One of the things I realised after losing our beloved doggo, was that even with how magnificent i thought he was, I had still somehow managed to underestimate him.
I made the decision to add him to our family when my daughter was 18mths old and going through the diagnostic process for Autism. I thought it might help with her connectedness, though it turned out she had no issues in that area, my little love bug. But perhaps we owe some of that to Chief.
I always slept a little better at night knowing he was sleeping at the end of her bed. It was a comfort knowing that if someone broke in, they’d have to go through him first. He even attacked an intruder in our yard one night. Whoever that was never came back!
2 weeks after he passed, my daughter had her first ever seizure-type episode. Front row centre at a Taylor Swift concert of all places. She’d been to loads of concerts and never had an issue. After an MRI, an EEG, several emergency room trips and a bunch of similar episodes later, the neurologist told us that the length of the episodes were much longer than typical epilepsy, and that it was likely anxiety related. I had always suspected due to the timing that it was somehow related to the loss of him.
It's possible that the grief of losing him brought on a cluster of these episodes, or it's possible that his presence in her life was keeping her anxiety under control. Either way, i realised that he was more of a therapy dog than we realised. My love and appreciation for him has continued to grow and evolve even now that he’s gone.
Whether your dog is a qualified therapy dog, a rescue, or just a dog that you crossed paths with one day that ended up in your home, chances are that you’re a better you because of them.
Maybe they opened your heart up to greater love, maybe they saved your life or gave you a reason to live. Or maybe they were the glue that kept your little family together on hard days.
When we look at it this way, it’s hard to deny the idea that we make soul contracts with our pets. They are after all, some of our greatest teachers.