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Broken Hearts Can Heal After Losing a Special Pet

A heartfelt narration of loss and life thereafter by Cindy Karch from Canada

Coming to terms with loss is never easy or linear, but rather a complex and personal process that requires time, support, and courage and that friendship, imagination, and faith can help one overcome grief and find meaning and hope in life.

Following is the abridged recount of Cindy Karch’s loss and life thereafter (as narrated to BuddyLife).

This is my story about my soulmate German shepherd named, Jax. My husband and I already had a female shepherd named Harly. She was a year old when we decided to get a second dog.

They say dogs pick their favourite person and it appeared that our girl favoured my husband just a wee bit more over me. Probably because she knew he was always in severe pain following a car accident we were in together. Our girl was always by his side, so I was hoping Jax would pick me to shadow and be by my side.

To our surprise, he was only interested in Harly. She had started mothering him the minute we brought him home. She groomed his face and ears several times a day. He thought she was his mother. Subsequently he accepted me and ended up with the nick name, “jealous lover” because he would not allow anyone to hug me, not even my husband or Harly. He would step in between to break it up. Jax now wanted me all to himself, and I secretly liked it that way.

Jax was my protector, my shadow, my howling partner, my exercise buddy, my therapist, and my best friend. He became the dog that never left my side.

We would gaze into each other’s eyes and he could see right into my soul. I called him my soulmate and my husband were okay with that, as he knew how deeply I could love.

When Harly died unexpectedly from a rare condition at age nine, and Jax was 8, it stunned us to see him lose interest in life itself. When we came home after saying goodbye to Harly, Jax had tears in his eyes. He saw us holding her collar and leash, and he knew.

From that day on, Jax refused to play ball, instead, he sat in the backyard and stared at the door. When we brought her ashes home and put them in the curio cabinet, he sat and stared at them behind the glass. Somehow, he knew, and it was heart breaking to watch.

As the weeks and months dragged on, my sweet gentle boy almost completely stopped eating. Appetite stimulants did not work. My boy was severely depressed and even all the love in my heart wasn’t enough to help him. I tried to get him to howl one day as this was a fun thing we did when Harly was alive, and the sound that came out of his mouth still haunts me. He wasn’t howling; he was wailing for his girl Harly with tears in his eyes. I was witnessing his heart breaking before my very eyes and I never felt so helpless in my life.

On the morning of September 18, 2021, Jax had a drink of water and almost immediately vomited it up. We brought him to the vet who told us that his organs were shutting down. Jax was dying. Just seven months earlier we said goodbye to our beautiful girl due to a rare condition.

Now, here we were, bringing Jax in to get help, only to be told we’d be going home alone.

As the procedure began, we were both sobbing and telling him we loved him so much, and thanked him for 8 wonderful years. We told him Harly was waiting for him. We could feel him pass and then we knew that he was gone.

I refused to let go of him. I buried my face in his fur and cried like never before. My best friend, my soul mate, was no more, and my grieving was just beginning. How was I to live without my sweet boy?

As he was slipping away, a song entered my mind; an old song that you never hear on the radio anymore. Once we were home, my husband told me out of the blue that he couldn’t get that same song out of his head! My jaw dropped! It had to be Jax who put that song in both our heads at the same time. I believe he is nearby whenever I hear that song now.

Fast forward eleven months, we got a call that a German shepherd puppy needed a home. I said absolutely not! I had no interest in ever feeling like this again. I was still grieving for Harly and Jax. But long story short, we ended up getting him. Our Tucker, is now 20 months old. He certainly helped distract me from losing two very special dogs, however, I found myself stuck in that depressing place where I longed to hold Jax again and look deep into his eyes. His two year anniversary was quickly approaching in September. I found myself dreading that day weeks in advance.

Then one day, I watched a podcast called “The Mindset Playground” with Louanne Hunt. She had world renowned animal communicator, Sue London, on her show. She has the gift of receiving messages from your pets that have crossed over. I reached out and to her and she made time for my session with her on the very day of Jaxs’ anniversary.

She told me things only the dogs or my husband could have known, so I knew what she was saying was all true. Not only did Jax show up, but so did Harly, my Mom, and another German shepherd that we had. It was the most healing chat I’ve ever had in my life. Certain things were confirmed without having to ask.

Since then, I feel free. It was the best thing I ever did for myself. I feel content and on a new journey now. Moving on is never easy, that’s why God, or the universe, whichever you believe in, puts people on our paths to help us grow. Meeting Sue London was no coincidence. I was meant to receive a healing from. My wish for anyone reading this, is for you to find that sense of peace after losing your pet. Look for the signs, they help heal. Peace