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The Agony of Losing a Pet Is Worse Than People Know

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Losing a pet is so much more painful than most people realize. It can even end in “broken heart syndrome.” Here’s how.

The Agony of Losing a Pet Is Worse Than People Know

Do you have a pet you adore? I love seeing pictures and reading stories about the precious pets people have. If you haven’t read this story about a life-saving Pitbull, you have to! Such a sweetie.

The Agony of Losing a Pet

When a pet dies, the family who loved that fur baby is grief-stricken. Pets are family members. They are there when we wake up, and beside us when we go to sleep. They see us sick, happy, angry, sad, and they never pass judgment. Our pets see the truth of who we are and they love us in spite of ourselves.

Isn’t that what family is supposed to do? Be there in good and bad times, offering support and unconditional love? Some may say they don’t even get that kind of care from their human families.

That’s why Scientific American says we should take pet loss seriously.

The aching hearts of those who lose a pet are often lonely hearts. After her dog died, a woman suffered from a terrible condition called “broken heart syndrome.” SA explains, “It can happen when the response to grief is so severe the person exhibits symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including elevated hormone levels that can be 30 times greater than normal.”

Essentially, the author says when you’re in anguish after this kind of loss, you need to reach out and let people know how badly you’re hurting.

“We need to seek social support from people we know will understand and sympathize with our emotions and not judge us for them.”

I think as a society we can always do a better job of supporting each other.

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

You were used to morning purring to wake you up and now it’s quiet. You and your good boy always went for a walk before heading to bed. Now the leash hangs still.

When you open the front door, no one runs to you. At night all you can think about is how long it been since you slept in a bed without a four-legged friend taking up all the space.

That’s why the rest of us should show up, be loving, supportive and continue to be so for as long as it takes. There is no timeline on grief.

“It is time we gave grieving pet owners the recognition, support and consideration they need. Yes, it is up to us to identify and address our emotional wounds when our pet dies, but the more validation we receive from those around us, the quicker and the more complete our psychological recovery will be.” – Scientific American

If you’ve lost a pet, I want you to know how sorry I am you’re in pain. Tell us about them in the comments. What made you love them so? Did they have a favorite toy or a sweet way of showing you their love?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist to help you get through.

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ABOUT JILL

I am a mom of 3 awesome boys that love to get crafty with me in the kitchen. Our blog is full of all sorts creative food ideas for the Holidays, Party Ideas, Free Printables, Featured DIY Ideas, Recipes, & Kids Craft Ideas! Read more...

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Thankyou for this article. People dont understand that I’m still grieving after a year. My dog died from a rare blood disease and I wasn’t told by the vet his blood work showed something going on. I feel helpless I couldn’t help him sooner!!

Hugo. He was 1.5 years old when he was diagnosed with Acute leukemia. Our hearts will always hurt for our baby boy. With treatment he would have lasted 4 months and that’s wasnt fair of us to put him through that pain. We gave him a wonderful weekend full of good food and company until his body told us it was time. He crossed the rainbow bridge on 6/3/2019. I feel guilty every day that I couldnt do more for him. It just wasnt fair. He was mommy’s baby boy. I dont know that I will ever get over this loss.

Tomorrow makes a week that I lost my good boy. His name was Old Redd. He was by my side for thirteen years. God knows I would do anything to get him back. Thank you, for this article. It’s nice to know that someone understands and doesn’t think I’m overreacting.

I lost my 15 yr old dog June 24 2019 that was by my side day and night. The pain is real and the emptiness I feel is overwhelming.

My Max was 11 years old and was diagnosed with bone cancer in Feb 2020. I chose quality over quantity of life. He was my protector and best friend. I had to help him to The Rainbow Bridge on 6.29.2020 and Ive been crying ever since. I hate coming home because he’s not waiting at the door with that wagging tail!

I lost Joe the wonder dog a week ago very fast. He helped me through a divorce, the loss of two other dogs, a whole life change and through the stay at home order. His disease was fast and no cure. My heart is so broken.

Her name was raina. She was 2 years old. After attacking our other dog for the 6th time. I was done. But I loved her sweet, night cuddling’s in the couch. But the was getting unpredictable. 

Skittles was my 17 lb. Cat. Not a fat cat but a big cat…so our his brothers. Sept 19, 18 i had to make a decision. He was dying of heart failure they said. Only 3 yrs old. Totally not fair. I miss him lying on my chest and as you can imagine he covered my tummy too. I miss him purring, licking my hand, curling up by my feet at night. Racing me to the door. Coming when i called his name. Snickers my other cat was lost without him for a long time. I dread the one year anniversary.

I lost my beloved love bug, Lucy June 19th. It’s been almost a year and I still can’t look at her picture without crying. She slept in my arms as I lay on my side… for 6 years. I have yet to had s good nights sleep since. She was my constant companion and I miss her do much. I am 66 I Hot Shinhkes 1 week after she died….. I am surprised I didn’t die from a broken heart. 

I lost my sweet Ruby 1 week ago today. She was 15 and has been through all of life’s crazy with me. College, marriage, kids, sickness, you name it and my girl was right there to support me. I miss her so and I know that broken heart syndrome is real. I can feel it. There are some days my heart is so heavy I think I’ll never make it out of this. Thank you for writing this article. It is a much needed read. 

The two dogs that I miss the most are Daisy and Little. Daisy was our Beagle and she was a very loving dog. Little was our Cheagle. She was a rescue and no one ever knew we had a dog. She never barked and was extremely loving.

I lost my boy 4 1/2 weeks ago and I am having all sorts of emotions going thru me. Loneliness, guilt, love, emptiness, heart is broken into pieces, this hole in my stomach, it’s all unbearable. He just turned 13 in January, but was diagnosed with insulinoma last Oct. 1, 2018. My life revolved around him 24/7. I am retired, so that made it a little easy. The medications were very expensive, the ultrasounds as well, but as we went along, I didn’t think he’d go down so fast as the last 2 weeks he was alive. I look at his puppy picture, with those blue eyes, and what a wonderful dog he turned out to be. He loved everyone and other dogs too. Even when we relocated to another state a year and half ago, he was a trouper. He had to give up his yard to going for walks as we moved into a townhome. I am so glad now that I had that time with him, but I truly believe the prednisone is what made him deteriorate to skin and bones and essentially make his joints so weak he couldn’t do stairs, or go on long walks anymore. That last nite was the hardest because it was the first time he was so uncomfortable, couldn’t lay down for more than 5 minutes and kept moving into different spots. The next day, before we took him to the vet, he lay in our garage, and kept staring at me with those “eyes”. those eyes that said please help me, I hurt, I am done. He wouldn’t eat, drink and didn’t want to go for a walk, nothing but lay there on that cool floor. I have never felt so guilty, that maybe there was something more I could’ve done, but the vet assured me I did a lot more than most would have done. I miss him so, so much, that I look at the LR rug, and remember how I laid on the floor and massaged him 3 – 4 times a day, or when I come home, and he’s not there by the door, or following me into each room I went into. I wrote him a letter and made collages of him, and gave some of his stuff away, but his chew bones are still where he left them the last time he chewed on them. His urn is on the china cabinet, but I would rather just carry it around with me, holding him, but I cant. I taught him how to play catch, and I found that video and play it over and over and the one where he is running down our old fence with the dogs next door. I miss his bark so much, and how playful he was before he got sick. I will be talking with a grief counselor tomorrow.

I have lost my cats Misty and Binx one year after the other. It has been 2 years. The pain never goes away really. My heart gets heavy still when I think about them

Thank you so much for this article. I really thought I was losing my mind because no one could understand… My family lost our 5yr old lab/Weimaraner Jasmine, suddenly  just 6 days ago and the pain I feel is unexplainable, we would e given anything for more time with her, but her liver failed and it was the hardest decision in my life to let her go since she tried so hard to seem ok around us. My emotions are so mixed and I felt like it just wasn’t right to reach out for therapy over it so thank you again!

As the mother of 3 young active boys I couldn’t of been happier when Jenny a 12 year old female cat was up to be rehomed we were moveing to the perfect home and for me she would be the girl I had needed in my life so we arranged to home her she completed my family and unfortunaly suffered skin cancer 2 years after arriveing but got through it I always knew she was an older cat and may not have much time left but she spent 5 1/2 wonderful years. Unfortunately just over a week ago I had to make the decision to put her at peace she had gone into end stage heart failure and was dyeing before my eyes no words can describe the heartbreak this has caused no matter how much you prepare and you know what has to be done nothing hurts like that final goodbye. I hope one day my heart will heal enough to look back and only smile of such amazing memories of her but for now my pain is very raw I lost my girl and feel so alone without her around. Healing vibes to everyone suffering the same pain right now may all our loved pets rip.

My pup just passed this morning. She was almost 12 I’m devastated. 

I lost my Sooner on 4/18/2019.  I had to let her go two days after she gave birth to 14 babies. She went for an emergency spaye and they discovered a tear where her esophagus joined her stomach. I then lost one of her babies two days later. I buried my grief to take care of her babies, but now at 8 weeks they are going to their new homes and it is ripping my heart out. I have memories of their mom flood me and I just feel like my heart is breaking. N

Peach just followed me everywhere and especially to the door when I returned to “our” home together.
It is wonderful to share a home with my special pet.  I needed that as much as he did.

I lost my sweet beautiful Toby in February. He was my buddy and my best friend. He was a cat we got 13 years ago when our done showed up with him at our house on the day of Hurricane Katrina. He was just 8 weeks old. He was a beautiful orange tabby. I miss him so much. There is an empty hole in my heart. I have his ashes in a cedar box and in a necklace. He meant so much to me. I will always miss him, he will always be in my heart. 

I just lost my baby boy two nights ago. It hurts so much. I’m physically hurting! I don’t know how much I can take!!!!

He had a toy that we called Monkey. It is just a stuffed monkey and he loved to chase it and play hide and seek with it. We would playb that game with him every night before going to sleep. It was his favorite and he would fall asleep smiling. GOD, I MISS HIM SOOO MUCH!

I lost my Cooper on 20 December.. 2 weeks ago today.. It Hurts soooo much… It’s like an intense pain… I miss my boy so much xx

When we lost our 2 springers within 3 months of each other my husband fell into a deep dark hoke of loss and pain
This gigantic strong man was broken. Tears and sobbing, not sleeping, not eating and lost. My heart was broken for him and I needed to help heal him
In any way I could. So along came Roo, an 8 week old springer boy that he couldn’t even look at until that night they were snuggled and he was telling Roo all about his pain

My fur baby shihtzu Kiko died this past weekend, I had her for 15 years! 
She was always there for me in good and bad times.  I got her a year after graduation, she came with me when I moved out of province for work and knew no one, she was with me when I moved again this time back home, she was with me when I met my husband and at our wedding, and when we had our son, she helped me with our 4 year struggle of infertility and then was here when I finally was able to welcome my baby girl!
I keep looking for her and I miss her.
She was my silent best friend that just knew what I needed.  
She was full of life right until the evening before she passed.  She had been diagnosed with heart disease 4 years ago and I think her little body was just done.  
She passed away in my arms leaving me with one more memory of her I  will never forget.  
My heart is broken and I am very sad. 

Her name was piddles, I crossed the rainbow bridge yesterday June 17,2019. Most people ask why the name piddles well when she was a puppy she kept having little piddles on the floor even though she was house broke which she was so easy to train the best I’ve ever had, I couldn’t figure out how come theses little piddles here or there come to find out she was having small seizures well I had started calling her my little piddler so piddles kind of stuck. She was such a loving kind dog my grandson could climb all over her as she’d just lay there I could do anything to her she’d let me she was such a caring easy loving dog, if I was upset and crying she’d come over and nudge me with her nose as if to say mommy I’m here for you I have fibromyalgia and some days I hurt really bad she get up in bed with me and cuddle, the warmth from her body would help easy my pain also she’d get a full body massage so she won out as well she was always there for me  no matter what and as her health went down I was there for her  up until the end when I could no longer watch her suffer even though the pain and meds she still tried to please me and always wag her helicopter tail to let me know she loved me. I am so heart broken without her , I wake up looking for her with her smile and tail thumping on the floor people say oh it just a dog well no she wasn’t she was my baby my love and friend she got me and I could just look in those beautiful brown eyes and it was like I knew what she was thinking, she was love , I and what love should be and I am lost without her. I Still had her baby teeth some of her fur and a toe nail clipping also her name tag which I have put in a medicine bag made of leather to wear around my neck to keep her close to my heart where she will always be.

My babys name was Dasiey aka Boobookitty. I had her for 17 wonderful years. I was 13 when she was born and I was 30 when I lost her on 1/12/19 she would’ve been 18 this Oct.. She was with me through every good and hard time in my life. She went through breakups, death, my parents divorce, me getting a boyfriend that loved her just as much as I did, new jobs, moving out on our own, she was always there with me. She listened to my horrible singing and never judged me for anything. I watched her mom give birth to her. I helped bring her into the world and I had to make the decision to let her go. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I often feel guilty because I feel like I gave up on her ,but I know I did what was best for her. I couldn’t watch her suffer. My heart aches every day for her. I cry everyday. It’s a hurt that won’t go away. I wish I could just hold her one more time. I still smell her covers so I can feel close to her. My family and my boyfriend have helped me through the hard days and we remember all of the good times we had with her. We miss you baby girl# if love couldve saved you❤

I lost my best friend on Sunday. Bella was 16 1/2. She was my loyal, loving, caring companion. She followed me every where and I mean every where. She would watch me in the morning from the bed as I would get ready for work. She would say goodbye to me at the door and then run into the bedroom to watch me out the window. She would be there when I would get home with a happy cry and a tail wiggling. Sunday was the hardest day of my life, saying goodbye. She had so many physical problems and doggy dementia. She was getting so skinny and fragile. She wouldn’t even eat for the last year. I had to make her people food. The last few days she was having seizures. I loved her so much, I had to let her go. My heart hurts so much, that when I think of her, my whole body feels sick. I have been having A fib since Sunday. My heart aches. I cry a lot and can’t sleep. The only thing that has helped is thinking of her in no more pain, hopping around, wiggling her tail, and feeling her happiness. I love you my Bella and miss you so much!!! Be happy!! Until we meet again♥️

i lost two of my sweet babies a month apart – took my heart with them. when i first pts my 16 year old baby it felt like my life was sealed away in a vault – all my emotions where blocked and taken away. Then my handsome 9 year old i had to pts due to very advanced cancer – that was the end for me. life stopped. all my joy is gone my reason for staying alive is gone. then i lost my two old kitties and two very near and dear friends within a day of each other. Life sucks

I lost my two best friends of 14 and 15 years within four days of each other back in June of 2016. Their deaths were as significant to me as any human family member, perhaps closer because they lived with me as a single person and were with me almost every day of those years. I will never quit missing Char and Gris Gris and, unfortunately, no other cat will be able to fill the void left in their place.

Char would’ve been the best therapy cat for people. He wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything except the vacuum cleaner. He once attacked our full-grown Lab after I brought our new baby home and the dog tried to eat the pacifier. I shooed the dog away, which the cat must’ve perceived as a threat to me and my son, so Char launched into the air like a giant cartoon “X” swiping all four arms and legs to ward off the dog. He was an amazing protector!

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