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My Heart, Grief and Loss

Losing my heart dog, Big Head Todd

· loss,grief,dogs,emotional healing,pets

It's better to have loved and lost...but that doesn't make it any flipping easier. In November of last year, I lost my heart, my best friend, my companion - my big, sweet, slobbering, snoring, pittie/bully love of my life Todd. You'll see his sunshiney smiling face as the Dogterra logo on this page and facebook, which makes me so happy, and so sad, because my heart is so scarred from loss, grief, and being a tough girl. Dogs teach us so much, and Todd was no exception.

I am big, handsome, and afraid of thunder.

We adopted him in 2005 as a strong, wild yet loveable young adult dog. I was in law school at the time and we thought we were ready for a big dog to join our pack. We knew absolutely nothing about the breed. He was a handful - more than a handful. He was a puller (and by puller I mean like lassoing a steam engine and taking it down the sidewalk), he was dog aggressive (but ok with the 2 little dogs we already had, Jeb and Belle), and he was non-stop energy. We were in over our heads. We knew we were, so we returned him, donated to the rescue, started volunteering for the rescue, and never stopped thinking about him. We went back and asked for another try - and we made it work. At the time of course I was clueless about what that ridiculous hyper blockhead would mean to me, ultimately. I will never forget him sticking his big head out the car window, jowls flapping in the wind as he soaked up every bit of the day. He would teach us how to live in the present. How to love more, make sacrifices, be patient and make changes for ones you love. He would be there watching as we had babies, and he would learn those babies with us. He was there for our starter home, for the cool years in the City, job transitions, the move to Tennessee, and raising two dog-loving boys.

Bringing baby David home
Dog days of summer!
Todd ate his cone a lot faster than Emmett.
Sometimes he watched board games, sometimes he sat on them, but he was always there.

Over time Todd became a "foster figure" to many dogs in need who came to us for a few weeks while waiting for their lucky day. Todd loved playing and goofing with other dogs, tearing stuff up, and living every second of every day at maximum capacity. He also LOVED me, he loved me in a way I don't know if I even deserved - humans are not capable of loving a dog in the way a great dog can love us. He would gallop around and behind me in the beginning, wacking and knocking my legs and everything else with his tail as I would get home from work, he would ramble alongside me as he got older, and in his last years he would patter behind me - never far, always wanting to touch.

You're in the bathroom? I'll be in the bathroom too!

Oh my soul I miss that dog so much. I dumb-lucked into doTERRA and natural wellness with a foster dog, and as Todd aged I am unspeakably grateful for the knowledge and support I had learned in my oiling with pets journey to be able to care for him and make him comfortable as a senior. Towards the end, he was a little like Mr. Burns of the Simpsons, with a case of the everythings. But I could use oils and whole food supplements to ease inflammation and support mobility, to increase cellular health, and to provide his best health and happiness as his life wound down, like a stopwatch made out of my heart. And I am grateful, God, I am so grateful for that, that I could do something for him that he loved (massages! rub downs! diffusing!) and show him my care and love, which he never doubted and returned 1,000 fold.

This Waggin Tails massage with Cypress and Aromatouch made me feel so good!

Yes, we have oils for emotional support, and they have helped me with the emptiness and the darkest days. A dear friend surmised that Todd's loss hit me so hard because perhaps I am mourning other losses too, that I never really had the luxury to fully mourn. Ouch. Maybe so, maybe this is tied to the loss of my Mom, my cousin, my grandparents and other wonderful people gone too soon, but also there is just an emptiness where he was, and in spite of the other dogs and my sweet boys I feel a little lost and lonely and heartbroken still. I think of sweet friends who have lost great dogs recently, Molli, Sue, Dawn, Nancy, Jen, Michelle and so many others - too many others, and I wonder how we walk around like we're cool when we are not cool. I think of Ginger, Belle, Jebbie and other great dogs that have come and gone and how shitty it is that they live in the blink of an eye. And I also inevitably think of my people who have lost children and other loved ones and I know this isn't on that plane and then I feel extravagant in my grief. But regardless of my feelings about my feelings and "whether I deserve to be so sad" it remains that my boy is gone, he loved me so well, and there will never be another Todd. If you're still reading this, and you've lost your heart dog, I am so sorry and I understand. From here we focus on the good, on the blessings and on the beautiful gift of pure love and companionship that our heart dogs gave us, and we carry that forward in the good we do. And we wear a whole lot of fucking grief oils. Why yes, I do smell like Patchouli and Console today, my Sad Hippie blend, thanks for noticing. Anyway, my first blog post NEEDED to be about Todd, and needed to be a little cathartic. Hopefully this will be the heaviest post. And yes I do love Jesus but yes I also cuss a little. Brene Brown is right that there is power in vulnerability, and she would be ok with doing that while throwing out some choice words, so if you're offended please know my mouth is probably worse than you could imagine and I don't go to confession as much as I should either. Todd never cared, never judged, and loved me anyway, and that's why dogs > people.

My heart outside my body.
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