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Music For Your Enjoyment

Bessie Paige

Whether it’s a family member, friend or a pet, we all deal with the loss of someone close to us at some point in time.

A week ago today I lost my little girl Bessie. She was my daughter with 4 legs and a tail.  I knew the time was near since she had cancer and had been fighting it for a long time.  Even though I tried to prepare myself, when the time came, I felt like I was completely unprepared.   I have to confess, I have had ferrets for over 20 years.  They are prone to certain cancers and illnesses, so I am always aware that they will not live very long when I get one.  I can’t help it, they are like potato chips, you can’t love just one.

I spent the last night tossing and turning, knowing it was my last night with her. I kept hugging her as much as I could until she gave me a look that said, “Leave me alone, I’m trying to sleep!”

The next morning I took her to the veterinarian for her final visit. When we came home I was consumed with making sure her resting spot, next to her soul mate Herb, was just perfect.   For that period of time, my life seemed normal.  As soon as I came in the house my world fell apart.

Herb & Bessie

I realized that I had lost two of the closest loves of my life over the past 18 months.  For two days after the burial I don’t remember any of the phone conversations I had.  I also didn’t realize all of the emails and posts I had responded to.  It was like someone invaded my body and took over for 48 hours.

With the help of friends I got out of the house and kept busy this weekend.  I even helped the local Greyhound rescue.  It helped, until I come home and went into my bedroom.  That’s where my kids lived with me.  I have not been able to clean, or move, any of the things Bessie used.  I am not sure how long that process takes. When Herb died, Bessie was here to console me and I did the same for her.  We made a great team.  Now I don’t have a team.

I will be ferret sitting for 2 ferrets later this week while their owners are on vacation.  I have also decided to do more sitting for other ferret owners and dog owners. Right now I’d feel guilty if I were to get another animal.  My heart is raw.

One friend sent this question to me, and it helped put things in perspective:  “Honey, if you had the choice of giving up the short time you had with this precious one for the way you feel right now, would you?” Of course my answer was NO, but I miss my kids!!!

I would like to know how other people deal with the loss of their pet?  I am sure everyone deals with the loss in many different ways.

Bessie loved to drag slippers all over the house, especially ones twice her size.

Bessie was also a big Cheerleader.  She could never decide between LSU Tigers and Florida Gators.

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49 Responses to “How Do You Cope With the Loss of a Loved One?”

  • GINA NOLES says:


  • Kimberly says:

    I have so many clients that have losed their beloved pet I always make sure that the love and support is so important so many people always ask kimberly do youthink I am making the right decision that is what seems to be the hardest part of letting their pet go because we make the decision. I tell people that their pets have a way communicating and in our heart you know it is time for them to go to a better place for they will always forever be with you!

  • Bella says:

    I lost my beloved Bella 6 years ago to a MRSA infection I am now president of a charity saving hundreds of animals lives, a legacy she has left behind> I can not get another companion as her death was so traumatic and I amlocked into my grief by helping pet carers in distress, it is very hard to cope with, but every day I hel an animal it helps me to cope better

  • Rena says:

    Our pets are members of our family. It’s wrenching to have them leave us. My mom went through a real ordeal a couple of years ago with the loss of her beloved rottie. Her dog has osteosarcoma, and needed a limb removed and chemotherapy. With everything that she did, there was no way to save her best friend, who she considered her soul mate. We were there to help her through her pain. She also found it very useful to write about it ( ).

    The biggest problem with grieving for a pet is that non-pet people just don’t understand. There are so many people that think that they are just animals and we should get over it. It’s unfortunate that they don’t have a chance to feel the love that we get from our pets.

  • Judy says:

    None of us are immune are we? We grieve in our own private ways and when the grieving is over, we hold on to our photographs, our memories and the precious moments our animal ‘kids’ gave us. When I think about those times I cried and my little one came to kiss away my tears, she was always knowing I would be there for her as she was for me. Letting go of my little girl at 18 and three days was the hardest, the most heart wrenching severence in my life. It is four years and still, not a day goes by when she’s not with me in my thoughts. Her photographs are on my desk and never, ever will she not be there when we meet again. Sante to Holly J. Darling I’ll meet you on the other side some day.

  • Jobi says:

    I just posted a review of the book, “Bill at Rainbow Bridge,” by Dan Carrison. It is written for all of us coping with the loss of a pet – and that doesn’t mean just recently. I was often sobbing when reading the book – that’s OK. The lesson for me was our pets never go too far away even when we haven’t seen them for years. The emotions are still right there! That kind of takes away the fear that we will forget them. Anyway, please feel free to read the review at . It is truly a wonderful book.

  • Maureen says:

    Alfreda, thanks for sharing your story. And I truly believe that Meeka (Boo Boo Kitty) is watching over you with love. Her beautiful energy will ALWAYS be alive!

  • Alfreda says:

    When I was younger we would hold a little ceremony and bury them in our yard. As an adult I have only lived in apartments thus far and have been fortunate to not have any personal loss. Working in the field of veterinary medicine for 10 years I have seen various ways of coping with a loss and it ranges from walking away to people paying large tributes in the forms of statues and placed in mausoleums. I think if it helps you deal with the loss and it really does help, then do it. I am still grieving over my sisters cat because I feel guilt for not doing more because my sisters family was not mentally equipt or dedicated to monitor the healing of her broken pelvis. I was there when the surgery didnt go well and we decided to euthanize on the table. I should have and could have done more but I was listening to my mother and husband saying that the cat was not my resposibility and what happened to her was the fault of my sister (the adult) who owner her and not me. However, I feel if I would have called and checked on her more often that she still may be here. Only God knows and I hope in time my guilt and all of its side effects will go away! In her memory… Meeko (Boo Boo Kitty) was a great little kitty and is surely missed!

  • Veronica says:

    Each and every time I have lost an animal companion- Several over the years due to many different ailments and diseases- even feral cats and one parlayzed doggie I loved in a short time…They only know to live for today so I do my best to make their last day on earth as pleasant as possible whether its giving them what they like to eat lots of lovin,,whatever….After they sigh their last breath at the vet with the final injection, I know that is a sign for me to help another so many that have no love no home.. .I adopt or find another outside maybe to love and care for and usually I am drawn to the special needs or older animals who are often overlooked. I think we all do our best in each situation and cope in our own ways. There are so many support groups for people who need to talk it out and that helps..not everyone grieves in the same way I guess..:)

  • Gaby says:

    I give myself the time to greive and experience the loss.

  • Mary says:

    There have been many personal pets and also the rescues we take in, and it never gets easier to lose any of them. That is why it is so important that we cherish each day. One of the hardest thought was my sweet Tavi… she was with me for over 15 years and it was a strong bond between us. All of what I have read above is touching and so true. They never really leave us and their presence and love are always felt… but it still hurts that she is not around anymore.

  • Maureen says:

    Nadine, thank you for sharing your story about Tabitha. Just even knowing that others feel that same depth of love for their animal companions as I do touches me to the depths of my heart… We share something so profound with each other as well as with them. What a beautiful energy to circulate. (And yes, the smiles they bring are unequaled!)

  • Nadine says:

    If my companion animals have died at a ripe old age, I usually grieve in a healthy way. I’m able to consider their perspective: that they had a happy, comfortable, safe life with me, and that I couldn’t have made it better. This makes me smile and gives me comfort.
    Then I can think about me. I know I’m sad and hurt and will miss them beyond belief. I know I’m being selfish. It really helps to think about why they were special, how they made me smile or laugh, how they annoyed or frustrated me, funny situations that occurred. This can make me smile, laugh and cry. I try to experience each of these emotions to the extreme. I really take the time for this, it really seems to help me grieve, I believe it’s healthy.

    About 4 years ago my magnificent feline companion, Tabitha, died (euthanased) at the age of 17.5 years after breast cancer. I always knew she’d be a tough one to cope with, but it was even harder than I thought. I got her as a 7 week old kitten about 3 months after moving out of home. Taz & I grew up together. She was the one constant, there to hear all my problems, in that most difficult time when you leave the family home and REALLY learn to be a grown up and stand on your own two feet. I will never share such a relationship with a living creature again because I will never “grow up” again. When she died it was like the foundation had been pulled out from under me. I did not grieve well. I chose to go out a lot and not be home to notice her absence. I refused to deal with it, to process it. I did not understand my response or how to fix it. There were times over the next year when I just fell apart, overcome with grief, pain, sadness, guilt (did I hang onto her too long?). In these times I was able to go through the grief process a little better. It was during or after these times – I can’t really remember – that I came to realise that it had a lot to do with the timing of when we were together – the growing up together. This allowed me to understand my response a little better. I still feel more pain for her than any other furry friend.
    I can barely see the keyboard or screen for the tears that are streaming down my face as I write this.

    I currently share my life and home with 2 dogs & 3 cats. I was recently so conscious of how incredibly happy my home is – everyone gets along so well. They all make me smile or life every day. Such characters. I love that they live in the moment and they don’t judge me.

  • Kathleen says:

    Its ALWAYS good to hear someone else feels the same way that you do about their pet. I lost my dog in January and i still wake up in the middle of the night thinking she’s in my bed with me snuggling. I have dreams that she’s still here with me, and wake up confused. I still cry from time to time. The thing is i don’t think any of those things will ever go away. You have to take the negative and turn it into a positive energy. There are those who don’t understand the pain and there are those, like i said, who feel just like u and understand that a pet is not just a pet…they are a member of the family. On a nice day take some time spend it outside and just think about how great life is and great it is to be living and how big of a heart u have to have loved an animal so much that makes you an amazing person. Shed a tear every once in a while I don’t think there is anything wrong with that and just keep them in your heart forever.

  • Pat says:

    I was very touched by your recent loss of your ferret – I have been there more time thatn I would like to count and it is never easy.

    I lost a two year old Shepherd ( he died in the bed right next to me ) I had an autopsy done and the results were inconclusive. I was so distraught that I could not go to work for three days. On the fourth day I returned to work but was crying so hard on the way home that I actually had an accident with the company car. Try explaining that one to your boss.

    Our animals are our soul mates. Every time I look into the eyes of one of my dogs I know there beats a heart of unconditional love.

    I will be going through another loss in the near future. My 13 year old Shphed was just diagnosed with cancer. We had his tumors removed but the vet said it was a very agressive type of cancer and the cells could already have spread. As of now xrays show his lungs and internal organs clear so we can only hope that perhaps we caught it in time.

    The loss of my 2 year old was totally unexpected and although I have forewarning on my 13 year old we can never truly be prepared.

    I had another 13 year old that developed DM and we knew that we had to let him go. Made and cancelled 3 appointment before I could go through with it.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • Sue says:

    Losing a pet, which is often your only or best friend, is one of the toughest things you can go through because other kinds of grief attract sympathy and support. With a pet, you are expected to get over it very quickly and some people think you should go out and buy a replacement as soon as you can. You just can’t replace a dog or cat who has been your best friend for years and nobody would suggest you replace a human companion so quickly either.

    I am a Pet Coach here in the UK and one of the things I offer is support at this difficult time. The pain of loss can be overwhelming. Like most other pet lovers, I have experienced that loss myself – my cat Tiggy and my dog Bear were friends in life and they are both buried in our garden, and although we recently rehomed Hannah and we have another cat, Poppy, they are not replacements for Tiggy and Bear. You must move on with your life. So many people who have lost pets cannot – and that is where coaching comes in.

  • Len says:

    At age 61 I have lived with many generations of very loved dogs as well as tropical fish, a pet skunk, two roosters and a number of budgies. It seems so unfair that in our lifespan we experience the loss of these family members and it never is easy.

    When our Coon Hound, Molly Joe, died almost 5 years ago, from cancer, it was particularly painful because she was only 9 years of age. She developed rapidly advancing Mast cell tumors that enveloped her body. We tried surgery and chemo but didn’t even buy her 6 months of life.

    We decided as a family to say goodbye to her with the vet assisting in her passing. We brought her bed mat, and some of her toys with us and we sat on the floor with her until she fell asleep. We kept her ashes and her pictures are to be found on our walls and in book cases in the house along with pictures and memories of our other lost and very loved pets.

    I work with a company that has created in memory website for lost loved ones and now am thinking this may be a wonderful way for family members to share memories of a lost pet. I hadn’t thought about this until I read your comment.

  • Judy says:

    My story could be a book but to generalize, if I didn’t have the understanding of life that I do, I could not have handled the sudden death in a car accident of my beautiful son, Matt, at age 20. I have compassion for any parent who loses a child violently and suddenly but especially for those who think God is punishing them or keep asking Why and grieve relentlessly until they lose their will to live. I understand karma, reincarnation, I knew this I would have a very special son and lose him early from the time I was a teenager. I understand.

  • Steve says:

    Donna –
    Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your beloved Bessie. All of us in the animal world can empathize with what you’re feeling. I have found that the hardest part of life is losing one of our four-legged kids. There is such a bond that is drawn between us it is unbreakable even when one of us departs earth. Some day she will be there to meet you again healthy and happy when you cross the Rainbow Bridge.

    Take a moment to remember the good times you shared with Bessie and it will bring a smile to your face.

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss . . . Steve

  • Kat Ewing says:

    It has just been a few weeks since I held Jazz in my arms and watched as he slipped into his final sleep.

    I had known the time was near for about six months & I’m not sure if that made it easier, or more difficult! We love all of our animals, but Jazz was my special boy, and the best dog I’ve ever had. He came to me at the Apt. Community I was managing. He was just too large to live there. His owner had knowledge of how we spoil all of our pets and begged me to take him. After a time, I said I would if he got along with all of our furry family. That first night, he made our home his. It was as if he had always lived with us.

    I can only remember Jazz doing one thing wrong in the twelve years we had him. He escaped and went to the neighbors and apparently swallowed some undies. The reason I know this, is because they came up 10 minutes after he was home. Needless to say, they were not my daughter’s or mine!

    We (my Husband, Daughter, and I) know how precious our animals are. Their unconditional love is just amazing. I spoil all of our pets because of this.

    During the last six months I had with Jazz, we had many heart to heart conversations. I know he understood everything I was saying to him because he would answer me with his eyes, and the special little growl that sounds like talking. HE WAS TALKING! Towards the end, I spent many nights next to his bed. The night before, he looked at me with pleading eyes. The next day, the same way. I knew I had to let him go.

    The tears are streaming down my face as I write. I have to keep remembering that he knew how much I love him. He had a wonderful life with us, and his brothers. The fact is, I don’t believe anyone could have given him more love or happiness than our family.

    Jazz is under a beautiful live oak alongside his brother Moe, in our pasture. We visit them frequently and will do so as long as possible.

    Every day is hard and have to remember what I said above. I believe in spoiling my pets with so much love! Why else would you get one? That’s what mine are for…TO LOVE

  • Lisa says:

    I have had a lot of loss in the last few yrs (5 to be exact) as my dogs have aged or some sort of disorder has come about that would not allow a quality of life. I have to say it does not get any easier it just becomes a known fact that it will happen. Although I do say that Baby, my oldest now (13 yrs old), will live forever. But I do know better.
    As for how I coped with each and everyone of those that left…it is different every time. I do have their ashes and to some people that is weird. But I will spread their ashes when I have my own forever home, which is 20 acres in the mountains. I cry, I get mad, I then realize that they are now free from age or disease related issues and will be knocking me over when my time comes to meet with them again. I still talk to them periodically and have their pics on fridge. It gets to the point where you begin to remember how much fun you had with them when they were younger and all the different phases of their life and it brings a smile instead of a tear. As I say this I remember my Charlie who was in a wheelchair still chasing after the squirrels 🙂
    It definitely takes time but you do heal. I know, for me, I will never be without a 4 legged companion.

  • Maureen says:

    Thanks, Donna, for introducing this heart-filled topic… My pets are my kids… I have lost a number of dear ones and I also usually do what Janet mentioned i.e. rescue another one very soon thereafter – because while you will never ‘replace’ them, there is always another sweet buddy looking for a forever home. I currently have 4 cats and 2 dogs and my life is filled with love and laughter because of them (and the ‘occasional’ sleepless nite… WHO needs out now??!):)

    But it’s all well worth it. Oh, here is a poem I wrote after the loss of one of mine that I have shared with friends going through the same. Please pass it on if it helps anyone else deal with their grief.

    they are angels sent to walk the path of our lives…
    so that we may know unconditional love
    in its truest sense.

    when they leave this realm
    the love remains…
    and we are still joined by
    sunbeams and moonlight
    raindrops and snowflakes
    butterflies and whispers.

    together always.

    – Maureen

  • Loretta says:

    I’m preparing – or at least trying to prepare myself – for an upcoming loss (first dog).

  • Glenn says:

    We are fortunate enough to have had them as part of our lives. It doesn’t fill the void but allows us to reflect on how lucky we are and have been!

  • Jesse Helmick says:

    It really is difficult to say good-bye to a family member. Over the years, I have had to let 4 go. Most recently, last year, we had to euthanize Beau-Bear, a 13-year-old rescue Golden. We had him about a year but it was a year full of a lot of love. Goldens have a way of stealing your heart and playfully refusing to give it back.

    No matter whether your pet is furry, scally, or any combination, they become a member of the family. It does not matter, it is still difficult to lose a family member.

  • Farrukh Saleem says:

    Who bears the loss he nows the worth of that. It really very difficult to copr with this loss. When you love your pet then definitly you can’t leave your love alone.

  • Venugopal Nair says:

    On Saturday, at 6.30 a.m. a flight from Dubai, overshot the runway at the Mangalore airport, and 158 people on board died instantly. 8 survived the crash. Think of those who lost their dear and near ones. Think those little ones who lost their parents. The feeling is the same if you have lost your pets. Whoever you love intensely, and if lost the pain is unbearable. Human being is given a gift by the god that they can forget about this grief after sometime.

  • Jackie says:

    Donna, so sorry for your lose.
    In January we lost the insperation for Fido’s City Guide, our 8 year old Yorkie Amanda, to a brain tumor. I wrote a memorial for her on our site,

    I thought I had moved on, we recently started a forum on the site for the Canine Cancer Foundation, and I had to right the first post telling about her. I cried when I wrote it.

    We have a new “Fido” her name is Delilah and she is a little love, but I don’t know if I will ever completely get over the lose of Amanda.

  • Ann says:

    It’s been almost two years since I lost my choc lab/pit mix. I had a special bond with this girl for some reason. She was always “moms” dog. There are some days I still tear up when I think about her. We lost her kind of suddenly and I always second guess my decision to have her put down.
    I have her ashes on my bureau and one of my favorite pictures on my desk where I can look up and talk to her like I used to do.
    I still miss her everyday.

  • Diana says:

    After losing my first dog, a boxer, I have made it my mission to enjoy and spoil my subsequent dogs to the fullest. We are rarely apart.
    Part of the acceptance of the loss is realizing that most dogs have a limited life span and if you can accept that and make every moment count while they are alive, you can accept the loss a little easier. It’s never totally easy as it is as great a loss as losing a member of the family. After losing my boxer Duke, I allowed myself to grieve and reminisce of all the great fun and close times we shared. After about two months, I really missed our routine of walks, catch, baths and road trips I was ready to make room for another boxer. Welcoming home a new baby boxer was a renewal for my soul. I could still feel the Duke’s presence as if he was watching over me and my new baby. Each pet is different and brings its own personality, antics and over abundance of love. I will never forget my other ‘kids’ as each is unique. Creating a new bond helps to honor the ones we loose.

  • Jennifer says:

    I highly recommend Sid Korpi’s book “Good Grief: finding Peace After Pet Loss”. It helps you prepare for the loss of a pet and cope before and after your pet’s passing.

  • Paul says:

    I’ve lost both my parents – lost my beloved Sheltie after 14 years. The most important thing in dealing with grief is to allow yourself to feel what you feel. Men have a hard time with this. On a spiritual level – if there was a very tough or ugly time at the passing – ask for that memory to be pushed aside – seek to remember the wonderful spirit and the great times.

  • Phoebe says:

    Donna, I am so sorry for your loss. I know all too well the pain of losing one’s baby, and no matter how old they are, our pets are our babies.
    My previous dachshund, Heinrich, lived about a year and a half more than expected for his diagnosis thanks to the skilled and compassionate care given him by my wonderful veterinarian. During Heinrich’s illness, I created a scrapbook of photos and other memoribilia. It was very therapeutic, and became especially so following his death. Since I work for an international organization, there were people all over the world who had met Heinrich and had been cheering him on during his courageous fight for life. He was a happy dog right up until my dear veterinarian friend gave him the final injection, and he took his last breath in my arms. Needless to say, I received many emails and cards after I sent out my sad announcement. I put these in the scrapbook as well, and could remember so many happy moments in his life as I did. I actually ended up adopting a dachshund puppy three days later, totally unplanned but this puppy had several health issues that needed attention,and I knew it was meant to be that we crossed paths. Though some people thought it was terrible to adopt so soon after losing Heinrich, my vet told me I wasn’t replacing him, just finding another place for all that love in my heart to go. I still honor Heinrich by making donations to organizations like the Morris Animal Foundation in his memory, and have also made provisions in my will for a scholarship in his name at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Cornell is my veterinarian’s alma mater). Since Heinrich was blind, I have also adopted one blind dachshund and another who is partially blind and has cancer, from Coast To Coast Dachshund Rescue. When I look at them, or do something to help other animals, I am reminded of the love that Heinrich and I shared, and I feel as though his spirit is still with me, and always will be.

  • Janet says:

    How do I cope? Not very well really. I still get teary when I hear certain songs (I use to sing “you are my sunshine” to my bunny Stash – in fact I sang it to him as they were administering the euthanasia to him and I can’t hear “Tupelo Honey” without thinking of his mate Tups). Anyways, I try to find a way to honor them – Tup’s is buried with her “binkies” and my cat Stormy will be buried this weekend with a medal I had engraved “beloved Stormy”. I also immediately rescue another animal and shower them with love since I firmly believe that one door does not close without another one opening.

    • Janet says:

      It actually goes to show how badly I handle the loss. Stormy has been “on ice” for 18 months. I was hoping to be able to have her cremated but my husband has been out of work and it just is not in the budget. So…..she will be buried this weekend underneath the window she use to love to sit and watch the birds from. And I will eventually put a bird feeder over her grave.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Donna, for the last year of my dog’s life I was getting ready for her passing. I could see that she was declining and dreaded the inevidable. I kept thinking that she was going to look up at me with those sad eyes and I would fall apart. So when the time came, she had a massive seizure and we drove down to the vet in the middle of the night to put her to sleep. At that point, we wanted to do it and she couldn’t even focus her eyes on us. It was actually more of a blessing because she wasn’t eating, could hardly stand up and got very skinny. She was always a feisty dog and in the end, I believe she wouldn’t have wanted to live the way she was.

    That day, I wrote my ezine to my client base and told the story of how we got her up to her death. I got out a bunch of old pictures of when she was young and uploaded them. The outpouring was incredible and it helped to know that I wasn’t alone in my grief. I still get teary just writing this comment.

  • Lynn Scala says:

    Oh Paige,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I am getting close to having that happen to me as well …. But I always say the short time of happiness and companionship you “both” give and receive is better than none at all.
    My heart goes out to you…. Call me if you need anything…

  • AUDREY says:

    I have lost too many children to count, some with fur, some with feathers, even fins and shells. Several were my best friend, all were my heart. The absolute best way to heal is to go out and get another one who needs your love and will bring endless joy and laughter into your life. It does not take away from the ones you have lost in any way. It will help you cope and heal and it will make the next fur person’s life brighter and better. Your lost pet would not want you sad and sulking-they would want you to be happy and joyful, so you can honor their memory that way by filling someone else’s life with love.
    Personally the grief can be too much to bear sometimes but it is harder if you don’t have a fur person or several to snuggle on.

  • Nenari says:

    We recently went through such an experience in March and I wrote an article about this very thing for my weekly OM column. It is available here at something_which_never_dies.html may such wisdom guide you and all on your spiritual journey through this life experience. Espavo~Nenari

  • Fran says:

    The loss of a pet is one of life’s most significant and painful losses. We tend to be more emotionally vulnerable with our pets. So we feel the loss deeply—right in the core of our emotions. It’s extremely difficult to lose a loved one, human or animal. But with human losses, we have ritual and societal support—friends gathering arround for support, bringing food, sending flowers, coming to the visitation and funeral. When a pet dies, we feel isolated and alone. Yes, there are some pet-loving friends who understand all too well, but society as a whole doesn’t give so much support. And in human relationships, we aren’t as emotionally vulnerable as with pets, so we tend to rein in our emotions better. My father died in 1984, and my dog Charlie died about ten years later. I seemed to accept my father’s death in my deep emotions easier than I accepted Charlie’s death. I didn’t wail, cry and give free vent to my emotions when Daddy died. But when Charlie died, wow! The emotional flood gates opened and tears, extreme grief, sorrow, remorse (I was out of town when he died)—every emotion you can think of poured out of me. Yes, even joy and laughter. When you remember your little friends, you too will laugh as you think of joyous times with them. I am so sorry for your loss. If you will let me know how to reach you, I’ll be glad to give you a copy of my book, What My Dog Taught Me About God. Just fill out the contact information at my website:, and I’ll send you a complimentary copy of the book. While it doesn’t deal with loss of a pet in particular—Bandit, the hero, is still alive and well—it does deal with grief and loss, and I think it will help you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I will pray for you. God bless you.

  • There is a void that can never really be filled.
    That is especailly true when you have a wonderful husband and father. You just keep going and try to keep busy.
    With our two dogs, we really missed both Beauregard and Glenndonna. We especailly missed Glenndonna as she was your pup that you helped raise. She was such a wonderful, well trained and loving dog. She truly was the nurse to your father when he became very ill.
    As you remember, you were devastated with losing her but there was a healing.
    They are all gone but they will never be forgotten.
    As for Herb and Bessie, they will certainly be missed. I’m happy you have the pictures of Bessie pulling your slippers and the pom poms.
    She loved playing with the slippers in my home.
    When I saw her the day before you put her down and I asked her for a kiss, I will never forget that little tongue giving Grandma that last kiss. She was so adorable.
    Both Herb and Bessie have been loving pets and will be missed.
    Pets are wonderful to have and love, but with them comes the responsibility of taking good care of them, being there for them, just as you would a child.
    How can one forget people or animals who were such positives in our lives.

  • Paige says:

    I want to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and ideas. I think that ferret sitting for 7-10 days will help a lot. Once they go back home I think I’ll be able to clean all of Bessie’s things and move on to regular life.

    I did bury her next to Herb, in the garden by my front door. I talk to both of them everyday. They are always close even if I can’t hold them.

    I also want to send my condolences to everyone for the loss of their animals. Every loss reminds me of ALL the animals I have had in the past. I feel they are all someplace together, looking out for me.

    Have a fabulous day!!!

  • Claire says:

    Donna, I’m sending my condolences to you. Everyone who has lost a beloved furry companion understands the type of grief you are experiencing.

    We put our 13+ y/o Weimaraner, Rudi, to rest less than a month ago. It was a difficult decision, but one that was the best for his sake…. and that brings me comfort. We were fortunate to have a vet come to our home and Rudi died on a sofa he loved, in the sun, surrounded by his loving family.

    Here are some things that helped me cope:

    Having another dog to tend really helped me focus after Rudi died. Sophie is almost 13.5 y/o, I was concerned with how SHE would handle his death. They had been in their first home together from puppyhood (we adopted them at age 4.5).

    We have the dogs’ ashes in special boxes with little angels praying over them. But I have faith that the God who gave them life and brought them into our lives is again keeping them under His wing till we are reunited.

    I started a perennial memorial garden for our Weimaraners where I plant something representative of each dog’s personality or looks. I also put together a web memorial with photos and brief written memories. Tears flow freely during the construction of both these sites, but as the years go by it brings smiles to relive the good times.

    I thought leaving Rudi’s bedding out for Sophie to sniff would bring her comfort; instead, she avoids it. Perhaps I left it out for my own comfort at first, but as the weeks pass I realize that the vision of Rudi sitting in his regal manner on the cushions only haunts me and causes more difficulty in moving on. So I recently washed the covers, moved the cushions, and rearranged some furniture.

    It’s Spring! Mother Nature brings new life to the earth, and I needed to bring new life to the home.

    I believe the deep grief we feel at the loss of a beloved pet is the best tribute we can pay to them. If we didn’t love them so competely, we would not feel their absence so much.

  • Bob Du Puy says:

    With over 30 critters running around the house and property, loss of a beloved pet is inevitable.

    I am an ordained Minister who has a belief that all things are part of a greater whole. What this means is that all will be re-united. It’s this thought that makes the losses easier to accept. It’s also a little scary to think that, over the course of a life time, the number of pets is staggering!

    When a pet decides to abandon its’ body, my family holds a solemn ceremony and buries the body under a tree. This does a couple of things. The first is it creates a living memorial for the pet. The second is this memorial will provide food and shade for the ones left behind. On a hot summer’s day, I can sit in the shade of a peach tree and reflect on the joy that little friend brought into my life.

  • J Cole says:

    Dear Donna,

    My heart goes out to you at this painful time. You should take as much time as you need to heal.

    When my 14 year-old beagle, Bart, died it took many months before the void of an empty house felt less painful. I wrote notes to him and cried as I looked at photos of him all the way back to his puppyhood. I kept his bowls, toys, collar and blankets for several months before I donated them. I took as long as I needed and didn’t let anyone tell me it was past time to move on.

    Your pet sitting will help you through this time, while you remember your beloved Herb and Bessie.

    Janet Cole
    Founder & President

  • Terry says:

    I have sent to the Rainbow Bridge since the mid 1990’s 5 dogs and 2 cats. Each loss took a part of my heart with them. 2 of the dogs and the 2 cats came with me to California in 1990 from Iowa and Missouri. Peabody passed at age 15(silky terrier) Bob(Sheltie Chou mix) was about 10 and had some type of cancer. Duffy(Siamese Persian was 20 yrs old(picked her up at age 6 wks) Jasmine was about 13 (yellow Tabby) Then came Brittany, my first cocker spaniel.Adopted at 6.5 lived until 13 and became my pet soul mate. Then Mitzi, my beloved little one eyed bandit cocker spaniel…My 2nd soul mate .came to me at age 3.5 and passed at age 10.5.She had some type of terrible auto immune disease… Bozo-was a handsome black cocker spaniel boy that I adopted from the shelter….unfortunately he had a form of rage syndrome which after 2 solid years of working with him and trainers as well as several vets had to send him on his journey at age 5.. Prior to that Duffy who at the age of 20 developed heart and renal failure had to be assisted as well on her journey.Jasmine had renal failure….. I held each and every one of them and to this day I still cry over them. None of them can ever be replaced because each have their own special spirit and personality. Mitzi passed two years ago this coming July. I have yet to remove her picture from my facebook section. No words of condolences can really help. Time helps but you will never ever forget them…You need to allow your grief to take as long as needed….For some getting another pet helps , for others time must pass in between. After I lost Brittany I could not stand to come home and about 2 weeks later I heard about a young female cocker in need of a home…..Mitzi…she was born with a juvenile cataract in her right eye. NOTHING ever got past that left eye….LOL.I felt Brittany led me to her and her presence did help ease the pain somewhat of losing Brittany. Even 3 days after Duffy passed on a cat showed up at our complex and I caught him. He had a broken hip, ear mites and worms…His name is Fritz…that was in 2001 and he has grown into a 17.3 lb boy…..Duffy sent him my way….. I have a memorial to my pets in my office….I did a collage of pictures and I have a stone inscription that I found(I don’t remember the authors name) that says “If Tears could build a stairway and Memories a Lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and Bring YOU home again.”
    The one thing I do remember is that I promised Brittany that I would always go back out and rescue when possible in her memory. I presently have 3 boys…….Winston and Toby, cocker spaniels and Fritz the cat……Winston went into severe depression and acting out after Mitzi went on her journey. He kept looking for her in her special hiding places and just moped. I took a chance about 9 months later and found a 3.5 yr old male cocker(Toby) who did not have an ounce of aggression in his body and he has done wonders for Winston. It took awhile and some supervision but Winston came out of his funk. As much heartache and grief over each one that has passed I cannot imagine living life without my furry kids by my side. When the time is right another will come into your life. How lucky Bessie and Herb were to have had such a wonderful loving home and Mom……

  • Roger says:

    My wife and I had a hard time after the loss of our last dog. It has been a few years and we still have not been able to get another one. We are also getting older, with our own medical issues, so we are afraid to make such a commitment, at this time. We do miss our kids.

    • Karen says:

      First of all, I send my condolences for your loss. If you are ready to love another animal but feel it may be getting too late in life for you to have the responsibility of a life-long companion, you may wish to consider fostering.
      Many fostering and rescue groups are begging for help. I’ve fostered for quite a few animals and although it stings a bit when they find their forever home, I know that I have provided them with love, care and kindess that they would not have found elsewhere. Some of the forever homes have kept in contact with me and it is a wonderful feeling to know that I was able to bring a bit of happiness and security to a deserving animal, even if only for a short time.

  • Tom Steele says:

    For me it was somewhat cliche, but we made if four days after the loss of our first Pomeranian (who we had for 13 years) before we had to get another dog. We weren’t replacing HIM, but we had to replace that hole in our lives. I couldn’t be happier with our decision.

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