|Value for Money|
All seasoned pet owners are only too familiar with the strong, emotional responses suffered, upon the loss of their pet, be it mouse, dog, cat or donkey.This review is mainly about those responses and how we deal with them; and may well be more useful to none-pet owners, in that they may understand the exceptionally strong emotional reaction to a beloved pet's death.
Because my episodes of bereavement were over the losses of my dogs, I will be writing with those experiences in mind, but also with the full knowledge that the same will probably apply across a whole range of family pets.There are four distinct phases of pet ownership, starting with their introduction into the home for the first time. Oh, what joy! Oh what chaos! Yet it is never long before they will have completely captured your heart and become a firm, faithful, loyal and loving member of the family, just as a child. And whether you believe it or not, the bond is strong and permanent.
Hopefully, the second phase is the many years of pleasure enjoyed in the company of a healthy pet, though sometimes there may be periods of anxiety, especially when it becomes poorly or goes missing.The third phase is when 'Old Faithful' becomes terminally ill and decisions have to be made as to when he or she should be humanely released from this life. It is one of the most difficult emotions to cope with - and often a lonely decision to make. A fierce battle commences between the 'selfish' side of human nature and the 'humane' side. For a time, the thought of losing the pet becomes unbearable, as does the thought of letting him suffer, when release is just a quick decision and phone call away.
Strangely, though, there does come a point when one actually KNOWS for certain it is time to let them go; to this day, I do not understand how that happens, but invariably it does. Of course, there are certain circumstances whereby decisions such as those, are not ours to make. Fate takes its own course.The fourth and final phase is the parting and coping with the heavy burden of grief, where no one seems to understand the depth of sorrow suffered.
How often I have heard that extremely cruel and insensitive remark, "For goodness sake it's ONLY a dog, get over it!" - It is paramount to sticking another knife into an already bleeding heart.
The question "Are you going to get another one?" if asked too soon after the death of the animal, may also feel a little insensitive to a newly bereaved owner.
Where children are concerned, the loss of their cuddly pal may be their first encounter with death and this situation needs sensitive and careful handling. Do not flush the goldfish down the loo!
My niece, when she lost her pet rabbit (Thumper) was told that he had gone to 'bunny-heaven' up in the clouds. Imagine her delight later, when told they were flying to Turkey for a holiday. On the plane, after takeoff, she turned to her father and asked, "Daddy, which cloud will Thumper be on, will we be able to see him?" - Bless.
Weeks following a loss can seem interminably long and painful; the thought of getting another pet feels almost like an act of betrayal. Yet the gap left is cavernous. Eventually, and often reluctantly at first, because of the sure knowledge that it will be the start of another round of happiness and sorrow, a decision may be made to fill that horrendous gap left by 'Old Faithful,' and the urgent hunt for another friend begins. It would never replace the lost pet, but most certainly relieves the ghastly, almost paralysing sting.The Queen, hit the nail squarely on the head when she said, "Grief is the price we have to pay for love."
I wrote a poem shortly after the death of one of my dogs. I shall just leave the last verse, then end with a more amusing ditty.YOU CLOSED YOUR EYES (Last verse)
You closed your eyes and left me,
My faithful dog, my friend,
And though I do cannot know it now,
One day my heart will mend.
There's nowt as queer as folk you know; there's nowt as queer as folk.
Especially when it comes to pets, there's nowt as queer as folk.
But when that dreadful day arrives, to say our last goodbyes;
The strength of inner turmoil will take us by surprise.
Others scatter ashes, or keep them safe at home;
Beside the many favourite toys, its collar, brush and comb.
And even when there is a plan to spend some time away -
May take the casket with them - to share their holiday.
Imagine what, in whispered tones, each one in turn will say.
"There's nowt as queer as folk you know, you see em everyday."
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