By Heather Martin

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole”

      Roger Caras

Yesterday we lost an important member of our family, Lucky the Wonder Dog.

Those of you with pets will understand how profoundly this rocks the life of a home.

Dogs – and other critters of various stripes – are at the heart of a family, and their loss is felt more deeply than even their people could ever predict.

All of a sudden there it is: a void and a silence, when only days ago a happy face met you at the door, excited beyond belief that you had come home at last (even if you were only gone half an hour).

The leash hangs by the door, the food bowl sits empty, the dog cookies are stashed away.

The stillness is eerie. And the grief washes over us like a tide we never saw coming.

In a peculiar sense, we feel almost guilty for grieving our pets so intensely. (My husband remarked that he hadn’t cried that much since his parents passed away.)

Yet our pets, and I would argue particularly our dogs, give us an unconditional love that is unequalled in our lives. It’s not based on who we are, how we look, or how much money we have.

Your life could hit rock bottom and your dog would still think you’re the greatest person on the planet.

They have short memories for any slights received – days when a walk was cut short, or everyone was grumpy, or they had to make do with cat food.

In fact, dogs tend to be the most loyal and steadfast friend a person could ever have.

Love and loss are the two sides of the coin of life.

Loss must come to us all, but the love we gain, and the richness it gives the daily fabric of our existence, is more than worth it.

Through good times and bad, Lucky was always there with a big smile on his face and a wag in his walk.

He accompanied me on many of life’s journeys, both literal and otherwise. He slept each night with my son and kept the bogeyman away.

He was my husband’s shadow, having decided early on that Danny was his pack leader. Lucky was a constant companion who was true, devoted, and one of the best souls I ever met.

Lucky was closing in on 15 years of age (a dog’s age for a dog). He lived an eventful and happy life, full of walks in the wilderness, boat rides in the summer, leftovers each evening, and heaps of hugs from his family.

His death closes a chapter in our lives,  one that taught us that soulmates come in many forms. 

Our lives are much richer for having had him in it, as much as we feel the pain of his loss.

His was a brand of love that is uncomplicated, faithful, and bottomless.

Despite the loss of his smiling face, that’s a legacy worth celebrating.


Heather Martin is a 46-year-old mother of two who was a practicing naturopath until she took a left turn and combined her passion for writing with her passion for helping others achieve awesomeness. The result?  The Acorn, a blog on wellness from the inside out.


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