The Loss of a Pet

     Strange how your day can start off so great and come crashing to a halt in seconds. I felt good at work today, I got a lot accomplished and thanks to Thanksgiving break, I got to end my day at noon. I had plans to meet my research group at a local cafe at 3 and was going to eat my favorite salad with lemon tahini dressing beforehand. As I dodged puddles through the wetland that surrounds my office I admired medium sized dogs wearing rain jackets in the field. “You must look like their mother” the owner told me, his crinkled face hidden halfway past his gigantic umbrella. “Why is that?” I replied. “That one over there came towards you while you were walking down the trail and then stopped when you got close enough that he could see you properly.” I thought about texting this strange encounter to a friend but decided to keep it a guarded secret, something sweet and funny all for myself. 

     As I boarded my bus I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had my choice of seats. The few people who were already seated were calm and well-kempt, a big change from the screaming babies and explicit cell phone conversations that I suffered through during normal commutes. Because the bus was so calm I decided to forgo headphones and enjoy the sound of rain pitter pattering on the tin roof. It was then that I got the text … “You know that M went to heaven today don’t you?” It is almost too painful to write. No, I did not know that M went to heaven today and it was made that much worse by finding out secondhand through a text message. 

   It is hard to describe the first impacts of grief. Something hits you hard in the chest or waves past your head like a breeze only to catch you in a hurricane later. Everyone is different and every situation is different. I myself have experienced the deaths of many pets. The hermit crab who lost his shell, the other hermit crab who died of old age, the fish who refused to keep eating, the baby mouse that I found under the back porch. All were bathed in massive ceremonies. A graveyard in the forest dedicated just to them. 

     I have even experienced human death. Loved ones whom I still think of every day, whom still bring tears to my eyes when I see their picture or a movie that reminds me of them. Their smells, their laughter, that kiss in the breeze, the face that you could have sworn was theirs, that laugh that hits too close to home. This I know. What I didn’t know was how to face the death of a beloved companion. This is new to me. This is different. What is even more different is that M, the pet who died today, is not even my pet but the pet of someone who is now in my past. This is why I found out secondhand which I guess hurts in its own way. 

I will not go into details about M, her life, or how much she meant to me (though she meant quite a lot). I will however never again take for granted the love of an animal regardless of wagging tails, fluffy feathers, slippery fins, or slimy skin. In some ways pets are people. They are the greatest manifestations of everything that is good about the human race. This Thanksgiving take a look at your pet, or a friend’s pet and say “Thank you.” It only takes a moment but you will be glad you did. Like humans (and most other things in life), you never know how good you have it till they are gone.

RIP M – Thank you for sharing your love with the world. ❤ 

 

PS: These pictures are of my dog Saidie whom currently lives with my mom in Pennsylvania. I will be sure to give her a ring this Thursday (both my mom and my dog) to say thanks. ❤ 

 

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2 responses to “The Loss of a Pet

  1. I pretty much cried the whole time while reading this! It was so beautifully written. It also reminded me of Max. He was my dog (best friend) that I found as a stray in early 2000. I had him for ten wonderful, adventure filled years. It may sound silly but, he really did save my life. At the time I found him I was suffering from severe panic attacks. I had just started to work out and go for daily walks to try to suffocate some of the anxiety. He ran up to me on one morning walk and it was love at first sight. In taking care of him and walking him and going hiking and such I ended up becoming more confident and happier in general. I’ll always remember him as my soul mate.
    When he got sick it was so sudden and rather than put him through an eight hour surgery at twelve years old with already having kidney problems I chose to put him to sleep. It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in life…so far. I just could not stand the thought of him limping around on already frail legs consumed by arthritis, having to take heart medication and he would have been missing part of his liver. That was no life for my best friend. At our little funeral for him my friend gave me this poem she had found and it really did bring some warmth to me…

    As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
    I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade

    I saw a wondrous image then of a place that’s trouble-free
    Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.

    I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side
    Were meadows rich and beautiful – lush and green and wide
    And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
    Were animals of every sort as healthy as could be
    My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
    And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do
    I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I’m alright
    That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright glow pierced the night
    “Twas the glow of many candles, shining bright and strong and bold
    And I knew then that it held your love in it’s brilliant shades of gold.
    For although we may not be together in the way we used to be
    We are still connected by a cord no one can see
    So whenever you need to find me, we’re never far apart
    If you look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart

  2. That was so beautiful Jaimie! Thanks for sharing! I know our two M’s are in doggie heaven together leaping and frolicking and waiting for us to join them there someday. ❤ ❤ ❤

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