If you came here searching for the answer, I apologize. I don’t have the answer you may be looking for, as I am searching for it too. How do you deal with the loss of anything that is dear to your heart? I have been wanting to write of our recent loss, but just couldn’t find the courage. I have been shedding tears almost every day since the loss of our beloved dog Hera. I remind myself that she’s gone, indefinitely, not for a weekend, not for a week, but forever every time I am happy for a second. Just last night as we were driving home from grocery shopping I was struck with sadness and tears started to roll down my cheek. We would arrive at our home and she would not be there to greet us. She would not be running in the fields after rabbits and whatever else she could find that would feed her thrill of a chase. After all, that is what she loved to do, and it would cost her, her life. I don’t know when I will get over this sadness. It sucks. Plain and simple. Just sucks! I am so happy that my husband understands the love I had for her. He doesn’t tell me to “get over it” or “she was just a dog”. He feels her loss just as I do except I shed tears and speak about her with a shaky voice. He speaks of her with pride and comfort knowing that we gave her a good life while she was here. I find myself replaying that dreadful moment and day. Hearing my husband curse and say “dammit Hera, dammit” while digging her grave. Asking ourselves if we could have done something different that day. Could have, would have, should haves’ are haunting us every time we talk about her. But we can’t change the past, and we can’t bring her back. We can remember her though, and laugh at all the times she drove us up the wall, boast at those times she impressed us with her snake killing skills and our amazement that she took the role of chicken guardian after being a chicken killer. I have a gazillion pictures and videos of her since she was a pup. She was there with me when I found out I was pregnant, by my side through both of my difficult pregnancies and there to greet our babies with love and excitement. She was there with us when we lived in a one bedroom apartment, before we ever got the bright idea to buy land and start homesteading. She understood us and what we expected from her as a family member. She was exactly what we had longed for and needed. So you see its been hard for me. REALLY HARD. I don’t know how to deal with her loss.
July 23rd, a Sunday, we were outside all day doing things that needed to be done, she was actually being extremely needy, more than usual. It was strange, maybe she knew, she went so far as to lick my husbands face which she knew he disliked very much. But that day she did it anyway. It was like she knew. A few hours later we heard a truck, a neighbor who always passes our house on his way to his cows a few properties away. He was pulling a very long stock trailer, driving over 50MPH on our dirt road. He says he didn’t see her, I say he was being an asshole and didn’t want to stop. He did stop after he hit her, I heard a whistle and as I walked towards him I heard the words “mam, i didn’t see him, i couldn’t stop, Im so sorry” and then I saw her laying there. It was the most traumatic thing, other than seeing our wrecked truck from my husbands accident, it was the most traumatic thing I’ve had to go through. I didn’t hear anything else from him. I don’t even remember what the man looked like. I do remember there were two young boys with him and I do remember their faces were of such concern. I just ran to her and on my knees sobbed. She was gone. The last time I ever cried like that was when I was 8 years old and my grandpa had passed away. I never thought we’d lose her like that. A snake bite? Ok maybe. Getting stolen? Totally possible. But getting ran over when we literally get 3-5 cars that pass our house on a busy week? No, never even crossed my mind. He tried telling us he was going 30 when we could hear his trailer roaring on the dirt road from a mile away. My husband was straight to the point and confronted him about NOT going 30 miles per hour. He stayed silent and just kept apologizing. How could you not see a white dog? Why are you driving so fast in front of our house when you know we have dogs, chickens and CHILDREN? How can someone who raises animals for a living have such disregard for, animals? Ive seen him coming down our road like a bat out of hell and not stop for our chickens who like to chase grasshoppers into the road. Look, I get it, we should have our animals under control, not crossing fences and such, but they are animals, and we are literally the only home for a couple of miles. His cows are always out on the road, sometimes for days, because my husband complains of almost hitting them when he gets home late. Like I said, they are animals. This is why we moved out here, to be secluded and around people who have common sense with animals. I don’t get it. I will say, at least he stopped and he apologized, that is all I could hear him say, over and over. He even offered to help bury her, but we just needed to be left alone, to mourn, to stroke her silky white fur, feel her soft wet nose and run her floppy ears through my hands one last time. And thats exactly what I did before we covered her in dirt. Thats it, damage done, gone forever. What a hopeless feeling.
Since then, a lot has happened. We’ve lost over 6 chickens, Im sure its more than that number. Coyotes have been visiting, so we only have one rooster left. Ive ran into two snakes while outside, luckily, just bull snakes and not rattlers. I avoided going outside for a week. I couldn’t bear to go out and not see her running around. Our other dogs didn’t make it easy either, for a week straight they howled every single night. The saddest of howls I’ve ever heard, or maybe they just sounded that way to me. It was definitely not like them to howl that much. And it was the saddest thing to see our other dog Mocha paw at her lifeless body. Heartbreaking. The energy outside is just not the same. She brought such joy to our place. We know that now more than ever that she’s gone.
So how do we deal with the loss of a pet? To us she was family, and she was so much more than that. She was my daughters best friend for adventures, a protector. Im so glad she is too young to even know that she is gone, although she does look for her from time to time. How could I explain to her where she is? Her first word was “Hera”. I don’t have an explanation to give to her, and I never thought losing a pet would be this painful. I could say it a million times, but I don’t think people around me truly understand how important she was to us and our homestead. She was so valuable to our homestead, our family.
Hera we are missing you so much. You are the best dog Ive ever owned with all your quirks and huge heart. We will always think of you and remember the time spent with you. Rest In Peace our Good Girl.