Every grieving pet parent copes with his or less in various ways. I myself am trying to cope with the recent loss of my 15-year old Happy with work. He was more than my dog; he was my best friend and my soul mate. Words can never really express the sorrow and horror of losing a beloved companion. Perhaps, Danny Ocampo himself knew that because he dealt with his grief by building his dog of five years an underwater memorial in Anilao, Batangas.
It is a fitting tribute. Sheldon, the name of his dog, was known throughout the country as the Diving Dog of Anilao. Perhaps you have seen one or more of the videos documenting his amazing skill to dive underwater, up to three meters.
Sadly, Sheldon has now passed on, succumbing to distemper. Danny shares his thoughts about Sheldon’s last dive:
Sheldon’s Memorial Dive
It took me a while to post this because every time I start I just break down and I can’t do anything else…
Sheldon’s 5 short years was full of love, friendship and great memories with friends and strangers. He was always approaching people and was almost dog napped several times because of his friendliness.
He was the runt of the litter and we almost lost him but we made sure that he got fed and, after a few days, he started fending for himself. Growing up he had difficult times… he had eye issues (Doc Alfredo noticed that) but soon overcame it and gave him that sweet, droopy tender eyes.
When he started diving that’s when he became famous in our little community of divers, windsurfers, paddle boarders, swimmers and free divers in Anilao. It was only recently that his videos and photos became viral and our little secret that is #sheldondivingdog was on several shows on national television and we got to share him with more people all over the world. There were other requests to film him but I declined since I don’t want Sheldon to get overexposed.
A month later we had to bring him to the vet because of a suspected tumor or Ehrlichia. He had to be operated on and his spleen was removed because it was infected and swelling. Thanks to Doc Mace for making sure Sheldon gets the best treatment and Elaine for helping out with the costs.
He was okay when he got out of the clinic after a few days and spent almost a month in Manila where my mom Eva enjoyed his company (and Sheldon enjoyed her aircon and company too ???? )… I asked Doc Mace if I could bring Sheldon to Anilao after a month and she said yes.
That day Sheldon went home to Anilao everyone welcomed him back and we went swimming with Jasmine. Before getting out of the water I hugged and held him so tight for a long time. I left him in Anilao after that weekend and I had to travel for work. Then he got sick again and we had to rush him to the clinic, this time with desperation since he tested positive for distemper.
That night I left him and saw him having seizures, I had to tell myself: do what’s best for Sheldon and give him all your love before you leave him. So I gave him a big hug and a kiss before the vet staff took him. 2 days after, I got the dreaded message that he is gone.
As friend Laura said, he was like a star who shone so bright for a short time…
One can never describe the feeling of loss and the empty space your loved ones leave behind. There are times you try to think of ways to bring them back, to change a thing or two so things would happen differently…
Only a few days ago I had a nightmare with Sheldon and Fiona in it where they were suffering and I kept saying please don’t let them suffer… I miss them more.
To those who have shared the sea with Sheldon and have known him please don’t forget him and visit him once in a while at Sheldon’s Rocks. He’s waiting for the white rocks you used to throw for him.
To those who were there during this last tribute to the wonderful life of Sheldon, thank you.
The memorial is decorated with rocks, a tennis ball, and a statue of Sheldon.
Have you ever lost a pet? How did you deal with the loss?
Share in the comments below and, perhaps, you can also help a grieving pet parent somewhere cope better with the loss.
Photo & video credit: Danny Ocampo