The death of your dog shouldn’t be taken lightly. My dogs are family and in fact they are like kids to me. When I lose one of them, I grieve and I grieve hard.
The one thing I’ve learned over the years about the topic of losing a dog, is that there are those who simply “don’t get it” when it comes to grieving the loss of a dog.
Many years ago when I was working as a temporary administrative assistant to the president of a small company, I lost one of my dogs. “Tammy” was a collie/shepherd mix and she was 15 years old when we decided that it was time to put our old girl to sleep. She had been struggling with arthritis and hip issues.
Again, this was years ago and long before we had the options that we do today for arthritis and hip dysplasia in dogs. I remember telling my boss that I had to put my dog to sleep the day before as my eyes filled with tears. His response was to make a joke of it as he preceded to tell me a story of how he once “shot a dog” when the dog got old.
I remember standing there stunned not only at his lack of compassion that I lost my dog, but stunned that he would follow it up with a story that he knew would obviously hurt me. I felt awkward and uncomfortable and briefly questioned my own feelings.
That questioning of my feelings was short lived and it was at that very moment that I said to myself “no one will ever make me feel this way again when it comes to the loss of one of my dogs”.
Crossing The Rainbow Bridge
It doesn’t matter what it is that you love; when you lose it – it hurts. I think that many dog owners struggle with the grieving process surrounding the death of a dog because others make them feel uncomfortable or silly about grieving the loss of a pet.
Personally, I think it’s silly to think that people wouldn’t grieve something that they’ve raised and cared for. Something that we spent time playing with, laughing at it’s antics, going on walks together, snuggling while taking a nap, getting comfort and support when needed most and feeding and nurturing.
I know, I’ve been there even with family members who don’t understand how anyone could feel so strongly about the death of a dog. This article is for every dog owner out there who is made to feel funny about grieving the loss of their best friend. Don’t allow others to make you feel that your grief isn’t legitimate, because IT IS!
When I lose one of my dogs, I allow myself to grieve without any expectations of myself. I rely on certain people that I know will support and help me through it. I completely avoid those that won’t.
It’s important that you avoid those that you know won’t understand and surround yourself with those that do. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, online forums or a support group specifically for pet loss (yes there is such a thing); allow yourself to grieve and share your feelings.
Don’t put time constraints on yourself when it comes to grieving. Do what makes you feel right; whether a memorial to your dog in your back yard or having your dog’s ashes in an urn on your desk or both. This was your dog and you determine how you want to honor his life.
These are natural feelings and time will heal these wounds when you’re ready. Don’t rush it for anyone.