I know what you’re thinking, “You are crazy Wendy. Your dog isn’t heartbroken. He is a dog. He never had a girlfriend, and he doesn’t even know she is gone.” You are wrong. My sweet boy is very sensitive and a lover, not a fighter. He feels things deeply, and it shows on his face and the way he moves. The last few days have been torture for both of us.
I don’t have human children, but I assume this is similar to how a mom feels when her daughter’s best friend moves away. Imagine the heartache of a preteen who has to now navigate school and life without her bestie right beside her. No amount of mom hugs and kisses can ease the pain.
Let me explain how this true love came to be.
Three years ago, I quit my job and started my own dog-sitting business. It turned out dog sitting was the best thing for both Riggins and me. I got to surround myself with adorable pups, and Riggins settled in nicely as his role of dad to all the new dogs who came in and out of his life.
Riggins handled it well when dogs he liked left when their vacations were over. He may have pouted for a bit, but there was always another dog right there to take his mind off of his pain. He did get very close to a sweet Doberman/Whippet mix named Shadow who was with us for weeks on end because of her mom’s work schedule. Shadow and Riggins were besties, sharing the human bed and backseat of the car with intertwined limbs. Shadow had to move back East, and Riggins was blue, but NOTHING like what he is currently experiencing. Shadow was a friend, but Sissy — Sissy was his love.
Sissy and her brother, Happy, two Blue Picardy Spaniels, came into our lives about eight months ago. Sissy was young, 2 at the time, and fell in love with Riggins the first time she saw him. She never passed by her man without giving him a few kisses.
At first Riggins was not into it, or at least he pretended not to be. He reminded me of the kid on the playground who had his first crush but couldn’t admit it to his friends. When Sissy would give him kisses, Riggins would shake his head back and forth growling, as if to say, “Sissy, don’t. Come on. Leave me alone. You’re embarrassing me. Girls have cooties. Go away.” Of course this growl was half-hearted and all for show. I could tell he secretly loved it.
Due to their parents’ schedules, Sissy and her brother spent a lot of time with Riggins and me. Riggins slowly lowered the facade he was carrying around and made it clear to everyone that he was cool with the attention Sissy gave him. When the siblings would come over, I’d send them to the backyard for a quick bathroom break before coming into the house. Riggins always sat at the door whining until I let him go and join his love.
Riggins and Sissy were as alike as they were different. One thing they both shared was the love of the hunt. When I let them into the backyard together, Sissy would shoot out toward a bush where she would look for the rats that hung out there. Riggins would follow her and then dash up the side of the yard to the squirrel tree to see if any of those creatures dared to come into his space. Eventually Sissy would meet him at the top of the yard, and together they would keep unwanted critters away. Bonnie and Clyde of the backyard.
The past week or so, Riggins knew something was wrong. He could feel it. He started to be more affectionate with Sissy. She would lie on her back in the office, bedroom, or living room, and he would lick her, nonstop. Every once in a while, she would kiss him back. All the other dogs knew to stay away and let the two love birds have their time together.
Sunday morning, Sissy and Happy said their final goodbyes. Later that day, they would be driving with their mom and human friend to Montreal for the summer. After I kissed them both and handed over their leashes, I closed the door and walked back to the kitchen. There was Riggins looking so forlorn it broke my heart.
The past few days, he has been mopey and depressed. I can tell. He isn’t himself. He misses his girlfriend. There is so little I can do, as his mom, to help him through the pain. I give him more kisses and more cuddles. I know it’s not the same, but it will have to do.
Your first heartbreak is always the hardest.
Does your pup have a best friend who he loves? Tell us all about it (and share pictures!) in the comments.