Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dogs: Dealing with the loss of a pet

Best boy ever.

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can

Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
Love was made for me and you…

 – Nat "King" Cole

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. – Anatole France

Two years ago today we lost Simon, our first Bouvier son. He was just past 12 years old. He passed away peacefully at home, the day before we had scheduled an appointment with the vet to have him put to sleep. He spared us that. We were dreading that drive. He never did like going to the vet… I'm glad he died at home, one of the places he loved, surrounded by the things he knew, and the people who loved him. 

I think that's how God (if you believe in such) works it for those who have kind, good souls. If only all of us could be so lucky.

He was cremated, and we buried him in the country, under a black granite stone with his name, dates and the words "Best Boy Ever." I'm still grieving, although the sadness is now accompanied with they joy of remembering what we shared. I was given a great privilege when he came into my life. I will miss him forever.

The following text is a verbatim article posted on http://hubpages.com/hub/Dealing_With_The_Loss_of_A_Pet

It's essential to pass on. If you share your life with a pet, the time will come…and my heart is with you.

Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

Simon sleeping with his teddy.
Pets are a large part of the lives of many people today. I, for one, can say that my dogs, reptiles, and small animals, all play a part in my sanity at times. Having pets around will help your own health status. In many cases, it has been found that having a dog will lower your blood pressure. Having something that lives for the moment and doesn't hold grudges is a wonder to us humans who can't fathom the thought of not knowing what is to be or why someone had the nerve to do something.

People, today, spend millions of dollars on their pets in order to take care of them properly. Buying toys, food, bowls, leashes, collars, clothes, and having to pay for vet bills and other unexpected costs, is a large part of owning a pet (some of which are optional such as clothes). Most Americans, today, want nothing but the best they can provide for their pet, and become greatly saddened when something happens to them.

So, dealing with grief over the loss of a pet can be very hard to both adults and children and everyone in between.

Related Emotions
When dealing with the grief of a lost loved one, many emotions can surface. Shock, anger, and depression, are the most common emotions seen. But, many people will put blame on someone for the loss of the pet. They may begin to lash out at friends and family members. The range of emotions that will appear depend a great deal on the closeness between the pet parent and the pet.

Many times the loss of a beloved family dog will create immense sadness and depression in the pet parent, whereas with the loss of a pet goldfish, the same emotions may not surface.

Stages of Grief
Grieving for the loss of a pet for any reason (run away, stolen, death) is the same for all cases. The grieving process goes something like:
  • Shock and denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining (with God to bring back the pet)
  • Depression
  • Acceptance and recovery

Not everyone will experience all five stages of grief or experience the stages equally. In general, most people will actually flip back and forth between stages before they are able to fully recover from the loss of the pet.

There are many ways to help with grief:
  • Speak to your church members or pastor, if you are religious.
  • Counseling.
  • Internet support groups.
  • Friends and family.
  • Volunteer at a rescue.
  • Write down your emotions. Sometimes this will help you get everything you feel out. This is great for those who have a hard time expressing themselves speaking, writing down how you feel will allow you to get everything out.
  • Have a proper funeral. This is particularly helpful with young children. Have all family participate. Get dressed up, and have a proper funeral/burial for the pet. Have everyone say something nice about the pet or something they will miss.
  • Sometimes getting another pet will, also, aid in the recovery process. This does NOT replace the deceased pet, but it helps fill the void. This is something that is sort of a last resort. Not to be tried directly after loosing a pet.

The loss of a pet can be devastating to anyone. It can be even harder to recover from the loss. But, getting the feelings out always helps. It's not the best idea to hold any feelings in. Cry. Scream. Punch pillows. Do what you have to do. Just get out the pent up emotion. Otherwise, it will build and build within you. Find the best way to recover from the loss of your pet no matter how big or small. Dog or cat. Hamster or gecko.


Feel free to share in any of the usual ways. I'll be back to normal tomorrow.


  1. Thank you for posting this...the unconditional love of a pet is a wonderful thing.

  2. Thank you for posting. You said it perfectly. Time does not heal, however, there will be a time you will want to welcome another precious little soul into your life. He or she will be different as people are, however, you will grow to love a new pet. How can you not love a dog or cat or any critter, they capture your heart. :-)

    BTW I love your blog