Luna, and her sister, Seren, were a pair of young hairy blonde lurchers found in a yard in Drogheda in 2007, having been dumped there the previous night. They were taken in by Drogheda Animal Rescue and put up for adoption. I’d been scrolling through animal rescue websites for weeks and spotted their photos, contacted DAR and arranged to go meet the girls. It was love at first sight and, when we met them, there was no way we could take just one and leave the other. So Luna and Seren travelled south to live with us in West Cork.
At the time, I was dealing with chronic pain issues and tiredness from fibromyalgia, but having to walk the two girls each day brought me out and about in Nature, walking the lanes and beaches, getting fresh air, building up my strength and getting to know them and other local dogs and their families, many of whom are still friends to this day. I owe those two dogs so much as I believe that they gave me the strength to get up and go out every day.
We loved our walks on the beaches, with them racing around, chasing each other, making me laugh out loud at their antics. Luna was much more outgoing, while Seren was shy, avoiding people she didn’t know. So Luna deflected attention away from her sister and became like an ambassador for all rescue dogs, and lurchers in particular. Everyone that met them loved our hairy blonde sisters. Walks were never short as people would stop us to ask about the girls. We were inseparable. They lay near me as I sketched, watched TV or read a book. They came everywhere with us. They were our family.
As the years went by, the girls slowed up a little, but were still happiest when running around on a beach chasing each other. Then, during the hot summer of 2018, Luna, at 12, seemed to struggle with walking up steps and was reticent about even the shortest of walks. At first we thought she’d pulled a muscle or was suffering in the heat, but when she wasn’t improving with rest, we investigated further. X-rays didn’t show anything so we took her for a scan to a vet in Cork city.
We were not at all prepared for the news that the vet had for us - that cancer had eaten away one of Luna’s vertebrae and that there was nothing that could be done for her. He advised us not to let her wake up from the sedation and to let her go. What else could we do but hold her in our arms as she slipped away, out of pain, and out of our lives? I don’t know how we managed the journey home safely, but we did. We brought Luna home, with Seren by her side, and buried her in the garden, where we could see her grave from the house.
Five years on the heartbreak is still there, but I have learned to cope with it, mostly. I still speak of Luna, and Seren, pictured left, who died at Christmas 2021, aged 15. Sharing their story, creating artwork, and being out in Nature have all helped me to cope with the loss. No, it’s not easy, but those two hairy blondes, or ‘The Snoop Sisters’ as one friend called them, brought us so much joy and happiness, that it’s the least I can do to share their story and hope that, in doing so, I can help you if you’re grieving your beloved animal. Grief from pet loss is real. It’s visceral. Don’t let anyone ever belittle your feelings by saying you are grieving for “just a dog” or “just a cat”. Our grief is real, and is huge, because we have loved so deeply and lost so much. If the price for loving another being is the pain that we go through when we lose them, then I am more than happy to go through that pain as I wouldn’t have missed those years with our girls for all the money in the world.