It’s a big day for me. Today, I am taking down my ‘hiatus’ notice, and am again available to help new and existing clients with their dogs. The road I have followed these last six weeks since Tycho’s death has not been straight, and neither have I reached the end of that road. But I believe that part of our family’s healing process is that I again start to look outwards, by helping other people/clients with their doggy training needs and problems.
As for my own family of animals: they have been speaking from their hearts and I needed to listen. I have lost count of the number of vet visits I have made in the last six weeks as each of our cats became ill in turn since Tycho’s passing. I don’t know about you, but I remember when I was at school and university (I know I’m not the only one that goes through this stuff), I would often spend the first few days after our year-end exams with a heavy cold or flu – as though my body had been holding in all that stress and tension, and when the pressure came off, my body would go ‘whew, now I have the time to have that cold that’s been brewing’. So too our cats.
In the first two weeks after Tycho’s disappearance, all of them started to suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. Lexie, our black cat who suffered the most under Tycho’s predatory drive, and consequently became the most ill, is still not entirely well. He has developed a kidney infection that has been ongoing for more than a month now and he is still on antibiotics for it. His toileting habits have become, shall we say, “unclean”, and I’m hoping that his inappropriate eliminations will go away once his kidney infections clear up, but that is taking some time. Harry, our 16 year old tabby cat, has developed hyperthyroidism on top of his already existing renal failure, and now really does need his subcutaneous fluids twice a week. Even feral Chloe, our polydactylous calico, has been ill.
Our remaining two dogs have also changed. Changes for the better. Kira, my little kooiker, is learning to play again. She is finding that toys are no longer stolen away from her by Tycho and she is taking great pleasure in inviting me to a game of tug with this or that squeaky toy. The squeakier, the better. This wasn’t something she ever dared to do whilst Tycho was with us. Meanwhile Dakota, our Berger Blanc Suisse, has regained the characteristic even-temperedness and good nature that is typical of his breed. At least at home. We no longer have mad hours of overly intense play between him and Tycho, and so he is generally much calmer. Outside of the house, he is showing signs of nervousness towards certain other dogs, and I am working to try to resolve this in him. He is also besotted by the cats. Now that the barriers in the house are coming down, he loves spending much of his time just watching them with a completely goofy expression on his face.
So where are we humans in our process of grief with Tycho? Well, the initial denial was of his temperament and happened before we euthanized him. The isolation we have felt since his passing has been very much present. I asked blog readers to please not criticize me because I feared my ability to handle it (and thank you, readers, for doing that). My husband and I loved Tycho from the bottom of our hearts, and we lived with him for 2 years and 8 months before finally taking the decision to save our other animals at his, and our, expense. I am still saddened.
A chapter in our lives has closed, although the grief is still ongoing. We humans in the house still miss our Tycho, but I don’t believe that any of our four-legged companions do. It is time for me to come out of my shell, and be a part of this world again. The legacy left by Tycho is becoming one of calmness and stillness. Tycho, you were an authentic dog, with some real issues. I hope that you have understood why we did what we did, that you are now at peace, and will forgive us when we meet again at the rainbow bridge.
My story matters because Tycho mattered.