Me and Elsa

Two weeks ago we lost our amazing, one of a kind Luke.  I don't want to dwell on his loss, his absence has left a huge void in my life.  What I'd like to talk about is the aftermath and where Elsa and I are today.  Perhaps just sharing our feelings and emotions might help others who are dealing with loss. 

Elsa is most definitely suffering from the loss.  She is happy and upbeat when we are busy but it is the quiet moments throughout the day when I see it.  She spends a great deal of time in "his spot" on the couch.  She's sighs a lot throughout the day.  I often see her lay out on the double lounge (Luke's lounge) with her head up smelling the breeze, then quickly drop her head down, letting out a big sigh.  She is still hesitating at meal time when her bowl is not the second one down.   Her sit is just a fraction of a second slower as she is still waiting for the first bowl to go down before hers. 

When we are out she is good.  I always talk and write about one on one time. If I can drive home a message that is so very important, it is this.  Elsa has always had a great deal of one on one which helps her now when there is no choice but to be just us.  If you have two, three, four or more dogs who are always together, never having experienced being alone in the world; then this time when there is no option can be made even worse.

Probably one of the most important things that Elsa is use to other than going out alone is being left alone.  Going out alone is one thing, being left behind another.  So having been used to being left behind when Luke and I went out has given her life experience that she calls upon now.  She needs to be okay being alone.  I make sure to go out each day, even if I have no where to go, I go.  I hit the gym in the morning which she is very use to but not the alone part while I'm at the gym, that is new.   Then at some time in the afternoon or early evening I go out and do errands or just go out.  When I return I make sure to not make a big deal of it.  Separation anxiety can begin after a loss like this so leaving and coming home needs to be done strategically. 

The house is quiet, too quiet. 

I too am dealing.  Loss is a very personal thing; no one can tell you how to deal, how long or anything else about it.  Every single relationship is different, so to is loss.  Keeping busy is good, but all of the stages of grief are a part of getting through it.  Allowing the tears and sadness to come is an important step towards the hurt, hurting less.  It's got to come, you must let the grieving happen.  I know far too well what keeping it all bottled up can create.  You must deal with all of the emotions or risk a meltdown at some point.  (after the loss of Tilley, explained in And Back Again)

I make sure that Elsa has a great deal of touch in her days.  As you all know she was constantly wrapped around Luke throughout her entire life, until now.  Yesterday she did her "get off the computer" routine in my office which made me smile.   She rolls onto her back and wags like crazy, snorting and wiggling like a fish.  Of course it always gets me off the computer and onto the floor with her.  We spent a great deal of time there on the floor helping each other. 

Timing is everything, nothing could be more true than that with the addition of Elsa to our lives, 3.5 years ago.  Thank goodness for Elsa.  So here we are again.  Back in the fall we had been considering the addition of a puppy; we had a choice to make when a puppy was available.  We declined that puppy.  I knew my time might be short with Luke and chose to give him all the care and time I could offer him.  Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made as was adding Elsa to our very old pack when I did.  

To the person who added the little boy to their life that we passed on; I hope that you have a long, amazing and happy life together.  For some reason he was meant to be in your life, like Luke was mine.  Timing is everything.

So with time, another will come.  I am looking, yes, but I am not ready right now.  Elsa and I will get through this.  I would love to offer her a puppy right now, at this very moment to call her own but I am afraid that I am not ready.  This has been a tough one for me, the toughest loss so far in all of my dogs.  I have always been ready to open my heart to a new family member right away.  It will be a while this time, and when the time comes to meet the next wonderful little man in my life, it will be the right time. 

Leave a comment, I love to hear from you.  


  1. jean zeigler vierraThursday, January 29, 2015

    I think of Luke every morning as I am feeding my Libby her BahaiBlue fish treats. These are her favorite treats. Thanks for recommending them
    Jean and Libby

  2. Beautifully written. You and Elsa have been in my thoughts constantly, since Luke's passing. Reading your blog is preparing me for the dreaded day when I will have to say goodbye to my Humphrey, or whichever of my 3 Standards passes first. It's a day I'm dreading, but it's a sad and inevitable part of life. A new puppy, full of life and love, is waiting out there, somewhere, something positive and happy to look forward to. A dog, like a child, can never replace another, but they do help to fill the cold emptiness and hole in our hearts with a bit of warmth again. You and Elsa have a very special bond, which is helping both of you get through this sad time. That's what friends are for.

  3. Your feelings in this blog was just how I was feeling 6 years ago when I lost my 2 old westies within 7 months. First our 12 year old to bladder cancer and then 7 months later our 15 year old to a lunge disease. After many months of having first 2 sick senior dogs that needed a lot of care (and meds), then down to 1 dogs and then....That loss, that emptiness you feel is unbearable for a long time. It's the little things after that loss that can make you either cry or laugh when you think about: Remember when?. 5 months after our 2 dogs died, we decided we were ready to make a home for a new puppy, which turned out to be 2 new puppies, brother and sister, and also westies. They will turn 5 next week, and boy have we had a lot of fun with these 2. They do almost everything together, which can be a problem sometimes. We have tried a couple of times to separate them, walking one dog around the area one way, and the other one the opposite way, just to meet at the end. They were NOT happy..LOL And taking them to the vet, they both want to be on the table at the same time....Of course we still talk about our old dogs, we also see a lot of similarities between our 1. westie and the boy we have now, which again gets us talking about: Remember when?? You already know the loss and sorrow you feel now will get easier over time for all of you. Hugs to you! (Mie J.)

  4. Thank you Jean, Diane and Mie. Thank you so much.


  5. Such a beautifully written and descriptive account of what you and Elsa are going through, from the loss of your beloved Luke. I feel as though I'm right there with you... and if I were, you both would be receiving BIG hugs from Wolfgang and me! So, from afar, I can only say a million thank you's for sharing your experiences with your dogs... it makes me much more aware and thus a better dog owner... and I know Wolfgang appreciates that! Godspeed through this time of grieving... I can't imagine how heavy your heart must be. Nan and Wolf

  6. I recently lost Dakota to liver cancer. Nyla still looks for her. I have Dakota's collar laying on the counter in my bathroom. It comforts me. The other day, I picked it up and her tags rattled. Nyla came running in there, thinking she would find Dakota. She looked in the closet(where Dakota like to sleep) and then all around. I could see the confusion in her face. I am very careful not to rattle those tags again. They had only been together a little over a year, but I can see how Nyla misses her.

  7. After reading your post today my mind immediately went to the memories of my beloved Poodles that I have lost over the years. My first Standard was given to me by a friend who asked if I would like a "teacup" poodle. I of course said yes, now imagine my surprise when the poodle was brought to my door. There before me stood a beautiful two year old black standard poodle. It was love at first sight, within moments we bonded and Samantha became my loving shadow. Sadly she passed after becoming very ill with Addison Disease at the young age of 6. I was devastated by her passing.

    Two years passed when I happened to wander into a pet store and found a black male standard for sale. I swore I would never purchase a pet from a pet store for fear of getting a puppy from a "puppy mill" but from the moment I held him I knew he was meant to be with me. Amadeus was my pride and joy, traveling to work with me and being my loving lap dog. For 15 years I was able to enjoy his company until old age took its toll and he took his final breaths in my arms when he was called home. My heart broke again and I swore I would never have another dog as I didn't want to endure the pain of such a loss again. When Amadeus passed our dachshund Chelsea fell into a deep depression as she lost her loving companion. We kept her busy to help her heal.

    As I was driving home from work two years later I noticed a sign for standard poodle puppies for sale. I first thought no, don't do it and drove passed. Before I knew it I was turning around and heading back to investigate. From the moment I held one of the puppies it became obvious that I was in trouble. I was in heaven as I loved on each puppy. It wasn't until the breeder pointed out that the first puppy I had held had not taken her eyes off me. She sat behind her siblings watching my every move. When I picked her back up she sighed and snuggled into my neck. It was at that very moment I knew she was meant to be with me. From that moment on, Scarlett became my world. She soon began her training as a therapy dog in the nursing home I am employed with. The patients quickly fell in love with Scarlett and she with them.
    Sadly I lost Scarlett at the very young age of three. For nearly a week we visited the vet to try to find out what was ailing my darling girl. Lab tests and x-rays showed nothing wrong, until sadly on October 15 at 2:30 in the morning she took her last breaths. My home is too quiet and still with her not here. Chelsea stood watch at the back door for her sister for a month. My cat Hallie wandered the house looking for Scarlett.

    Sherri, your posts about Elsa and Luke helped me with my grief and I thank you for that. I now watch as Chelsea begins her decline due to old age, knowing that it will be amazing if she makes it to summer. I have decided that my life isn't complete with out being able to share it with my beloved standards. So begins my search for a new family members. Until that time comes I will live vicariously through your posts. My heart aches for you and your family. May God's love help you heal during this time.

  8. Thank you so much for your kind words Nancia.

    Irma, thank you for sharing and I am very sorry for your loss. Hugs.

    James, I am so sorry that you have had so many losses. It is a tough call whether or not to do it all over again; but our dogs have such a huge impact on our lives that I am with you and cannot imagine my life without a couple at my side.

    Cherish every moment with Chelsea, the golden years should be just that.

    Hugs, Sherri

  9. Sherri.... I'm at a loss. Your words come from my heart. I have lost 2 standards, both of them were loved deeply, but my first standard, my Emmylou, was --- how does one even describe the amazing relationship we have with our Spoos? I owned a store, and she was my "greeter", everyone loved her and she loved them. My husband and I had seen an ad in a local paper from -yes- a "backyard breeder" (this was in 1992) and I have the same story other's have.... when one pup looks at you "that" way, the bond is instant. I had Emmy for 14.5 years. About the grief, I so understand the need to let the waves come in and out... the small things that can trigger you so unexpectedly, and the tears of joy at being so privileged to share their lives, as well as terrible sadness. I now have 2 spoos again, father and daughter, and they are 3 years apart in age and I don't allow myself to think of the future. I will always have a Standard. I can't imagine anything else. Thank you so much for being willing to be such a wonderful voice of spoo guardianship. You are deeply wise.

  10. They give more than they get, and that is why we miss them so so much when they are gone.

  11. Beautifully said. Loss is very personal and you are taking the time with Elsa who also grieves. You are so inspirational to everyone who has or will go through this. Thank you.

  12. My heart aches for you and Elsa. Luke was a very special boy and in time the right puppy will come along. Let your heart grieve, but keep your eyes open. Big Hugs to you.


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