While playing through and reviewing Final Fantasy XVI, I lost my golden retriever, Dexter. He was only five, and was taken from my life far too soon. Greif is a funny thing; it rears its head when you least expect it. I knew Dexter had been sick for a few weeks, but it still hadn’t felt real.
Every time I picked up the controller to play through Final Fantasy XVI, it felt daunting and overwhelming, and I felt this heavy sense of dread. I couldn’t figure out why these motions swirled around me like a plague because I was enjoying the game once I got into it.
Torgal and Clive’s Relationship Made Me Confront My Own Grief
It was then, in a fleeting moment, that an X button prompt popped onto the screen near Torgal’s head. I clicked it, pet my little furry friend, and broke down. I realized so much of what was filling me with dread was that Clive and Torgal’s relationship reminded me so much of mine with my loyal companion.
Of course, Dexter and I weren’t saving the world, but having him at my side anywhere I went was a feeling of safety and companionship I had grown accustomed to.
Loyalty is a trait I hold above all else. In a world so focused on clout chasing and climbing the ladder it’s important to hold those who stick by you close. As you get older, that trait gets harder to come by, so losing Dexter was a punch to the gut I never expected this soon.
Torgal is as loyal as they come, and throughout the game, proves that time and time again. He came to their rescue countless times, pulled them out of the darkness, and did everything his four little paws could to save the day.
Losing a pet isn’t easy; it’s a messy, complex array of emotions. It’s difficult to put into words just how much someone means to you, and having a representation of a loyal relationship smack me across the face made me confront the feelings I had been running from.
Sometimes it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and choose not to let yourself feel, but you’ll never heal and process that. Torgal made me confront the complicated and sad emotions my brain was trying to run from. Pushing through Final Fantasy XVI constantly reminded me of Dexter, and the adventures we would no longer go on together, but it also reminded me of something else.
It reminded me of the bond we forged and the love we shared. Dexter might be gone, but that doesn’t mean the memories we made together are going anywhere. I’m still grieving and likely will be for a long time, but that feeling isn’t forever. I loved Dexter his entire life and I’ll miss him for the rest of mine.
I’ll never forget him following me into every room, always needing to share the bed, and jumping up onto me every time I walked in the door.
The way Torgal runs to Clive, wags his cute little tail, and loves Clive unconditionally is a stark reminder of why we get a pet in the first place. Companionship isn’t forged overnight, it takes time, and it’s some of the strongest loss you can feel in this world.
Final Fantasy XVI is known for its combat, story, and over-the-top fantasy cutscenes, but I’ll always know it for the game that helped me through the grief of losing my dog.
As I said, grief is a funny thing, and now I’ve found myself writing words about my dog on a website. When you’re playing FFXVI, stop and pet Torgal every once and a while, and hug your pets a little tighter.