Since Cat died 20th March 2011 I have invited people to join me the Sunday following the anniversary in remembering our pets. It began the week after Cat died and brought me tremendous comfort. I was overwhelmed by people who emailed me telling me stories of their pets, how much they had loved them, how much they missed them, how much they appreciated those animals’ contribution to their lives.
Often when a pet dies it’s hard to talk about it. Colleagues can be unsympathetic; it’s only a cat/dog/guinea pig is a fairly common response. Yet it is normal and right to grieve, and wrong if we have to hide our grief, be made to feel ashamed, made to feel weak or foolish.
I am lucky that during my life I have had both cats and dogs who have enriched my life. I’d go further than that. My cats gave me an emotional support they did not know they were offering during Mother’s dementia, physical decline and eventual death. I know that’s not an uncommon thing for people to say. Freddy (Cat) spent a lot of time at Mother’s. Hers was his home in the country. She loved the way he would walk up the garden path and in through the catflap when I let him out of the car when we arrived. As dementia claimed more and more of her, she still took pleasure watching him; he made her smile, and when she was seriously ill she would wake to find him sleeping on her bed beside her and stroke his fur.
MasterB spent less time with her, but he was with me on the boat during the last days of her life when I would return from sitting by her bedside while she slowly let go of her life.
So tonight remember the pets we have had, and cherish the ones we have now. They give so much and ask for so little.
Isobel, thank you for this remembrance. Six years ago and I still well up. It’s a comfort to be with you like this.
It’s a strange mixture of pleasure and pain. Pleasure in the remembering, pain in the hurt of the loss. I should never have believed I should have loved Freddy so much when he first marched into my life.
Am sitting on the bus enjoying memories of three dogs and many cats and kittens, starting with Sooty when I was a small child. Thank you for prompting these. Don’t now have any of my own, but much enjoy those of neighbours, friends and family. Fun without the responsibility!
There are moments when MasterB wakes me at five looking for his breakfast when a life without pets seems attractive, but on the whole, I am happy to put up with any inconvenience. It is far outweighed by the pleasure.
I’ve never lost a pet because this is the first one I’ve had. I cherish him every minute of the day. Thank you for sharing that and reminding us to appreciate.
To have a pet as an adult is an amazing experience. When I was a child I just accepted as normal that people had pets. When Freddy arrived in my life I was struck by how wonderful it is that an animal, a member of another species, lives with us, relates to us, shows love for us and pleasure in our company. It seems to me miraculous.
I now wish I had one all my life. I truly feel I missed out on alot
It’s nearly a year since I lost Dido and Daisy, they were such precious beings and it’s only recently that I’ve ben able to think about then without many tears.
A year is no time is it? I am sure you will miss them for ever, but still love the dogs you have now. It makes me feel guilty sometimes how much I still miss Cat, but hand in heart I can say that I love MasterB every bit as much.
Thank you. I can tell how much you love him Isobel and he is a real delight, I’m glad I have virtual visiting rights 🙂
My cat Sven just died this March 20th. I’m so sad 😦 I’m so sorry you lost yours too.
I am so sorry to hear that Milly. You must be very sad and bereft at the moment. This is a link to the best piece of writing I have ever read about the joys and sorrows of loving a pet and how awful it is when that pet dies. It does get easier, but that is probably little consolation at the moment. http://lorely-writingfromtheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/four-legs-and-tail-forever.html
I love this post! I just wrote about losing my Armani this past January and it was very cathartic. He was 14. I’m always telling people how unique each pet I have is with their individuality and quirks. They are and have always been more than just animals to me. You can tell they have feelings and emotions and they certainly do enrich our lives.
Like you, I wrote several posts about Cat on my blog when he died (and a lot when he was alive too!). It was helpful. It’s good to remember the happy times while we are sad, it gives a little balance. This is the first one I wrote about how he came to live with me. https://isobelandcat.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/in-the-beginning/
I wish my cats will live for ever!!!
I used to tell he Cat he had to live to be thirty, but he was just seventeen when he died. But it was a quick death, no long drawn illness or suffering, so I should be glad for him. He died in my arms, so my heartbeat will have been one of the last things he heard.
That’s sound really a love story. Glad that was quick and with no more suffering. At least you were together in that special moment and able to say goodbye
Every time a pet dies, it will be sad. But aren’t you afraid to keep a pet?
If we only ever did things that protected us we have very dull lives.
Charly was my first dog, and after his pet cremation in chantilly, I admit, I didn’t realize how badly it was going to hurt to lose her. I was inconsolable. I cried myself to sleep for many nights. Losing her was the greatest loss I ever experienced and one thing that helped was when others acknowledged that. I think this is truly the most important thing anyone (and everyone) can do. Please refer to this link: https://thepetlosscenter.com/our-locations/chantilly/