Recently I fell in love with an essay in Vogue written by Adam Green. In fact, much more than an essay, it was a heartfelt narrative of grief, and had me in tears not far through. An honest, tender, and loving articulation of the writer’s loss of his dog Quincy, as well as this dog’s beautiful role in his relationship with his partner and his mental and emotional well being, these words portray his beloved Quincy with such true detail that I feel I know her, ran on the beach with her, felt her sweet face in my hands, looked into her deep eyes. I’ve never met this dog, but I’m pretty sure I’ve met this dog.
Green writes: “By summer, as her first birthday approached, Quincy had come into her own. A lean and leggy thirty pounds, she was small but brave of heart, glamorous but rough and tumble, a domestic companion and a creature of wildness.”
Green portrays a very accurate picture of how deep the cut of grief of losing your dog can go. To be honest, I have thought about getting a dog for many months now. In fact, I want badly to get a dog, know what kind of dog I want, know what I want to name her, and have thought endlessly about my life with a dog. So why the hesitation? Because I am so afraid of the day that will inevitably come in several years, when the reality of her shorter dog life compared to my longer human life will overtake my heart and the pain of losing such a beloved best friend will be more than I can handle: “I didn’t stop crying for the next two months, it seemed, a child again as I repeated to no one in particular, “I just want my dog back.” A hole had been torn in my life, and I sensed Quincy’s absence like a phantom limb, still expecting her to greet me when I walked through the door by scurrying back and forth between my legs.” (Adam Green).
In the meantime, while I try to muster the courage to live out this dog love without avoiding loss, I keep this essay close at hand to remind me of the beautiful life one has with a dog, the incredible connection, relationship, loyalty and friendship that dogs bring, and the companionship and love that I would never want to miss out on. They save our lives.
So as I walk the rhythms of indecision and worry, and fear the day grief will come even though it’s years away and my puppy has not yet even been born, I leave you with this. If you are a dog lover, please read this article from Vogue: How the Love of a Dog Saved My Life by Adam Green. I promised you won’t be disappointed by this necessary reminder that the joy of the dog comes with the sorrow, and that we have to be brave enough to live them both, together, because joy and sorrow never exist apart: “I still miss Quincy every day, but it turns out that a heart is large enough to accommodate joy and sorrow at the same time.”
Dear Adam Green: I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your precious Quincy, but I thank you sincerely for encouraging me and many others to remember how much we need a dog in our lives. I want a dog. I am afraid I will love her so much, that I am afraid to love her at all. At some point I will just have to leap.
Thank you to Unsplash for the use of these beautiful dog photos.