Outdoor adventures were Ebony’s bliss.

Life and it’s range of experiences is what inspires my art and fuels all of my creative expression, even or maybe especially, the most difficult ones. Grief is in my space right now and as much as I’d like to escort it out, I’ve decided to befriend it and learn from it. I now see that grieving is part of my personal growth and my hope is that one day I will be of service to someone new to grieving a pack member. How does one grieve the loss of a beloved dog? This is new territory for me and all I know is that it’s hard. Really hard. The art of living includes grief.

Ebony delivering a “Puppy Papa’s Day” card to Mark.

Everyday feels like something is missing. Deeply missing. My life is blessed. Yet, I miss Ebony in a way I’ve never missed anyone or anything before.

Ebony gave far more to our lives than her earthly doggie assignment called for. With a spunky personality and incredible communication skills (nose nudging, patiently staring until you noticed her, standing between me and my husband during a conversation, and various distinct vocal expressions) her methods always communicated what was on her mind…adventure, the outdoors, and of course…food (in true form to her lab reputation).

Ebony had a big presence. She was so adventurous, cheerful and sweet. She had street smarts and heart smarts, and could fit into most situations because she was sensitive and adaptable.

Sweet, sincere, and very focused on what she wanted.

Today, I miss seeing her in all the places she found comfort in our home. Like the shower floor when it was too hot. Or cuddled up next to Princess (her sister) when it was too cold. Or sitting near our feet against our sofa when we watched a movie.

She had one habit that drove me crazy though…hanging around the kitchen.  Whenever anyone appeared in the kitchen, there appeared Ebony. Even after she ate a hearty meal, she’d return and that drove me bonkers. Our kitchen is not big and I didn’t like her hanging around the kitchen while I cooked. This was our little “issue.” Somehow, we got through 12 years of her loitering in the kitchen and wondering what every Labrador thinks…”got anything for me?” Today, I miss Ebony. In the kitchen. So much.

Since she crossed the rainbow bridge, I’ve experienced sadness (more like sorrow) like never before. If I didn’t know previously that within me exists a child-like essence…I do, now. Some days, I feel like a 5-year old whose puppy was unfairly taken from her. I cry like one, too. Other days, I feel full of life. But, not a day goes by since her passing 34 days ago when I don’t love on her invisible presence with all my heart.

The art of living means to me that I’m learning to live with life’s circumstances (especially the painful ones) through the love in my heart. I say through because love is the energy that is enabling me to move through my pain and grow. I trust this will get easier. I still find joy in the little things in life, such as how the lighting is changing as we approach the end of summer, or taking more leisurely walks with Princess, or feeling my husband tenderly stroke my head in the morning as I sleep just a little bit longer.

I feel pretty certain that Ebony is having an adventurous time on her new journey because that’s who she was, an adventure seeker. I miss you, Ebony. I’m forever grateful to have known such deep love. Te amo con todo mi corazón. Always and forever.

Ebony and I having a bonding moment.

Have you grieved the loss of an animal that you love? What did you do to grow through it? Did it get easier with time?

I’d really love to hear your experiences, and what helped you.

love and light,