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How to Handle the Loss of a Pet

Molly Gentry

Posted on February 28, 2019 19:31

1 user

Everybody knows the passing of a relative, friend or significant other is gut-wrenchingly sad. But what about our ever faithful furry, scaly, and feathered companions when it's their time to go? Are they any different?

It seems to happen in one day. One day comes when your companion does something out of the ordinary; maybe they didn't eat their breakfast, maybe they're ignoring their favorite sunny spot or beloved toys. Maybe when you walked in the door, you weren't greeted as excitedly. Instead of tail wags, loud purrs, welcoming chirps or bright eyes, the house seems quiet. You go to them, concerned, and immediately know  wrong.something's wrong.

Maybe for you, it did happen in one day. Maybe the end was abrupt, unexpected, tragic. Maybe it left you with the air stolen from your lungs, confused and upset that you didn't get to say goodbye. Or maybe you've known the day was coming for a while and you've done everything in your power to keep your best friend comfortable until the end arrived. 

No matter what your circumstances may have been, the end result is not any easier. You set up the visit, the house call, or the appointment and you prepare yourself to say goodbye. If you're present, you hold their paws, rub their heads, whisper final words of adoration and finally watch them go. It's in that moment that it sets in. Your stomach is all of the sudden carrying a boulder inside of it, your throat burns and you can't hold back the tears that pour from your eyes. It's in that moment that your best friend is gone. No matter how long they were with you, the memories you carried will last forever. It's in that moment that you realize your world will seem a lot more quiet.

Choosing to humanely euthanize your pet is merely the first step in the grief that is to come. You arrive home and find previously filled spaces now full of stale air and harsh reminders that they are in fact absent. The bed that they always kept warm now grows cold. The enclosure that they called home now goes into storage. The food you bought, now needs to be donated. Maybe you need to get rid of these things because looking at it all is too difficult; maybe you can't bring yourself to let those things go. For some of us, we have other pets in the home that don't quite understand why their companion has left. All they know is that you're sad, which in turn makes them upset as well.

These pets, these walking rays of light and love, they are so much more than just messes to clean up and warm bodies to snuggle. For however long we have the pleasure of calling them our own, they become our everything. On the days we feel like we can't go on, we at least have them to care for. When we are ready to celebrate and be excited, so are they. They are there for us in every way; though they can't talk, they always listen. Though they don't ask what we need, they always know. 

So tell me, are they any different?

Molly Gentry

Posted on February 28, 2019 19:31

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Source: CS Monitor
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