Nearly a yeat ago this month I had to say goodbye to my bestest furry friend and this post is dedicated to him (Alfie) and how writing can help a little with the healing process.


Dear all,

OK so it’s been soooo long since I did a blog post (well actually that’s a lie, I did do a blog post but I kept posting it up and then deleting it because I wasn’t happy with it). I have seriously struggled for inspiration recently but this morning it suddenly dawned on me, that can be said for everything I do at the moment. Once I’d realised this I then realised that the issue I’m struggling with is loss and, as a result, I myself am feeling lost. Perhaps this post won’t be funny (as they are meant to be) but I’m hoping that getting some things off my chest might help me to move on, might liberate how I feel inside and in turn liberate my mind too.

I have been getting on with things as usual. I am currently beta reading for three people and that is soon to become four. I am almost finished editing my romance which deals with teenage relationship abuse. Poker Face 2 is currently being read by the first of my seven wonderful readers, whose insight and feedback is crucial and priceless. The housework is getting done, the yummy meals are being prepared and we are visiting friends, family and play areas as it’s Easter. However, although I am doing all of these things, I am not doing any of these things with my usual vigour. Outside I look and sound fine (don’t want to seem full of myself by saying great) but inside I’ve shut down a bit and I can feel the difference.

I think the issue is that recently I had to have my dog put to sleep and because he is/was a dog and not a human I don’t feel my feelings are quite justified. I wouldn’t class myself as a big pet person or dog lover. I like them but I don’t have to have one. I’ve been fortunate enough in life that although I’ve nearly lost people and I have lost people in a physical sense (as opposed to a permanent sense) I have only witnessed death once and it wasn’t a member of my family. I struggled terribly at that time but other than this very sad loss I’ve only ever lost pets. When I was in my late teens we had to have my first dog put to sleep. We’d had him since I was five and I really struggled. Now I’ve had to have Alfie, my German Shepherd/husky, put to sleep and I’m feeling it…big time!

I keep thinking I’ve spotted him in the garden like the horrible deed never happened and I pause momentarily as I walk into the hallway expecting to have to climb over him to get up the stairs. I’ve even heard what sounds like him slumping down onto the floor in the middle of the night or tapping across the paving slabs in the garden. I miss him and not just because he was a pet but because of what he represented. He was safety, a substitute for having a physically stronger person in the house and he was perfect for cuddling when I was sad or lonely. I now have a husband and two children and I am definitely not alone, or in danger, but I really feel like I’m a man down, and it’s scary. Someone asked me if I would get another dog but I think I’d rather get an alarm. When an alarm dies I can replace the batteries and it will be good to go for another few years.

I have used writing on many occasions to say exactly what I want to say without boring, shocking or offending anyone. I can use whatever words I want, I can be incoherent, messy and I can still write even when I’m crying – have you ever tried to do that while talking? My point exactly! Writing breaks down barriers that might otherwise stand in the way of expressing yourself. Sometimes, if your secrets are really dark or you know that the feeling will pass, then there is one other thing you can do with the written word that you can’t do with a friendly shoulder or obliging ear – you can kill them, literally! After offloading onto paper you don’t have to worry about later retracting what you’ve said, the possibility of accidental leakage or a friend that never dares to come back round because you’ve scared the life out of them. You can take the reams of paper and burn them – ashes to ashes, dust to dust and all that – and then you’re free and safe to move on.

My hope is that by writing this post I will free myself of the things I am feeling (burden you guys with it instead) and allow my creativity to flow. Maybe I will even find things funny again and be able to share them with you. At this point I would also like to say that although this post is about my furry friend, on the day in question it was the human variety that was there to offer support. When I decided after they had taken Alfie away that I wanted him back to be buried in the garden my friend Heather said “Yeah I can’t see why not. Ring and ask them what they think.” My husband who I thought might say, “No way! Have you seen the size of him, Jess?” actually gave me a cuddle and said “Let’s go and see if there’s a place big enough for him.” With all three of us pulling together we had a huge hole dug up to my husband’s waist, we had collected him, lay him to rest, picked flowers, filled the hole and still had time to clear up, wash our hands and get our stories straight about death (and the meaning of death) in time to collect the children at 3.20. We then had to break the sad news to them.

I would therefore like to dedicate this post to friends; past, present and future. To Heather for being there and allowing us to collect a huge beast in the back of her car. To my husband, Rob, for whom it would never have been possible if he hadn’t been prepared to get his hands dirty (as well as his shoes, jeans and top) and to Alfie for being the best damn guard dog a girl could ever wish for. Cheers guys, for everything.

Take care from me. Jess 🙂 x