Fear, grief and dogs


I have a sick pup. Jolene had been lethargic for a couple of days, but yesterday when she refused breakfast, I took her to the vet. I was worried because she was not her usual enthusiastic self that jumps with joy as I carry a cup of kibble to her bowl. Sick pups are especially tough because they cannot tell you what hurts. The vet found that she was running a temperature and the blood work indicated an infection somewhere.

All morning I have felt like crying even though I could tell Jolene was feeling better. I could not name the emotion, but I did what my yoga and spiritual practices have taught me, I allowed the feeling. I did not create a story or try to figure it out, I just noticed the feeling and allowed it rather than trying to push it away or mask it. As I was pouring my tea, the answer came, I was feeling fear and grief.

In the last five years I have had four dogs leave this world:


Sweet Atty had cancer. She deteriorated quickly in her last month. The vet feared that the tumor on her spleen was about to rupture, so I peacefully let her go. For 12 years she was my sweet and steady companion.

Not an actual Plott Hound, but close to how I remember him.

Within a month of losing Atty, I had a Plott Hound rescue for 46 hours. Durning our first night together I recognized that he should not have been placed anywhere. The rescue group would not listen to my concerns and kept offering basic training tips. I was begging them to come get him, but they were putting me off and avoiding the issue. The dog flipped out and viscously attacked my neighbor. I wrestled him into my house and his cage. After sending photos of the damage he inflicted on my neighbor and threatening to call animal control, someone came to get him. He was held for two days before he was put down. I got more of his story after he was gone. The rescue group knew he was vicious and out of control. He had bitten before. While it was an awful bite, my neighbor did not have serious, lasting injuries. It is a miracle that he did not damage a tendon.

Riva Ridge

Riva Ridge died at three and a half when a tumor ruptured. I had no idea she had cancer or was in pain. She was a sensitive, crazy, wild child that only a mother could love. She was my second Border Collie/Heeler mix with cancer.


Stella the beagle was a true character that had a large fan club. I found her as a puppy. She had been left or dumped in the woods. I paid the bills and fed her, but she was Atty’s dog. Stella knew all of the neighbors in our condo complex and would patiently sit at the patio door of select homes until her demand for a treat was met. At the farm she spent hours working our fields to flush rabbits. Her bay was a joyous sound. Her 14-year-old body was failing, she was in pain, so I put her down last October. I like to think she is with our Atty.

I see my loss and some trauma in a short amount of time. I fear losing another fur baby. I fear cancer in my two-year-old Heeler. I fear she could be my fifth loss in as many years. I still grieve Atty and Stella. I remember the trauma of the rescue dog. I wonder what I could have done differently with Riva. Yeah, I think I’ll just cry and allow myself to grieve.

27 thoughts on “Fear, grief and dogs

  1. shoreacres says:

    I’ve had only one pet, a cat named Dixie Rose who was with me for eighteen years. Reading your stories of your experiences with four– I can hardly imagine it. Here’s hoping you have many more years with Jolene; the two of you are lucky to have one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leelah saachi says:

    Oh Sara, what a deep grief load you carry. I wish for you a beautiful deep conclusion to this grief – I do not know if this belief speaks to you, but I am convinced that both my cats held a pain for me that was too big for me to fathom. They both died from cancer –
    to me, it seems that you are doing exactly what the universe offers you to be with – and maybe that grief is an old one for you -or not

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Davis says:

      I know Riva mirrored me, so I am sure she carried my pain. I suffered from depression for a few years of Atty’s life. Now that you say this, I think you are on to something.


  3. ZeroSpace says:

    Oh, Sarah that’s really rough to lose so many dogs over such a short period of time. So sorry. This really tugs at my heart strings. The only positive thing g I have to offer here is that you are a fantastic photographer. Your pictures of fir friends I. Particular – it’s like you have a talent for getting them to pose in addition to a great eye for what to capture in the backround.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rebecca s revels says:

    They are family, we do worry and fear over them. Even the ones that come into our life and stay so briefly. My Bella was acting sickly and I got her to the vet, the bill wasn’t cheap, but I can tell she is feeling better. She has been my companion and friend since my husband passed, always looking out for me, it was my turn to look out for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lib Bain says:

    Love this! Way to process! Gold stars!!

    Liberty A thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it. (St. Ignatius).


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie says:

    Typing this through tears, Sarah. Our fur-kids are so precious to us, so needy yet so lovable, and it seems you’ve suffered more than your share of grief. Every day I miss my Sheltie Dallas. Every. Day. Monkey is a comfort, but at just seven months, he’s not put in the time yet to claim a piece of my heart. I do hope Jolene mends and will be with you for many years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Davis says:

      Thank you Debbie. First the good news, Jolene is rapidly improving.
      I still miss Stella and Atty left a big hole in my heart. This may sound crazy, but sometime I wonder is Jolene is not Atty finding her way back to me. They share some uncanny similarities. Now the two of us are waiting in the beagle that needs to find us. Peace my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Eilene Lyon says:

    You really have been through an emotional wringer with the dogs in your life recently. I do hope all turns out well this time. The dogs always have a permanent place in my heart, no matter how bad it hurts to let them go.

    Liked by 1 person

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