Orlando, Florida USA
Realization of the Inevitable
Dealing with the Loss of a Pet
Dealing with Grief
Children and the Loss of a Pet
Poetry: Realizing the Inevitable
Will you walk beside me one last time?
Will you lick my cheek and look into my eyes?
It is time for us to depart and to tarry no more.
Let us walk slowly, under a night sky filled with stars
and if you tire I will carry you through the night
before you leave me here standing alone against the world.
Knowing full well our time here on earth is fleeting and short,
let me say I have loved with a passion sweet and pure
before you tear my heart from my soul as you leave.
Let me dream awhile longer, before the harsh reality of life takes over
and I must walk alone in a world without you by my side,
softly place a kiss in my palm to keep me forever safe from harm.
Fight hard my friend, try to stay here with me, for I love you greatly still,
but when your will falters, and the pain becomes too great,
I will release you from a long ago promise to never leave
and will bid you a fond, but tearful farewell.
© 2000 Brenda "Rion" Sewell
Dealing with the Loss of a Pet
When we introduce a new pet into our family we usually don't think about the life span of that pet. It is a fact that the life span of a cat or dog averages only 12 to 14 years, a relatively short time compared to the 75 to 80 year life span of a human. Birds, reptiles, fish, and rodents have even shorter lifetimes, but sooner, or later, we must deal with the inevitable loss of our pet through death.
When we bring our pet home, we help them adjust as a family member. We find a veterinarian to care for them when they are ill; we teach them proper manners and take them to school for obedience training. When we go on vacation, they accompany us and when they can't join us, we research the kennel facility where our pet will be boarded.
We cover all contingencies of our pet's brief stay with us on this earth, but even as they reach the evensong of their life, we refuse to face the day when our pet will no longer be with us. Understandably, no one wants to face the death of their pet because it is very painful and grief-filled. Having some prior knowledge of the options available before the inevitable happens will help ease your confusion and pain with the passing of your pet and friend.
Talk to your veterinarian about your decisions, most veterinary clinics cooperate with pet cemeteries, or crematoriums. Be aware of the fact that if your pet dies while at the clinic, you have the right to see the pet before deciding your options. Why should you ask to see your pet? It will help you in putting a closure to your pet's existence and dealing with the grief will be an easier task.
Dealing with the Grief
Grief is a very normal response to any important loss in life. It occurs regardless of whether death followed a long illness, or a sudden accident. Grieving people undergo both physical and emotional traumas as they try to adapt to the upheaval in their lives brought about by the loss.
Psychologists have long recognized that the grief suffered by pet owners after their pet dies is the same as that experienced after the death of a person. The death of a pet means the loss of a non-judgmental love source. These feelings can be particularly intense for the elderly, single people and childless couples, for whom the pet has become not only a companion, but their child.
Be aware that grief is not something to be ashamed of and do not deny your feelings of grief over the passing of your pet. It is not stupid, or silly, to cry at their passing.
Grief has many stages, some will pass quickly, some fast. Shock and denial is normal as the owner begins the grieving process. Anger is common. Some people will blame God, or lash out at friends and relatives. Some may even bargain with God to bring back their pet. Depression sets in when the bereaved person feels intensely sad, hopeless, drained and helpless. The pet is missed and thought about constantly.
Finally, acceptance comes when the family lifestyle stabilizes. Recently experiencing the death of a significant person in the owner's life can also affect how the pet's death is handled. Sometimes, the death of a pet will finally enable the bereaved to mourn the loss of a person, whose death had not yet been accepted. Usually, children recover more quickly, while the elderly take the longest.
Children and the Loss of a Pet
The death of a pet can be traumatic and confusing for a child. Although children tend to grieve for shorter periods of time, their grief is no less intense than that experienced by adults. Children also tend to come back to the subject repeatedly; so extreme patience is required when dealing with the grieving child. Some helpful tips for helping the grieving child include:
- Give the child permission to work through their grief.
- Tell them it is all right to cry and encourage the child to talk about their pet.
- Reassure the child with plenty of love and hugs.
- Tell the child's teacher about the death of a pet, the child's grieving process may affect their attention span at school.
- NEVER say things like "God took your pet," or the pet was "put to sleep." The child may begin to fear that God will take them, or their family. The child may become afraid of going to sleep.
- Explain and discuss the permanency of death, dying and grief honestly.
- Do not lie to your child.
- Include the child in preparations, or to make a memorial for their pet.
Given time, the bereaved owner and the family will accept the passing of their pet. In the meantime, remember, grieving is a natural process that should not be denied.
© June 2000 Brenda "Rion" Sewell
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends,
so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine,
and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;
they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes
when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass,
his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face;
your hands again caress the beloved head,
and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet,
so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.
~ Author unknown ~
Email me at brendarion at cfl.rr.comAll literary works and original artwork by Rion on this page,
unless otherwise noted, are the sole property of Brenda Sewell.
I do not mind sharing but please ask me first.
© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell