Sirius, a life-changing companion

Life is full of joy, laughter, heartache, relationships, shared moments and so much more. Life is also Sirius, and in this case, Sirius, the dog.

One of the loveliest things about having a relationship with a pet is the bond that’s created and the comfort that exists. You can let your guard down with one another and communicate in profound ways, ways that might be surprising, but if you’re fortunate enough to experience it, you’ll be left with one of the most wonderful lasting impressions imaginable. Let’s read a bit about how Sirius wagged his way into one family’s hearts and souls.

For years, James and his sister begged their parents for a dog, but the timing was never quite right. Being Harry Potter fans, the siblings already knew what color his coat would be and his name … black and Sirius. In 2002, Sirius was surrendered by his owner, and he barely had time to settle into his kennel at the Dumb Friends League before James and his family instantly fell in love and adopted him. You see James’ parents finally relented, and he and his sister attributed their change of heart to the family moving—at least that was the story they were told at the time and the story James and his sister believed for eight years until their mother told them the truth after Sirius died.

In 2000, James’ mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and by 2002, her diagnosis to overcome the disease was not positive. The change of heart to adopt a dog came from James’ mom as a way to comfort her children in case the worst happened.

While his mother was coping with her health and everything that surrounds the disease, it was easier to manage when the family was home, and her attention was on them. When the house was quiet, and she had time to focus on her thoughts, the young mother became depressed, and her musings drifted toward her mortality. The situation was more agonizing with no family in the country and a devastating history of cancer, and while family members were very supportive, they had no means to visit.

Once Sirius joined the family, James recalled his mom developed a strong bond with him very quickly. She would take hours-long walks with Sirius trying to distract herself. She shared with James that often when they rested during these walks, she would cry to Sirius, thinking about the worst possibilities of the future.

If you’ve loved a pet, it’ll be no surprise to learn that Sirius provided a tremendous level of comfort during these walks and quiet times. James shared that to this day, his mom credits Sirius with helping her keep her sanity and positivity during such a difficult time. His energy and presence were always there for her even during the darkest days.

James’ mom’s cancer went into remission, and the family fell more in love with Sirius. The sweet pup helped James travel through his teenage years and all the trials, tribulations and angst that naturally follow. The two took naps together after school and even began a ritual before every soccer game for good luck.

While the entire family loved Sirius, they all knew Sirius’ first love was James’ mom. The two were inseparable and constant companions, providing comfort to each other through every one of life’s challenges, including ongoing health scares, moving and his grandmother’s passing.

On February 9, 2010, the 10-year anniversary of the day when James’ mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer, Sirius died unexpectedly in the middle of the night. The dog who was so much more than a pet whimpered loud enough to wake James’ parents, and he died in his favorite human’s arms.

Sirius died leaving a void in James’ family, and his death affected everyone. James said their house was never was the same without him, and while his parents thought they would eventually get another dog, they never did—there was no replacing Sirius.

The family still lovingly talks about Sirius all the time, and in his home, James has a painting made by his mom of the sweet pup. And, every now and then Sirius visits James in his dreams, and James is always grateful for the opportunity to hug him and thank him for everything he did for his family. The comfort and peace Sirius provided lives on in their hearts, which is an incredible gift.