[Please note that since writing this I have changed the name of the series to "A Dog Walk With..."]
It's time for a new interview series on the blog and I promise it's not as morbid as it sounds. As some of you will know we had to make the hard decision last year to put our lovely rescue dog George to sleep, after various health complications meant his quality of life wasn't what it should be any more. You can read more about George in a blog post I wrote last year. The outpouring of love I received after his death and in the run up to it was really humbling, but it made me think about the people who aren't so lucky and who are made to feel stupid for grieving for their pets. I believe that our pets have a huge impact on our lives and that shouldn't be scoffed at. We spend every day for years with them by our side, their unconditional love never faltering. A few months ago I posted a photo to instagram and in the caption introduced this idea - it seemed to resonate with people and opened up a lot of conversations about greving for pets which I was really pleased about.
Originally for this Doggy Grief Therapy series I was planning to just go and hang out with my creative friends who have dogs and interview them about the value they bring to their lives. To some people I'm sure it sounds bizarre, but being around other dogs always had a calming effect on me and in the company of dogs I feel better, so I thought it would make me feel better about George too. However I've already met up with and interviewed my first guest for this series - dog behaviourist Louise Glazebook and it changed my mind about the concept behind the 'Doggy Grief Therapy' series. Having spoken to Louise about the loss of her dog Cookie and met her gorgeous great dane Fred, I realised that everyone grieves in such drastically different ways and that really what I want to achieve is to continue to open up conversations about grieving for pets and to normalise it. So, in 2018 I am planning to meet up with people who have lost dogs and who have learned to love again. The idea is that I go on a dog walk with them in a place they go to regularly and we talk about the pain of losing a dog and the power of letting someone new into your life. I will share an article about our conversation (and some cute dog photos) here on the blog. Perhaps in future I will open up the series to include other pets, because whether it's a dog, a rabbit, a cat or a goldfish, pets have a massive impact on our lives and losing them is never easy, but for me personally right now it's dogs I feel the need to be around and getting outside to walk is one of the main things that I miss about have George around. I hope you'll understand!
Keep an eye out for my first Doggy Grief Therapy post with Louise Glazebrook and Fred soon. If you have a story to share, need to talk to someone who understands what you're going through after losing your pet or would like to invite me on a dog walk please do get in touch!
The embroidery illustrating this post is by the wonderfully talented Leigh of In Twos and Threes who very generously made it for me. It hangs proudly in our living room.