Friday, 16 March 2012

Losing a loved one.

A friends husband has just rung to say his wife is going to be late this morning. They had just come back from having their dog put down.
Let no one who has not experienced this be in any doubt. It is a bereavement no less than losing a person.  I have now had to have two much loved dogs put down and I know the time span of my my 13 year old golden is coming to an end. We always at this stage   hope that the beloved dog will one day go to sleep and never wake up! Somehow it never seems to happen like that!
Our cats and dogs, our guinea pigs and rabbits are part of our family....
We know when we take them on that their life span is shorter than ours and we say that when the time comes we can cope with it....but it is still very painful!
When its sudden and unexpected its even worse.....we had to have our ten year old Springer put down after he'd developed a brain all happened in the one day and the same night I went into clinical shock.
After I'd stopped  shaking I had to ring and apologise to people I was going to see because I really thought it unwise to drive the car!
They said....."Its only a dog you've lost isn't?"   It was but still precious and much loved....and although the bereavement process is shorter there is still an essential ingredient missing from the family circle.  And the other pets feel it too.
Crispin mourned the loss of our old dog for months.....he kept running up to other goldens wagging his tail and then retreating sharply when he found it was the wrong one...
Loss is part of the human condition....We can cope with it because its inevitable.... but that doesn't make it any less painful.....
Just as when my husband died I kept imagining his key in the door for months after wards, so with my dogs....their shadows passed in familiar haunts and their muted barks still sounded in the quiet moments....
We love our many cases they are more reliable than humans.....let no one be surprised that they are mourned...
And of course the old saying holds good for me.....if dogs don't go to heaven I'm not going either!


  1. Yes, I have to agree, that losing a pet is losing a family member. When our Dog Della had her second stroke, we had no choice, she had no real quality of life. The Vet came to our home and did what needed doing. We were with her, holding her, which seemed to help, rather than just taking her to the Vet to be despatched.

    She was cremated and the Ashes scattered in the Garden she loved. We've done the same for some of our Cat's.

    Our Benefice has an Annual Pet's service, which recognises the part that they play and friends and companions in our lives.

  2. We have three dogs, two Springers and a Border Terrier, both our female Springer and the Border are now in their 70's in human years. Both are slowing down and walks are a gentle plod while the younger Springer ploughs through woods ,filthy ditches and chases anything that moves.

    Monty, the Border, can't get out of bed in the morning, has difficulty getting into chairs and has gone white around his face.We realise we may not have him for many more years.... until someone let him out of the front gate and I found him rounding up my neighbours sheep, he was galloping across he field ears flying in the wind. He had to lie down for about 3 days but I saw a gleam in his eye that said " I've still got it!

  3. Thats lovely......thanks for that. Our ancient golden is now almost white! When he recently spotted a slow moving rabbit crossing his path he let out a giant roar and went off in full chase.... Its good to know that the old ones can still do it! Hope for us ancient humans!

  4. I can only agree whole-heartedly with the post and the comments.
    Only someone who has never shared their life with an animal could possibly refer to the loss of a beloved friend and companion as "only a dog/cat/whatever".
    As you so rightly say Jean, our animals are often more dependable than their human counterparts.
    As George Orwell said in Animal Farm, "two legs bad, four legs good">

  5. How apt that the heading is on the day the Archbishop decides to go!