Forever Friend: Healing from the Loss of a Pet

Xtra_iStock_000044891736_LargeFor several of us, whose pets are akin to best friends, daily companions, and important members of the family, the loss of a pet can bring tremendous pain. The empty spot at the foot of the bed or the leash still hanging by the door can be reminders of heartbreak.

It is understandable, as with the loss of any significant relationship, that you may grieve for months. The road to healing requires time and gradual acceptance. Thinking about your pet and the positive memories may provide some comfort.

Thankfully, there are many resources to help you through this loss. You are among many who have faced what you are now facing. Continue…

The Best Place To Bury a Dog

This essay is a favorite. We hope you appreciate it as much as we do.  

There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost — if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call — come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.

by Ben Hur Lampman

Davenport, Iowa Veterinary Clinic Lists 10 Reasons People Take Pets to the Humane Society.

 

According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” 

That is a really sad statistic.  We work closely with many of our local shelters at Animal Family and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see.  These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.

The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:

  1. The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
  2. The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
  3. The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
  4. The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
  5. The animal is too expensive to care for.
  6. The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
  7. The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
  8. The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
  9. The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
  10. The pet has become pregnant

Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above?   How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet.  For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.

So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health.  How busy are you?  Can you even afford a pet at this time?  Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care.  Don’t pick your pet based on looks.  Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.

Next week, we will go over what you need to think about before you add a new pet to your family.

Animal Family’s 10 Good reasons to Adopt From A Shelter

  1. You know what you are getting. Unlike a puppy, if you adopt an adult animal, he/she will already have a fully developed personality.  In addition, most shelters temperament test their animals before putting them up for adoption so there is little chance of bringing home an unstable animal.
  2. Some animals receive extra training and socialization. How great is it to get a pet that is already house trained!  Even better, if you adopt through an agency that utilizes foster care, your pet may have received some basic obedience training as well.  Shelters will generally be willing to help you should problems develop post adoption.
  3. Your new companion wants and appreciates the chance to bond with you. Ending up in a shelter is a scary process.  Pets may arrive there due to the death of a previous owner, financial difficulties, or simply because they got lost.  These are usually great animals who just need a second chance and will be forever grateful to their new owner.
  4. Shelters are a better option than a puppy mill. You have no idea about the breeding, or socialization of animals that come from a puppy mill. You may pay a large amount of money for a pet that has spent its entire life in a small kennel with little human contact.  When profit is the main motivator, you can be sure that little attention is paid to preventing inherited disorders either.
  5. You are saving lives. When you adopt a pet from a shelter you are not only saving the pet you bring home but making room for another animal in that facility or foster program as well.  It feels pretty good to save one life but it’s even better when it’s two.
  6. You are helping your community. When you adopt from your local humane society the fees you pay help to fund all of their programs. Most shelters also provide community education, patrol for strays and lost pets and ensure animals they adopt out are spayed or neutered.
  7. You will have help finding the right animal for your family. Shelters want their placements to work and they will work hard to help you find the right animal for your home environment.  Unlike buying from a pet store, you get to know ahead of time if your dog or cat prefers children or other pets.
  8. Yes, you can find a purebred animal. A surprising number of purebred dogs and cats can be found at your local humane society.  Being a purebred does not make them immune from circumstances that can land them in a shelter.
  9. Shelters also have puppies and kittens. If you really love having a baby in the house, shelters usually have young animals up for adoption too. They can also be a great place to find your next rabbit, guinea pig or ferret.

10. Your pet may already be spayed or neutered. Because all shelters are concerned about pet overpopulation, your pet will most likely already be altered. If you adopt an animal that is too young most provide vouchers for later spaying and neutering.  That’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Humane Society of Scott County