Yesterday was a sad day for the UK as we learnt the news that our Queen had passed.
It was a strange feeling for me as I would not consider myself a royalist so I was somewhat surprised when I found myself very upset on hearing the news. I will remember the time it was announced, I was watching the news at home then all of a sudden the screen went black, I actually thought that our television had broken as it was like someone had just turned it off for a few seconds. Then it came back on, the background was black and the news that Her Majesty had passed at her home in Balmoral was announced.
The waves of grief that took over my body all evening was a surprise to me. I think it was because our Queen was a relatable figure, we all felt like we knew her but yet none of us did. She has been a constant throughout my life and I although I didn’t follow the royal family in great detail, I had adopted many little traditions that involved the Queen. Tuning in to watch her speech after our Christmas lunch, watching any televised celebrations that came on the TV; Trooping the Colour was one of my favourites and the recent celebrations for the Jubilee was another highlight. I was particularly fond of her sketch with Paddington bear!
Her death also triggered more personal feelings of loss, my Grandad passed away when I was young, primary school age, but I have fond memories of how we used to joke together that my mum was like the Queen. I would often write to my grandad even though we lived close by. I would draw a stamp on the envelope with the Queen’s head on and Grandad would always joke on the similarities between her and my mum in my drawings. The house where my Grandad lived and where we shared many happy memories actually overlooks my training field, I often look over to the house as I am teaching and reminisce.
I bet many of you also have memories which relate to the Queen in one way or another, it sounds maybe a dramatic statement but our lives will now always be different. The memories we now make with our own families will now have a King as our Monarch. We will see lots of changes including the cash we all use daily, it will now be The King that is pictured on each coin and bank note.
This is a huge moment in British history.
I think these memories are what has triggered this grief that I am feeling, The Queen was a mother, a Grandma and for her family I feel so sad. They will be feeling an immense loss but have to keep up this public persona which will be incredibly difficult for them. It is also a timely reminder that time with our own families needs to be truly cherished.
So what has all this got to do with dog training?
The Queen loved animals and her love of dogs is captured in many pictures, I can truly relate to that. I heard a story on the news last night of The Queen speaking with someone who was distressed and they told how she reached for some dog biscuits, handed one to this person and simply said “Here, let’s feed the dogs, I find that helps” how wonderful to hear of stories like this. Having a dog by your side really does help with all manner of things. Those who have read my book will know the personal journey I have been on with my dog, Milo.
I feel that it wouldn’t be right at this sad time to be posting my usual social media posts and carrying on as normal, to me that feels hugely disrespectful to a Queen that has given all of her life to serving her country. I have decided to suspend my social media posts until Monday and I will reassess then. I will still be teaching though, so if you are booked into a session then those will still be going ahead. This may change in the following few weeks as I expect the whole of Britain will pause when the Queen is laid to rest.
For now, this is your reminder to cherish those close to you, make time for your loved ones. Be kind to all those around you as you really don’t know what feelings this news will be triggering for them. We all are individual and we will all process this huge moment in history in different ways, depending on our own personal feelings and emotions.
Just like humans our dogs are individual, obviously they are oblivious to the news but they will pick up on your emotional changes. Dogs can smell our emotions so just bear this in mind if you find yourself upset and your dogs start acting out of character.
Your daily walks may also change with your dogs, as we unite as a country we may stop to chat to people for longer on our walks or make conversations with those who we don’t normally talk to and if your dog isn’t used to this, you may find they start acting in a way you don’t expect. Being close to unknown people or new dogs can upset some dogs so please bear this in mind when you are out and about. I also expect there will be gatherings of some kind, all speculation, but if these do occur then think of these from your dog’s view to limit any feelings of negative emotions for them.
Although this blog isn’t of its normal tone I wanted to put my thoughts down to mark this huge moment in British history, and as usual if you do have any dog training concerns, please contact me via my website and I will be happy to help.