I’ve been looking at the screen of my laptop for some minutes now and I don’t know how to start to write this post.

A bit more than a week ago, without much notice, I lost my most intimate companion for the last 10 years, Aisha.

We don’t know who adopted who yet. I remember when we arrived at the shelter, they were feeding you all, so nobody paid us much attention. You however, came and looking into our eyes with a very sad expression, cried something that sounded like “please, choose me”. At that moment a journey of love, compassion and empathy began, unlike anything we had experienced before.

You were the perfect companion. We used to joke that you were like our biological daughter. Always so quiet, enjoying our company, the outdoors and silence. The same silence that now hurts so much. Those hours where we cannot pamper and pet you seem never-ending. And I don’t know where to look at so I don’t miss you or start crying. I wake up in the mornings thinking of new places to go walking with you. Always so happy running in the countryside and through the mountain.

But you weren’t an inspiration just for us. You always loved everyone who was willing to be with you. You always let everybody know that they could count on you. And you were at your peak last year when, working with a group of young inmates at Almería prison, you changed the course of the life of one of them, comforting him at a very critical time for him. It made such an impact that you even appeared in the newspapers!

I love you Aisha, you’ll always be in my heart. You’ve been our daugther, our companion, and our inspiration. Thank you for all these years. Today, I’m a better person just because of you.”

I don’t want to say goodbye before giving thanks to everyone who, after her death, continue offering their support. All those friends who along the years witnessed our relationship and received her love. Those who, in some way, feel her loss too.

We live in a society where it’s not understood yet that the death of an animal can cause the same pain as losing any other loved one. Of course, there are differences, nobody should experience the death of a child, for instance. We adopt pets knowing that sooner or later we’ll lose them. The emptiness of that loss though, is terribly painful. Suddenly your life breaks because a very important part of it is not there anymore. And the grieving process goes through you without compassion.

Aisha was 11 years old. She wasn’t young but we thought we had at least a couple or three more years with her. On Tuesday morning the vet told us that she had a malignant tumor in her throat and on Wednesday night she passed away. She saw death in front of her and came to us to comfort her until the end. We could see the fear in her eyes. Yes, she felt fear. And during all her life showed us that she could feel anything and everything just in the same way we do. Moreover, she taught us ways to deal with life and live it to the full with whatever we had at the moment. Because animals, far from being “irrational beings”, are a model to follow. A master to ask when we feel lost.

In memory of Aisha, the therapy dog.

Letter to Aisha, much more than just a dog
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