just think whatever was broken inside me from being adopted has been somewhat healed by making my own biological link to another person. And of course, my dog is one of the most healing beings I have ever met. They can sense things humans cannot. Even my silly dog! When I lost our first baby, he was the only one who could help.


    • TAO

      July 7, 2019 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you Nara – it’s a weird feeling to feel disconnected in very basic human things. I also agree, but just didn’t get it, they do sense what we don’t. Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nara

        July 7, 2019 at 11:06 pm

        Actually for years I’ve always wondered if there is something miswired in me, because I don’t think I feel like others do. I mean when I was younger I even used to wonder if I was some kind of sociopath. But actually I now think there is something super unnatural about being severed from your parents and family at a young age, and your body/mind just shuts down in a certain way to protect you. I think I’ve had to unlearn certain protective things and even now I still feel a distance between myself and most people – even people others would say I’m really close to. I think it is just self preservation and hard to unpack it all. (And if it works…)

        Liked by 3 people

        • TAO

          July 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm

          It is unnatural to separate even newborns from their mothers and family – sometimes it must be done, but it should be rare. And there shouldn’t be an industry designed to promote the separation.

          No matter how good the relationships I’ve had have been, I’m always waiting for not if, but when they’ll end, except for two, mom and dad, but I trusted dad more.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nara

            July 8, 2019 at 10:30 pm

            For sure. I think one of the things that really healed me was getting into a relationship with another adoptee. I think we have a level of understanding that I haven’t had before. Maybe it’s just his personality but I feel much more secure because he’s very reassuring and doesn’t get annoyed by my need for reassurance and security. Obviously it would be difficult for adoptees only to date adoptees but I do think there’s something to be said for it!

            Liked by 2 people

            • TAO

              July 8, 2019 at 10:50 pm

              I found similar but not adopted…it works well, he gets me.

              Liked by 2 people

  7. beth62

    July 9, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I’m sorry you lost your special canine friend 😦
    Grief is a strange pickle I think, I never know how it’s going to hit me, or when. I think adoption stuff gets to be related to all my griefs, seems like it shows up for the funerals everytime. Who knows, maybe we can invite it sometimes. Invited or not, it tends to crash the party anyway.
    Maybe with our pets it can be a little different, since we go into the relationship knowing (usually) that we will most likely outlive them. Like, you know it’s very likely you will mourn your pet one day, and maybe that allows more acceptance and grief, instead of anxiety, fear or anger at being left by our humans. I think the passage of time can become apparent when we loose a pet or a person too. I noticed my grief, with how short life always is and seems to be, has increased with my age too :/ The maker and thief of memories works quick.

    Of course the amount of time we spend together, and strength of connection we have with our pet or person has a whole lot to do with it I think.
    It’s different when my friend or relative barges in on me in the bathroom. When my dog did, it was only a little annoying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      July 9, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks Beth – wise words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • beth62

        July 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm

        Pondering on something I heard a smart angry kid say yesterday.
        “My mother and my dog died. I lost my dog. My mother left me.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • TAO

          July 14, 2019 at 7:22 pm

          Oh wow – incredibly powerful words, will mull on them while I’m out tidying up the garden.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Robyn C

    September 12, 2019 at 3:09 am

    I’m late to reading this. Perhaps you have another furry companion now. I’m so sorry for your loss, though. A long time ago, I found this quote, and I liked it so much I saved it: “If we measure lives not in time, but in grace, in the joy with which they are lived, and in the love they leave behind, then we have much to learn from our pets.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      September 12, 2019 at 3:16 am

      That’s beautiful. No, haven’t been ready to find a new buddy, although we’ve talked about it, trying to figure out what’s best for us, for me specifically. My husband thinks maybe a couple of cats because he’d prefer a big, big dog, but I’m the one home the most. I love and have had both cats and dogs so who knows…



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