February 8, 2018

Learning About Love and Loss

Bruce with his favourite dog Major and favourite cat Whisky circa 1970.

The first painful loss I remember as a child was for a collie-mix named Major. It would have been 1971. I was nine. The loss of a grandparent was still three years away, and I hadn’t really experienced any loss. For that matter, I hadn’t really experienced any real love outside of my family.

Major was a great dog. He was affectionate, playful, intuitive, and totally bonded with me. I adored him. We lived on a farm at the time and the laneway was very long. Major walked me down the long trek to the school bus every morning, and met me when I was dropped off every night.

Major disappeared in the spring of that year. I was frantic. We tried everything, but we never found him. My mother told me that he had likely been shot or injured and found a quiet spot to die. In 1971, that was not an uncommon fate for a country dog living outdoors on a farm. I was devastated. But, of course, I made it through the loss. And I think the experience taught me that I could make it through loss.

I have been fortunate to have had many loves, and been pained with many losses since 1971. And when experiencing a loss, l sometimes think about Major. And I know that I will make it through, because of that lovely collie-mix, a long time ago.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Remember to keep your all your loved ones safe and close.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director