Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It’s just a dog…

I’ve used this phrase to myself over the years when some of my employees and coworkers expressed grief over loosing a pet.  I didn’t think it was a big deal and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  It was only a dog, right.  Wrong.      I just had a reality check. 

I put my dog to sleep yesterday and it was a painful experience.  I had the courage to sit in on the euthanasia because I wanted to be there when she took her last breath.  I rubbed and patted her to let her know that I was there until the end.  We all cried.  Yes, I cried too.  And, I am ok with it...   

I must admit, that we spoiled her in some ways.  We never washed her bed, but merely bought her a new one.  I can't count how many we purchased over the years.  She was a dog that was high maintenance and took quarterly trips to the groomer.  I remember the clinic visits and emergency room visits throughout the years.  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  During the later portion of her life, she started having seizures, eventually lost sight in both eyes and had a couple of strokes.  Most of this happened in the last two years of her life.   

Let me tell you who she was.  She was the official house greeter and welcomed anyone that came to visit.  She was always enthusiastic to see me every time I came home.  She was our alarm system when anyone came near the door.  She was also the house protector if she felt anyone was being harmed.  She wouldn't let us harm each other as well.  She played hard, was an extremely loyal companion and gave us unconditional love.  She was a good listener, a silent comfort and bundle of joy for all of us.     

I vowed that I would never use my professional blog on a personal note.  I contradicted that statement today and I don’t care.  I feel that it has some noteworthy contents.  If one of your employees or coworkers ever experience loosing a pet, never believe that it was just a pet.  It is so much more.  Show some compassion for what they may be experiencing, and if they ask, give them the time to grieve. 

The reality check has sunken in and I finally understand.  My dog’s name was Pepper and she was 16 years old.  When I come home this evening, she will not be there to greet me.  I loved her and miss her already.  She was not just a dog.  She provided something different than any human ever can.  She was indeed, family. 

~ Joseph Conrd Sr. SPHR

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