Hannah and Saffy

Last year my dog, Saffy, got diagnosed with cancer after a series of terrifying seizures.

Saffy was closer to me than any human in my life, she had taken care of me as much if not more than I had taken care of her for 10 years. The sudden realisation I would lose her shook my entire world apart.

In the panic I realised I’d have to decide what to do with her after she was gone and I felt like I was lost in a hurricane of emotions and decisions I had to make. I kind of remember when she got the diagnosis, I’ve known Jo for a long time so she was at my house within a couple of hours and with my mind and heart rushing a thousand miles an hour she brought me back down to earth explaining the options I had for Saffy, and whenever I stamped my foot and said NO or emotionally demanded a specific thing I wanted, Jo just kept telling me yes, of course, whatever you want to happen you can have happen and whatever you need is what you need and that’s OK. And so much of the fear started falling away.

Jo held me and supported me exactly where I was in that moment. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. So she became my death doula for Saffy. <br>The rest of the journey was exactly the same, Jo allowed me to go through all the processes of grief whether it required me to be extremely angry or sad or shut down completely. She allowed me to change my mind a thousand times and helped me work towards making happen whatever I needed to make happen so that I felt like my baby girl was taken care of through the process and that I had a solid ground to be on while I experienced the deepest depths of emotion in the way I needed to feel them. Jo helped me find the right cremation service, made phone calls, and did a lot of the things I was incapable of doing. I managed to do so much of the grieving before Saffy passed with Jo there with me so the moment Saffy decided to leave, I could really just let her go because she was ready.

There was no structure I had to follow, no things I had to do, this time was just for me and Saffy to do our final things to so she could leave her body, with the most beautiful human there for support whenever we needed her.

Jo will be the first phone call I make when the time comes again to let a family member leave earth side, she got me through it in a way that I didn’t know I needed or even thought possible.