As time passes and we grow closer to our beloved animals, it is common (at some point) to think about how we’re going to handle the loss of a pet. Our dogs take their paws and grab a part of our hearts, forever-while they are with us and after they are gone. Our dogs are the ultimate comrades, confidants, and therapists. Losing the only being that has never betrayed us, questioned our faults and were only put in to our lives to LOVE us, makes their passing earth shattering. Here is some advice straight from my heart to help you if you are dealing with the loss of a pet. If you are blessed to still have your pet, maybe you can help someone who is going through this loss.
I was inspired to write about this topic after hearing from a dear friend, Heather. Her little baby, “Tigger”, was taken to doggie heaven this past Friday. I had conversations with Heather about the medications that Tigger was on, and I never expected to hear this tragic news so soon. Though in my own life I am a tad pessimistic, when it comes to pets I always try to think of the best outcome. This is what Heather posted on Facebook regarding Tigger:
“Rest in Peace my beloved tiny beautiful one… mama loved you so deeply. I am truly devastated at this loss of my companion. You came into my life and I showed you true love and what it felt like to belong to someone…I doted on your every breath or tiny footstep…It has only been one day and the tears stream down my face as I look for you everywhere knowing that I cannot hold you. I do hold you so tightly in my heart and I feel like a wonderful sweet and kind part of myself has left me without you.Tig Tig’s you made everything better having you in my life and I tried so hard to get you better with every medication possible from the vets…I never gave up and I will always miss you and cherish you… some of those songs that I would sing to you at night before bed were INXS…I hope you are on the other side sweetly sitting in Michael Hutchence’s lap…smiling with your adorable snaggletooth…xoxoxoxoxoI miss you and will have you with me always!!!!! xoxoxoMama”
Now if that isn’t love, nothing is.
I was affected by the news and Heather’s Facebook post. I thought of my basset hound. Though my hound dog is only two, the thought of her being gone make my stomach burn. My hound dog is the most docile, loving, loyal, trusting, non-judgemental being on earth.
Aren’t all dogs?
I like to write about happy dog stories, dog tips, dog breeds, and happy things involving dogs. But to be true to you, my reader, I feel talking about the inevitable is only fair. I don’t want to put sadness in to anyone’s day, but I want to stay true to my readers. Sooner or later (hopefully much later) we will have to face this. In one year, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years-maybe you will remember these helpful tips to get you through the loss of your pet.
- Surround yourself with people who UNDERSTAND. If any of your friends, co-workers, or family members ever had a pet, (or still have one), they will “get” you. Reach out to people. Talk about memories. Talk. Talk. Talk until you are all talked out. Even if friends in your inner circle do not have pets, turn to the people you know you LISTEN. Do not allow anybody to tell you pet-loss grief is abnormal or strange. Your dog was family, period.
- If you need to cry yourself to sleep, scream at the walls, punch a pillow or spend $200 on things you don’t need-go for it. What ever makes YOU feel better. There is nothing wrong with having breakdowns. Do not bottle up your emotions; But don’t do anything crazy either. Your pet wanted you happy then, and your pet doesn’t want you to be crazy now.
- Do not blame yourself for anything. Guilt is part of the grieving process. “What could I have done to save him/her?”, “Why didn’t I go to a different vet?”, “Why didn’t I call off of work?”, Why? Why? “Coulda-Shoulda!” Why?” STOP! It is not your fault. Your pup was tired and ready to join the canine angels. If your pet died in an accident, that is not your fault either. In life, unpredictable and unforeseen things happen. This loss is “circumstance beyond your control”.
- Buy yourself something you deserve. Treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t splurge on, but love. Whether it’s an eight-pump, quad latte or a new pair of Doc Martens, go for it. Retail therapy is amazing. If you’re budget is strict, play your favorite music and sing-LOUD.
- Just breathe.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said ” it’s me.”
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.
Rest easy, Tigger.