Never underestimate the love and power of a dog. The bond goes deep, the grief goes deeper, after 13 years.

I have been preparing myself for some time now, as I have known, that one day in 2010, my dog Toby the GirlDog as I call her, will leave.

It will be her time. I just know. Intuitively, I know. I knew it to be true last year.

And now her health is showing the proof. Toby will be 13 in May of 2010, and she’s had a great life, and has been a wonderful companion for me, and a big part of my home based business. I will miss her deeply.

Why is Toby the GirlDog called Toby? Well, almost 13 years ago I was reading a book by Maya Angelou, and I took the name from her book, where she writes:

“… a Toby is a Southern Black term for a lucky talisman, something you keep with you always, which brings you good and protects you from harm.”

Toby has done, just that, for me, protected me from harm, brought me good, nature and the outdoors, and laughter, daily.

Toby can’t walk very well right now, and it’s hard to watch some days, but it is not her time to go quite yet, not today anyway. (Her part-Border Collie brain still thinks she can walk and still wants to sniff the grasses, sniff the sand on the beach and sniff for rabbit and raccoon tracks). Toby still wants to do everything with me, be with me, follow me around everywhere as she always has done. Her mind wants to, her body is saying, no longer.

We’ll be back to the vet tomorrow, to see what we can do for her poor sore paws and legs giving out, and as I write, she sleeps peacefully beside me.

She knows. Toby knows it will soon be her time. We both know. We are both preparing to say Good Bye. And today, I cannot stop crying. I’ve been grieving ahead of time. I’ve been incredibly sad, knowing that my best friend Toby, must leave soon. Grieving the loss of a pet is never easy.

Heartbreaking, it is.

Here’s Toby in 2008 at her favorite place in the entire world, the beautiful beaches of Tofino:

Copyright 2008 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Copyright 2008 Brenda Johima

Copyright 2008 Brenda Johima | Images May Not Be Used In Any Way Without Written Permission

Some people may wonder why I am grieving now, as Toby is still alive as I write this post. And yes, I am, cherishing every moment I still do have with her right now, and I’m enjoying just any little thing she still can do. Our little walks on grass and moss for her sore paws, are slow, but she still wants to do it, and I love to see the power of her brain, the power of the inner spirit, which lives on so strongly, even when the body begins to say no.

For many years I was a Music Therapist/Counsellor and I worked in Grief Recovery, Palliative Care, and I know the power of grieving, and know how and why we must finish, what we came here to do, in order to be truly happy. We must feel the depths of grief, as deep as we have felt the joy, love and laughter. Then we will be able to heal and to move on in a healthy way.

Grief is a normal part of losing something/some one that you really love. For me, the depth of grief is equal to the depth of love. We must grieve, and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote so much on this topic, and we cannot ignore her brilliant writings, research, truth and wisdom.

Thank you for reading, thank you for listening, and it’s my 49th birthday today, and the gift to myself, is in sharing this truth with all of you, and to begin to acknowledge Toby publicly, and for all that she has given me for so very many years. Writing is healing. Writing the truth and posting it publicly, worldwide is transformative.

In Love,

Brenda Johima and Toby

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