Losing a Pet: A Greater Loss Than Expected


Grace Barattini, Assistant Features Editor

Losing a pet is devastating and emotionally draining. Society has yet to recognize the great deal of pain that losing a pet brings. Grief can follow any kind of death, and there is no exception when it comes to animals. 

  After rescuing my 2-year-old female coonhound, Nancy Drew, when I was 9-years-old, I was thrilled to finally have my first pet. My family was full of joy when our adoption papers were processed and accepted. 

  After months of training, our family was finally accustomed to having a dog and each of us loved the responsibility of taking care of her.  Having a dog requires work, attention and patience. We welcomed that large responsibility with open arms. 

  Responsibilities vary from taking them outside every morning and night, feeding them, playing with them and making sure they get enough sleep. Additionally, it is important that they are comfortable, happy and healthy. 

  We quickly noticed our dog was not just a pet but another member of the family. It is common for families to bond with their pets through sharing time together and emotions.  Dogs eventually become a support system or a shoulder to cry on. 

  As with humans, the older we get the more health issues we have the possibility to encounter. The same goes for dogs as well. 

  For my family we were given the devastating news that our pup had lymphoma and only had about one month left in the world with us. 

  From there, we made a decision that because of the short amount of time the veterinarian projected for her to live and her being 12-years-old, we would not seek treatment, but instead let her pass naturally. 

  Anticipating this pass, my family and I shifted our mindset. We knew after human losses that time is precious and you cannot get time back. 

  We made decisions to bring our dog just about everywhere we went, limit our traveling and make sure she was pain free at all times. It was important to us that we continued to carry out the responsibilities of taking care of a dog. 

  Though she stopped eating and was unable to make it up and down the stairs to go outside we always gave her the option. As a family, we thought it was important to humanize the dying situation as much as we could. 

  We do not know if animals know they are slowly deteriorating or not, therefore, we continued our daily routine without emphasis on her rapid decline. 

  Unfortunately, our loveable pup was suffering too much and was in constant pain. Because of this we had to resort to euthanasia.  Even though euthanizing can be controversial, we thought it was the best decision and, according to the vet, it was the proper thing to do. 

  After Nancy Drew passed, our family experienced large amounts of grief. I was not expecting to be grieving as much as I did. After losing a pet you realize how much they were apart of your life.

  The little things like not hearing a bark when I come home from class or hearing her collar and tags make noise while she played created a noticeable void in my daily routine and life. 

After dealing with that void for a while, we began to discuss rescuing another pup. 

We now welcome our new dog, Malcomb, who is 14 months old. He is a black lab mix with lots of energy, who loves to give kisses and play fetch. 

We are enjoying the new addition to our family but will continue to grieve Nancy Drew. We love the dogs we have adopted and have given them a warm and welcoming forever home.