” He collapsed at home. When we got to the Vet he couldn’t stand. He was bleeding internally. They said he had very progressed cancer. I had to put him to sleep.”
I had let a phone call go to voicemail on the way home from work tonight. I checked it while sitting in the bank drive through. I cried the whole way home. Body wrenching, loud, ugly crying. Not my Brady, not my gentle soul. I sit here now with tears running down my face, almost unable to breathe. He was so kind, so peaceful. His mom needs him, she needs his love, but she had to watch him slip away in pain.
People always see the fun parts of my job. I get to play with puppies and express my creativity constantly. I am surrounded by innocent love every day. But then there is the one thing I hate. The one part of being a dog groomer that literally rips my heart apart every time it happens. I lose a little light in my life when one of my dogs passes away. Sometimes it’s expected and that may soften the blow, knowing that the suffering has ceased. But even so, you have no idea how much I love these amazing little creatures. I spend more special time with them than anyone besides their family. To them, I am family.
Even if they come in scared, so many of them respond to my voice, my touch. We build a bond of trust and love. Dog grooming on the surface seems like a dirty and lowly job, but I truly adore these animals. They are pure souls who come into my life and make it so much happier. I don’t just do this job to pay the bills, I do this job because i need to warmth in my heart. I need snuggles and kisses and tail wags.
A dog will never lie to you, and he will never hurt you on purpose. He will never say mean things or be vindictive. He will tell you when he is sad, or when he is hurt or scared. He will tell you when he is happy or excited or curious. For me, dogs are easier to understand than people because they don’t hide anything. Their heart is on their paw and I love them for it. This is perhaps partly why losing a pet hurts me so much. I’ve given a bit of my own heart to a dog and they’ve given me some of theirs to hold for safe keeping. We have a bond that isn’t just about hair cutting, it’s about treating them with dignity and honesty. Showing them that I’m all theirs for this short time; they have my full attention and I am listening very carefully.
Brady and I shared lots of hugs and lots of nose-to-nose moments. I’m going to miss him just like I miss them all. Each one is special to me and I will keep them with me forever. Tonight I mourn for Brady and his mom, and for every dog who has warmed their parent’s life and brought love and grace into the world. They aren’t Man’s best friend for nothing.