Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few days ago I received a phone call from a friend who was crying and quite despondent. When I asked her what was wrong, in between sobs, she said her beloved golden retriever had passed away that morning . Having gone through this same journey with our golden retriever Belle in 2004 this news brought back a flood of emotions.  The news of Missy's passing reopened wounds that I had been able to suppress over the past seven years.

Our sweet Belle was diagnosed with cancer in November 2003. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. One day she just quit eating and within days started losing weight. We had noticed her activity was not like it was, but she was ten years old so she no longer had the vim and vigor of a puppy. We were shocked to hear the diagnosis. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought dogs got cancer. She lived another three months before we had to make the toughest decision in our lives and that was to put her quietly out of her suffering. Let me tell you it was the most difficult part of the whole journey, but our vet was the best. She allowed us to stay with our beloved Belle until she took her final breath. To go home with just a collar and leash was devastating. In fact it was just a few months ago that I was finally able to let go of her collar and leash and surprisingly it still had her smell emanating from the purple 'necklace' she wore for years.

For those of you who are pet lovers and have ever lost a pet you understand the emotional toll this can have on your life. Losing a pet can be just as emotionally crippling to one's life as losing a family member or friend. Belle gave us unconditional love. We used to say that if anyone came to rob our home, Belle would be more than eager to help, but first they had to play her favorite game of toss and fetch. She loved life and she taught me how to love life.

And for those who say, "she was just a dog" I beg to differ. Belle was more than a dog. She was friend and a companion but most importantly she was a member of our family for over ten years. No one would ever think twice to say to someone who lost a loved one, "oh he was just your Dad" or "she was just your sister."

Grieving is a part of the process. For some it comes gradually over time and for others it can be quite intense, but we should never feel ashamed or guilty for the emotions we are feeling. It's OK to feel sad, angry, even depressed, especially when the death comes suddenly.

There is no time limit on going through these emotions either. I remember our first Christmas after Belle passed away. It had been ten months since she died and we were putting up the tree when I came across an ornament with Belle's photo on it when she was a puppy. The emotions surfaced and yes, tears were shed. I quietly found a special place on the tree to hang her ornament and to this day we still put that ornament on the tree as a reminder to us that she was and will remain in our hearts forever.

For those of you who are walking through the journey, know that you are never alone. Sharing your stories of your beloved pet won't make the pain go away, but don't let anyone ever tell you to get over it. Allow yourself to cry, if need be, and know that while time heals some of the sadness, you will always have the memories of your pet to hold close to your heart.

Have you ever lost a pet? Did you receive sympathy from your family and friends?

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I've really been struggling with this: My cat has lived with my folks about 1,500 miles away for 7 years. I got her when I was 14 years old as a kitten, and throughout my teen years, she was basically my support animal. She would always find me when I was truly upset, and would sleep with me under the covers. I visit my parents every summer, and she was always there to great me and sleep with me under the covers.

I had kind of been preparing myself to loose her since she was about 13 years old, but then she started wandering off. My mom made jokes about "bailing her out of jail" whenever my cat ended up at the pound. And not much I could do about it from 1,500 miles away. About 3 months ago, she disappeared, never came back and never showed up at the pound. I'm sure she is probably dead, and even if she isn't, she is almost assuredly gone forever. Even typing this has been a real struggle though. I can't get past her just disappearing. Imagine if someone you knew could die soon, like a grandparent, just disappeared instead. How long do you hope they'll just reappear? How long until you let go and say that even if they hadn't disappeared, they'd still be gone? My partner is such a sweetie; he's been with me as long as the cat, and he has told me its okay to be sad because he knows how much I love my cat. But I struggle to let myself be sad when in reality, it has devastated me. Report
This was sad I lost 6 cats 5 toms and 1 female.I miss them all -especially Gus my first cat as an an adult -we used to let him outside and I don't know what happened to him- he was such a sweet and affectionate boy he didn't deserve whatever happened to him. Its been over 30 years but it can feel like yesterday.
The others all except Malcolm had health problems and had to be euthanized.
Malcolm died in his sleep on his favourite chair aged 12. Report
By the way, we changed Suisse name to pixie Report
Not too long ago, our beloved Rosie cat went missing, we searched high and low, put up posters, received many phone calls about sightings of a little fat black cat, however they were never her.

One day I was perfectly fine, not doing much when my dad called me over and said 'they found Rosie, she didn't make it...' The minute it hit me was the day my heart was tore in half. As I type this I have tears rolling down my cheek.

As I got inside, I saw my mum crying her eyes out, just as much as me. I run over to her and didn't move for about thirty minutes.
Eventually I managed to ask what had happened. She was found 15miles away, run over.

Rosie wasn't curious enough to jump in a van or something, she was taken.
My dad went to pick her up from the vet while I lay in bed, not believing anything, trying to wake up from this dreadful nightmare.

He came back holding a little heap, wrapped inside one of my baby blankets. I couldn't look at her, instead I found the courage to stroke her ear. She was so cold and so still, she didn't flinch when my warm tears dripped on her. I yelled and snapped at anyone who used the 'D Word'

We kept her in the foot stool while we organised a cremation company. I wasn't in when they took her away but I made sure that I kissed her and told her i loved her on the day.

We got a new cat called baby girl which was quite sad as I used to call Rosie that. However she wasn't the right cat for us. We took her back and met another cat called susie, she was 2 and pretty playful, we took her home and she just clicked in as if she were the missing price to a jigsaw puzzle, she fitted in perfectly.

My dad is finding it particularly hard to come to terms with it as he used to hold Rosie in his arms and she would lay there, really content. We love pixie but never as much as Rosie cat.

For some coincidental reason, a few years before 5 year old Rosie passed,
I did some recordings of her meow. So whenever I feel in need of comfort, I can listen to her telling her mummy that she loves me.

She was too young and she didn't deserve this, we didn't deserve it either. She had about 10 years of future life to come and she missed it because one selfish man took her away from her family!

I believe that her soul is a star high in the sky and her protection and heart is guiding her spirit to roam our house prepared to defend us when in trouble.

RIP Rosie who will be loved and treasured forever xxxx Report
I am sitting here with tears running down my face. I had to assist my two beloved German Shepherd "fur babies" (both passed around the age of 12). A 3 month old fiesty shepherd mix and all were pound puppies but they were without a doubt a big part of the family. I had to put them down my two big girls three years ago the baby a few months after that and it still feels like yesterday. The pain is so deep. The only consolation that I have is that they had a very good life with me and they knew that they were loved. I did everything I could to make them comfortable and happy. I know that one day I will see them again and that also gives me comfort. I am sorry for your loss Nancy and to all who have or are going through this devestating time of your lives. Report
I had to have my 2 Chihuahuas put to sleep a year ago. They were 8 1/2 yrs old. Both were having some paralysis problems and were on pain meds, chiropractic treatments, etc. I still feel so guilty for putting them to sleep, but I knew it was only going to get worse. I still grieve for them so much I can't hardly bear to think about it. I can't talk about them without crying. I would love to get another one but my husband absolutely refuses due to the expense of the Vet bills. He loved them as much as I did so I believe he just doesn't want to go through that again. Report
I asked my students to write about a sad or painful time. One of my ten year old student's parents told her it was time to put "Sandy" to sleep but that she could have an hour to say good-bye. At the end of a short childish essay she concluded by saying "and at ten years old I've learned that an hour is not forever." I expect this young writer to someday receive a Noble Prize or to become the US poet laureate. Simple, powerful, evocative, beautiful. That day, the student taught the teacher. Report
In this past year we lost our dearest Badi. He got ill and came close to death's door and I feel bad that we did not realize how sick he was and we traveled from Mexico back to northern Canada while he was so sick and we finally had to have him put to sleep in May. He was elderly and I adored him but the loss was bearable because we were left with our little Hobo, a puppy we found abandoned and very sick. As we slowly watched him survive and turn into a lovely golden dog the ties between us were powerful. In Aug. due to a set of events that would rarely come together he was hit by a truck and died. This death is not going to be easy to come to terms with. I still contantly want to pat his little head and when I wake up and he is not beside my bed I want to weep. He was only 91/2 months old and I miss him more than I can express. Only time will help and we will soon go back to Mexico. We will look for another little dog but I will never forget Badi and Hobo. Report
Thanks for directing me to this post. This loss is so fresh in my life, the wound isnt even close to healing. It was July last when my Sparky began having bowel problems, they told me he had a perineal hernia and did surgery. He lived 6 months. Over those months he had some problems and from then on had to have stool softeners, etc, in order to help make it easier and less painful. But the hernia shifted sides and was bulging out pressing on his intestines, toward the end his prostate as well, as he would pee himself without even realizing it and then not be able to pee at all.
One week ago today, Jan 22...I woke to find him in distress, being a Sunday in a rural area, there was no vet available. He would go to the door and when I took him out, he would just stand there, maybe he felt himself using the bathroom, but he wasnt. Thru the day he got worse, for the first time in 9 years I had to sit helplessly and listen to my baby whimper and moan.
He drank and drank water, but as soon as he did, he would vomit.
I held him when he would let me, and tried to comfort him, but mostly he wanted to just crawl off alone. I honestly didnt expect to find him alive when I woke up early Monday...but at 4 am he was still laying there, no longer moaning or whimpering, but just dragging his body as his back legs were like jelly.
I got him to the vet as soon as the doors opened at 8am, and when they saw him they took him right back. The vet half heartedly discussed another surgery but they couldnt do it there and I would have to take him to Tennessee. and they couldnt even guarantee he would live thru it. She began to discuss putting in an iv to hydrate him....I began to cry knowing it was just a band aid, I knew on Sunday my baby would be leaving me. I called my son and told him to come visit Sparky or he would probably never see him again.
As soon as I began to cry, the poor little baby scooted his body over to the edge of the table close to me and looked me right in the eyes. He was always trying to comfort me in times of stress. I looked into his cloudy eyes that I wasnt even sure he could see me back at that point. And, I seen him pleading with me, stop crying and do what you have to do. The vet went out to get things ready and gave me a minute with him....I whispered in his little ear and kept telling him it was ok, the pain was almost gone and that I would see him one day. He laid his head down for the first time and almost seemed like he took a sigh of relief, as if he was saying, ok, I am ready now.... I didnt go into the room when they put him to sleep. I wanted our last memory of each other to be that I kissed his little head and called him little buddy as I always did and I let him go.
Now I mourn. Report
I also lost my beloved arabian gelding Rahji 2 years ago this last August. He was 33 years young when he passed over to Rainbow Bridge.I miss him more &more every day. He was my best friend for more then 25 years. I rescued him from the killers &it was to change my life forever. I am a much better person for having known this horse. My heart will be forever broken with his loss. I buried Rahji in my front yard under a beautiful blue spruce tree. The plack under his tree reads I will listen for your hoofbeats in heaven. I will never be the same without Rahji, but I know he waits for me at Rainbow Bridge. Report
Ny beloved Splash will be 14 in Novermber (yup, that's us in my profile pic) and I dread the day when I will need to put her down. Her and I walk almost daily, and I cannot imagine a walk around the neeighborhood without her by my side. She is a 'pound puppy,' a mutt, but the most awesome partner. My last mutt was almost 16, and your blog gave me great memories of him. I also stayed with him until his last breath, and coming home with that collar is horrid. I still have his, it rests in front of a pcture of him. Splash was adopted just 2 weeks later, and another mutt will fill the void when she is gone.

'Just a dog?' You don't love them any less when you don't give birth to them, and the human-canine bond is just as strong as a pareant-child one, at least to us 'dog people. Report
A couple weeks ago, we lost our 25 year old Arabian gelding. His legacy
was his personality, and the quirks he had. We raised him on a bottle, and
he could count to 15, bow, kneel, play dead, roll many things. He
did not have a mean bone in his body, a very small child could ride him safely.
He never tried to nip, would not dream of kicking, never once bucked with any
one on him. He was a complete gentleman. Many times he has walked into
the house looking for my daughter. He always knew I would sneak him a couple of treats and was good for some heavy duty petting.
I now live several hundred miles away and could not get home in time, when
my daughter called crying I knew what was coming, she said Mom I had to beg
him to get on his feet, he was in such pain, but for her to ask him, he struggled
and got up, but was in agony. She said he tried valiantly to stay on his back feet, because he was in so severe of pain, would pick one up, then the other
foot, and so she called me..........I told her to give him a kiss on the nose and
tell him what a good boy he was, faithful to the end, how much we loved him
and would miss him, but to wait just over the Rainbow Bridge and we would
come. I am crying my eyes out just writing this......but the next day, she called
and we were talking and I told her I had a dream, and we actually had the same
exact dream. Desert Ablaze crossed the Rainbow Bridge where RC, Snake,
Queen, Buck, and Amigo were waiting for him, rubbed noses and caught up with their gossip and they all took off running across a beautiful meadow, while
Jesus stood and laughed at their antics...His ancestry went back to Bask, so I
imagine him going around visiting everyone.

One other thing, he used to open his stall and walk out in the yard looking for
someone to visit with, and many times he went next door and walked up on
Rosie's patio and would stick his head in her window and nicker. She said so
many times he was the friendliest horse she ever knew. She would take him
home and put him up til my daughter got home from work.
We miss him, so much. Report
This is a great post. Im sorry for everyones loss, I love all the support everyone shows. I had been looking for ways to cope with pet loss after our family dog recently passed. His name was Rascal, (Sheppard mix) and like most families he meant so much to my kids. While my wife and I were upset over the loss, we were obviously concerned about the children. I wanted to find a way to immortalize our great friend Rascal, respectfully. I found a great site which offers different ways to remember and cherish your beloved pet. I eventually decided to go with a Photo Blanket for the kids, with our favorite pictures of Rascal. It really brought out a positive memory for our children. I just thought this may be of use to some of your families as well:
I recently said good-bye to Sneaky Pi who I had for 16yrs, he was 17. He was fine the first half of July, but during the last couple of weeks I knew he wouldn't make it through August, he had Stage 2 kidney failure. He lost a lot of weight, became a skeleton really, started weaving when he walked, started to miss the litter box, even stopped wanting his treats. When he went to sleep on a stuffed sheepdog I had just recently put on the floor, I knew he was telling me it was time. I knew because that sheepdog was a fave sleeping spot of his brother Tequila's when he was sick with cancer. Sneaky Pi never laid on it again, just that one time. So I called the vet the next day and said that I'll be coming in, surprised that she understood me with all my crying. My husband and I left to go to the vet, my parents were even there to say good-bye. While waiting we let him walk on the grass outside but it seemed to bother him because he meowed loudly. I picked him up fast and cuddled him close to my heart. When the time came, I have to say he went very quickly, I don't think the vet was done injecting him when he passed. I picked out an urn shaped like a sleeping kitty. He now sits on a shelf with 5 of his "brothers". I just took in the old I.V. bags, needles, and unused meds-even and I.V. bag used just once, and gave it to the vet to dispose of. It feels strange not giving Sneaker his fluids or pills. Mornings are slow and when 6pm comes around, strange not to give Sneaker his meds. But I know he's in a better place, playing around with his brothers and doggie sisters, as well as other beloved pets. I know they'll be waiting for me and we'll be together again someday. This has been hard because this is the third year in a row I lost a pet, Tequila who was 14, had cancer in 2009, Carbon Copy who was 15 had trouble with his heart in 2010, and now Sneaky Pi who was 17 in 2011. I have Taz, a kitty I adopted last year at Christmas as a friend for Sneaky Pi. He's 2yrs old and a pawful! But he fills the days with his crazy antics, getting used to a youngster after having "teenagers" for so long, and though he wasn't around that long, I know he misses Sneaky Pi too. I'll always treasure our time here forever. Thank-you for sharing your life with me, I love you and miss you Sneaks. Report
I lost my Jen just the other day. *deflated balloon*

I listened to this song on my iPod when I'd walk her, and it still lifts up my spirit. Maybe it will for someone else: "The Dog Song" (silly, quirky, cute): Report
Oh Nancy... you have me in tears reading this. And it doesn't take long to get attached. I can't imagine anything bad happening to my sons puppy - she has only been around three months, and doesn't even live in our house, but she is very much a part of our family now.

Unconditional love is right. It is special. Hugs. Report
I lost my beloved cat, Lizzy, 2 years ago. He had diabetes, and my friends and family were wonderful. The vet, sent me a rose, in a vase, and another friend sent flowers. My husband and I were quite upset, we buried Lizzy, in our garden, where he loved to play. Last October we took a recue dog, from the Humane Soc. and we couldn't be happier with her. Report
Dear Nancy, Thank you so much for this post. My beloved cat Bailey passed away at the beginning of March this year. As I'm writing this I'm beginning to tear up again. Bailey was losing weight and wasn't eating. When I got the results of the tests from the vet, I just wasn't prepared for what he had to tell me. Bailey had kidney disease. I couldn't believe what he had to say to me, and I lived in denial until I couldn't anymore.
You are right Nancy, lots of people don't understand what your pet means to you. Bailey was one of the family. When people called and asked how I was, or how my mom or brother was, I trained them to ask how Bailey was as well. He was definately one of the family. This morning when I came downstairs, my brother swore that he had heard the sound that Bailey's bell made when he was walking. It is difficult. I miss him so much, I miss the fun he was, I miss him waiting at the door for me as I come home from work. I miss him lying in bed with me until I fell asleep. Pets they are definately a big part of the family. Be well my dear. Report
About 10 years ago I had to have 2 of my pets (my babies) put to sleep. It was the worst moments of my life. I am still in mourning for them 10 years later. However, the day after I went to get my Rosie. She filled the voide that Satch and Pooser had left in my life (my families life). About 3 months ago Rosie was diagnosed with cancer. In 2 weeks she will get her final Chemo treatment. I hope to hold on to her for another year or so but I am trying to get ready to loose her. The idea of loosing her is already is overwhelming but I try to spend as much quality time with her as I can and I tell her every day how much I love her. When she finally leaves this world she will be surrounded with people who love her and she will know that she was loved. I wish humans could be so lucky. I have tears running down my face as I type this. I have been told that those of us who love our animals are brave souls because we know that they will not be with us as long as we would like. We accept that they will go before us but for such a short period of time they fill our lives with a special love. Report
I can totally understand the heartbreak as I had to put one of my pusses to sleep just 3 days ago. She was wasting away terribly with no medical reason. Such a hard decision to make, my Sparkteam was very supportive for me. You never get over the loss of your furry family but your heart is always big enough to make space for your next companion. Report
I have tears now after reading this. But they are good tears. Thank you! I love remembering. My precious, sweet, 14-year-old mutt Hayley, went to rainbow bridge five years ago and it still feels like yesterday sometimes. It took me about three years before I felt I could handle having another pet. (It's so hard to say goodbye and how quickly they go from babyhood to adulthood!) But I love animals. I love how they love us and depend on us. 'It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." Report
My first dog that went to the rainbow bridge was Vanilla, the family dog. he was a poodle mutt with a pink nose. I loved him dearly and when he needed to be put to sleep when I was an adult, I was sad, but didn't seem to grieve any. I guess at 18 yrs old and failing health, i knew it wouldn't be long for him and i guess i already did my grieving. DH and I had a cat, Kitty, that was 15 years old. diabetic and hyperthyroid, she was a pain in the a**, but we loved her anyway. She had a couple of seizures within 24 hrs of each other. she hadn't been eating, drinking water, going to the bathroom, or "talking" to us for a week. so, i took her to the vet after the 2nd seizure and by then it was too late for her to live a good life. DH and i had made the really hard decision to euthanize Kitty. That was 2 years ago and it is still difficult to not expect to see her little black face when i come in the house. I know that i will be a basket case when I have to decide that for my fur baby dog, Kirby.
Sept '10 we started fostering 2 yr old Missy (beagle mix). Jan '11 we adopted Missy and changed her name to Ziggy. DH loves her more than I do and it will be a very difficult day when we have to make that final decision for both Kirby and Ziggy. Report
We lost our beagle/lab a few years ago and he was not with us long ..that was devastating enough. I almost wasn't sure whether to get another dog or not. In very little time we brought home our golden retriever(Sunshine). She is just brings so much joy to our family! Always ready to play or snuggle! Always willing to take a walk with me!!!! :) Report
We adopted our youngest son's cat, Bear, when my son moved into an apartment with his older brother while going to collage. Bear was a stinker of a cat. When my son first adopted him, he took off to my son's basement hide-a-way, jumped up on a bookshelf, pushed away the ceiling tile and lived there for four days. We finally got him to come out for food, water and a litter box - but afterwards he went right back to the ceiling. It took us about a month, but by moving the food, water and litter box slowly to the stairs and then upstairs and leaving him alone, his curiosity (cats!) got the best of him and he started roaming around upstairs.

About six weeks later, I was awakened at 0'dark-thirty to the tune of a rough rumbling sound in my ear. From that time on he decided we were good enough to claim as his own.

He was lots of fun and provided much in the way of fun and comfort. He had this sense when someone was feeling down and made it his job to get you back laughing.

He, as so many cats do, contracted cancer. From the time we discovered it until I took him to the vet to be put down was only about two months. When I came home to a crying wife, "I" couldn't hold it and started crying myself.

At the first of the year, we got a letter from the vet's office, and figuring they had screwed up and sent us a reminder of his annual check-up. I was FURIOUS. I started to call the office and give them a large piece of a not-so-pretty part of my mind when I thought I should open the letter and see exactly what it said.

"Dear Clarkson's,

I hope that by this time some of the pain has gone away from the loss of Bear. I know he was a big part of your life, and I have made a donation to my Veterinary School at the University of Missouri in his name.

I know he was loved because he decided to adopt you.

Dr. _________
______town Animal Clinic"

If you think we lost it before, and we did, it was nothing compared to our response to this letter. Report
Thank you for posting this! While reading your entry it brought back so many memories of the animals I had growing up and how all of them ment so much to me. I currently have 3 cats and my world pretty much revolves around them. I always provide so much support for friends who have lost animals. It is such a hard thing to go through alone. Once again thank you for posting! Report
My Dearest Frita passed on over a year & a half ago (Feb 2010). I still grieve greatly for her presence. I am tearing up as I write this and think of her. She was the most amazing friend & mini Dachshund ever. She became my companion when I moved to a new town and got my first apartment after college. She was there for me when I bought my first piece of land and we walked to it daily. She was there when we watched our home being built. She thought the HOUSE was for HER. LOL She stood by my side and comforted me throught the loss of 2 grandparents, major surgery, the death of both hubby's parents and grandparents, through a horrible car accident (She was in the car with us)....many daily work issues and eventually through my divorce. She comforted me when I saw my own parents get divorced and my dad moved away and distanced himself from us all. She watched as I learned to be on my own...and she gave me the unconditional love and strength that I needed to survive it all. I leaned on her daily through life. She was my ROCK. My sweet Frita grew older and watched as I fell in love with my 2nd husband. She loved him too ! After my new hubby and I got married we had photos taken with her. Somehow I knew in my heart she was fading. She seemed to have difficulty with her eye sight and 8 months after hubby and I married she developed liver failure and died within a 24 hour period. I believe she went fast to spare us. In my heart I think she waited to leave until I found happiness and she knew that hubby would see me throught the despair of losing her. I had her by my side for 14.5 years and hubby knew her for almost 4 years. Together we both struggle daily to get by with out her wagging tail. There are simply no words for losing a best matter how many legs and fur they have. I do believe.....that - Dogs are people too !!!! Thanks for posting your story. Sorry for all those who have suffered as we have at the loss of a furbaby. For those who don't understand how we feel I am sad for you because clearly there is a deep LOVE and connection that you have never felt. Although we have LOST our furry friends....we were so very very lucky to have had them in our lives and felt the most amazing love on this earth ! Frita is in my heart and soul forever each day and I am thankful for that. Report
I got my first dog 14 months ago. He's a senior dog, blind and deaf and has a lot of health problems. On Sunday, I had a terrible accident and had to rush him to the ER (I blogged about it on my SparkPage). It was the worst night of my entire life, hands-down. I can't even imagine if things had turned out for the worst, and it would've been my fault. When I saw this very timely blog for me, I hoped it would tell me how to make it better or easier, but it didn't. I think that's because it's impossible.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dog Belle. Report
My aunt just lost her dog and her family acted like it was just another dog and the next week she got a new dog with out seeming to truely miss there other one. I was starting to feel like no one understands how spheal ones pet can be so it's nice to know that there are othr people that miss and love as well as treat there pets as there beloved family members. I'm sorry for your loss. Report
thank you for writing this blog. my pets crawl into my heart and stay there forever. i still grieve for my first dog, snow, who we put to sleep 25 years ago. they are the purest love and devotion there is and losing them always feels like losing something profound. Report
It's interesting that many people do not view the loss of a pet as a loss. In 368 days in 2006-2007, I suffered the loss of 7 members of my family, 2 of which were beloved pets. While the loss of my brother and mother were unbearable, losing our dog and our cat also caused such sadness for me. I cannot ever imagine a pet being anything less than a member of our home. Report
Back in February of 2007, we had to put down our almost 18 year old Puddy, due to complications from thyroid disease. Her buddy from the start, Zelda, only lasted 20 more days without her, before she went into kidney failure and had to be put down too. Two in 20 days was more than I could bear. We had them cremated and they are together now. One of the things I did to help was to write about all the little things they did, I didn't want to forget any of it. I go back and read it every now and then and smile, which is what they did for me in life too. It took me a year and a half before another orphan came into our lives. Buster the kitten and his mom were hanging out where I work, which is not a good place for any animal! A friend of mine took his mamma home and I took him at about 4 weeks of age. He's been here ever since, 3 years now :) Report
Hi there, This is such an important topic and life event. I belong to the team, Basset Hound Dogs and have met amazing people who live for their "furbabies." I have lived with and loved pets my entire life and it is so true that we grieve for them the same as we love them. That term "unconditional love" is very important and I think that is why it hurts so much when our beloved pets pass on. They live with us and love us through thick and through thin--and they are always there, wanting us as we are, no matter what we have done and how anyone else in our world may be seeing us.
Those "creatures great and small" make our lives better in so many ways. Grieving when we lose them is only natural as is the hurt when they are no longer on this earth with us. I sure believe that the same rules of life apply to animals--like the Golden Rule--and they do so for a reason. It turns out to be all about love, caring, trust, support, friendship--all of the things that cannot be bought and that we cannot live without. This is written with Lady, Chloe, Scooter, Frankie, Jerry, Sugar, Ty, Larry, Bandit and Smokey sharing this room with me right now. Life is good and I am blessed!! Report
I have had 2 pets since I became an adult. And when I adopted each I promised them and myself that I would protect them and love them in the absolute best way I possibly could.
2 years ago my eldest cat (just over 13 yrs old) was diagnosed early with renal failure.
After 18 months of fluid therapy & prescription diets...I had to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge.

I miss her and my 'younger' cat who is now about the age her fur-sister was when diagnosed does too. But Marbles & I are muddling through and will soon be reflecting on the 1st anniversary of Toes' passing.

I get choked up and my eyes leak tears, often with little warning. I occasionally think I see her grey shadow out of the very corner of my eye.

Grieving is a roller coaster, whether for a human or a furred family member.
Cheers! Report
I was sad when my vet called me last Spring to let me know that my amazing cat passed away. Bailey was her name, and she did not act like a typical cat - she came when she was called and I had even trained her to jump up when asked. Her purrs were overwhelming and my love for her was strong.
I now have just one cat, Bessie. When I adopted her from the same Humane Society where I had found Bailey, everyone agreed they were practically twins - looked the same and purr to their heart's content.

The love given and received by animals is amazing and everlasting in many ways. I will always love Bailey while the memory lives on. :) Report
We had to put our beloved dog - Happy - down almost 3 years ago when he became ill all of a sudden and his gall bladder burst. I miss him desperately to this day and think of him often. Report
Our sweetheart beagle Zoe, passed away one year ago this Labor Day. She was 15 and we were lucky to have the time with her. The dr. found a mass about 18 months earlier and didn't give her that much time to be with us. We cared for her, loved her and spent our time with her. She let us know when it was time. I miss her, and still say "they"....we have Buddy our 8 year old beagle. She will always be in my heart and it may sound crazy, but sometimes I feel her right next to me.

I am still sad, also, but Zoe was our "puppy". Report
I am sure, just about everyone who reads this blog, has been where you were....I have, and it is so hard. When my sons dog died in his arms, that just crushed him....when my dog Carlie, my german shepard had to be put down, my walking companion, it crushed me....when I put down Patches, our beloved calico cat, I just about died with her. She would not die. Took two tubes full to cause her to pass....I never bawled so much....Pets may be animals, but they are precious, given by God to join with our hearts and make our lives so much better..... Report
Thanks for sharing your story. I had a hedgehog named Franklin that got Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, a neurological disease that causes paralysis. She slowly got worse, and I had to feed, water and bath her. It was a hard decision to make, since I selfishly wanted her to be with me, but I had her euthanized. I regret not being with her at the end, but I'm sure she forgave me. Report
We had to put down our darling cat, Mr. Wilkes on May 23rd as he was 16+ and had had a stroke, so he was deaf and blind. He'd been losing weight for a couple of months & wouldn't use the litter box, which was so not like him as he was a "cleany" guy. We all cried when we had to let him go. The Vet asked us about funny stories & we had so many to tell. He had the soul of a warrior as he sure didn't like dogs, but he was always nice to the girl cats. The Vet said being deaf & blind, they get afraid, so it was time to let him go.
Dogs and cats can get Cancer & other problems because they so often eat the same food day after day. Report
Our pets are members of our family. They are just furrier and have four paws. They are an example of unconditional love here on earth. Report
I love my pets. Some people at work do not understand how this can happen. Report
Any time one loses a pet, imho, it's a tremendous loss. I feel it more so now particularly because our little dog is a companion to both my husband and myself. She seems to know when we need her to sit with us. LOL in other words, she's an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY pooch. Report
I am so terrbly sorry for your loss! Please know I'm there with you. I also had to let my beloved Ophelia go on to the Rainbow Bridge this past June after she had a stroke (yes, cats can have strokes) and did not recover. I still miss her and grieve for her. Your pets are part of your life, an important part - and their love is something you cannot replace. It makes you that much richer for having known and loved them. Report
We lost our Sophie 2 months ago. I have suppressed my feelings but this Blog brought them all to the surface. She was 15 yrs old and still acted like a puppy until the last year where she started to show her age. I miss her very much but am apprehensive about getting another dog because this is the 2nd dog since 12 years we have had to say good-bye to. Report
Just like LAUREEN629 I'm sat here and the tears have been rolling down my cheeks on reading the blog and some of the other member comments, relating their stories of losing a much loved pet.

I'm an ardent animal lover and have lost numerous faithful and loving furry and feathered friends during my life to date.
I still shed a tear when I think of some of them. I feel very honoured and fortunate that they shared my life and I know my life is much richer for having had the chance to love them, even if in some cases they were taken from me prematurely.

I currently share my life with a beautiful tom cat and two rescue dogs. I love them, as I love my husband and children, and know that when the day comes to say 'Goodbye' I'll be devastated and will break my heart once more. Report
Just yesterday, we lost my beloved mare, Carleigh, due to colic caused by a lymphoma. She has left a big hole in my life, caused only slightly by the fact she was 17 hands and 1,350 pounds of Chestnut Mare-ness. Report
My own golden retriever passed away last October after being my companion for 13 years. She was one of my best friends, and almost a year after her passing, I still hurt over it. Report
I've had to put a couple of my beloved pets to sleep. One time at the vets I was crying so hard in one of the exam rooms, not only did the vet tech bring me kleenex, but a patient (human) came in from the waiting room to ask if I'd be ok. My dog is now 15 and I am dreading the day. To me it feels the same as greiveing for a human, although the pet may not touch as many lives, they are a huge part of our lives. Report
I too have lost pets. In the past 1-1/2 years I lost two of my best friends. One was 19 and the other 16. When the 19 year old died, the 16 year old went into a deep depression. We got two new kittens hoping to put spark back into the 15 year old, but he only lived 6 months after we got the kittens. It's like losing children.

Dogs (cats and any other pet) are absolutely members of the family! My grandfather was a Vet, I grew up owning animals and was devasted when my first black lab mix passed away when I was 11. Tarbaby had been given to me before my first major surgery at 18 months old, she and I literally grew up together. She met me at the bus stop after school and we walked home (a small dead end street). I received a small grey kitten for my 5th Christmas from one of the pediatric nurses who always started my IVs. Charcoal grew up with Tarbaby and was convinced she was a dog! After Tarbaby died, Charcoal would curl up in her bed or with a small black lab stuffed animal-it was quite heartbreaking. Charcoal died at 17, we put her to sleep after she developed a large tumor and was unable to eat.

For my 12th birthday I received another black lab puppy, one who I had actually been nursing from a bottle after her mother got sick, I didn't know at the time that she was going to be my birthday present. Baby was a doll-we put her to sleep almost 12 years later after diabetes and glaucoma had taken her sight and she didn't have any quality of life. When Baby was 3 we got a Jack Russell Terrier, Missy. Missy had 2 litters of puppies. I have the 2 girls from her second litter, Juliet and Lily (now 13 and half). We put Missy to sleep at 14, she had Cushing's disease and it was the hardest decision to make. She could barely walk, we carried her everywhere. I was in school so I would bring my dogs (her puppies) to my mom's house and stay with Missy all day while I studied, only leaving for class. Missy had to be carried out every few hours to use the bathroom, we'd help her walk and stand/squat to potty. She was very sad but we still saw some of her old self in her eyes, she wasn't ready yet, she still had love to give us. When the spark faded we knew she was ready.

The day was horrible-I told her puppies what was happening, they watched us load her in the car. I drove to the vet's office so my mom and stepdad could both sit and hold her. I held her in the office, we cried and snuggled with her. When it was finally over she looked so at peace, we knew it was the right thing for her. We brought her blanket and collar home to her girls and let them sniff. They would look for her for a couple of weeks but when we brought her ashes home they understood.

Juliet and Lily are the first dogs that are truly MINE! They live with me, we play, they console me and snuggle with me. In fact, they are both asleep on the couch with me right now. Juliet is a healthy girl, acts like she's about 3! Lily was born with congenital cataracts and now has glaucoma (2 eye drops and 1 pill twice a day), arthritis (1 pill once a day) and takes an additional pill for incontinence. Juliet does have sleepovers at "Grandma's" a few nights a week, those started after Missy was gone. Lily has no desire to spend the night away from home unless I'm with her-she's a Momma's girl in every sense of the word. I am terrified of the day I have to say goodbye to them-they are absolutely my children!

I love the story of the rainbow bridge and look forward to seeing Tarbaby, Charcoal, Baby, Missy, Sunshine (our first horse), and all my other beloved pets when the day comes! Report