I hear all to often as pet owners deal with the pain of the final moments of their pets’ lives, pet owners proclaim that they will never have another pet again. Their beloved dogs and cats have become such a fabric of their home and everyday life, that losing them can be one of the most grief filled moments of their lives. I know, I have been there myself many times. But pet owners experience the end of life of a beloved pet and can be so overcome with grief that they will tell me that they will never adopt another again, for the pain of losing them is far too much.
While I can certainly understand why people would feel this way in the midst of their grief, let us try to take a look at this from two perspectives. First, let us look at the side of the consequences when a loving, dedicated pet owner or pet owning family takes their loving home out of the pool for a final destination for an seemingly endless number of homeless dogs and cats. I recently saw a post on Facebook called “A Dog’s Last Will and Testament.” The author is listed as unknown everywhere I have seen this, but this short statement is so moving, it sums up my point better that anything I would write. Substitute the word cat for dog, and it applies to any beloved feline just the same:
Before humans die, they write their last Will & Testament, give their home and all they have, to those they leave behind. If with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I’d ask…
To a poor and lonely stray I’d give:
-My happy home.
-My bowl and cozy bed, soft pillows and all my toys.
-The lap, which I loved so much.
-The hand that stroked my fur and the sweet voice which spoke my name.
I’d Will to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place I had in my
human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So, when I die, please do not say, “I will never have a
pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand.”
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has
held no joy or hope and give MY place to HIM.
This is the only thing I can give…
The love I left behind.
The other important perspective to consider when making a such a proclamation is to take stock of one’s life and be realistic about endeavoring to save oneself the pain of future loss by sacrificing unconditional love and joy in the present. Where does one draw the line? Do we not nurture friendships because one day our friends may move away or die? Do we not marry because one day we may have to endure the pain of divorce or death of a spouse one day? Do we not have children because they will one day have to face the death of their parents, or because we fear what could happen to them in a dangerous and unpredictable world?
Living in fear of loss is not living at all. While losing my beloved pets have been some of the lowest moments of my life, I would rather face the pain of loss than deny myself the many years of joy I spend with them in between. No household nor family is complete without the sound of paws in the floor, the wonderful greeting one gets as one returns from work, the endless snuggle time on the couch, the unconditional love that means so much when the stresses of life rear their ugly head.
Our pets are one of the greatest blessings of humanity. Do not deny yourself that blessing for fear of loss.