Reflecting on the Loss of My Best Friend, One Week Removed
Grief is a deeply personal journey, an intricate tapestry of emotions that each individual weaves in their own way. The pain of losing a pet is an experience unlike any other, a unique passage through heartache that defies comparison. No two people share the same feelings, the same memories, or the same sense of loss. It's a reality that comes with the territory of being a pet parent, a silent understanding of the inevitable, yet unwelcome goodbye that will eventually come.
One week ago, we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to our Goldendoodle, Gabby. Despite being 9 years old, she retained the same lively energy and unique personality that she had when she was first brought home at the age of 2.
Expressing a lifetime of moments in just a few words is a challenge, yet I'm driven to offer a peek into the happiness and love Gabby brought me. By putting these words down, I'm hoping to find my way through this complicated path of grief.
Gabby was hardly ever one to run away; she had a knack for being well-behaved off-leash and would almost always return when called. Occasionally, the sight of deer would entice her to dart off, but it wouldn’t happen often. However, there was a notable exception on March 14th, during a snowstorm that now has its own Wikipedia page – the March 2017 North American blizzard. In the midst of the snowfall, Gabby (alongside another dog, her cousin, Bear) managed to slip away, leaving us frantic as we searched the blizzard throughout the night. The relentless snowfall persisted until the mid-afternoon of March 15th, burying us under more than a foot and a half of snow, all while we still had two dogs missing.
Thankfully, that afternoon, we received a call about two dogs that matched the description of Gabby and Bear. We managed to locate and get them out of the elements. Despite their fatigue, they were safe, cozy, and, most importantly, back home again.
If there’s anything to take away from this story, it’s that Gabby was resourceful, determined, and adventurous (although, we wish that she wasn’t AS adventurous, in that instance).
Hiking was one of the many things that we loved doing with Gabby. Living in Maine, especially this region, there are so many elevations to explore, and Gabby was an ideal companion for these adventures. We held a special fondness for spots like Chick Hill in Clifton, Bald Mountain in Dedham, and Great Pond Mountain in Orland. However, in the end, where we were didn’t matter, as long as Gabby was by our side.
Another one of the simple joys I shared with Gabby was taking walks along the Brewer Riverwalk. While I've strolled this path countless times over the years, it was only in the last year that it really became a daily routine. This time together allowed us to enjoy the company of other dogs, people, and those ducks that are always kicking around. The Penobscot River scenery is undeniably beautiful, however, I’m sorry, my dog was prettier.
An unexpected blessing in my life came from understanding workplaces and compassionate colleagues. I’m so lucky that Gabby was able to become an inseparable part of my daily routine, a constant source of comfort amid any challenges of work. Whether it was my family at TV5, or the wonderful folks here at Townsquare Media who embraced her with arms wide open, I can never express truly how much it all meant to me.
I would often joke that my coworkers liked her more than they did me, and that quickly became a truth I embraced wholeheartedly. Trust me, I get it. I'd choose Gabby's company over mine any day, too.
I know it sounds cliché because everyone believes that their dog is perfect, but Gabby truly was. However, clichés exist for a reason, don't they?
I often have had to remind myself that the universe has a way of finding balance. The reason I feel this hurt and sadness is simply because I loved her so deeply. Gabby was more than just a pet – she was family. And her family loved her – Elana, our mothers, our mother figures, and everyone in Gabby’s life. We really tried our hardest to give her the best days that we could.
We may have spoiled her, but the truth is, we were the fortunate ones. The memories, the moments, and the unbreakable bond we shared will forever be a treasured chapter in the story of our lives – a chapter adorned with the indelible pawprints of Gabby.