Best Friend Blues

Loss of a Pet

 Today I learned of the passing of a friends mini-dachshund dog, Jessie, by group email. She asked that people not send anything but fond memories. As tears streamed down my face, I realized that replying to her email was not an option for me. I had to go get a card, something tangible that I could give to her – and I phoned before I drove over to hand-deliver it. Have you ever received an email or phone call about a friends pet passing? How did you respond? Have you ever lost a pet? Most of the books and on-line articles have great content, yet at the end of each pet’s story is a unique choice: do you share your grief with friends, or do you keep it private and bury the beloved pet in your own yard?

This morning I went to Rochelle’s home and as she opened the door, it took us both a moment to register that there would be no excited greeting, no barking or dog kisses now that Jessie was gone. We walked over to the kitchen, and I saw that she had yet to pick up the dog bowls or toys scattered around the floor. I offered to put them all in a bag and she nodded, dropping heavily into a chair. “I feel depressed, her death has completely upset my daily routine. I don’t want to get out of bed for a morning walk without Jessie. I don’t want to see my friends with dogs, it hurts too much!”

This is where she shared that her best friend was still not buried. “People kept telling me I should just have her cremated, but I couldn’t get into the car with her body, or part with it – I want her here where I can visit her – maybe even make a little memorial. “I understand.” “So will you help me bury her out in the back?” “Of course, I replied.” Jessie was simply wrapped in a plastic bag and swaddled by Rochelle’s favorite bedspread, resting in the garden shed where the temperature was 20 degrees!. We used a laundry basket to transport her little mummified body out to the waiting burial spot and had a quiet moment in her honor.

Afterward, I realized that what Rachel needed most was a friend to walk beside her through this tough emotional time, coaxing her along to complete the next steps in her grieving process. “…love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation” – Kabil Gibran. I also handed her a list of resources like the one below:

ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline: (877) GRIEF-10

Faithful Friends Pet Crematorium, Raleigh: (919) 874-0014.

Pet Rest Cemetary, Durham: (919) 596-3895.

Pet BereavementCounseling, Judith Stutts, Ph.D.LPC, (336)625-1400 

SPCA of Wake County, 200 Petfinder Lane, Raleigh, 919-772-2326 Meets the

third Sunday of the month, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

University of Florida Pet Loss Hotline: (352) 392-4700, ext. 4080(this hotline will call you back

From anywhere and not chargeg you anything)

Speak Your Mind