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When A Beloved Pet Passes Away


One of our cherished cats, Luna, passed away yesterday.

She was part of our family for 14 years; a long time! Still, I am stunned at how much I miss her and how empty the house feels without her soft round self asleep on the sofa.

159 thoughts on “When A Beloved Pet Passes Away

  • April 21, 2010 at 8:43 am

    “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”-Keats

    We lost our beautiful chow/shep mix after 12 years. The beauty of her character has been so sustaining-quiet attentiveness, dependability,luxurious fur, warm animal smell,intuitive about each family member. We got a new puppy, same mix, but looks quite different,definitely more spunky, but we think of her as our other dogs’ little sister-we need their presence.

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    • September 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      i ran across this website seeking relirf from my severe loss of my 8 year old beagle, cleo. she passed from a stomach infection and by the time we got her to the vet, she died in my husbands arms. cleo was a replacement when my only child, my daughter, left home to join the navy and start her life. unfortunatley my life went downhill after that with an alcholic husband, domestic abuse, followed by abandonment. cleo would be by my side every night and day as i cried and gave me the love and acceptance i desperatly needed. she would lick my tears as they rolled down my face. at a time, i was so depresses that cleo was the reason i would have to wake up everyday. now she’s gone i am trying to think of all of our happy times, but the loss i feel is devestating. i miss her unconditional love. my father passed 3 weeks ago and i feel guilty for not grieving as emotionally as i am with cleo. i live with the guilt tha maybe i should have done something sooner. i am just overwhelmed with grief.

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      • September 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        Cleo felt all of the love you gave her. She was a lucky dog to be so well-loved! We always doubt whether we did enough for our pets (I also had my doubts in every instance), but that is only part of what our minds do during the grieving process. So, please never worry about that! Cleo would want you to be remembering all the wonderful, loving times you and she shared. Why not start a little scrapbook or journal in her honor? Or make a small donation of cash or a bag of Cleo’s favorite food to the local shelter?

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      • October 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        I had to put my wonderfully quirky cat, Katie Cat, to sleep today after having the honor of having her in our lives for 14 years. I loved her, and she was such an important part of our family. I feel like my heart is breaking…

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      • October 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Liz, the pain will eventually lessen and the sweet, quirky memories will remain. Katie Cat sounds like she was truly one of a kind!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you for your blog. I lost my dear cat of 11 years just 3 weeks ago. I am 42, single and have no children, so he was my companion. I love what you wrote about how much their presence is missed, even though they spend so much time curled up somewhere! People keep asking me if I have got a new cat yet, but I think I am going to wait. It just doesn’t feel right yet. I have learned so much through losing my cat, so much more than I can write here. But thank you for sharing your loss, as it helps to ease the burden for others going through similar feelings. Thanks.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      And thank you, Ellen. My family and I are so grateful for your thoughts and we feel for your loss, too. I know your boy cat had a wonderful home with you. He was a very lucky guy! And when the time is right you’ll give another animal so much love and care.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I’m so sorry you lost your precious Luna. I’ve had cats as pets for over 40 years. And oh how I loved each one. They were all special, had their own little personalities and ways of endearing me to them. They were my comfort, my friends, my babies (I never could have children). My last dear one I lost almost two years ago now. He loved to be held like a baby and rocked and would compete with my computer for attention! He would “sing” to me, and our love for each other knew no bounds. Towards the end he still would place his paws on my knee, my cue to lift him into my arms and hold him near. I miss him as much as a lost family member. They all taught me about unconditional love, about loyalty, and to cherish life. My first one, Lady, is in a pet cemetery in another state, but three are here in my front yard to visit and “talk” to. I miss them so much. They made my life complete.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      Pam, what a lovely portrait you paint of your dear baby-cat. Yes, they are loving and beautiful right to the end. I agree, they are as beloved as family. Thank you for these beautiful words and the images they evoke.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I understand how much Luna is missed, and all who have lost a pet feels the same, something is missing in your home, you feel it is empty. The loss of a pet is like losing a sweet and unique friend, but the raw pain in time will turn into bright smiles when you remember your special friend.

    I hope Fish recovers soon from the loss of his sister Luna.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      I agree, Ana, that we do have so many beautiful memories which will be with us always. We are hurting right now, but the future will be full of smiles as we remember Luna’s many charms. Thank you so much for your kindness and cheer!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Lin:

    Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute to your precious friend. As the facilitator of the longest running pet bereavement group in northern NJ at Oradell Animal Hospital, the need to eulogize recall the specialness of these uniquely unconditional relationships often goes unmet. Yet we have formal processes for mourning humans even while acknowledging that for many, the relationship with their companion animal was among the most significant of their life. Thank you for posting this!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Due to a combination of renal failure and severely advanced asthma, I had to bid a farewell to my cat of 14 years just over two years ago. This one hit me harder than any other pet death I had to deal with, mostly, I think, because the choice had to be mine: whereas our previous cats had died of other causes, she was the first that I had to “make the call” on. And although I knew I was doing the right thing and relieving her of her suffering (that we should take such kind care of our fellow human beings!), that didn’t make it any less painful a choice to have to make. My fur-girl had been with me since a year after I’d graduated from college. She had seen me through the ups and downs, highs and lows, of the next 14 years that followed, always there for me, never wanting anything more than my love and care and some food/clean box, always ready to console me or bring me joy. It was, in fact, a more devastating death for me than some of the humans in my life have been, because she had been my primary companion for so long. I called her my “fur-daughter”, because I have no kids, and did all that I could for her in her final months. Although the pain has lessened, I still miss her and her sweet purr-sonality.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Melime, I hear you. Luna passed on her own, but I was trying to get ready for the idea that maybe I’d have to help her die. And we have another wonderful cat, Malcolm, who is very old and frail now. We want to keep him around as long as possible, but not any longer than is right for him. Oh, how hard this is!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    It’s all of the above — and more. This is making me fill up just thinking about our Joe we lost going on three years this summer, and Olivia, the one-eyed pirate queen who left us one year ago this May. God, they’re all wonderful and great!

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    • April 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      Ralph, I feel like I can imagine Joe and Olivia! Sweet, wonderful companions, each with their own special charms. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Leigh and Matt, please accept my deepest condolences, with cuddles to Fish. This is a beautiful post. We lost our cat Daisy on April 5. I’ve written about her here.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Thank you, Elissa, and condolences to you as well. Daisy. A lovely name for a lovely girl. Sweet memories forever.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    This is an amazing blog. My deepest symphathies go to each and every one of you who have lost a dear member of your family. I know how much it hurts. I know how very much their cat-siblings, whether natural or adopted, grieve over their loss too and watching them mourn is heartbreaking. My wonderful gray cat Erma (could be Luna’s “sister”) was euthanized just two weeks ago with end stage kidney failure at age 23. I found her as a starving pregant stray when she was only about 8 months old. She would have died if untreated; her kittens were all dead and partially petrified. She looked at me, and I her, and it was instant love. She was the most amazing cat, and I miss her.

    “Without joy, there is no sorrow.” It gives me comfort in knowing that our pets found unconditional love and were fortunate indeed to have fallen in with us, and we with them. Erma enriched my life a thousandfold.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

      Nancy, what an amazing story about your rescue of Erma. Like Luna, Erma was grateful forever for your care. Animals repay our love with every ounce of their own, don’t they? It is we who wind up the richer for having cared for them.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Moses left us this last Saturday after not eating for 5 days. He was 14, and my dear friend. He was loud, willful, and infinitely sweet. A friend said “in his next life he’ll be a talk show host.”
    He was clearly suffering, and a lovely vet came to the house to euthanize him. We laid down a towel, asked him to come, he walked around her, laid himself full bodied in front of her, and purred. I have rarely encountered such dignity. It was a great blessing to have such a peaceful end. I miss him terribly.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Diane, Moses sounds like a real character. Mr. Personality! Thank you for sharing him with us.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I love what Henry Beston wrote about animals:
    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals….We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animals shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethern, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” –Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1926

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    • April 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      Oh, Molly, what a beautiful quote! Thank you! That is one we should all think about. It challenges our assumptions about animals in a very positive way.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    My husband brought Sedona home for me after my 20 year old cat died. Sedona had been at a local shelter and was nearing the end of her days there. She had the cutest nose with a divot in the middle. I took her everywhere with me and she was the perfect dog daughter. I think she knew we saved her life and we joked that she believed I gave birth to her. I often believed it. She got bone cancer and after the pain pills did not work, we decided it was time to end her suffering. I had her euthanized at home, in her favorite chair with the family (people, dog, cats and bird) with her. It’s been six weeks and not a day goes by that I don’t tear up because I miss her so much. She was truly my best friend and daughter and sister to my human son. Thank you so much for validating my feelings of grief.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      Stephanie, what a wonderful thing you did for Sedona! Don’t animals show their gratitude in the most meaningful ways? They repay our love tenfold.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you so much, Leigh, for sharing your family’s story. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you peace as you mourn Luna’s passing.I read your story because I am trying to do all that I can to prepare for the loss of my service dog and companion of, now, 14 years. Sarah came to me at 3 months and has traveled with me to many places. This includes physical as well as emotional places. I cannot imagine life without her, nor do I want to. Because she has been there for me during all of her years, I want to be there for her for all of her time with me, and this is why I am trying to prepare – so I can be present and mindful for her all the way to her end. She may have a couple of years left, but, by preparing now, I am hoping to make our “baby girl’s” last years the best they can be. Thanks, again, for sharing.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      Ray, the life Sarah has had with you is the most satisfying life a dog could possibly experience! She’s a lucky animal and you are clearly a lucky person, to have had such a beautiful companion all these years.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I had Brandy, a bouncy yellow lab, for 14 years. She survived a divorce with me and took the trip to California from Illinois with me, her pack sister, Maggie, and my husband-to-be. He says that we taught him just how special dogs are when we welcomed him into our pack and he grieved when Maggie died at 12; they’d become very close over the years. Brandy was put to sleep 2 weeks ago, the result of advancing age and my concern for her well being in the kennel for the 2 weeks we would be gone for business. We have a remaining dog, Annie, who is a bit confused, two weeks later. When I brought her home this morning from the kennel, she raced into the house and yard, looking for all the world as though she knew that Brandy would be waiting for her – not unlike me, to be honest. I know that we did the right thing and I have no regrets. You cannot have a cat, dog, hamster or bird, son or friend in your life for that long and not feel a hole in the fabric of your life when they die. I’ve gone through this with cats and dogs who have shared my life and I know my life was enriched by that sharing, even in death. They all rest in my heart and memories as they now reside in the stars above – I like to think of each of them as a new star in the night sky. Annie seems to enjoy being the center of attention as much as she enjoys having pack mates to interact with. I haven’t fully decided whether to adopt another dog just yet, but I know eventually another dog that needs a loving home will share its life with us and the loving cycle will begin again.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Val, yes, it is a cycle. It’s hard to appreciate when you are grieving, but so true. Thank you for your response!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you all for sharing your memories of your loved companions. It reminded me of the passing of my beloved Amos 10 years ago, and of all the cats and one little dog I have loved since. After Amos died I started adopting older cats. They don’t stay with me as long but they give so much and I love each so much that the time we have is precious beyond words. Every time an old cat comes into my home, I can tell that he or she knows that this is home and that his/her life has been saved. They are so happy to be home! Now I have two cats I “stole” from a neighbor who didn’t want them anymore, one cat who appeared starving in our backyard 4 yrs ago and my dear funny little dog. There will be more old cats — I couldn’t live without them — but Amos was my first introduction to the wonderful world of cats.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      Angela, I love that you have a special place in your heart for old cats. I agree, they are especially wonderful. And my oldest boy-cat, Malcolm, age 18, is sitting here nodding in sage agreement.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    It’s been 17 years since I held my 19 year old cat, Pepper, while he was euthanized. He had incurable cancer and the tumors made it impossible for him to eat. I cried while he died in my arms, and 17 years later, my eyes am filled with tears as I type this.

    My present cat, Mattie, is 16.When I come home, she curls up on my chest. If I leave the bedroom door after I get a glass of water at 3 a.m., she will sneak into the bed, but only on my side. She respects the fact that my wife is the alpha cat. If I am not in the mood to have her on my chest, I say, “No Mattie, No,” and she goes and curls up in her bed.

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    • April 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Gary, thank you for telling us about Pepper and Mattie. They both sound so dear. It’s amazing how their presences abide forever.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Unconditional love. That’s what our furry family members give us. Hence it is inevitable that we grieve for them when they die. I have three lovely feline children- Squirrel, Omelet and Moxie Boo (an amputee). At the end of a stressful day, it’s them that I look forward to retun to.

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  • April 22, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Leigh: Your Luna was a beautiful girl, and I know her loss is both meaningful and profound for you. She reminds me of SMOKE,a female cat who looked much like Luna, and who I rescued from a garbage dumpster as a small kitten. Smoke’s plaintive cries would not allow me to sleep one night, so I took a flashlight and followed the sounds until I found her. Your loss also (and the subsequent posts) also brought back the memories of my dog Girlfriend who passed away six years ago this June and whom I’ll miss until I take my last breath.

    I am so sorry for your loss – she looked like she was indeed a very special feline and a doyenne of the highest sort! May her spirit live on in your heart.

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    • April 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

      Denise, Smoke was such a lucky girl for you to have found her. The animals we rescue? They rescue us, don’t they? And a dog named Girlfriend? What a wonderfully perfect name!

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  • April 22, 2010 at 3:35 am

    My mini wiener dog was with us ever since I was 3 years old until just a few years ago. It happened right around Thanksgiving, just a couple weeks after my birthday. I knew it was best for him because he was old and started to have kidney problems (got very sick for a few months, couldn’t keep any food or water in him). He got so thin we could see his bones protruding and we tried IV fluids and special foods but nothing helped. We decided to euthanize him, but I couldn’t bring myself to be with him during the procedure, so my best friend spent the night and brought me chocolate and comforted me in the bathroom. My mom couldn’t even go with us on the drive to the vet, and my father stayed with him until his last moments. The vet gave us a ceramic heart with his paw print inside, which I thought was very special. I remember the drive to AND from the vet had the radio on playing the same song, which the lyrics were something like “You’ll always be with me” and it was a rainy day. I was in shock for a while at first, then I cried very hard and long, but even now every now and then I cry before bed time thinking about him. (Got teary eyed just typing this) I remember telling him secrets when I was young late at night and every time one of the family members was sick or napping, he would lay with (or on) us the entire time. 🙂

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    • April 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

      Rach, yes, the animals we grow up with are so very special. They help to raise us and they are parts of our childhoods forever. I can imagine your little dog cuddling with you, just like my kids cuddled with their kittens. It is right that we hold these animals in our hearts all our lives.

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  • April 22, 2010 at 6:47 am

    I lost Jake–a Tuxedo cat and a foundling–three years ago…at 19, when he had a stroke. I’d had him nearly 18 of his 19 years. I keep him “alive” in little ways; my computer password to one of my favorite sites is his name. Six months after he died, I knew it was time for another cat–went to a Chicago shelter–said a vehement NO to the suggestion of the adopton counselor that I look at a 12-year-old cat, drove six blocks, turned around the car, and (eventually, after paperwork and background checks) came home with Miss Juniper Berry Bonecat, who has currently taken over my pillow while I key in this message–atpresent age, 15+.

    Every cat, I think, has its own individual ways and bonds with its humans in special, unique mannerisms. Miss JB’s is the head bump–at 5 a.m., it means it’s breakfast time. At the under-the-table diorama, it’s “You’re eating. Why shouldn’t I be?” And then there’s the “scratch me behind the ears in that ultra-sensitive ooh-ahh place…”

    What’s YOUR animal’s favorite way of interacting with you?

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    • April 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Jan, that’s a great story about Juniper Berry. I love the idea of adopting older animals; they need us so much and are so especially appreciative. I also like your question. It might make for a good post topic in the near future!

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  • April 22, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I lost my little black cat Maud in November of 2009, and I still miss her. I’m convinced that her little spirit is still around. She was a feral many-generations-of street cat, but despite that, she was always a loving companion to me and my other cat, ShuShu, whom I adopted as a cat abandoned by his previous owners. She would spend every evening on the chair next to mine watching TV, and later would come up on my bed every night but to have her tummy rubbed — and when she’d had what she considered a sufficient rub, she’d jump down and spend the night in her “nest” under the bed. Maud fought gallantly against a wasting disease for many months, but the day finally came when it was too much for her. I can’t quite manage to get another cat yet.

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    • April 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Sam, I have a special place in my heart for black cats. Our Malcolm was also a street cat, but despite his external toughness he is the most loving and sensitive fellow going. I can imagine that Maud’s presence endures. She sounds wonderful.

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  • April 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I celebrate and honor Luna with you and your family.

    I actually do not prefer the term “pet” as I see my dear companions, whether human , feline, canine or whatever, as equal,sweet spirits.

    My 18 yr. old cat Moe died in my arms 3/30/10. In addition to writing a memory/obituary of his importance in my life and sharing it with friends and family, I was fortunate enough to be able to have a goodbye ceremony. My wife and I gently wrapping his body in bright yellow silk fabric, bright yellow sunflowers and our written wishes and memories on fortune cookie-sized slips of paper and held a parade through the “his” (our) house with a meditation bell.

    One of my volunteer duties as a pro photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is photographing infants who have died as a tool for parents to grieve. In photographing my Moe at his goodbye ceremony I found it a profound comfort for remembering him and processing my own grief.

    I share my goodbye pictures on My Moe here:

    http://www.estesphoto.com/my_moe_web/index.html

    I suggest to those who have lost their loved one that pictures of the deceased can a powerful way to remember, celebrate and grieve.

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  • April 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Reading your article stirred memories of our dogs passing just after Christmas 2007.

    Zak had never been an easy dog, but had a character like no other. He was also the constant companion of my husband who has MS and the spur for him to continue walking even when undergoing an attack.

    He was our longest living German Shepherd Dog, who gave us no indication of illness until the day we had him put to sleep. Rest in peace Zak and know that you will live forever in our hearts.

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    • April 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Nina, I am always so inspired by the relationship between companion animals and their owners. Zak may not have been easy, but he was valuable and precious, just like many of us humans!

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  • April 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains un awakened.” ~ Anatole Franc

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  • April 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Our beautiful sweet Maine Coon cat Squeaky was born in 1983 in Central California, and was 23 years old when a cancer in his jaw took him from us. I still remember seeing him for the first time sitting on a 6″ x 6″ post in a barn full of other cats, the most adorable little creature we had ever seen. We were so lucky…to have so many years of love and happiness with him. His vets said he lived so long because I kissed him at least 10 times a day. He traveled with us in our motorhome for 18 months….once escaping out the door while we were parked in the desert. My husband exhausted himself chasing the cat through the tumbleweeds, lol. He’s in our front yard and I talk to him often. I hope there is a heaven where we can share eternity.

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  • April 23, 2010 at 10:31 am

    My husband and I just lost our Bichon, Nikki to old age. He was my baby that came with me as sole custodian after a divorce along with his “brother” Velvet, a Standard poodle. V went to Puppy heaven in October of 2006 after a long battle with cancer. That was difficult but not like this time. I miss my Nik = he was with me all the time. He was my sounding board, he kept me company when my husband worked long hours. He was always there. I felt so bad when we took him to the vet hospital on Easter because I knew it was time and had been time for a few days. I still cry. He was my be all and end all and I miss him terribly. I am not a sentimental person yet he made me so. Will it get better?

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  • April 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    As a young adult, I found my beloved cat Grayson in my parent’s garage — a stray cat had wandered in there and had a litter of kittens. I instantly fell in love with the tiny bundle of gray fluff. In the eight short years I was blessed with him, Grayson was with me during some of the most difficult times of my life, as well as the best. Last fall, I rushed him to the vet after he developed a urinary blockage. He underwent three surgeries in two months. Two days after his last surgery, he went into kidney failure and my vet recommended putting him to sleep. It was late evening and I wanted to wait until morning — even though Grayson was quite sick, the surgery had gone well and we thought he would recover, so all this came as a shock. I knew it was the right and humane decision to make, but still I felt such profound guilt and agony over it. My vet returned later that night to check on him and called me at midnight, telling me that the decision couldn’t wait. Even in death, Grayson saved me — he died on his own just seconds after I got there.

    After Grayson died, I wasn’t sure I wanted another cat so soon (I have four others). But after much soul-searching, I realized that the best way to honor his memory was to rescue another cat and give him a good home. And so I adopted an abused, four-paw-declawed Himalayan who’d been surrendered to a high-kill county shelter and would have been marked for euthanization. Six months later, Nigel is still far from being a lap cat and will probably never be one, but he’s made great strides and he’s happy and safe.

    Getting involved in animal rescue efforts has also helped ease the grief in losing my Grayson. I do several animal rescue transports each month helping dogs from high-kill shelters get to no-kill rescues or their adoptive homes in other areas. A few weeks ago, I saw a call for a driver to help transport eight cats who would have otherwise been euthanized to a rescue in New York where they’d have a better chance of finding a home.. The transport depended on filling this last leg or else it would be canceled. I eagerly volunteered, glad to be helping out cats for once. In speaking with the transport coordinator, I discovered that the organizing group was the Grayson Humane Society (of Kentucky). Coincidence? Somehow I don’t think so.

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  • April 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    http://navigatingcloud9.blogspot.com/

    Reading your post I went back to a blog I had started well over a year ago. I thought I would share it with you. Lovers of animals are always connected, we will always have friendship and understanding in our common love of our furry friends.
    many blessings

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  • May 4, 2010 at 2:44 am

    I lost my little kitty Princey 7 months ago and I still cry when I think of her. My grief has been unremitting.She only weighed 4 lbs full grown. She had beautiful soft long black and white fur.She appeared to be a perpetual kitten since she was so small. She and her sister Perky who only weighs 5lbs taught me how to love. They loved each other and they loved me. I tried not to get too attached but she would have no parts of that. She insisted I give her all my love. Which I did. I feared her death. She died suddenly of kidney failure on her 8th birthday. I took her to the vet because she kept crying and he felt her kidney’s asked me some questions and pronunced kidney failure. He took a blood test to be sure and said he didn’t think we should euthanize her yet since she was still eating and running around the house. It was a real shock when she died the next day. She lay there immobile for hours we thought it was the end we tried to take her to the vet who lived on the corner but he was not home. We put her in her bed and her sister laid by her side through the night. We checked on her through the night and she had passed away when morning came. She was very brave as she faced her death. We buried her in the yard. I still can’t believe my little perpetual kitten is gone forever. Perky still misses her too. I like to believe she is on the other side of the rainbow bridge and will run to me and Perky when we pass. Sometimes I still feel her loving me so I feel she is in heaven trying to make me feel better and her long distance love does make me feel better.

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  • June 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Rocky, rescued from the streets, of the sleek shiny black hair and the grumpy-old-man demeanor, who required that I pet and praise him as he ate his food and loved head-kisses, and who without fail met me at the door every time I came home, died suddenly five weeks ago as we readied ourselves for our late-night wrestling match and tag-you’re-it chasing game. 15 years old, he’d slowed down over the past few years and become more cuddly, but had shown no signs of illness; the best I can figure is that he’d had a heart attack.

    I just couldn’t believe he was gone. I live alone, and it was midnight on a Friday night, so all I could do was cry and sit by his body, listening for his heartbeat ever few minutes, thinking completely irrationally that he’d come back, asking him not to leave me and Misha, my other kitty, alone.

    Fortunately, as I left the next morning to bring him to the pet hospital for cremation, I ran into a neighbor who was up to then only an acquaintance. She hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder, came with me on my sad task, stood by me while I took care of the business of turning him over, and sat with me for over an hour as we talked about Rocky, about her old cat, and how those relationships go deeper than any we’ve had with humans.

    Misha, a bossy, extremely vocal, melodramatic tortoiseshell, who is still grateful for being rescued 15 years ago from the Humane Society only two days before she was scheduled to be euthanized, and who often tormented Rocky in competing for my attentions, still watches for him, on guard to chase him away if I don’t stop her. She’s slowly calming down as I introduce new rituals into her life to give her new structure. When she wakes me up while meowing around the apartment looking for him, I remind myself that it’ll take time for her, too.

    But despite Misha’s affection and clownishness, I still open the door carefully so as not to hit Rocky as he waits for my entrance, check to see where he’s curled up, snoring peacefully, and feel sad when I put out one food bowl, not two. Like many here, I’ve had friends who’ve understood but others who’ve asked when I’m going to get another cat, as though Rocky could ever be replaced. I’ll spare a new cat the experience of Misha’s territorial meanness and spare her the trauma of dealing with another competitor, but yes, I’ll get another cat, eventually.

    Rocky was my first pet, my first cat. The pain and shock lessen, though I get hit with sadness at the oddest times. But now I know that when Misha goes I will be OK. I had pretended he’d never die, but Rocky was lucky to die so suddenly, without the trauma of visits to the vet and treatments. I hope, frankly, that Misha is so lucky. And I treasure her all the more now that I have replaced my understanding of how fragile life is with an experience of such personal loss of a creature whose life was so intertwined with mine.

    Reply
  • June 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I want to share the memories of my beloved cat Mocha I had her for 4 years before she died. I had her from the day she was born to the momma cat that showed up as stray at my house that spring. Mocha had beautiful blue eyes and the markings of a siamese cat. She would follow me around the yard outside and talk to me and loved to be held. She had the softest fur that I had ever know a cat to have. To this day I miss her and tears come to my eyes when I think about her. She was very special to me. I have had other cats and currently have 5 cats at my house as well as two dogs but none compare to Mocha’s beauty and attitude. I have a silver grey cat called Ethel that gives kisses and plays fetch with a crinkle ball that we have she is also very special to me but not like Mocha was.

    thanks so much for sharing your post and for the post of others that are missing there beloved pets. Mocha has been gone for over 3 years now but still missed.

    thanks again

    Reply
    • June 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you for this lovely remembrance of Mocha, Tammy. I can tell what a very special cat she was!

      Reply
  • August 9, 2010 at 5:16 am

    i’m not alone in the inconsolable grief I feel for the loss of my darling 4 month old kitten. Your words have been such an endless source of comfort for me. I found her at the age of three weeks old with infected, bulging eyes, blind and suffering from pain. I nursed her back to health and miraculously she began to see. Due to her initial blindness, other senses were more developed. When I called her name, she reacted with joy. When I touched her, she responded with adoration. She kissed me all the time expressing appreciation. She was my ‘fur-daughter’ too, thank you for that expression. I always visualized spending our lives together for many years to come. It was not to be: vigilant about keeping the blinds drawn on the 7th floor of this building,sending family members to “gaurd” the balcony so that no-one would fall off the side, keeping the utility window closed for the same reason, one morning half asleep I inadvertantly opened the blinds a little to let in some air, she crawled through the blinds (as she had done before but I had managed to retrieve her then) and she fell breaking her little spine, causing paralysis in her little back legs. I felt I had to opt for euthanasia in order to prevent a life of pain from the injury, and frustration and not being able to walk on her back legs, or being able to defacate and urinate easily. The vet said she would have made this choice had Flopsy been her cat. However, I feel maybe I made a terrible mistake and should have kept her alive at any price. I lost her on Friday, August 6th and I am still in shock over what happened.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Our pets offer us unconditional love and loyalty. After a hard day at work I look forward to nothing more than taking my dog for a walk, so he can listen to all the trivia of the day. I dread the day that my own lab Sam becomes too old, as our whole family and kids love him so dearly. One of a kind and totally unique.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

    my callie i had in my life for 18 years passed away januray 25 2011 i miss her so bad she was always their for me and me for her but i could not do anything at the end. my house and my heart is so empty without her.my home without callie is just a house. my callie girl i will always rember you. you took a piece of my heart with you and i will keep you in my heart forever.

    Reply
    • February 23, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Beulah, it is beautiful and touching to hear about how much Callie meant to you. I hear how much you are hurting. Thank you for sharing this.

      Reply
  • April 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I lost my cat-son, Izzy on April 5th 2011 at the age of 19. I loved him with my whole heart and find that the sense of loss is so profound.

    Reply
  • April 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I’ll admit, it helps to know that your worlds have not ceased to turn.
    I sometimes wonder when my cat is curled up on my lap what I’m going to do when he’s gone. 🙁 It helps to see that while you don’t ‘get over it’ it doesn’t have to be crippling.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    my silky terrier pass away 6 years ago on easter sunday,drowd in the creek was 15 years old in dog years.. she love me i bought another dog from the pound look like her 4 months after ruby pass on then i came home from work wasent feeling gd my new dog came upstairs to laid dwn with me…..then my dog ruby that pass on came to see me was on my bed i felt her presence sold form but like a idiot i brush her off cause i had my other dog,so do u think she come bk to see me again i moved in twn i really miss her.she bury out were my xs farm is …tu for reading this
    janis

    Reply
  • May 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

    My beautiful Spooky passed away two days ago at 14. I got him from the pound when he was 5 weeks old and he has been my savior over and over. He was black w/a white smile on his belly you could only see when he was lying on his back. Beautiful big eyes and a purr that was memorizing. He was quite a talker and we had lots of conversations, he always had the last word. He only liked me but boy did I see the love in his eyes when he looked at me. Two and a half weeks ago he was diagnosed w/hyperthyroidism and I began therapy but he continued to lose weight rapidly. Three days ago he stopped eating and the vet treated him in the hope of getting him back on track…I now think he was doing it for me. Twenty four hours later Spooky was totally debilitated and I had two vets tell me what was obvious…they gave me some time alone with him and I saw that he did not want this, and that he was never coming back. I held him as he fell asleep the last time and the vets were so kind, they actually did the procedure away from me after he had fallen asleep…I laid him in the back yard and planted a hydrangea on his grave. The pain is absolutely unbearable and I am trying to pull myself together for my two pups and surviving kitty. I am trying to move forward, thank you for this website as reading other peoples’ stories brings me some comfort.

    Reply
  • July 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I needed this article today. My sweet puppy died last week after two months of stuggle after she was attacked by another dog while we were out walking. Long stroy, but basically plate and pins, followed by non-healing incision (2 months with metal showing), removal of plate, re-fracture, amputation, 3 days of agony then a crisis (either a bleed or an embolus) at which point we put her down. I am having such difficulty with the fact that every decision I made during this process only seemed to lead to more complications and eventually to her death. She is everywhere: I feel her, I hear her and worst of all I see her suffering and looking to me. I did my research. I trusted my vet. I took really good care of her, advocated for her way beyond my usual non-assertive nature to get her some decent pain control. To say that it feels as though I’ve lost a child sounds melodramatic, but that’s how it feels. I know that this too shall pass, but it’s pretty horrible at the moment. Your article validated my feelings and helped me accept that this grief is not ridiculous, but real and valid – and a process of learning to “reset” my life without her. Thank you.

    Reply
    • August 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      What a brave puppy she was! I know she has left a gift by inspiring you and everyone who reads this.

      Reply
    • July 2, 2016 at 9:28 am

      RAK, I too have so much grief for my beloved Snuggles. Snuggles were the only boy of the family. I found the mother and her five kittens under a stairway in the apartment building. I was having a hard time trying to get to a no-kill shelter and decide to keep them. I got them all spayed and neutered. Snuggles being the only boy was always trying to escape through the screens we put up on the back porch and garage after purchasing a home. If we didn’t let him out, he would cry all the time to get out. He was a very handsome boy and very stubborn. He wanted what he wanted and wasn’t going to go quietly into the night. We went out to bring the in the Christmas decorations, and he got out and was attacked by a pitbull.
      The dog was dragging him up and down the driveway. He wouldn’t let go. When he finally let go, he went to the chest, and before the dog could get a crushing bit to the chest, my husband somehow pulled the dog face where the dog owner was able to get the broken leash around the dog’s neck. Snuggles jumped up and started running on three legs when I grabbed him, and we rushed him to an emergency clinic on a Sunday. They treated his left front broken leg and a small puncture to the muscle tissue, and he was doing fine when we picked him up Monday morning to take him to our regular vet. They said we could get the amputation done the same day. They called and said he was a little sluggish, and they wanted to keep him overnight. On Tuesday I went to see him, and he wasn’t eating, so I was able to get him to eat some food I bought with me. They said he seemed fine after eating, and we could take him home. I brought him home, and he was trying to get up and move around, but not aware of his missing leg I had to keep in the closet so he wouldn’t be oh the wood floors. On Wednesday I got worried because he was still sluggish and just didn’t look right. I took him back to the vet as soon as they opened. They told me he looks fine, but he was dehydrated they gave him fluids and gave me fluids to put under his skin. Well, I couldn’t get him to swallow the food or medicine. He stops urinating and Thursday I went back to the vet. I noticed his skin around the ear where yellow. I got to the vet and was told I was right about my concerns, Snuggles was jaundice and would be best to euthanize him. I cried, and I just didn’t know what to do. I ask if it was any labs, feeding tubes and fluid that can be given at least to give him a chance. I was told they would do the labs and fluid. When the labs come back, they would start the feeding. Well, we got a call the next morning that my beloved boy had passed. I have this constant feeling of guilt. I feel I failed him. It hurts all the time, and I’ve been a wreck since January 3 when this happen and on January 8 his time with us ended. This was the first pet I lost, and I can say I’ve learned a lot on how to try and protect the others.

      Reply
      • July 2, 2016 at 9:43 am

        Thank you for sharing the story of Snuggles. I also had a cat, many years ago, who was brave and adventurous, and who also died after being attacked by a dog. Every cat has his own personality, and some are like Snuggles: curious and intrepid. You did a wonderful job of taking care of Snuggles. I think it is the people who tried the hardest who feel the most guilt. I hope you will continue to spread your love and caring for Snuggles to other animals.

        Reply
  • August 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I had to put my baby, Tatianna to sleep just 4 days ago. I have been a wreck since. Reading this blog has made me feel a bit of hope. I am still in a dark and horrible place, but felt a little bit of light creep in while reading these stories. Thanks to each and every one of you that shared! I have lost 3 cats in the past 13 months, and this last one has almost put me over the edge. On top of all the grief from losing my babies, I have moved out of state and am currently unemployed, which certainly does not help. I am not certain I could function a whole day at work without breaking down, so perhaps it is for the best. Again, thank you all so much for sharing your stories, it has meant so much to me to read them and know that others understand what I am going through. Peace

    Reply
    • August 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Tatianna was so lucky to be loved and cared for. The pain of her loss will fade and the wonderful memories will remain.

      Reply
  • September 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I am dealing with a sense of loss and sadness that I have never felt before. My best friend Milah died on Monday. She had been losing weight and looking a bit disheveled lately but her demeanor remained chipper and loving. I knew she was getting old and began thinking of her inevitable end but of course filed way in the back of my mind. A couple of weeks ago she was not the dog I always knew. She was eating less and less and became lethargic. Her trips outside became shorter and the two stairs leading into the house became a monumental task.On Monday I went to work leaving her wrapped in a warm blanket knowing my daughter was there to care for her. A few hours later I received a frantic call to come home. My friend was failing. I called the vet and asked if she could come to my home to help Milah end her suffering.We carried her outdoors and laid her on a blanketand surrounded her with love and tears as we said our goodbyes. She died with the help of the most compassionate vet I have ever met.My beautiful friend died without fear,in her favorite place surrounded by love,not in a treatment room with bright lights and unfamiliar smells and people.I laid her to rest in the backyard where she played and ran.I can barely contain my grief. I know in time I will be able to talk about her without breaking down but for now my heart aches, I want my girl. I love you Milah, I’ll miss you forever.

    Reply
    • September 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Jo-Ann, thank you for this lovely reflection on Milah. We all know her just a bit now, and can appreciate how special she was.

      Reply
  • October 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    This conversation has been such a help to me. My best buddy, a wire-haired fox terrier, Mickey, died yesterday. He was with me for almost 11 years and he was diagnosed with liver cancer two days ago. The vet was wonderful, but there was nothing they could do for him. Two days before he died, he was outside of our home, fetching sticks (his very favorite game), and swimming in the lake. I am still in shock as I write this and I cannot believe that he is gone. My family and friends have been very supportive and sympathetic, but I cannot seem to explain to them just how deep and dark my sense of loss is right now. Mickey was closer to me than anyone else – he was my rock and I think to a certain extent I was his slave 🙂 I feel so empty and sad right now and although I know that this is part of the normal grieving process, it doesn’t make it any easier. For the almost 11 years of happiness and love that Mickey gave to me I will be forever thankful. God bless him and keep him.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I stumbled on this conversation as I lay here awake on the first night without my Clover. She was a rescue puppy no bigger than my foot who nearly died from complications of malnourishment and parvo. I remember like it was yesterday laying with her, willing her to pull through. And she did. For 16 more years she was always at my side. Through rough and lonely times, she was the reason I got up and carried on. In better times, she was the spark of joy and adventure–pure enthusiasm for life. But most importantly, she was always unconditional love and a constant companion.

    When you’re given the gift of a beloved companion for 16 years, you realize time will eventually run out. But it doesn’t numb the shock and grief of the loss. It’s hard to wrap my head around the reality that I’m no longer her caregiver and my heart is crushed. I miss her terribly. I’m so thankful Clover came into my life.

    Thank you for keeping this conversation active and thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. It helps to feel like you’re not the only one going through this.

    Reply
  • October 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Today, after a dozen years as my constant companion, a little calico cat that I rescued when she appeared on my front porch and gazed at me with the biggest, most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, I had the sad task of standing there as my vet administered the final injection, and I watched as her breathing slowed and then stopped. She had cancer, and this seemed like the wisest choice, although afterwards I felt like a murderer. I tried to steel myself for this event, and was OK until I brought her home and lay her lifeless body on the couch, in her favorite spot for napping, but I discovered that I was not really prepared. I suddenly felt all the sadness in my life, all the grief I had ever felt over the loss of loved ones, blossom inside of me. I had never before experienced such a moment of intense grief, and I broke down and wept. Nothing at that moment seemed more important to me than the life of this helpless little creature that I had taken part in ending. All the affection I had lavished on her, and she had returned in kind, all the brushings, and all playful moments watching her chase her favorite toy did not allay the pain I felt. When I regained my composure I sat next to her, stroking her fur, and half expected to hear her begin to purr. There is little I can add to what animal lovers already know, and to simply call her a “pet” really diminishes all she meant to me, and all she was. I am trying to believe that I did the right thing here, for her, but I am not sure. Perhaps with treatment she might have lasted a little longer, but I rationalized the decision by imagining the degree of distress that treatment might have caused her, and me. I have no context in which to understand death, mine, hers, or anyone else’s, no philosophy that keeps at arms length the dreadful feeling that the Universe is entirely indifferent to our suffering. And that makes moments like these even harder to bear. Tomorrow I will bury her beneath her favorite tree, and no one but me will ever know where. I had a moment of clarity when I brought her home, and that feeling of loss struck me like a locomotive, in realizing how badly we treat one another, how the human heart always seems at war, between right and wrong, good and evil, and how much more important love is, for each other, and for any living creature, than hate. If we could only nurture that feeling every day.

    Reply
    • October 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      PAULEM, I just read your post from 2012 as I was searching the internet during a period of grief after losing my beloved cat whom I lived with for 16 years. If you read this, just wanted to say I couldn’t have expressed it better than you did. My loss is profound as yours was and wished many times for the comfort of faith others seem to possess. He was an integral part of my everyday life whose absence is now omnipresent. He was my best friend and related in a nearly human way – there was a connection with him I’ve not experienced with any other pet in my lifetime and up until now there have been many. This is my last as I simply cannot take the heartache again and somehow, it feels disloyal to even think of another one. I hope you have found peace as I hope I can come to find someday.

      Reply
  • October 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I said goodbye to our beloved 14 year old mini-schnauzer today. She had been sick but rapidly went downhill this weekend with seizures this morning. I have had to put pets down previously, but this death has hit me so hard. Taking care of her was a significant part of our lives. She was a gentle, wonderful presense in the house and now it is so empty.

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Our beloved Labrador Retriever died last week, on my birthday. Harry Potter was in our family for 13-1/2 years. The last three years have seemed like a gift, since he was diagnosed with a malignancy that was supposed to have killed him well before now.

    I am a professor and I frequently work at home, preparing for class, doing research, or writing. Harry was always by my side. He read my family’s emotions and he knew our habits by heart. He vocalized in a singing sort of way we came to recognize as wanting to participate in our dinner conversations. He was a beautiful, personable, spirited creature who traveled widely and never complained about climbing into the car or even into his crate for airplane rides across the Atlantic Ocean. Uncounted numbers of students stayed with him over the years when I had to be away.

    My daughter was with me when Harry’s last health crisis drained him of all that had made him Harry. She insisted that we not prolong his suffering. I heard the Dalai Lama speak a couple of weeks ago about aiming for a peaceful death, without fear, in order to achieve a good rebirth. I am not a Buddhist, but I like the notion of an adored pet’s rebirth in a new earthly form. Harry died peacefully, without fear, with our arms wrapped around him, as we wished him a favorite rebirth.

    The pain at his loss is more than I can describe. In time I hope I can accept emotionally what I recognize rationally: that prolonging a pet’s suffering is not about their needs, but ours. Letting go is at once the compassionate and the hardest imaginable course.

    Reply
  • November 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I am in agony. My beautiful Tuxedo cat, Olivia, passed away sometime last Sunday night. She was about to be 16, and had seemingly been in good health until last Saturday when she started to have trouble walking. I took her to the emergency vet Saturday afternoon, who diagnosed possible arthritis, but recommended I get blood work done soon. I planned to do it on Monday with her regular vet. Then Sunday she got worse. I talked to the emergency vet again, and we discussed possible vestibular disease or something neurological. The vet suggested I bring her in, but it was difficult to do with my schedule, and I really thought she would get better. What’s killing me now, is that I didn’t check on her during the night, and when I woke up Monday morning, she was already gone. I’m anguished that I wasn’t with her when she passed, and can’t stop berating myself for being so uncaring…she was my baby girl and I can’t get past my guilt and pain. We lost our other cat in June, but he had been sick for a long time, and I was there holding him when he was put to sleep. Do you have any suggestions on how I can move past this?

    Reply
    • November 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Cate, Olivia knows how much you loved her, and she passed gently while safely sleeping in the home she knew and loved. What helps me when I lose a pet, is to reach out and do something caring for all animals. Maybe make a small donation to the animal shelter nearest you, or buy them some cans of food or donate some old towels you don’t need anymore. I am sure Olivia would want you to take the love you have for her and do something helpful and positive with it.

      Reply
  • December 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    My husband and I recently lost our cat, Tubby…And when I say he was a member of our family, I mean it as much as my mother, or father, sisters or brother are members of my family. I could never have imagined that my life could be so touched by an animal, or that I would ever experience so much loss. There is a hole in my heart where he belongs, and in the most painful of ways, it is a welcome ache. I am so blessed to have had the chance to know such an amazing and loving animal. There is a spot in my bed that feels so empty without his warmth… Sometimes, I still wake up in the middle of the night expecting to feel his little body against me, but there is, of course, nothing. I still cry every day for him… My house still feels vacant without him, and honestly, I dont know that it will ever be a pain I can move on from. When you love something so much, I think maybe your signing up for that pain. We know when we get out pets that they are only with us for a short time, but still we go and we get them. For me, it was because I saw in my Tubby-Bear a type of kindness and goodness I could only ever dream of having in myself. A pets love is the most unconditional kind.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    After 17 1/2 years my beloved beagle has passed. Looking for ways of coping with the overwhelming grief I came across this site. I have struggled over the past few years with the thought of losing her. I wrote this a bit ago and just want to put it to the universe in her memory.

    My Wina

    Someone asked me once why I loved you so much. I was helpless to explain

    My heart cracks and crumbles into a thousand pieces when I think of you leaving.

    Why then
    do
    I
    love you
    so much?

    Are you truly my little girl that I never had
    but did?

    Early memories of you
    in the pet store
    obstinate adorable insistent
    you were mine then.

    On my lap driving home so vulnerable
    yet determined
    My little Wina Beagle.
    at home I sat and watched you following the bricks along the planter
    winding your way into my heart, my life, my soul.

    all those nights sitting with you in a steamy room desparately scared that you would die.
    Rushing to the hospital time after time
    throughout the years
    but you never left
    you just came back stronger, you flourished, you amazed
    you loved.

    and now you are gone
    it was time
    you had given every last bit that you could.
    My precious girl.
    You were loved.

    Reply
  • January 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I had to put down my baby this past November. He was a rescue that I adopted two and a half years ago. He got really sick and the vet determined it was a heart defect he was probably born with that could not be cured. It all happened so fast that I’m still struggling to deal with his loss. He brought so much happiness into my life, I think about my little Bailey every day. He will have a place in my heart forever.

    Reply
 

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