This story was written by Jamie in honor of her beloved golden doodle, Bentley.  It is part of a new series of blog posts where I share client's stories-  Because all of us with pets know the pain of their passing.  And in sharing, we realise we are not alone. 

Published here with their consent.  Please contact me if you would like to share your story.

Special and meaningful.  

A gentle warmth fills me when I hear these words and give thought to the bond I shared with my golden doodle, Bentley.

Entering my life at a time when I really needed support, Bentley quickly became the crutch that held me up.  My health was lacking and it was common for me to meet each day scared and uncertain about what lay ahead.  I was without direction, and with little to ground myself inside of the box I’d created - a box that offered both a sense of shelter and suffocation.  

Bentley changed all of this, pulling me out and demanding attention, as all young pups do.  Living with him offered structure and a newfound purpose.  When morning came, so too, did a walk… and not before a solid dose of love and affection.  

He filled me up.  His sweet, goofy and all around lovable nature flooded me and reminded me that there was life inside.  He touched the part of me, that I kept hidden from the outside. Bentley’s presence let me know it was okay to take a step.  And then another.  He was always by my side, offering guidance and a gentle security.  I was not alone.  The toughest of days were brightened because he was a part of each one.  He was the best part of each one. 

Bentley made everything better.

Fast forward eight sweet years.  Those parts and pieces of me that once wandered and seemed without a home now felt more secure.   Bentley had helped to create a space in my life that felt safe. 

But that changed again when, one after another, those pieces came undone.  So quickly- they all fell apart.  At the time I needed Bentley most, I sensed something in him seeking my attention. There was a new fragility – a leaning in- that I hadn’t felt before.  Something was not right. He was suffering too…

Within two weeks, Bentley took his last breath in my arms.  

The circumstances that unfolded prior to that final day with Bentley seemed like the very end of my world.  Once again, I felt lost and uncertain.  But when the weight of my troubles had no place to lean – when Bentley’s life ended, those details drifted away.  They were simply points, fading into a line that led to this end.  Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of holding the life that breathed so much into mine, lifeless itself.

How could I not be there for him, the way he was there for me?

One day, many months later, I woke up from these feelings of loss, helplessness, and intense trauma.  I was there for him.  I was there, with him.  

At the time Bentley needed care most of all, I was there.  I met him right where he was.  Not until the final hours of his life did I realize I had the strength to carry him.  When he needed me to, when he could no longer walk on his own, I helped him.  I carried him.  

We did it together. 

We took steps; the same way he had always shown me was possible, even when I lost that belief in myself.

Every day I wonder what Bentley felt and thought.  What were those final moments like?  Did he know how loved he was? 

Over and over, Bentley’s life teaches me about compassion; about suffering together and being with one another through the best of times and through the worst of times, too.  In these moments, we are all the same.  We all feel joy and pain, love and loss.  Without one, the other is not known.  Meeting the depths of each is the true treasure…and the gift that Bentley’s life- and death- imparted to me.