Using Perspective and Positive Thinking

“Overcoming Hardship and Loss”
June 4, 2012

“I had to put my beloved dog down yesterday. I’d rather have him back than the use of my legs.”  That was a tweet I sent out on Friday.

My dog Bear was such a faithful companion for thirteen years.  My son brought him home and gave him to me when he was only five weeks old.  It was love at first sight, and we were inseparable after that initial bond.  He was very sick when I had to make the decision to put him down.  I know I did the right thing, but I feel such sadness and grief right now.

He was my best friend.  He always listened to me, never was mean to me, and stayed by my side no matter what mood I was in.  If I was happy, he was happy. If I was sad, he was sad.  If I left the house without him, he laid by the door until I came home.  Our favorite activity was to take a long walk around the neighborhood every morning and greet the neighbors.

I started to train him to be a therapy dog early, and he was so smart he would put his own toys away.  Bear was so patient and understood my disability. At seventy pounds, he was sturdy and still as I grabbed onto him for balance, or needed help to roll over or stand. I swear if he could push a vacuum cleaner, he would have swept my floors for me.

Dogs are amazing animals.  They are incredibly smart and their senses are keen.  They don’t complain and if treated right, are so devoted; their love is unconditional.  They want to please, and are taught to be useful and obey. They assist police, soldiers, handicapped people, and others in incredible ways.

I am using the power of perspective and positive thinking to help me through my loss:

* Bear was very seriously sick and now he is at peace.  I know in my heart, mind and gut I made the right decision.

*We had thirteen good years together, and gave each other tremendous joy.  I was lucky, but he was lucky too.  He had a lot of love from everyone whether they knew him or not.  He was always fed, walked, brushed, played with and attended to when he was sick or hurt, up until his last breath.

*So many other dogs (or cats, etc.) never have these things.  They are abused, abandoned, or neglected.  Too many loving animals that could have what Bear and I had never get that chance.  In fact, he had a better life than most people on this planet.

*Likewise, even though I have many difficulties with my MS, I also have a better life than most people. My family loves and supports me, I live in a modest but comfortable home, eat well, and have everything that I need except perfect health.  But then again, I tell myself that things could always be a lot worse.  A good friend has a Down’s syndrome daughter; another friend has a severely autistic child.  My brother-in-law lost his 16-yr. child in a bad accident…

*It’s okay to cry or vent out feelings for awhile.  It’s not being weak or emotional; it’s being human.  My husband, son and I are talking about our feelings and memories.

*I am grateful for the sensitivity and kindness others have shown in support of the loss.  What would I do without my family and friends?

Throughout the years I have suffered many hardships and losses–my physical problems from MS; death of a parent, other close relatives and friends; financial and emotional distress from job losses of both my husband and myself—the list is quite long.  I have used my perspective and positive thinking through these difficult situations to help me cope with my grief.  Things happen in life we don’t always understand or think are unfair.  I think experience, age, my MS and attitude have taught me that. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

So I will be sad for now but slowly heal in time to the point where my sadness will dissipate and fond memories will replace it.  I will always feel Bear’s loss, but I accept it and will continue to move forward. Life goes on and Bear would want me to go forward with it.