Life after Death, Grieving the Death of a Dog

Australian Shepherd puppy on hotel bed

It’s my first, multi-day road trip with my new sidekick, Willow.

Such a lovely sidekick!

We’re in Asheville, North Carolina readying ourselves for a Steve & Jen White training workshop at A Good Dog’s Life.  It’s a very yin yang kind of trip.  Blissfully wonderful having Willow here with me and painfully sad because the last time I was in Asheville, again for a workshop at A Good Dog’s Life, I learned I was going to have to euthanize my soulmate dog, Gibson.

I don’t even need to tell you the pain I was in ….you dog people know.  Suffice it to say, I wasn’t sure I would live through it, yet here I am watching this beautiful, blue merle Australian Shepherd girl, Willow, confidently experience all the newness of her first road trip with such ease and grace.  I’m sure Angel Gibson would be proud of her.  In truth, I know he is.  I feel him with us.

He and I had nearly nine years of road trips together and he was always cool as a cucumber in all new situations.  This little girl seems to be following in his paw steps.  Oh, except for that darn Harley that gunned the engine while we were taking a potty break by the curb.  No, she didn’t like that at all!  But she recovered very quickly and was back to her confident self.

So here’s the fun Willow and I had today in a short photo journal.

Couldn’t keep the girl off these landscaping rocks….she loved them!

Imagine that after checking in, the first person she met was Steve White!  Yep, he thought she was cute.  She was pretty full of herself after that.

Wow, these flag poles sure can make some noise when it’s windy.

She was quite curious about the flag poles.  All that racket kept her looking up a while.  Then it was on to experience her own personal, moving chariot.

It is NOT to carry luggage, it’s my ride!

After getting settled in our room, I decided it was time to do a little classical conditioning around the elevator before going for a ride.  Neither the opening, nor closing of the doors bothered her.

Patiently waiting for those doors to open.

And some dried salmon helped her think the funny sounds while inside the elevator (when it moved) were pretty cool….well, maybe just ok.

A little unsure about those weird sounds in the elevator, but salmon helped!

After all that adventure, it was time to hit the bed.  I love hanging out on a hotel bed with my dog.  Something glorious about it that I can’t describe. Maybe it’s the cuddle factor?

Yummy bed to eat a bully stick on.

And she loves her window on the world!

Curious about all the movement outside “her” window.

And I discovered that the girl has an extreme desire to burrow!  OMG…..I wish I had been able to get it on video.  I laughed myself silly.

Aussie or Mole?

So here I sit, with Willow burrowed in the pillows beside me and reminiscing about my days with Gibson.  Yes and crying.  Many tears.  I didn’t think it would be possible to love another dog again, but Gibson was even more special than I thought, because he’s made more room in my heart for Willow.  I already love her beyond measure.  I think we’re going to have a really fine life together.  And she’s already a great Cold Nose College Mascot.  Yep, there “is” life after death.

I love you, Gibson.  I love you,  Willow.



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