August has arrived – it’s hard to believe. After last winter’s frigid weather, summer was a welcome friend., but it's passing too quickly!
Some refer to this hottest time of the year, as the “Dog Days of Summer.” Wikipedia refers to it as “the sultry days of summer.” Hmmm …
The term “dog days” actually originated back with the Romans, who assumed that the bright star Sirius (AKA the Dog Star) moved into a heavenly position closer to our planet, resulting in a hotter summer.
I’ve long thought that the Dog Days would be a good time to appreciate and acknowledge all the dogs, cats and other animals who share our journey. They’ve accepted us at our lowest, listened without judgment and provided immense comfort. If you’d like to share a photo or comments about the animals who have been important to you, click here. We will be posting your photos on Facebook, throughout the month of August.
I’ve lost count of the times AOH forum community members have posted about their pets, but it’s clear from those posts, that animal friends bring healing equal to -- and often more powerful -- than any other healing modality.
Survivors write that their animals bring comfort:
- “Since his suicide 6 weeks ago, she has been such a blessing. I feel without her I would be totally alone as I have a very small family to share with. Thank you God for my four footed blessing.”
- “When I cry he licks the tears from my face, he holds his paws around my neck as if he is hugging me.”
“I started telling my troubles to my new horse. … I would throw my arms around his big neck and just let it all out. I will soak his mane with my tears. …. My dogs seemed to know that I was so sad. My borzoi would stand up and put her arms around my neck. Animals know when we need that hug or that listening ear that never judges us or tells us it is time to stop feeling the grief. They just listen and let us hug them and cry.
Survivors write that their animals grieve with them:
- “The funeral for my nephew was held by a creek. All day long their dog had been running around the whole farm area. As the service started he still was. As the cremains fell into the spring head and began to wash down over the moss covered rocks, his running randomly ceased. He came to the creek, stuck his nose in the water to sniff, then lay down on a large rock and stared at the spring head. He stayed fixed and staring and whining, eyes full of pain, until it was over and we all left.”
And survivors grieve for their animals:
- "My beloved dog went to sleep on Friday, never wake up. I am absolutely heart broken. I have been through so much with her. …She saw me through his suicide, and then the death of my other dog. I feel utterly bereft, all these memories keep hitting me all the time, no respite."
These “Dog Days of Summer are the perfect time to acknowledge and celebrate our animal friends. Would you like to join me? If you’d like to share a photo or comments about the animals who have been important to you, click here. We will be posting your photos on Facebook, throughout the month of August.
Ronnie Walker, MS, LCPC is the founder and Executive Director of the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors