"When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us."
- Alexander Graham Bell -
If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...
The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder.
Or perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter - simply because something in its eyes reached your heart.
But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room - and when you feel it brush against you for the first time - it instills a felling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.
The second day will occur eight or nine ot ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surpising instant, you will look at you longtime friend and see age where you once say youth.
You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep when you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet - and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing uneasy feeling on and offuntil the third day finally arrives.
On this day - if your friend and whatever higher being you believe in have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own - on the behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leasves you - you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night.
If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you.
But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy - filled years, you may find that a soul - a bit smaller in size than your own - seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come.
And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against you leg -- very, very lightly.
And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lie - you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely to be painful, and leave an ache in your heart. As time passes the ache will come and go as if it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.
But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when - along with the memory of your pet - and piercing through the heaviness in your heart - there will comea realization that belongs only to you.
It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we haveloved and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love - like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow - and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go.
And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets - it is a Love we will always possess.
Lend Me A Pup
I will lend to you for awhile, a pup, God said,
For you to love him while he lives and mourn him when he's dead.
Maybe twelve or fourteen years, or maybe two or three.
But will you, 'till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you and (should his stay be brief)
you'll always have his memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return
But there are lessons taught below I want this pup to learn.
I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true,
And from the folk that crowd life's land I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love. Nor think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take my sweet Pup back again?
I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord Thy Will be Done,"
For all the joys this Pup will bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known forever grateful stay
But should you call him back much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.
If, by our love, we've managed, your wishes to achieve
In memory of him we loved, to help us while we grieve,
When our faithful bundle departs this world of strife,
We'll have yet another Pup and love him all his life.
A Dog's Prayer
A Dog Is Always By Your Side
Help in Healing the Hurt
In Memory of Pets
Memorial or Living Tribute to Honor Your Beloved Domestic Pet
My Cemetary. com (Virtual Pet Cemetary)
Pet Loss & Grieving Resources - Good links for loss and grieving
Pet Loss Support
Pet Loss Support Page
Pet Memorial Web Ring
The Alliance of Healing Hearts
The Pet Loss Grief Support Website & Candle Ceremony
The Association For Pet Loss and Bereavement
When a Pet Dies: Coping with Loss
Helpful Books about Pet Loss & Grief
When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope With Your Feelings. Jamie Quackenbush and Denise Graveline (1985)
Special Place For Charlie - A Child's Companion Through Pet Loss. Debbie Morehead, AAHA (1996)
A Final Act of Caring: Ending the Life of an Animal Friend. Mary & Herb Montgomery (1994) - A helpful booklet for those dealing with the difficult euthanasia decision.
Good-bye My Friend. Mary & Herb Montgomery (1991).
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. Judith Viorst (1975).
The above five books are available directly from the American Animal Hosptial Association. Order by calling 800-252-2242.
Links for Euthanasia, Grief, Loss
Coping With the Loss of a Pet - Grieving, mourning, explaining pet loss to your child, etc.
Euthanasia...What To Expect
Facing Pet Euthanasia
Of Course You Can Cry
Virtual Pet Cemetery - Memorials & Tributes
Lost & Stolen Pets (Pet Theft Awareness Day - Feb.14)
Finding Lost and Stolen Pets - Dedicated to Dulcie, Lisa's lost Dalmatian. Lots of good information check it out.
Petfinders - The largest nonprofit lost and found service in the United States and Canada
Sherlock Bones - Tracer of Missing Pets