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jordym84's avatar

Have you ever lost a beloved pet?

Asked by jordym84 (4742 points ) April 3rd, 2013

If so, what helped you through the grieving period?

My flat mate has just lost her Havanese of 14 years to a heart bleed and she is devastated. The dog has been in her family since she was 10 years of age and she was very attached to him. He lived back home with her family and it just so happened that he passed away on her father’s and younger twin siblings’ birthday (the three of them share the same birthday). I think she’s even more devastated because he was fine, without any major health conditions, and so his death was very sudden and unexpected, despite his age. I’ve never had a pet but I do know that some people are very attached to theirs, so I’m not really sure what to do to make her feel better. I’ve let her talk about him as much as she wants/needs to and I’m genuinely enjoying the stories about her Stanley (he was a fascinating pet), but I can’t help but wish there was something more I could do to cheer her up. I’m just afraid of doing something that’ll seem insensitive and/or pretentious because I have no idea what it’s like to lose a pet… Any suggestions, my fellow Jellies?

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13 Answers

janbb's avatar

You sound like you are doing it right. Hug her and listen. Just don’t suggest that she might want to get another dog right away as if one can just replace another.

Crumpet's avatar

When I was a child I caught a newt and named him Freddie. We had a small decorative pond in our back garden. He lived happily in there for a few days until he was eaten by a heron. I was devastated.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@jordym84 You are doing the right thing by listening and enjoying the stories! That is a great help.

Unfortunatley there is really nothing you can do or say to make your friend feel better, just being there though is a big help. Helping your friend through the grieving process is a big help. Grieving for a pet or a human can be the same. I have lost both. But greiving is really such an individual process it is hard to say how long the process can be.

If the grieving process starts to interfere with your friends ability to live a somewhat regular life then that’s when I think you need to step in and do something.

Give your friend lots of hugs. :)

Blueroses's avatar

Oh, yes.
I’ve had to let go of several of my own and I worked in vet practice for years. My job there consisted a lot of hugging and tears.
In fact, today, a lady at the supermarket recognized me (I sadly, didn’t know her until she mentioned her dog’s name) A pet is family. It is so difficult to know what exactly someone feels about Fluffy. Treat it as a loss of any close family member and you won’t go wrong.

rooeytoo's avatar

14 is a ripe old age for any breed. And I would personally be thankful that a heart bleed was probably very fast and relatively painless. Plus it saved the family making the decision about when the time is right to put one down. Losing a loved pet is, to me, almost as hard as losing a human family member ( in the case of some family, more so!). The only thing that heals the wound is time. So expect mourning and crying for some time. There is nothing anyone can do except be there.

marinelife's avatar

So many times. It never gets easier. I found that the best thing, despite your loss, is to get another pet. Their totally loving demeanor goes a long way to filling the emptiness.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@marinelife suggests to get another pet. Which is a great suggestion. But I heard something the other day that made a lot of sense to me about grieving parents who wanted another child.

They were told to first go through the motions of grieving before even considering having another baby.

Because having a baby in grief would place a burden on the baby, a sort of higher expectation which we probably may not even realize that we are doing. When a baby is born you want them born free from that kind of stuff.

I myself would feel the same for any relationships, animal or otherwise. But I don’t think it is right to lean on a pet, especially dogs I see it all the time. One home I walk my dogs by frequently the owner keeps his dog in the tiny yard who barks always, the owner then yells or I swear sometimes hurts the dog every once in awhile I hear a yelp, but I can’t see through the fence, but my dog yelps for no reason so how can I judge? Anyway, the guys idea to settle this was to get the dog a friend. So do you want to know the results? Well now there are 2 barking dogs the guy is yelling at. :/

That’s why they develop issues because we emotionally are only fulfilling our needs and possibly what we think are their needs and sometimes forget they have other needs which then get ignored and dogs easily replace those with something destructive. Dogs are social and they love exercise. Usually those are the last 2 things a grieving person wants to do. I was on the couch for 2 months :/ after I lost someone very special to me.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve lost several pets throughout my life, and it’s never easy to get over. We just had to put our dog to sleep this past Halloween. I still miss her.

Really, the only thing you can do to help is what you’re already doing- listen to her, let her grieve, and give her hugs.

RocketGuy's avatar

My dog is going downhill. We’ve had him for 14 years. Gonna be sad! :(

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, and it’s horrible. They do nothing wrong and have unconditional love for their humans. Try to keep her busy, that’s all.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Yes I have.
Once in early childhood and again later in elementary school years.
In both caes I learned to appreciate these loving animals ( one was a lovely cat and the other a puppy)
I missed them a lot but was lucky that we had a photo to remind me of what he looked like.
We did not have photos of the other two.
Anything can happen in an instant , so it is a reminder that to appreciate every day and its gifts of life around us.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I have lost several beloved pets over the years & it is ALWAYS hard to lose them. Sometimes the grief is quite strong & you should not replace the pet you lost while you are still grieving. It does help to have photos & the stories of the time that you had the pet. Then when the pain of the loss lightens, you can then look for a new pet – because then you will be able to enjoy the difference between the new pet that you get & the pet that you lost. You should attempt to adopt from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder. After all, a puppy or a kitten, is more than a pedigree…. it is an individual that will join your family.

antimatter's avatar

Yip, my cat Bruce.

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