Shibas and death

A friend of mine died on October 29th this year. It was a big shock to all of her friends. Myrranda, as I knew her, was a joyous, vibrant woman who will be greatly missed by many. The memorial was held on Saturday, November 3rd.

What does this have to do with Shibas? Nothing… and everything. I had decided to put together a “memorial book” chronicling all the emails, Livejournal posts, Facebook entries and personal messages. During the hellish days between the 29th and the 3rd, I was glued to the computer. The only thing that got me outside to remember that there was something other than a big gaping hole left by Myrranda’s passing was Tierce.

There is something to be said for having a Shiba around when grief strikes. They aren’t dogs that let one wallow in grief. They insist that life go on – well, at least the life where they get fed regularly, walked every day and given attention when they so desire.

This is interpreted as cold-hearted, no doubt, by people who think that a dog’s sole purpose during a time of mourning is resting its head on its master’s knee and looking up at him soulfully. These people are more suited to an aged Golden Retriever, who is generally deliriously happy doing just that.

But a Shiba snaps you out of depression with his antics, rattles your cage by refusing to come when called – even during a period of intense mourning – and generally wakes you up to the fact that there is a world out there beyond the blackness of grief. I found that, while I neglected my workout schedule, I did not neglect to take Tierce for a walk or to the dog park. He teased many a smile out of me that would have otherwise have stayed hidden.

Whether he is running joyfully in the dog park or sneaking something forbidden off the table in the hopes of you chasing him, a Shiba is showing you the way out. Not out of sorrow for your loss, but rather out of the hopelessness and helplessness that a death – especially a sudden one – can bring.

Remember, there is a world out there and it can be beautiful. Celebrate the passing of your loved ones by enjoying the good things that the world has to offer and by trying to make the bad things better.

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