Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about being a pet owner (though the pets really own us) is the death of that pet. For an animal lover, that pet was a member of the family, and for some, even closer than the human members. When those eyes that looked at us with unconditional love are no longer present, there is a void keenly noticed and felt. Our rooms are emptier, literally and emotionally, when our animal is not there to greet us. We expect to see them in their usual sleeping spot, or we automatically start to feed them and catch ourselves walking toward the food bowl before we remember.
Yes, whether they were part of our lives briefly or for many years, it is extremely hard when they are gone. And if it is possible for the loss to be even more difficult, it is made so if the decision had to be made to have the pet “put down” to relieve the suffering of illness. This writer has been there, and there are times I still look for that face at the patio door. So I know it is important to allow ourselves to be sad sometimes, to miss their presence, their love, their craziness. But I think we are sustained by two things. One, of course, are the memories, because in spite of the current grief, aren’t you glad they were in your life? Secondly, we are better people for having shared their time and space, more patient, more calm, more compassionate.
Remember you are not alone in your sadness; other pet lovers understand. For persons who do not understand or who make unfeeling comments or who never were close to a pet themselves, let’s find it in our hearts to pity them. They do not know what they have missed.
So let yourself embrace your grief and feel it, embrace the memories, and embrace the joy your pet brought. It was worth it all.