Leadership: Processing the loss of a furry friend


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


Kathie Rotz PHOTO CREDIT: Christian Del Rosario Contributed


Wrigley. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

On April 28, 2021, my husband, John, and I said goodbye to our best friend, Wrigley Thomas, our 12-year-old golden retriever.

Having a dog was not my idea, especially not this discount puppy. Wrigley was somewhat of a clueless animal when we brought him home. He needed to be trained on behaving in our house and neighborhood. Early on, he saw nothing wrong with licking a hole in our carpet or breaking out of his kennel to enjoy time on the forbidden furniture while we were away.

Numerous mornings were spent driving around our neighborhood searching for our run-away puppy before the school bus arrived. Wrigley was desensitized by the underground fence. His yard was the entire subdivision. I am so thankful for forgiving neighbors who notified me when Wrigley was sunbathing in their driveway.

Another favorite sunning location was a neighbor’s back porch. This neighbor fondly describes Wrigley as a “character.” Wrigley would meander into the extended backyard for love and treats when he was left alone too long or feeling neglected. Cheerios became a popular afternoon snack.

Wrigley and John were best friends. Wrigley followed John everywhere he went. Evenings became cuddle time for the two.

My relationship with Wrigley was less clingy and more convenient. He was my walking partner, demanding four walks per day. He was my sole co-worker before working from home became popular. I was his protector when he was in trouble. (This 100-pound fur baby would push my feet aside to hide under my desk after he was scolded. Soon after, John was found under the desk making amends.)

I wish I had secrets to share with you on how to move on after you lose your best friend. Whether a human or a furry pet, nothing makes this loss easy. I unconsciously look for Wrigley in his favorite spots in the house, and I talk to him throughout my day. I wish I would hear his collar tags jingle again. I wish this lovable creature would bound through my office door during my meetings, unaware of the interruption he was making.

We knew that there was a great chance we would outlive our beloved canine. I am so thankful that we embraced his idiosyncrasies while sharing this earth together. Wrigley was a pampered puppy who enjoyed ice cream and car rides. Everyone knew him. He was the neighborhood friend who did not bark but could lick you to death. His favorite season was winter. There was never enough snow for Wrigley. Our front yard was void of “snow cream” because he ate it as fast as it fell.

Wrigley Thomas Edward (the second middle name was given in his later years to match his gray hair and years of wisdom) wrapped his tail around my heart, and I do not like letting go. We have been asked if we will get another dog. No, not now. Maybe not ever. It is too hard to replace a perfect friend.

Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer and coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.

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