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Losing My Best Friend

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After 10 wonderful years we had to put my beloved dog Billy to sleep and to say I’m devastated doesn’t come close to describing how I feel. I’ve been to more funerals of family and friends than I can count but the pain of loss I feel without him goes way beyond any grief I’ve ever felt before. It’s been over a month yet I shed tears every day.

Friends I’ve spoken to who’ve had and lost dogs understand and until I had Billy I never realised just how they worm their way into your heart and soul. Unlike humans, dogs are totally honest creatures – they hold nothing back in terms of who they are. They don’t try to be anything other than themselves and they love you with every fibre of their being. You do the same in return and it made me realise I could never love a human as much as I loved (and will always love) him. A friend told me:

“There’s something about their unconditional love for you that really tears you apart when they pass.”

Added to that he was the perfect companion. Well behaved, fun, endlessly happy to see me, playful, sociable, calm, lazy, a good traveller and without a doubt my happiest times were with him over the last decade. I got him just as I started working remotely and sat here typing out these words alone in my home office I realise his company kept me sane through countless meetings, late night coding sessions, pandemics, stressful software releases and everything else in between.

I trusted him completely and he trusted me completely. He knew what I was going to do before I did, we were completely in sync without having to say a word. He knew when I was stressed or down or if I needed a break and was sure to tell me! My entire life was built around him and I wouldn’t have had it any other way – the house I rent is far larger than I need but I’m here because the landlord allowed dogs (not common enough in the UK) and that was the only thing that mattered to me.

There are a thousand little routines we did together. For example when I’d go to bed at night I’d grab the fleecy throw that lived on my sofa and put it on my bed. Billy would then sleep the night there (right in the middle of course). So as soon as I got up and went to grab the throw, he knew exactly what was coming next, he knew it was time for bed. He’d either jump down (if he was on the sofa) or get up (if he was on his bed in my lounge) and start heading towards the bedroom. I’d put the throw on the bed then go and brush my teeth. Since he knew I’d do that he’d have stopped in the hall to stare at the bathroom, waiting for me to go in and then come out to bed. As he got older I’d lift him onto the bed rather than him jump up so he’d wait for me to do that. Then he’d sit and stare at me, waiting for me to get into my pyjamas and go under the covers so he could cuddle into me and instantly go to sleep, snoring away while hogging the bed. Heaven.

Now, every time I go to bed, I do so alone. I feel his presence, but I look around and he’s not there.

I still go on the same walks around where I live. I have memories of every tree he peed on, every place he’d run, that time he bumped into one of his mates and they chased each other around, him barking like a lunatic. And despite walking alone it brings me closer to him to relive those moments. I have videos of walking him and can wander along the same spots holding my phone in front of me and it’s like he’s there. It helps, but it’ll never be the same without him.

I know the best bet is to get another dog, and I’m sure I’ll have another one at some point since they are such magical creatures and I am most certainly a dog person. But while it’ll replace the lifestyle of having a dog and give me a new companion, it’ll never replace him. The person Billy was. Knowing I have to live the rest of my life without him is a tough prospect and while I have thousands of photos and videos of my time with him, I’d give anything just to have him resting his chin on my leg and snoozing away peacefully with me. Even just for a minute.

Or watch him running in the park, blissfully lost in the moment of running, something that dog was born to do and did right up until the end.

I like to think that somewhere on some other plane Billy is running around a park barking away. And then he’ll stop, look around and sprint straight towards me. We’ll walk off together, just him and me. Both of us totally content with our lot. I miss you boy. 💔

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

15 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Je vous comprends très bien, et même si j’aime les chiens, je ressens la même chose pour mon chat, lorsqu’il viendra à partir définitivement (comme les autres avant lui) j’aurai moi aussi un très grand chagrin.

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  2. Our furry friends become part of us and share in all of the good and not so good that life hands us. One of their great attributes is that through it all, they keep us sane.

    Time is the only thing that can help.

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  3. Ti capisco perfettamente. Loro ci aspettano dall’altra parte, ne sono sicuro. Un abbraccio

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  4. Please adopt another pet as soon as you are able. So many homeless animals need wonderful homes like yours.

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  5. Hi John, I have 2 little dogs like Billy, and every time I hear of someone losing their dog it instantly makes me dread the time when it happens to us.
    I’m sure Billy loved his life and appreciated every single day of it (if only humans could do the same) – as he was cared and lover for by you.
    Photos and videos must help – I have 1000s myself.
    Hope it gets easier soon.

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    • To be honest as Billy got older I’d feel the same way when I read about people losing their dogs and that made me appreciate him and cuddle him even more. Nothing softens the blow but I do love scrolling through the photos and videos and remembering what a wonderful little pal he was.

      I’d often find myself worrying about him like when he needed two knee surgeries as he did his cruciate ligament in both back knees. Except he himself just took it in his stride, recovered quickly and went back to running around like a mad thing. I only wish I could live in the moment like he did and no doubt your dogs do – savouring every second!

      You’re very lucky – seeing other dogs and hearing about other dogs living their best life makes me smile so enjoy! 🙂

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