By David Ellis

The bond between animals and humans. This is my story of my dog leaving me. He died suddenly on the 26th March 2023. He was only eleven years old. I miss him so much. I started this story shortly after he died, but I had to leave it until now.  

The bond between animal and human

My story is not intended to invoke sympathy. But his death inspired me to share the love and bond a human being can have with an animal, and how an animal can be so loyal and loving to a human being. But also to demonstrate just how fragile our life really is. Read more. 

My dog's name was Tilk. We named him after the warrior “Teal’c”, from the Stargate series. We named him after Teal’c, not because Teal’c was a jaffa Warrior, but because Teal’c was an honourable Warrior. 

We bought him when he was a puppy. He was not our first dog, our previous dog, Snoopy, a golden Labrador, was with us for 17 years. When he died, the pain was difficult to bear and so we did not consider another dog for several years. 

We moved three times in Snoopy’s lifetime, from a small semi-detached home in Dublin to a massive home called Atlantis, on five acres in Wexford. He had plenty of space to play. Yet, he never did. He never strayed from the 1 acre of grass that surrounded our home. 

He was loyal and loving and simply adorable. As he grew older he became slow and difficult to get up in the morning and despite that he always managed to get up to greet me. Every morning. 

When he died, we buried him under the trees at the bottom of our land. I used to go and sit on the rock beside him often. 

As time passed, grief subsided, and healing occurred. Over two years had passed, and I wanted another dog. I had to convinced my husband as he was not a total dog lover. 

We eventually agreed and set off one day to a golden Labrador breeder. It was there we met Tilk, as we entered the room where the puppies where being minded, this little puppy left his siblings and came over and sat on Roy’s feet. Our choice was made. We took him home and called him Tilk. 

The bond between animal and human

Tilk grew up with the freedom of our five-acre parkland. He was a nosy and curious puppy, a trait that never left him as he grew older. He loved running around, tormenting the cattle, and rolling in fox s..t. The latter seemed like a real special treat for him. He inter-grated well with people as he encountered many students and clients at Atlantis. There was never need for walks or leads, but we did go to the forest often, just the two of us. 

We moved to Spain to a small suburban home. He loved the Sunshine. He no longer had the freedom of the parkland so Tilk and I would walk together every morning and evening. We eventually found a morning route by the lemon farms of around 4km and a different route for the evening of around 3km. He was so happy. He had me all to himself while walking and he had both of us all day, unlike when we lived in IRELAND. 

I loved walking with Tilk, I would share my joy, happiness, thoughts, feelings, worries and concerns. We walked every day, no matter the weather, and we loved our walks. Sometimes he would just stop and look for a hug after I would hug him. He would lick my face and start walking again. I never trained him to do this. So it was very special to me. 

He was only ever sick once with a paw infection. I used to bandage him twice a day and put my socks on him and tape them on so he could walk with me. 

In the house, he would either lay at my feet or in his bed, and if the dishwasher was on, he would want to get on my lap. He was a big golden Labrador so that was a challenge. But he was my friend, and he was afraid so I’d do what I could to comfort him. 

Earthquakes and fireworks which are common in Spain, would upset him. But he found his comfort place upstairs in the shower. That’s where we would find him some mornings. Then we would realise there had been an Earthquake or fireworks. 

Throughout covid, we were together all the time, doing our walks twice daily. It was a mad time in the world, yet, in our world, there was only three of us, and we were so happy with our lives and each other. 

The bond between animal and human

On that fatal day, I got up as usual, had a shower and came down. He aways went mad with joy when he saw me in the morning. We went through the usual routine where I’d try putting on my shoes while he licked my face and investigated my socks and shoes, making it almost impossible to put them on. Finally, we were ready and as always, I would get his collar and lead, while he would go mental running around in excitement, eventually, after a bit of work I would get the collar on his neck, and we were ready to go. 

Nothing was out of the ordinary that morning. He was happy and full of life. We walked our usual morning route, he did all the things he usually did while we were out. The only thing he did that day that was totally out of character for him was to poop on the road outside the house of a dog that hated him. I was annoyed with him because he never pooped on the road. I cleaned it up and headed home. He did his usual when we got home: he drank lots of water and lay down in the shade for a snooze. I sat down and had a coffee close to him, and began to do some work on the computer. 

Sometimes, he would whimper in his sleep, and I would call his name, and he would wake up and come over to me. This day he whimpered, and I called him, the whimpering stopped but he never moved.   I jumped up and ran over and fell to my knees as I could see the life force leaving him. I screamed for Roy to come outside as I watched Tilk's eyes glaze over and he was gone. 

I found myself whaling uncontrollably, I could not grasp what had happened nor had I any grasp on reality. I cuddled him and sobbed. Still expecting him to get up yet knowing that was not going to happen. 

It was Sunday. Our vet was off. So, we called a 24-hour vet. Who told us it would be 5pm before they could collect him. I did not want just to leave him outside all night. So, we sat beside him from 1pm to 5pm. 

I covered his body with a big white towel, again whaling uncontrollably, just leaving his face exposed. I picked some purple flowers we had growing on the terrace and placed them beside him. 

I realised four weeks later to the day that my neighbours, both beside me and across from me, had heard my whaling and knew that Tilk had just died, and they had never said a word about it, despite meeting them several times on the road. 

After the vet took Tilk's body away, there was more whaling. We placed the flowers that were beside him on the stones of another planter. Two months later, they still looked good. Not fresh, but far from dead. 

There was a lot of uncontrollable crying that night, and after we went to bed, I could not sleep. I cried all night thinking about my friend, my loyal companion who loved me unconditionally, never giving up on me, never getting angry with me, always there for me and always loving me no matter what was happening. 

I must have drifted off at some point and woke up. I began crying again. I felt out of control. My husband was so good to me during that time. Although he, too, was grieving, he allowed my grief to take precedence and helped me in the grieving process. I don’t think I would have survived without his caring love and support; he was patient and understanding with me. 

He suggested that we should go for the same walks every day. So we did that for a while. But the pain in my Heart was becoming unbearable and I began to become dizzy. 

I could not sleep at night for fear that if I closed my eyes, I would not awaken, and Roy would then experience the pain and Heartbreak I now was suffering, and I did not want that to happen.

Our friends arrived from Ireland the day after Tilk died, we tried to interact but failed miserably as my Heart was in so much pain. However, after much contemplation, I decided to go and see a doctor, as I believed that my time too had come. I have seldom been ill and never been in hospital, so being unwell was very strange for me. 

The Doctor was brilliant, he did an ECG, BP, Otests and confirmed that by BP was very high and I more than likely had, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, which is Broken Heart Syndrome. He prescribed some pills for the BP and suggested some therapies to help me with grief. 

Roy and I walked every day for around two months, but we stopped, and I cant really recall why. Christmas has just passed and now we are embarking into a new year, I cant shake the feelings I have and the loss of my companion. Roy and I have discussed getting another dog, but deep down inside, Im just not there yet. 

The bond between animals and humans. People who love dogs and animals will resonate with my story, while people who don’t love animals will have no idea of the loss, pain, or sadness. I suppose the real reason I’m sharing my intimate story is that people might realise the love and loyalty of animals their contribution to our life here on earth. They might also realise that everything on the planet is alive and contributes to our existence here. Each human being is capable of much more than we contribute or believe we can contribute; we are more than the sum total of our wealth or achievements. Our bodies are Miracles of the creator, with intelligence beyond our understanding, as each cell has its own intelligence and works in harmony or in discord to ensure our body performs. Our Heart directs the brain in every facet of life, but sometimes, we choose not to listen to our Heart. 

The bond between animals and humans

Our Heart is the key to our survival, the Heart only knows Love and Truth. It was my Heart that responded to my loss, increasing in capacity in order to support in in my time of need. 

Be your Heart

See more of my articles on Heartfulness at www.AtlantisInstitute.org