Losing a Pet is so Painful
Losing a pet can be one of the most painful experiences in life and, in some cases, as painful as losing a close family member or friend.
Pets are Family
Our pets are family, not a commodity or a status symbol, but a real family member and as important as everyone else living in the house.
For some, their pets are their only family members, because they choose to, or can’t have children. Their pets are their babies!
I think that pet lovers everywhere would agree that a home is not a home without a pet, be it a dog, cat, rabbit or anything else. The most popular pet is the dog, closely followed by the cat and then rabbits.
They share our home, they enjoy the luxuries that we provide for them and we spoil them with the best food and treats, right?
After all, pets are meant to be spoiled! Aren’t they?
Your Pet’s Life is Never Long Enough
We all know that our pets don’t live anywhere near as long as we do, and sometimes the time we have with them seems way too short, especially when you have adopted an older pet.
Sometimes the time with them is gone way too soon and, you feel that you have barely got to know them.
If you have rescued your pet, you can rest assured that your pet had the best time with you. His days would have been filled with love and care and probably loads of fun!
Something he wouldn’t have had, had he still been stuck in a cage at the rescue!
My husband and I adopted our last three dogs and the time we had with the first two just flew by.
Our first dog, not adopted, was a Golden Retriever name Benson, (we always called him Ben or Benny, unless he was up to mischief and then it was Benson), we purchased as a puppy, lived for sixteen years.
When he died I couldn’t bring myself to have another dog for a very long time. It was almost four years. I even felt guilty then, guilty that I was replacing him although, in reality, that was not the case at all.
Pen, whose name evolved into Muppet, was our first rescue dog, a Collie (sheepdog). She was six years old, a walking skeleton with more matted fur than a twisted afro and, very sick.
Normally here in the UK, when you rescue a bitch she can’t be re homed until she has been spayed.
However, Muppet couldn’t be spayed as she was ten kilos underweight!
We had to agree and sign a contract to take her back, when she had gained enough weight and, was fit enough for surgery.
A digital painting of Muppet
We brought her home not knowing how she would behave with our three cats but we had to have her.
We made a rule that she would not be allowed on the sofa….. Guess how long that lasted?
When we arrived home with her, we put her on the leash to take her into the house, knowing that the three cats would be waiting for us.
They always were. As soon as they heard the car coming up the road, they would make their way to the lounge to greet us when we got in, usually with a meow and that ‘where have you been’ look!
Needless to say, we needn’t have worried. The cats weren’t bothered, just curious, as they had grown up with Ben, and had met several of my friend’s dogs.
Muppet just wanted to day ‘hello’, and round them up. Life was good with her.
Muppet was a very sick dog, she wouldn’t eat and, to encourage her we had to hand feed her.
It turned out, it was discovered when she went to be spayed, that she had a ruptured spleen that was slowly leaking into her abdomen.She needed major surgery to repair the extensive damaged it had caused.
Muppet was a delight and after a lot of love and care, she recovered.
We had six short years with her before she died. We were gutted. We hadn’t had her long enough, the time had flown by and it seemed like only months had passed since we had rescued her, probably because it took her such a long while to recover from being sick. We will never forget her.
It took another year before we rescued Honey, a German Shepherd.
She was seven years old and had been in a shelter for five months before she joined our family.
I was really concerned about rescuing a German Shepherd dog (GSD), especially an adult, because I knew that they were very intelligent dogs who needed discipline and need to know their place within the family. We knew nothing about her and how she would be with us. Would she settle with us, would she be try to rule us and would she be safe with our friends and family?
My husband was convinced that she would be fine, as he had had a GS before, I however, was not so sure.
It became evident, not long after she came to live with us, that she was riddled with arthritis.
Both of her hips and spine were affected and became progressively worse over quite a short time, requiring a lot of uncomfortable treatments.
Despite being in constant pain and, being bombarded with drugs, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy (which she hated), she was the most happy, loving loyal dog I ever had the pleasure of caring for. And, she never, ever complained. Not once.
A Special Bond
I can’t explain the bond I had with Honey, but as much as I loved my other dogs, my relationship with her was different. I don’t know why, or how it was different, but it was. She meant the world to me (as did my other dogs). She was my dog and I was her mum and nothing else mattered.
Perhaps someone reading this could explain it.
We lost her suddenly after five short years and I was broken.
I am still not over her and, I don’t understand what it was that I had with her that has made her loss so painful for me.
Even writing this has brought a lump to my throat and in some ways I am still grieving three years on. Always will.
It took another year before I agreed to adopting another dog, another GSD, and even then I was reluctant.
Her name is Sass and, she is living the life with us today.
My husband found her online and kept on putting his iPad under my nose with her picture!
I kept saying no, and he kept showing me her picture and telling me that she was in a foster home not too far away. Finally I relented and we went to see her.
Needless to say we fell in love!
She was a very poor specimen of a GS. She was very skinny, her fur was thin and sparse and she had sores everywhere, a broken tooth, a broken tail and she stank.
She had, had eleven puppies, the last of which had been homed the week before we met her.
She was also quite fearful and would scream in terror and pee for no reason.
She still does it today, but not often.
Needless to say, after good bath and grooming, a few weeks of love and care and, a healthy diet (she is fed raw as she wouldn’t eat at all when we adopted her), she is now healthy and gorgeous.
She is wary of my husband, even though he has only ever given her love, love and more love.
She is traumatised. We know something terrible has happened to her in her past, but we have no idea what and, we never will.
Apart from that all is good with her and yes, she is joined to my hip and yes, that special bond is back. And yes, I am dreading the day when we will have to say goodbye, although I hope it is not for many years yet.
Understanding a Grieving Pet Owner
If you have never loved a pet, it may be difficult to understand someone who goes to pieces when they lose theirs.
It is painful, very painful and it can knock you off your feet and, as I said at the beginning it can be as painful as losing a close family member or friend.
What makes if even worse is that more often than not, you are forced to make that awful decision, to have your pet put to sleep, to end their pain.
For me, and others I have spoken to about this agree, that there is this overwhelming feeling of guilt you that carry with you afterwards. Guilt because your pet loved you and trusted you to keep him or her safe.
You feel like you have betrayed them because it was you who ended their life.
Even though you know in your heart that you made that decision out of love for them, to take away their suffering and pain, you still feel that you are the one responsible for their death!
It goes against everything you stand for in rescuing or caring for your pets.
There is little you can do to make anyone going through this feel better.
All you can do is just be there for them, to give them support and allow them to talk.
Believe me, having someone to share your heartache with does help, especially when that person reminds you of what you did for your pet. The life, the love, the fun that without you, they may not have had.
And just to end, here is a poem I wrote for a friend of mine who was beside herself with grief when her young dog (only two years old) died suddenly.
If this little post has resonated with you in any way, please comment and share it.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject and perhaps you would like to share your own experience. Thank you.