A survivor’s best friend


About a year after my brother’s suicide, my boyfriend gave me the greatest gift and I believe it helped fix me.

It was white, fluffy, warm and snuggly – a very sweet maltese-poodle mixed pup named “Oly.” While at first I was overwhelmed with responsibility, making this dog a part of my life has been a healthy distraction from my grief. He goes with me everywhere, brings me comfort and makes me laugh. My days became less focused on feeling sad, and more about taking the dog to the beach or giving him a bath (which is usually the outcome of a day at the beach!).

If you have suffered a traumatic loss, it’s often advised that you should not make any life-changing decisions right away. Such as changing careers, moving across the country…or getting a pet!? Bereavement experts suggest waiting until a year or two for big changes, because grief and trauma bring a rollercoaster of emotions that make healing hard enough (read more).

Fortunately, this dog came into my life already house broken and well-behaved at one year old. I didn’t have to deal with any new puppy frustrations. I was ready for Oly – ready for something to brighten my days and make me happy. So before you make a major life change, take some time to really understand what you need.

What’s the one thing that has helped you heal?

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5 Comments

    • Stacy Brown
    • November 16, 2012
    • Reply

    Erin – I cannot tell you happy I am that Oly has become your best friend. It was so hard to give him away and the kids and I were heart broken for a long time afterwards. But you have just confirmed for me, once again, that God works in mysterious and wonderful ways. God knew what he was doing that snowy night that my hubby and I drove to Montesano to pick up our Oly as a Christmas present for the kids. He had plans for you and him even then I believe.

    Although “well behaved” was never a word I would have used to describe Oly, he is a sweet loveable boy who needed you as much as you needed him. Two kids in sports and an infant made life crazy and made us short on extra time to spend with Oly, one, who as you know LOVES and needs lots of attention.

    Although we miss him, we know that giving him away was the right decision and once again, I am so thankful that he is now your forever dog. God knew what he was doing.

    I think of all three of you a lot and wish you all well. Sending lots of love from The Brown family. Give Oly a treat and a kiss for us.

      • admin
      • November 16, 2012
      • Reply

      Thank you Stacy, for your comments and support and especially for gifting us with Oly. He’s mostly well-behaved, I’ve only lost one pair of shoes so far 🙂 I love him so much.

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