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Friday, June 28, 2013

Intimations of Mortality

Our dog Teyman died on June 24, 2013. She had been struggling with recurring growths for some time, and she was twelve years old, so her death was not unexpected, but it was still a sad thing for all of us.

Teyman arrived on our property as a stray on October 3rd, 2001. We had just moved in, and it was the anniversary of my father's death, so it seemed like some kind of omen.

Teyman and Sword on the day they met
Over the years, we have come to take Teyman's presence for granted. She was a very independent dog, and she loved to go hunting for her own food.

Bow and Teyman had an uneasy but respectful relationship. Teyman stood her ground with Bow and did not allow him to dominate her.

Life with Teyman was not always easy, because she had a mind of her own and would not always do what someone else wanted. However, when a friend was in trouble and needed to be taken to the emergency room in the middle of the night, it was Teyman who woke me up and insisted that I do something about it right away.

For most of her life, Teyman was a lean and slick looking dog, and she was spry and active. Only during the past few years did she gain weight and become less active. As she aged, she became less tolerant of other dogs, so I had to separate her from Brownie and our new dog Leo. Because she was no longer in the backyard, I took Teyman on walks three times a day for the past year and a half. This was good for both of us.

When Teyman died, Bow was sad. He didn't say he was sad, though. He tried to comfort us by saying it "just happened for no reason" -- זה סתם קרה -- meaning that it was not anyone's fault. And then he said he was not happy. But he didn't say he was sad.

However, he looked sad for the next few days.

Now, he no longer looks sad -- just a little thoughtful. Death is never easy to grasp and understand, even when we do accept it.

When someone we know dies, it reminds us of our own mortality. Sometimes we just need to process for a while. It's not a question of replacing Teyman with another dog. We have two other dogs, and Bow likes them. But sometimes he just wants to ignore Leo and Brownie and just swing and swing and think his own thoughts.


  1. Sad!! I do think that animals have feelings and can suffer loss and depression--

    1. Thanks for your comment, Audrey. Yes, there is no doubt that all animals have feelings and each experiences loss in its own way.

  2. Buster also was a bit like Teyman with his own mind. His non-stop barking caused problems for me in high school, and the vindicative neighbor who would call animals control every single day. I probably talked to animal control more than anyone ever has, but luckily she was a normal enough person to realize what was going on. After this experience I do not know if I could ever own a dog again for fear that a neighbor might call the pound if my dog make one peep. At least you lived on a nice piece of land where you did not have to worry about stuff like this. Teyman sounds like she was a great dog.

    1. That sounds awful to have a neighbor who calls animal control every day. I would not call that a dog problem. It sounds more like a neighbor problem.

      We did not have problems with our neighbors, even though Teyman sometimes went to visit them unexpectedly when she was younger. They liked her and would give her treats before sending her home.

  3. I wrote a Hub about Grief in Animals that I would like to share with you. Animals are very emotional beings and they feel very deeply. I am sorry for your loss. Even though your dog was old, it didn't make loosing your dog any easier.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I do agree that animals feel loss very deeply.