Losing Your Furry Friend

When I left for college seven months ago, I knew one the individuals I would miss the most would be my beautiful dog, Panchita. I had plans to reunite with her every month or so when I would come home to visit from college. Perhaps even take her to Picnic Day.

However, life had other plans known as a tumor and cancer, and my precious companion quickly fell ill. When I first got a call from my father telling me she was ill, I figured it was a simple small bug that would go away within a few days. I smiled thoughtfully, as I knew I would be visiting home the following weekend.

Unfortunately, a small bug had caused major issues for my furry friend. I will spare the details, but on April 27th I went home for the weekend. I had received a call from my mother two days before, telling me that Panchita was weak and that it was going to be time.

A million thoughts went through my head. Will I make it in time? Will I have to ask the vet to do what I never thought I would have to do? Why did I leave her alone?

I arrived home Friday night and was devastated at the sight of my precious little friend. Although my heart yearned for more time, I knew that time would be up the next day at the veterinary office.

I sat with her for two hours simply talking to her, letting her know that I was home and that I was there for her. We went down memory lane during those hours, though she simply rested during this time. After a few hours, I moved her to our other living room, where I proceeded to sleep next to her for the night.

Then around 4:30 AM on the 28th, my baby girl passed with me by her side and my parent arriving shortly after.

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I share this personal story with you because I want you all to know that if anything similar happens to you during college, it's okay to cry, mourn, and grieve. Here's what I've learned:

Pets Are Loyal Friends

Even to her last breath, my little girl waited for me to come home from college to say goodbye one last time. I can’t assure you that this is the case for every situation, but know that your pet loves you so much, they will wait until they see you again before saying goodbye.

It’s Okay to Grieve and Ask for Help

After getting the call from my mother, I was heartbroken, but I moved quickly because I knew my little Panchita needed me. I quickly asked for help from my fellow coworkers to cover my work shifts and was honest. Within minutes, I got help and was given support by them, both work and emotional support. If you need to move mountains to be with your friend, don’t be afraid to try -- people are understanding and kind.

Let It Out

Cry. Just cry. Let it go. Even as I write this article, I have a Kleenex box next to me, because no dog is just a dog. They are family. It had been years since I had seen my father cry, but this event caused us all to collectively cry as a family because Panchita wasn’t just a dog, she was family. So yes, its okay to let it out and cry because you not only lost a pet but a family member. People will understand. If you need to join a support group, that is also an option.

Don’t Feel Guilty

I’ll be honest and tell you I still get waves of guilt since it happened because I regret not being there for her final few days. Whether you made it in time or not, remember, in the eyes of your pet, you are their hero and they will never hate you.

Image source: Bark Post

Time is Precious

If you are sitting on the couch watching Netflix at home, invite your furry friend(s) to sit with you. Rub their belly. Take them on walks, even if it is just to the mailbox. They want nothing more than to spend time with you so when visiting home, try setting time aside for them. Personally, I let my little girl go upstairs and sleep in my bed with me when I visited, even if she ended up taking up half of my bed.  

The Decision

Although it didn’t come down to the decision happening in my case, know that, although painful, letting your pet go is necessary sometimes. My little girl was in pain and I couldn’t and wouldn’t let her go on any longer had she not gone naturally that morning. Sometimes, it’s the best option for them if nothing more can be done.

They Will Always Be in Your Heart

Letting go of your pet is perhaps one of the most emotionally painful things you will experience in life, but they will always be there. In your heart. All the memories, the laughs, the car rides, and the kisses, they will always be in your memory.

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