The Heartache of Losing a Pet - A Tribute to Liza the Dog

Losing a pet can be a devastating experience. Many of us share an intense bond with our pets and consider them not only “just pets,” but loved ones. It may be difficult for some people to understand your heartache because they don’t know the depth of the emotions you felt for your pet, but this shouldn’t cast guilt on your feelings of grief. Feeling sad, shocked, and lonely are normal responses to death. Just because your pet wasn’t human doesn’t mean they didn't play an important role in your life. Anyone who meant a lot to you is deserving of your emotional response and it helps to express this during your time of mourning.

When I lost my dog Liza a few months ago, it was a loss that not only was unexpected, but also extremely painful. She was a symbol of light in my family’s life because she displayed endless love and affection. Liza exuded positivity and never failed to make me feel better. I could go on forever about the impact she made on my mental health, as well as the way she brought my family closer together through our mutual obsession with her. As a tribute to my Liza girl, here are some things her beautiful existence has taught me:

  1. 1. Cherish the ones who are close to you

    I had always kept in mind that dog lives are short, and because Liza was getting older (11 years old), I wanted to make sure I appreciated her as much as I could. I gave her lots of attention, we went on plenty of hikes, and she even came to live with me in Isla Vista this past summer. I’m so happy I appreciated her the way I did because it left me with minimal regrets when I went through the phase of thinking about “things I should have done,” after she passed away. The way I always expressed my gratitude of her is a reminder that it’s important do the same with all people close to me.

  2. 2. Even the end of life is a celebration

    Although the news of Liza’s passing was shocking and sad, I equally felt intense emotions of gratitude for the opportunity of simply having been a part of her life. I look back on how lucky she was to have lived her best life, because that’s all any of us can really ask for. Even though I imagined her having more time, I think she lived a solid lifetime of happy doggy memories. Liza has taught me that that even the end of life should be celebrated and seen in a positive light. 

  3. 3. Appreciate the little things

    We all know that dogs are simple creatures. Their life pleasures include receiving attention, exploring and playing, and eating food. The joy they get from the smallest things really makes you realize that enjoyable things don’t have to be complex or cost anything. Liza uplifted my understanding that some good times only require good company.

Thank you to Liza for bringing so much happiness to me and my family! Her absence is hard, but it feels good knowing that her presence was a blessing we’ll always remember.