Grief stricken from losing Scooby to such a horrifying tragedy, I laid in bed completely in shock for the next two days. I was the teaching assistant for our science department and my teachers expected my work to be outstanding. I had a research paper due on Monday, yet I struggled to move, eat or even talk. I was so upset. I did not protect him! The dogs often stayed outside when the weather was good. There were three of them and I did not understand why I didn’t hear anything. While petting Spike, I found bite marks on his ears. He must have tried to help Scooby. It must have happened so fast. It happened at the far corner of our yard and farthest away from the bedroom. I missed him so much!
I discovered that in the 1980’s it was not acceptable to grieve for pets. They were just animals and we should “get over it” and move on with life. To me, animals shared more love than any human I had ever met. Scooby was gentle, kind, funny, intelligent and filled with pure unconditional love.
I returned to school on Wednesday and turned in my paper. My paper scored a 99%, almost perfect due to months of research and writing, yet my professor docked my score 20% to punish me for missing two days of school. He did not believe that I had to grieve for Scooby’s gentle loving soul. Scooby was the one who greeted me every day with tail wags and a smile. He was the one who accepted me just the way I was, without judgment or criticism. He was my best friend!
Scooby guarded my fence like a warrior and lost his life protecting me. I believe I had the right to grieve his loss, but as punishment I was set as an example to my class of peers in the science department. My grade was dropped a “C” and my professor publicly ridiculed me because he perceived grief as a lack of strength.
In those moments as I reflected life, my professor and most of all, my beloved dog, I felt tremendous sadness, not only for Scooby, but for mankind. I especially felt sad for my professor because I believed his heart was too hard and somewhere inside him I wondered if he did not allow himself to feel emotions. I did not like what I saw in the man that was one of my mentors and vowed to myself to respect others for their need to grieve losses. I struggled with being angry at him but knew inside his reaction was a result of his life experience and to be mad fueled that nature. I had to find a way to choose unconditional love for my professor. And I admit it took me several years to really say with a pure heart that I could send him good thoughts and compassion. I definitely needed to polish my own skills of unconditional love.
It’s times like these where we are really tested as to who we are. We can be angry for life and never love again. We can hate people or animals for the physical and emotional harm we feel. But if we chose to stay in those dark places, we are choosing not to love and that puts us stuck, sad, angry and alone. We need to somehow find a way to process the grief and begin to live and love again.
I have many clients who lose a pet and state they will never have another pet because it hurts too much to lose them. I see that as deepening the bond of pain within ones spirit. It stays there somewhere deep inside and festers like a deep wound. If not let out to heal it can cause serious illness like cancer or weakened immune systems that allow diseases to come it. By processing the grief, talking about it, forgiving others, loving more animals, you can release the pain and live in love.
In loving memory of ScoobyDoo