Survivor’s Guilt

I think I have survivor’s guilt, or some version of it. I don’t feel guilty for being alive exactly, which I know is technically what survivor’s guilt is all about. It’s not like Logan and I experienced some catastrophic event and I somehow escaped death and he didn’t. I’m just five years younger than he was and, therefore, always expected to outlive him.

When we were both a lot younger.

And I don’t feel guilty for enjoying a walk, or a sunny day, or a sniff around the barn while T is feeding. These are all things Logan would enjoy with me if he was here, things we enjoyed together over our seven years as partners, brothers, and friends (T has this Nitty Gritty Dirt Band thing.) I actually experienced more guilt going for a walk and having to leave him behind in recent months than I do now that he’s not here to leave behind.

Where the guilt comes in is when I enjoy something I might not have had the chance to do with Logan here, I see where my life has changed for the better. It sounds even worse when I put it into words on the page. But, let me explain.

Me as hotel dog in Red Deer for the horse sale.

Logan wasn’t a good traveller, he was noise sensitive, he didn’t like crowds, he got hot easily with his black coat, didn’t like being tied, and all these things added up to being left at home when it wasn’t a specifically dog-related activity because he was generally happier there. I, on the other hand, am a good traveller, am not bothered by most noises (except gunshots and thunder which are terrifying), love people (the more the merrier), have no issue with being attached to an immovable object by cable or leash, and stay quite comfortable on a hot day as long as I have water. But, to keep Logan company and, I think, to not create a double standard, I was most often left home with him.

I have been to Calgary, Strathmore, and other sundry locations more times in the past four weeks than probably the previous year, or even two. I know time of year has something to do with it, the weather is cool enough to leave a dog in a car, but I also know it’s because Logan is no longer here to stand at the door and watch me go somewhere while he stays behind. Funny thing about Logan was, no matter how many shaking, panting, over-heated, noisy excursions he went on, he’d still show up at the door, just in case it was something good, something dog-friendly, something fun. 10-Chico-guilt-ontheroad

Showing off my awesome travelling skills.

I love to be with my people, no matter the circumstances, and being an only dog, and a dog who is quite portable, has opened doors for me, doors that used to have Logan standing in them. Ouch, there it is again, the stab of guilt. Am I terrible?

I miss him, of course, we all do, every single day. T cries at least once a day, usually when she runs across another of his things—a toy, his desert walking boots, the blue and grey fleece jacket he wore most of last winter, his food bowl on stand that our friends gave him. And then there are the photos, oh so many of them, and he was such a photogenic guy.

He joins us in spirit on every walk.

I’m bouncing between missing my friend and enjoying the freedom that’s come with his absence. Maybe I should talk to someone. Anyone know a good dog psychologist? Then again, if Logan was here he’d just say, “Don’t be an idiot, Red. Get out there and enjoy yourself without an anxiety-prone old cripple with a heart condition holding you back. It’s what I’d do.” And that was the truth, Logan never missed an opportunity to do what he enjoyed, even at someone else’s expense (usually T’s or Nollind’s), and never suffered guilt.

Tagging along on a book event day in Okotoks.

So, my old and dear friend, in your honour, in your memory, I will uphold your credo, enjoy each day to the fullest, and live my best, guilt-free life.

~ ~ ~

On a whole other topic … Happy Fur-iday Birthday, Auntie Susan!  Celebrate by cuddling at least one dog today!10-Chico-guilt-sus


7 thoughts on “Survivor’s Guilt

  1. Dearest Chico… I’m only a psychotherapist for humans not dogs but I do believe that you hit the mark on the head with the words you shared of what Logan would have said to you. “Get out there, Red!” The Wheel turns, things change and now it’s your opportunity to revel in your own, solitary, “Chico-ness”. Enjoy your time with your pack, wherever that might be. Honor Logan’s memory by being your unique self. It is because of his past influence on you that you now see and experience the difference in your life. Appreciate every day, my friend. Love from California to you and your pack.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Chico-ness” …I like that. And revelling in it sounds like something I could be good at. Thank you for your kind words, Rebecca (and your professional opinion.) If Logan had been human perhaps you two would have shared a profession. :o)

      Oh, and you inspired T’s cry for the day, but this time she was smiling as the tears ran down her face. I hope that’s good.

      Yours in Chico-ness,


  2. I have thought about all of you through the last weeks. I love this blog so much and have told so many people about it. Thank you once again for your time and effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww thanks for the birthday wishes Chico Man. I’m happy to report that I cuddled plenty with, not just any dog, but an old pal of yours.. Lily.
    I’m sad to hear about T’s tears and your guilt, but we both know it is all part of the process of love, and I promise the space will fill and the tears will dry up, although never completely. I too think Logie would want you to appreciate your singleton life. After all, you were a superb pack together and largely because of your good nature. And as life is fairly short and extremely precious, we shouldn’t feel bad about the things that make us feel good.
    Love u bushels and bunches 🐾💓

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Lily…what a sweet girl. Happy you found a good birthday cuddle since I was unable to provide.
      Thank you for your words of assurance. I believe you’re right. We’ve been going on lots of walks and, in addition to just having fun, it feels like healing. T’s smiling more and I feel the skip in my step returning.
      ❤️ Chico 🐾


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