Loss and grief resulting from death of a pet
Something that doesn't get talked about often is loss and grief resulting from the death of a beloved pet. I've been through this, it's almost as devastating as the loss and grief of a loved person in your life. I had to have to have my beloved cat, Pepe, put to sleep because he was too ill to carry on a meaningful existence. This cat was MORE than JUST a cat to me. He was my best buddy, always there to greet me when I would come home. He never left my side, except to eat or use his litter box. He sat and slept right next to me on our couch, and would often come into my bedroom at night and sleep right up by my face in the crook of my arm. So, when he passed I was devastated. I went in with him when he was put to sleep, to comfort him, and to give ME closure. Knowing that, yes, he was no longer with us. It took me a couple weeks to REALLY get over his death. I went through periods of anger and denial. I checked out a couple books from my local library on how to deal with the loss of a beloved pet. These books, although I don't recall their titles,(this was over 11 years ago) were very helpful in dealing with my loss. I've read about, and have actually READ parts of Fred Rogers' (Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) book on dealing with the loss off a pet, and the parts I've read are fantastic. Wonderfully gentle, kind, and caring. Does anyone else want to share their experience(s) in losing a beloved pet? Thank you for your time.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Loss & Grief Support Group.
mojosteve1961, you were very lucky to have a friend like Pepe. It has got to be difficult and I am so sorry.
That's all I have right now.
I understand the devastating grief one may experience when their beloved pet dies. I suffered extreme losses in a 6 year period, my infant twins, my father and Great Dane weeks apart, my husband then my Great Dane/Lab mix 4 days before my husband's funeral, then my one remaining child 5 months after my husband died. I found that I grieved each death differently, each represents a different relationship. For me personally, my most devastating loss was my youngest child. His death represented in some ways, a finality of my life. He was the bridge between my past (Daddy) my present (husband) and my future (his future children and our family legacy). Family heirlooms are meaningless. Carrying on important family traditions no longer hold the same emotion. I held fierce love for all the other family members, including my dogs, but my last remaining child is a grief that will haunt me until the day I die.
Grief is devastating, and no one should ever judge the intensity or duration. I am passing no judgement, because it is clear you loved your cat as I loved my dogs. I understand your pain, and I send my sympathies to you.
In my opinion, people fear death and grieving. I think not enough is done in this country to respect and honor grief, to teach people how to respond to those drowning in grief and to teach those grieving how to move forward with their loved one's memory in a healthy way.
Thanks for your reply, Allison.
I'm really sorry to hear about your Pepe, I can only imagine how difficult it is. It sounds like Pepe was more than a cat, but also your companion. I also have a cat, her name is Peaches, and I would so miss her if she wasn't with me! I think you might find comfort and support in another discussion group that Connect has. Here is the link, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-pets-can-do-health-and-healing/. Several members of that group including @jimhd @bustrbrwn22 and @suzanne2 have also discussed losing a pet. A few of them have posted pictures of their pet.
I'm sure they would be happy to have you post about Pepe. They would be tremendously supportive of you.
Thanks for the link, Teresa.
Such a great post – thank you for the reminder for everyone that the loss of a pet is as devastating as any other personal loss. I have been through it more times than I can count, having had a pet – sometimes plural – my whole life. I have lost beloved pets to tragic accidents as well as having to make the very painful decision to help them find their way across the rainbow bridge. In fact, I have a 15, almost 16 year old Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix named Laci who is my best buddy and constant companion. She is still doing mostly ok, she's lost a lot of vision and hearing but she eats as good as ever, gets a few more treats than she used to, and still has days that she gets the "zoomies" and wants to play with toys. So God willing, I think I still have time with her. But at her age, I take extra time with her for cuddles and head scratches, and try to take her along on really short car rides with the window down. It's bittersweet having a senior dog and knowing that once again, I am likely to have to make a decision for her, but I am loving her up as much as possible and making her days as great as I can! I am so sorry for your loss <3
I don't have anything to add, just my recent experience. We had just celebrated our dog, Belah, 5th birthday. We had a house fire 7 mos. ago and she died from smoke inhalation. It was like losing a child. The fire was devasting enough, but losing Belah is far more debilitating grief.
Also, I feel guilt and experience anxiety because I couldn't save her. I know feelings are not facts but my mind still "goes here." Because of the fire, I am displaced, homeless, no friends or family–jjust you. Anyone know of chat rooms for me?