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Grieving the Loss of a Pet

If you’ve ever had a pet, you probably understand how important they are in their owner’s lives and just how much love they provide us. We never think about what our lives would be like without them, and we’re never really prepared to say our last goodbye to them. I know I wasn’t.  

Last summer, Mickey – my dog of ten years – died. Just days after his 10th birthday, he passed away due to acute problems in his liver. I can still remember the last time I saw him, lying in a kennel at the hospital, his breathing unsteady. Somehow, deep inside I knew this was the last time I’d be seeing him, and as I said my farewells, I couldn’t help but cry. I’m not a very emotional person, but seeing the condition he was in, and how much he seemed to be suffering, I couldn’t help but feel miserable. There was nothing I could do to help him. As I went home that night, I laid awake; my thoughts were uncontrollable and I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about my dog. Was he still suffering? Why did this happen to him? Will he survive? It’s safe to say I couldn’t get any sleep that night.

The next morning I went to the hospital with my family and we were given the bad news. Mickey had passed away. I just remember sobbing for hours, until my eyes had dried up and no tears were coming from my eyes anymore. I felt as though no one – expect for my family – could understand what I was going through. Although he wasn’t a person, Mickey was one of the most important beings in my life, and his loss hit me extremely hard.

I remember the first week. I was in shock and it was almost as if I refused to believe what had actually happened. I felt like I was living a nightmare, and I couldn’t escape it. However, as the days passed I started to realize that I wasn’t dreaming. This was my reality.

As the weeks progressed, I started to accept the fact that he was gone, and thinking of him wasn’t as hard anymore. As I reminisced of all the happy memories we shared, the tears that once were filled with sadness were replaced with smiles. I smiled because I knew he had lived an extraordinary life. I smiled because I knew he wouldn’t want to see me crying. I smiled because I knew he was safe and sound in heaven. I smiled in his honor.

It has now been seven months since he passed away. I’m not going to lie; I still get sad sometimes as I remember him, but I’ve come to accept the fact that his time had come and he had to go away. He came in a time in my life when I really needed support, and he accompanied me through pretty much all of my childhood. I will always hold a special place for him in my heart, and I thank him for making my childhood an exceptional one.

I’m a current junior majoring in Journalism and French at Penn State. My dream is to work in publishing after college and go to law school to study corporate law. 
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