Life ends, but love is eternal
When we bring a dog into our life we know we will experience loss. If we allow ourselves to love, as we should, we will grieve. The greater the love we’ve felt along the way, the deeper will be the pain of bereavement. This week, my friend Julia’s dog Nellie died. Their life together was one where love flourished abundantly and unconditionally.
Life ends, but love is eternal.David Kessler
Nellie was adopted six and a half years ago. From that moment on, their bond has been a force linking together several lives. Together, Julia and Nellie would visit the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre spending time with ex-breeding dogs. Allowing the nervous, or human-averse ones to gain confidence in their quiet, sustaining company. Because Nellie was a dog saved from the dog breeding industry, I’m sure there was a mutual, healing understanding on these visits. There are dogs in homes who will have met Nellie and felt her gentle strength and confidence.
Nellie’s life had great purpose through the years she lived with Julia. Drawing daily inspiration from Nellie, Julia has been speaking up for rescue dogs with her active social media presence. In Nellie’s name, Julia regularly highlights the commercial exploitation of dogs. She is a strong advocate for rescues and has raised thousands of pounds for them. Julia’s commitment spans the years that her and Nellie have enjoyably shared. Together they have been making a difference.
Losing a dog creates more pain than there are adjectives to describe it. The loneliness that grief creates has a vast and paralysing strength we cannot prepare for. When we are in the darkest part of our pain, this is when it’s hard to see how we will ever return to how we felt before.
But we do return. The pain fades, we heal and memories help. ‘Bereaved’ comes from the Old English word bereafian: To deprive of, to seize, to rob. When we lose what is most precious this is where pain arises. But our love is still there, and in time it is love that we feel again, stronger than the pain.
Love is what dogs are so good at feeling, showing, needing and knowing. Because of this we hurt so much when they are gone.
Nellie leaves behind a legacy of kindness, compassion and generosity that will continue to help others in her memory.
Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.C.S. Lewis
There is a memorial fund for Nellie, with donations going to the charity Schnauzerfest