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10 Heartbreaking Life Lessons From a Grieving Doodle Mom

Photo courtesy of Lori Gullickson Bartoszewski.

As some of you may know, I’m a member of quite a few doodle-related Facebook groups.  As I was scrolling through my feed last week I came across a post that I knew I had to share.

It made me tear up, but more importantly, it gave me a renewed sense of gratitude and appreciation for the time I have with my doodle.

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Thank you to Lori Gullickson Bartoszewski for having the courage to share her perspective with us.  Bailey was lucky to have a dog mom as passionate and caring as her.

I hope you take away as much from her words as I did…

He’s not waiting for me by the door when I come home

He’s not begging for a bite of my food with those beautiful eyes

He’s not sleeping at the end of my bed

He’s not laying by the shower door waiting for me

He’s not drinking from his water dish with that precious sound

He’s not walking by my side in the neighborhood

He’s not tripping me in the middle of the kitchen floor while I cook

He’s not barking at the activity outside

He’s not making the familiar sound of walking across the wooden floors, the jingle of his collar & tags, the sounds of the sliding glass door when I let him outside. The list of sounds is endless.  The quiet is, well, indescribable.

He’s not sticking his face out the car window while I watch the wind blowing across his face in my rear view mirror

He’s not giving me his nose to cuddle

He’s not following me to the bathroom and putting his head on my lap for kisses

He’s not rolling on his back in the grass or on the carpet

He’s not running to me across the field at the dog park

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But…

He’s also not crying in pain

He’s also not barking weakly for help to get up to stand

He’s also not losing his appetite

He’s also not forcing himself to drink

He’s also not collapsing when trying to squat outside

He’s also not looking at me with utter confusion about what’s happening to him

He’s also not suffering any more

He’s gone—but oh how I want him back.  It’s at most times unbearable.  Oh how I miss him.  No words can describe.

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If I may offer a bit of advice from this horrible perspective:

  1. Notice and treasure the sounds your fur babies make each day.  Even the smallest things that you may not notice now, you will notice when they are non-existent.
  1. Take them with you everywhere you possibly can.  Let them experience life and joy with you.  Those are the memories you will cling to most and find peace that you allowed them to experience life with you outside of your home.
  1. Take lots of pictures and videos, especially with you and your family.  I hate pictures of myself.  I’m never satisfied with the way I look, so I didn’t take many of us together.  That’s a mistake.  You’ll long for them later.
  1. Keep clippings from their fur.  More than less.  I took just 2 small clippings from his ear at the end, but I wish had more.
  1. Make a paw print.  Sooner than later while they can still stand for the best quality.
  1. Keep their favorite toy close to you.  I have his most recent teddy bear that he loved to play with and in the end lay his head on.  His collar fits nicely around its neck.  I admit, I’m a grown woman but I hug his bear all night while I sleep.  It has his smell.
  1. Kiss that nose every moment possible.  It’s unbearable when it’s gone.  I long for just one more kiss of that beautiful wet nose.  Just one.
  1. Always remain patient—just as they do.
  1. Always love them unconditionally—just as they do.
  1. Feel so blessed that you have a true angel among you, sharing your life and watching over you.  Don’t take one day or one moment for granted.

Love,
Bailey’s Mom

Photo courtesy of Lori Gullickson Bartoszewski.

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