In June of 2016 I lost my most faithful companion. My dog, Chewbacca.
Chewbacca had been my trusty sidekick for over a decade and during that time, unbeknownst to me, he became more than my pet. He became my emotional support dog. Chewbacca was brought into the family around the same time as my youngest was born. Although there has been a lot of discussion on if having a puppy and a newborn at the same time was our wisest move, I wouldn’t change my time with my poochums for anything in the world. He provided me company as the kids were growing up and while my spouse was working. Although I’m not completely a stay at home Mom (I do have my photography business), I often am home and the days can be lonely. Chewbacca filled my days with sniffs, licks, begging and cuddles. I began to rely on his affection without really being aware that he was filling an emotional void. I think anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet will understand this. The companionship and unconditional love received from a pet is remarkable and can’t be replaced.
After 10 years (and a few months) with my friend, Chewbacca got sick and we made the decision to put him to sleep. This was an extremely hard decision for us to make and although he was suffering, I still wonder if we made the right call. I loved this dog more than I had ever loved any other pet. Maybe it was because of how long we had him. Maybe it was the licks he gave me when I put him on the bed with me…or maybe it was his Superhero complex which showed while he was watching the movie, Underdog. Whatever it was, losing him made me feel completely heartbroken. More than that, it made me feel broken.
When the time came to let Chewbacca move on, I wanted to do right by him, I found a wonderful facility which helps with the passing of animals called Home to Heaven.
Home to Heaven is a very peaceful location. The setup is exactly what is needed for feeling comfortable to deal with your grief. For my story, the important part was in the backyard… The Labyrinth.
A labyrinth in the spiritual world represents walking your own sacred journey to wholeness. It is said that walking a labyrinth will help center your soul. I walked this path with Chewbacca and I walked it again once he had departed. The act of walking the labyrinth has extreme significance for me now. The blogs I write in the future will dive more into the spiritual element of my psychosis but for now, I will say that these were the first steps towards my diagnosis of Bipolar 1. Losing my Emotional Support Dog quite literally put me on a path to try to comfort my soul. I wanted to find a way to become whole again.
Maybe walking the labyrinth propagated the changes to come…