Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Losing a Pet

In life we're never really prepared for the loss of a loved one, including a beloved pet. For many people their pets are their family and losing a pet is hard, but there are places available to help us cope.

Over the last two years my family and I have suffered far too many losses when it comes to our beloved pets. It's always difficult, but what is always the hardest part is the one person that always says, "It's just a dog." or "It's just a cat." yes, they are our pets but they are also our family. Sometimes our pets are the one member of the family we can talk too without judgment but mostly they are our companions and love us regardless of what's going wrong or right in our lives. Just as there is no wrong or right way to grieve a person, there is no wrong or right way to grieve your pet. To a dog or cat lover it matters not how long the pet has lived with them because that animal captured their heart the moment they laid eyes on it.

When my family and I lost our first dog Yucca, I can honestly say we never even thought of the possibility until the day the vet told us the lump on her face was cancer. She had it removed and we were told she might have six more months. She lived comfortably for two more years before she succumbed to a second form of a cancer. Even though we knew she was on borrowed time it still didn't prepare us for the huge hole it would leave in our lives. We know at some point we'll all die, but there is something within each of us that scrambles that rationale and perhaps it's for the purpose of living.

I honestly wasn't prepared for how hard and deep my pain went for Yucca. I was embarrassed and though I told my family and friends I didn't tell them how hard it was hitting me. I cried when no one was around except for my other dog Chester, but never around a person. If someone asked where she was I told him or her, but never let on how sad I was. Boy I must have looked like a jerk, especially since Yucca was my special dog that literally saved my life twice, but embarrassment makes us all do strange thing things to avoid it. Even writing this entry I am crying for my best dog Yucca and she's been gone for almost two years. Only now when I cry I don't hide it, because my grief for my animals is normal. I cried when I had to help my family cats Duncan and Sammie. My home still feels oddly empty. I cried buckets last September when I had to make the decision to let my Chester go.

Losing a pet is hard and if you can't find support from friends and family there are people and places out there that can help. Your veterinarian may have suggestions or consider checking out the following links:

Pet Loss Grief Support Website

Pet Loss Support Page

Coping with the Death of Your Pet~The Humane Society of the United States

Pet Loss support Hotline & Resources


Until next time Woof, Woof and a Roo!

1 comment:

  1. Linda, thanks so much for this post. It's helpful to know there are others who know how you feel. My Holly has been gone a month now, but in some ways I'm as sad as if it happened yesterday. It's so hard and I miss her so much. I'm just comforted knowing that I'm not alone.