In the past five months, we lost Otis and Bob – two pampered, indulged, beloved pugs. Bob crossed the rainbow bridge in September. Otis followed in December. Losing one pet is hard. Losing two is devastating.
There is no connection like a precious pet. It is a connection in our hearts, often deeper then our connections with people.
There is an exquisite vulnerability felt with an animal; an innocent opening of our hearts that often takes us by surprise. (People often refer to a pet as having “found them”.)
Some people connect more deeply with animals than with other humans, particularly if they have experienced repeated disappointment, abuse, betrayal, or neglect with humans.
Often those around us do not understand the powerful connection we feel with our pets. After all, “It’s just a pet . . .”
No, it’s not.
It’s a tremendous responsibility to care for a pet. They are utterly dependent on our care. So there is a bond, much like parenting, that is created. Unlike children, however, pets do not grow up and move away. They are with us for the entirety of their lives. All of our decisions impact them directly or indirectly. So we take seriously their care.
And if we are faced with difficult decisions regarding our pet’s life or care, sometimes well-meaning family and friends are at a loss as to how to respond. Their perspective is different because their connection is different
Sometimes our grief stirs losses of the past. Grief for previous pets. Grief for humans that we miss.
Do not dismiss the importance of grieving.
It is a painful journey that requires support, tenderness, understanding, and encouragement. And as Marianne Williamson says, “If it takes 28 tears to grieve, do not stop at 27.”
Sometimes we need additional support and guidance in our decisions and in our losses. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
It is essential that we are able to honor our losses while we move through our grief.
“There is no more difficult human task than grieving.”
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