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Newsletter Dated: 10/4/2005 2:00:32 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina -Loss: If You Knew Curley Sue
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Happiness Tip: Loss - If You Knew Curley Sue
It’s October first, and my heart is broken. My sweet Cocker Spaniel, Curley Sue, died today. She would have been 11 next Valentine’s day, her chosen birthday, because when we got her in April, 1995, the vet said she was about eight weeks old, so we picked Valentine’s Day for her special day.
Curley was found by friend Sue Dell, wandering the streets in the Tujunga area, and after an extensive search, no owner could be found, so because Sue knew we were looking for a puppy, Curley became ours. The tiny, adorable, black and white Cocker Spaniel wiggled her way into our hearts right away. As we were driving to pick her up, I said “Wouldn’t Curley be a good name for her?” Richard didn’t think so, but when we got to Sue’s, she said “I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been calling her ‘Curley.’” So it was a done deal.
Curley had talent. At dinner time, I’d sing “If you’re hungry and you know it, bark out loud.” and she’d bark two sharp barks, on cue, which amazed a number of people, especially those who knew the old Sunday school song. I would sing “If you knew, Curley Sue, then you’d know why I am blue” (Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” customized) and she’d wag her tail and bow with her butt in the air to be petted. She was my shadow, slept through many hours in my counseling office or under my computer. In her last days, blind, hobbled, and with lots of health problems, she’d panic if she couldn’t find me, and I’d hear her little claws tap-tapping on the floor as she searched. As soon as I called, “Currrrrr-ley” she’d zero in on my voice, and she was my shadow again.
My feelings are mixed. I am so sad, yet I feel Curley right here at my feet as I type this. I’m also relieved, because I knew Curley’s cataracts, glaucoma, tumors, and allergies had her in constant discomfort, and the daily medication of her eyes was not fun for her. I dubbed her “St. Curley” for the stoic way she put up with drops in her eyes, and many medications. She was always sweet about it, never difficult. Curley was an American Cocker Spaniel, and the Vet Opthamologist said they should come with warning notices, because their gene pool is so compromised. We were blessed to have her, problems and all, and we are grateful for our good years with her.
On the door of my office is a quote from Martin Buber’s grandmother: “You never know in advance what an angel will look like.” With pictures of my three who all became angels in the last year, Curley Sue, and her sisters, Sandy/Spike, and Peach the cat. I know they’re looking down on me.
If you’ve had a pet, you know how hard it is to lose them, and yet inevitable, because they have such short life spans in comparison to us. If you’re grieving, too, or know someone who is, I hope the following will be helpful.
Over time, pets become significant family members, and losing a beloved animal is an occasion for grief. Just as with other family members, ceremonies of remembrance help the grieving process. Most veterinarians provide cremation services, and pet ashes are easier to dispose of than bodies. If you choose, you can work the ashes into the soil in your pet's favorite place in the yard, or keep them in a special container marked with the pet's name and dates. Allow plenty of time for each family member to talk about his or her memories of the pet, and have a picture of the pet in happier times available. Don't discourage children from crying or talking about the pet -- even if it comes up for weeks. Expressing grief is the best way to help it pass. Wait until you feel it’s right before getting another pet, to give everyone a chance to feel that the lost pet has been honored.
Any time we love, whether it’s a life partner, a dear friend, a child, a sibling, a parent or a beloved pet, we are risking the loss of that love, and a broken heart. When you lose a beloved pet, you may experience intense grief for weeks or months after the loss.
You may think you'll never want another pet, but eventually you will have survived and healed, and be willing to take another chance. The promise of happiness is strong enough that the risk is worth it. You'll have a feeling of gratitude toward your previous pet, for the love you shared and what it taught you that makes it possible to love this new companion.
There are many wonderful websites to honor lost pets. Probably the best known is Rainbows Bridge http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm, which contains a lovely poem about the place where beloved pets go when they die to wait for their owners. The same poem is found at http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm Another pet grief site is Chance’s Spot
“Well, I love you girl, and I need you, Curley Sue.” Until we meet again. (Adapted From It Ends with You © 2005 Tina B. Tessina)
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Into Every Life http://tinatessina.com/into_life.html
Mirrors and Teachers http://tinatessina.com/mirrors_teachers.html
Surviving Loss and Thriving Again http://tinatessina.com/surviving_loss.html
Monday, October 10, 2005 9:00 AM I’ll be the featured guest on "Brunch" on Q Television, (check your local cable listings) we’ll be discussing coming out and featuring my book, "Gay Relationships: How to F ind Them, How to Improve Them, How to Make Them Last"
I’ll be a guest on The "Turn On Your Inner Light" Radio Show WGBB 1240AM (Long Island Tuesday, January 24th 7:00pm - 7:30pm EST. It will be live streamed and then archived on www.turnonyourinnerlight.com/page3.html Featuring “The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again”
You can find me on the Internet, as the "Dating Doctor" on www.couplescompany.com, "Dr. Romance" on Yahoo!Personals at http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date, a designated Marriage Expert for Redbook Institute and I'll also answer your questions at http://www.tinatessina.com.
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books: It Ends With You; How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and The Real 13th Step To sign up for classes or browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com.
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Letting Go of Anxiety
was this ever a breath of fresh air blessings to you for sending out a positive and uplifting message So much stress around today and so many good reasons. take a nice bubble bath yourself and enjoy the weekend
Thanks, “Dr. Toy” with your track record, I know that comes from an expert source.
Whew!!!.....How did you know I needed this?? I will read/study this and make a serious effort to make some positive adjustment in my life using the techniques you suggest.
Lloyd, most of us need anxiety relief these days.
Hi, Tina, What a terrifically helpful column today. Your tip re having a "beginner's mind" is one I'm taking to heart as a 77-year-old perfectionist just now actively seeking a BA in English/Creative Writing, I really needed this advice to help me relax as I immerse myself in these studies. I've been reading your newsletter for a couple of months but this is my first reply. Thank you, thank you! Patricia
You are most welcome, Patricia! I’m glad you know it’s never too late to learn!
Good morning Tina,
I liked this one. I think I will keep it and use it to pass on to some of my friends (and maybe coworkers?) You know my tendencies; my fears of something usually turn out to be nothing at all. Hope you are doing well.
Thanks, Evelyn – glad you’re finding it useful.
Re: Into every life
Good article. I feel the issue is of when to try and change the world and when to try and change the reaction is one of discrimination and should be treated as such. People go around saying that one can respond to if not change the world but in certain circumstances a stand has to be taken.
Thanks, Hiren – I agree with you.
Why not genuinely look forward to the next obstacle? Sure it smells, but the flavor of life, er, variety, er sounds familiar. I loved this article, my choice is not to ignore but to look forward to the next challenge. What we don't die from ... I look forward to reading more of your material.
Yes, Mark: overcoming challenge is a great source of satisfaction in life.