On September 22nd, 2022, in the middle of the night at an emergency vet hospital, Greer the greyhound passed away.
It's been a little over a month since that night, and I still struggle to convey the agonizing void she left behind. Greer was my dog, but she was also my best friend, my child, my muse. I spent probably 90% of my day-to-day existence with her at my side. Over the last four years, she went to work with me, she ran errands with me, and she kept me company through both a pandemic lockdown and waiting around for my green card to be approved. My husband and I spent a year and a half searching for the perfect home and yard to move our little family into, and Greer only spent one day in it. We moved in on her birthday. And she left the next day.
When people meet me, they maybe learn that I'm an artist, or that I'm Canadian, but they always learn I have a greyhound named Greer. If they're very interested they might get to see some pics of her in the sweaters I sewed for her. They often ask me about the world of greyhound racing that so many know so little about (I don't support it). She became so ingrained in my understanding of who I was, my daily purpose, and how I presented myself to the world, that her sudden absence can't help also now feeling like a loss of self. I am grieving Greer, and I am also grieving a significant part of my own identity that informed my artistic process.
Most people will experience a pet loss at some point in their life. In spite of this being such a universal experience, it feels so incredibly isolating. No matter how much the world loved and connected to your dog, they will never know her or love her or feel the loss of her as deeply as you do. It feels frustrating that the world continues on, that you have to continue on. It feels like this should be taking a bigger toll on everybody, but how could it? Beloved pets die every day. I have been incredibly grateful for the grace and concern of my friends while going through this, but it's so hard to receive condolences when it also feels like they can't possibly understand how uniquely the earth has been shattered, and will never be the same again. I look at pictures of her and am at a point where it could go either way, I might smile in remembrance or just completely break down in tears. Either way, there will never be another picture taken of her again. And it's been really hard to reckon with that.
I vividly remember driving with my husband back from a wedding in Canada on a sunny August day about a month before she left. I turned to him and said, "You know what? I'm incredibly happy with life right now. We've got everything we've been waiting for all at once, and things are so good." Our green cards had recently been approved after a multi-year process, we were able to legally leave the country again to visit our friends and family back in Canada, our house hunt had ended after a year and a half search (and over a hundred house tours) with the most perfect mid-century modern home near the lake. I was going to have a brightly lit studio to make art and be inspired in with trees, sunshine, and birds out my window. We had ideas for where the dog bed would go in each room of the house. We had fencing companies scheduled to give us estimates on closing off the gaps so the yard would be fully enclosed for her. We had plans for the three of us to fill this new space with love and optimism and opportunity in a really hard world, after several really hard years. And now I can't help but feel a bit bitter that I ever said those words out loud, because I would give up just about all the things I listed to have her back.
I haven't had much opportunity to make art while we've been dealing with this grief, moving into and filling a new home, and all the projects that come with it, but when I do get to that sun-filled studio, I fear the moment I sit down at my desk and pick up my pencil to draw. My art's raison d'etre is no longer here. Greer will be with me forever, and I know I will draw her forever, but I also know there's going to be a lot of adjustment between here and then. There will be some re-learning required to unlock creativity and inspiration again. I guess we'll deal with that when we get there. Thanks for reading ♥
Your post brought tears to my eyes and I get it. I went through a lot of the same with Angel (the Brittany I got as a puppy right after graduating from college). She saw me through the years of becoming an adult – the excitement of my first adult relationship, a move across country to be with him, the break- up, she was the ice breaker for meeting new people where I knew no one except for my ex, his friends and co-workers. Everyone loved her first and got to know me through her. She had so much personality and loved being a livery greeter and public sail mascot at the Center for Wooden boats. She just made me better and the world brighter.
I also lost her to cancer and the grief is so real when they’ve become so much of your identity. Hang in there – this is tough. It took me over 6 years to figure out and be willing to let Luna in. While Luna can never fill the void Angel left so is making in roads of her own and is becoming more of me every day. I hope you keep Greer’s memories close while healing the best you can
Thanks for sharing. Sending you lots of love
Dear Kaila, I don’t know you and can’t even imagine the void you are feeling now, but your art with Greer in it draw me to you long ago. Thank you for sharing this, I am sure virtual hug doesn’t mean much but sending you one, big one. I am so sorry for your family loss. Greer was truly one happy being ❤️
Dear Kaila- what a moving and sad post. Thank you for sharing your feelings of loss on your journey through grief. I wish for you to forever hold onto the love that you’ve shared with Greer, and one day give it abundantly to others, as I am certain that She will never leave your side, so loving still in spirit.