As human beings we all want to be accepted and be part of something bigger. We are social animals and need to be around others. Last Monday my beloved dog Koko died and crossed over to the rainbow bridge. She was 13.5 years old. It was a difficult and yet spiritual. She was part of a pack. The pack is slowly shrinking as the dogs get older, but still a pack. As of today there are 6 dogs remaining out of 15. It is hard to watch them grow old but I am very honoured that these magnificent creatures allow me to be the gatekeeper as they pass over to the next life. I am also grateful they allow me to care for them in their twilight years.
Koko got ill rather quickly. Despite the fact that she had some age related issues, her death was quite unexpected. It was hard to see the sudden decline. I hate to watch her suffer and I hate to see the fear and sadness in her daughter Bean’s eyes.
The vet was booked to come see her on Tuesday for bloodwork and when Koko stopped walking, she agreed to come ASAP. As the vet was examining Koko, her sisters were sporadically barking and howling. As I lay there with Koko, I tried to be supportive not just to her but to her siblings and daughter as well. I would softly say words of encouragement to reassure them that things were okay; that Koko was okay. But Koko was not okay and it was more than her legs that were causing her illness.
The tough decision was made.
As the vet was preparing to give Koko the injection that would allow her to quietly slip away from us, the kennel went strangely quiet. It remained quiet as the drug was slowly entering her beautiful body. At the moment that I like to believe her soul left her body, all the dogs, at the same time, began to howl. It was like a send off, an ode to Koko. It was eerie and amazing all at the same time. All present were full of respect and awe for the entire pack.
Koko was comforted by her pack in life and in death.
I wanted to share this with you not just to honour Koko but to share the power of being supported by others. In our own life journey we can feel alone and isolated. Koko never felt that way because she had a pack. As the pack size shrunk, it didn’t matter, it was still a pack. It’s not about the numbers its about the connection. If you are feeling alone and isolated reach out and start your own pack. A pack can be one other person that you feel close to and do things with. Your pack can be your family or a group. Your pack can be anything you need it to be. I feel my pack is my family, friends, colleagues and I am lucky enough to be included in Koko’s pack.
If you feel isolated from your pack and need to connect in one on one counselling or a group, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to connect with you.