A few of us have lost beloved pets lately. I still miss my beautiful horse, taken too soon, and my old 18yr old dog who stood unwaveringly and loyally by my side through a lot of turmoil.

Every relationship we forge with an animal is unique, and they become tightly woven into our existence. Take time to honor them.

I'm so sorry about your horse, and your dog. I am a former horse owner, and I also recently lost my only remaining dog earlier this month. My other dog passed last year, and I was still dealing with grief for her, too. I don't have words to describe how empty my life feels now.

*hugs to you from afar *

I think it's because our pets are always with us, sleeping with us, playing with us. They are our little cheerleaders when we get home from work or wherever we have been. The relationship between us and our pets is different from human relationships. They give us love and very little grief. Of course the grief comes when they are no longer with us.

So true. I’m home almost all the time now and my two are always underfoot, sitting on me demanding pets, or asleep next to me. I feel far more affection and worry for them than I do for any human, including my mother, for whom I’m full-time carer.

It's a hard job to be a full time at home carer. I used to be a visiting home health nurse and was always in awe at people who took care of their relatives like this. Much love to you, I know that it's not easy.

Thank you! I’m so grateful to the home-care attendants (also known as cat entertainers 😸) and home health nurses who come to us.

[–] Srfthrowaway 2 points Edited

Thank you for posting this. Sophia went from bugging us constantly to not there anymore and after last 2 years the house is still too quiet. We talked to her all the time.

The grief I have seen in the our comfort room over the years is profound. Some of it is quiet and personal, other times it is loud and unrestrained. I can handle everything up until when the men start crying and then the room gets a little dusty. My only wish is that they get home safe, take time to mourn and we're there for them if/when they are ready to welcome another animal into their lives.

My job is to the animals, though. If someone wants support or the situation deems it appropriate for us to offer more than just condolences (e.g. a hug or other somesuch personal gesture), that's fine, but really we just facilitate the process and let the family grieve alone.

The worst is when that grief turns to anger, bitterness, vitriol and outright abuse of veterinary staff (or other associated people) via oneself or the social media justice mob. No one deserves it and it's a poor way to memorialize a beloved animal. Unfortunately the stories have become more common over time. I know people are looking for someone to blame or the grief is exacerbated by illnesses that affect conduct and/or social skills, but it's still pretty sad that it has to be an almost-expected dread; we never know it's going to happen until it happens.

Thank you for posting this beautiful piece. The worst for me is the anticipatory grief and the “did I wait too long” guilt - happened with two of my cats who passed at 13 from cancer.

It is such a painful decision, we do the best we can at the time so forgive yourself.

The trouble is animals are often very stoic and it can be difficult for us to judge. We are there while they are declining so we adjust too. I had to keep telling myself is not about my pain, but saving them from suffering that was not curable.

Didn't make it any easier.💔

I know what you mean, we can only do what we know to do at the time, and cats are particularly good at masking pain. My first girl of these two died in my lap of heart failure on the way to the vet to euthanise her, only a week or so after diagnosis, and I had the second euthanised when palliative care was only putting her through more distress.

When I lost my cat, I was fortunate to be with him and he died naturally, so I never had to make the choice to hasten his end. I grieved but it didn't knock me over. However I did find myself getting another cat far earlier than I had intended to, and I felt guilty about that, as it felt disloyal - but the house was so quiet without a pet.

I made the same mistake of getting another kitty too soon. It was years before I stopped resenting the new kitty for not being like my first pet. Now she’s 13, I love her and am dreading the day when she’ll be gone.

I hear you. I got another cat less than a week after my last died, but it was more because the other was pining for her - odd, since they were far from being bonded and the cat who passed didn’t even like her.

ETA I absolutely adore my new cat, she’s far more affectionate than my departed dear one.