The Day My Dog Died. ~ Ben Ralston

Via Ben Ralston
on Jun 5, 2013
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Jai as a puppy, near the spot where, 6 yrs later, he would be buried.
Jai as a puppy near the spot where, just 6 yrs later, he would be buried.

He loved me more than I loved him.

Although it hurts so much to admit it, he had more love in his whiskers than I have in my entire body. I’m a beginner at love—he, a master.

He barely left my side for 6 years. His name, when he found me, was Ben. And he is the most loyal, gentle, playful soul.

The day he died my whole life changed. A process began on that day—a process of remembering, and healing, and returning to health.

That was his gift to me. He loved me enough to gift me his death. Such beauty is what all of life is about.

Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.


I dug a deep hole in the clinging clay-filled earth, by the young cherry tree. I wept as I dug, and I repeated:

Jai, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Please forgive me…

But I instantly felt his forgiveness rain down on and through me, like the first glass of water after a long smoky night.

There is nothing to forgive“, he said, “because I understand.”

And I thanked him.

Thank you, thank you.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

And when the hole was deep I lifted his empty, rigid body into it. And I put one of his sticks in, and his blanket, and I wept like I’ve never wept before. I wept all of my grief and despair and loneliness out, and much of the grief and despair and loneliness of my ancestors.

Then I thanked him again, said goodbye and covered his body with earth and rocks.

I built a fire on that place and it burnt for a week without going out, even in the snow and the rain.

Each morning I came down and blew life into it, and each evening.

And finally, after a week, it went out.


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


7 Responses to “The Day My Dog Died. ~ Ben Ralston”

  1. Jan says:

    Oh Ben it's not easy when we part with our furry friends.. in some ways it's harder than when humans leave us.. our fur babies never judge us. I shed tears reading your words, I feel your loss <3

  2. @madgroove says:

    R.I.P. Jai ~ I'm blowing him cosmic kisses…..Ben, you've just experienced what I have yet to with my furry Angel on Earth, who has been, for thirteen treacherous years, the most devoted and generous companion to me, my oldest daughter, and now my 2 young girls. I have lost 2 cats that I had for quite a few years, and though that was heartbreaking and I miss them dearly to this day, I know the loss I will have when Angel goes will shatter me. But I must thank you, as I've been trying to prepare myself for that day best I can, as it grows nearer, for your expression of the the blessing and great healing that can come through such sadness. I LOVE that you kept a fire on her grave for a week <3 That is one of the most touching acts of love I've heard for a pet. And what a powerful healing source that fire must have been for you. May your heart's ache mend soon, dear Ben, and I truly believe her energy will remain with you throughout your journey, as well as continue to provide comfort, peace and reassurance when needed most. Heart hugs, Madeline

  3. Suresh says:

    Unconditional love is so freeing and so rare among humans, yet dogs and other animals practice it so easily. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Jan.

  5. Ben_Ralston says:

    The fire was very healing. I didn't know why I was doing it at the time, but it felt right.

  6. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Suresh.

  7. Kris Lord says:

    Oh, that made my heart ache. I feel I understand that love between dog and person – my dog is my teacher, when it comes to love, patience, excitement, forgiveness, presentness…