On November 3, 2020, my doggo of 10 years crossed the #Rainbowbridge . He was my constant companion, and he saw me through some really bad 💩 over the years. My kids picked him out at a shelter, so he was all I had left of my kids’ childhoods.

When he was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor, I was hopeful we could cure him. Unfortunately, that type of tumor is especially aggressive in German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP). We got three month from diagnosis to saying goodbye, even with aggressive treatment. But, I did everything I could possibly do for him, and I have no regrets. He was a good dog, but it was his time to go where I cannot follow. Hopefully, he is running and playing with the dog we had when my buddy came to live with us.

In the meantime, I’ve adopted the wild birds and squirrels in my neighborhood! It is late autumn/early winter in the American Midwest, and wild food sources are getting thin. My feeders have become a favorite hang out of about nine different species of birds, some of whom I’d never seen before starting this project. I get a great deal of peace watching them just outside my bedroom window. It’s very grounding at a time when I need all of the help I can get.

Adopting the wild ones has helped me deal with my grief. I think fondly on memories of my Max, but I don’t feel sorrow or depression. The birds don’t replace him (and he would have chased them all away if he were here), but they give me something to care about and something to take care of. They give me purpose for those times when the pit swallows me up and the lies in my head get loud. My birds need me to stay and fill up the feeders on occasion. That is reason enough to stay, for now.