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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  Don’t Be Sorry
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Wednesday, June 3,2015

Don’t Be Sorry

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

Keepers of our deepest secrets and our greatest joys, dogs are our #1 fans.


They witness our highest and lowest moments, abundance and lean times; marriages, moves, children, and even divorce. Dogs never judge or give up hope; they love so unconditionally.

The unlimited joy a dog brings can be dimmed by the pain of their physical departure. You may have been lucky enough to enjoy years of companionship and fun. It may have happened suddenly or after an illness. Having sent two of the AusSiebelts’ pack-members to the Rainbow Bridge, within six months of one another, I can relate.

When a loved one (this applies to people, too) crosses over, often, people don’t know what to say.

We may hear, from well-meaning friends, “It’s just a dog”, “You can get another”, “She’s in a better place”, or “I’m sorry for your loss”. Understand that for dog lovers, we have bid farewell to a family member. They have left with a piece of our heart.

Many years ago, I received an email with the subject line of “Long shot”. Aussie Rescue had located a very frail female and needed a foster home. “She looks just like your Rudy”, it said. I drove three hours to fetch her.

Afraid of everything, Chloe was not expected to survive heartworm treatment, she was just skin and bones. She fought hard. Winning our hearts, she became our first foster care failure. Within nine months, she had more than doubled her weight, and gained confidence and energy. “Chloe Longshot” was selected as Miss September on the national ARPH calendar. She was terrified of bicycles and would bolt home from the park, always stopping to look both ways at the cross-street. She was a fierce protector of her pack, Bob and me.

A couple years later, Lacey was found at a water treatment plant. I agreed to foster her, knowing Chloe did not like other females. Her transport was delayed and the girls became BFFs. Lacey, our fourth aussie, assumed the alpha role, and a benevolent leader she was. Nanny to abandoned kittens, she loved her stuffed animals. At 15 and 16 years old, they were welcomed at the bridge by their brothers, Mack and Rudy. I like to think Annette Jaeger (my rescue mentor) was there to meet them - treats in hand, recognized by her hearty laugh. I cherish these memories and blessings with extreme gratitude.

Please don’t say, “I’m sorry for your loss”. Say, “I am thank-ful your dog had a great life with you”. Dogs find, rescue and make **US** into better humans - perpetual works in progress. If your dog is near the end of his/her journey, I send you a warm hug, and offer this: With gratitude, focus on the amazing chain of events which brought you together, and all the wonderful times shared...until you meet again. 

Buster is three years old, and has spent his life in boarding. He is a good boy and dreams of happy memories he will create with his new family. Do you have room in your heart and home for this sweet guy?


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