Desi-Lou Helps Turn Loss into Love

By Judy Layne

Anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet knows that the pain of saying goodbye cuts deep. We need to give ourselves time to mourn the loss of our precious pets. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, no set time. Some of us are afraid that opening our hearts to another pet means that eventually, we’ll experience immense sorrow again. But the greatest honor we can pay to our deceased pets is to reach out to another animal in need of a good home and let the gift of love they brought us live on.

Glenn and Anita know this first-hand. In May 2021, they lost their beloved adopted greyhound Malachi to cancer. For 6 years, Malachi was the couple’s best friend and constant sidekick. “He was so special,” said Anita. “Malachi was a true gentleman, never jumped up at people and was flirty with all girls of all species! Long walks on trails or in parks and afternoon naps were high on his list of favorite things.” Malachi was also a major ‘foodie.’ “He loved barbecue, blueberries and would attempt to steal your food, even when you were still eating it!” Anita chuckled.

One day in May 2021, Malachi had a sudden fall that resulted in a broken leg. Glenn shared “X-rays showed that he had advanced cancer. Malachi was getting older and we understood he wouldn’t have an easy or pain-free end. We knew we had to find the strength to let him go, out of kindness and love. It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever had to make, but it was the right one.”

The couple’s home felt empty after Malachi’s passing. Anita recalled “Coming home without him was super-hard; we were used to him being wherever we were. We missed the special things that made Malachi unique – his sighs, whines and horse-like ‘raspberries’ when he was annoyed or wanted something and the chittering of his teeth when he was happy.”

There’s no manual that can tell you how to mourn and for how long. Everyone handles grief and loss differently. When it comes to considering getting a new pet, you’ll be ready when you’re ready – your heart will tell you.

“We missed having a dog to care for, to make us laugh and help us stay active,” recalled Anita. “We were searching for our new family member when we came across 9-year-old Desi-Lou’s photo. Her eyes drew us in – it’s as if they were saying ‘Look at me.’ When we met her, we fell in love with her great smile, big personality, cheery nature and wagging tail. We knew she was the perfect match for us and on August 4, 2022 we brought her to her fur-ever home.”

And what an amazing girl Desi-Lou has turned out to be.

Glenn proudly shared “She is smart and obedient, does tricks and loves to cuddle (belly rubs are a favorite). She’s definitely a ‘people-dog’ and has to be touching us at all times. Desi-Lou will even push the bed covers aside to get under them with us! She will also sneak a lick in when least expected, especially after drinking water – a wet sloppy kiss.”

I asked the couple what advice they would give to people who have lost a beloved pet? “You need time to grieve, but it’s definitely worth adopting another deserving animal as soon as you’re ready. Desi-Lou has given us purpose again, and has brought us the devotion, joy and love we needed to fill the hole in our hearts.”


Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.