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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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I had a 12 yr old Bassett hound who spent 10 of those yrs with me. I rescued her, but she truly rescued me too. During my time with my Sally I went through many difficult times. It was her love and companionship that got me through each time.

9 months ago I had to make the most difficult decision of my life and put her down. I stayed by her side until she took her last breath, just as she had been by my side whenever I needed her through all the years. There isn’t a day that goes by even now that I don’t think of her. I miss her terribly., and I suspect I will for many years to come.

She was so much more than a dog, she was my best friend, confidante and shoulder to cry on. We drove across Canada 3 times together…Just me and Sally.

I live with my daughter now and her family. They have a dog and a cat, yet I cannot let myself get close to them. I had Sally cremated and have her ashes next to my bed. I say goodnight to her everyday and tell her how much I love and miss her. I’m pretty sure people think I’m crazy.

I lost my beloved companion 2 months ago. It seems like yesterday . Having to make the final decision. It just replays in my mind …mostly at night when my kitty, Callie would jump in bed with me. It’s so lonely. I still look for her running to the door when I would come in the house and call her. Just so lonely in this house now. I still look for her in her favorite places. The day to day living is the hardest part.

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We had Max our Beautiful boy for 17 years. This past Sunday we had to let him go!! The pain is undeniable or indescribable it hurts so bad! We all look for him in his favorite places, waiting to be fed, cyo be cuddled and loved… its grieiving, its missing the unconditional love he had for us as we did for him…❤❤

It’s not easy to lose a beloved fur baby one year ago we lost a fur baby we bottle fed from the time he was 3 days old. Sadly he passed due to grand maul seizures. I still cry for him to this day

I just had an outburst of crying because my dog died in my living room and let out a screech just prior to dying. I sit in the living room and this memory just keeps returning and I live it over again. I thought of changing the room around but I can’t enough. To erase the memory. My Daisy was my shadow for 14 years. I would turn to let her in the door too as I went through. I finally stopped turning to do this but I still feel like she’s there. At least Now I cry less but still miss her, I look at her urn thing and say good morning. I have come along way from how I was. I can go a day without a thought but hen again there will be something that triggers a thought on. I still love that dog and miss her. It’s been a year in May.

I lost my husband in July. K.C. my beautiful siamese died 12 days later. How I loved that cat, for 16 years she slept at the foot of my bed, when I did my yard work she was right there beside me, we would play with the long grass.
In January, when I was feeling the loss of my husband on his 81st birthday, I was bathing my little pomeranian, Taz, she had been sick, but after a trip to the vet, she was feeling so much better. I thought a nice bath and blow dry would be nice. It was not. She just fell over and died. I lay down on my bed with TAZ and cried. All this happened in a six month period. I don’t know what I did so bad, that I lost everything I loved. TAZ would snuggle between my husband and myself at night and get just as close to both of us as possible.

We have shared our lives with many fur babies of many varieties. Each one left a hole in our hearts as their lives here on earth came to a close. The hardest loss, by far, was saying goodbye to my Guinea pig, Lily. I adopted her from a family who truly loved her, but couldn’t keep her because of allergies. I am a 58 year old woman with grown children, and I have cared for all of the family pets as they have cone and gone. Lily was the first pet I could call “my own”. We were great companions. I only had her for a couple of years, but in that short time we grew to love each other very much.  Sadly, she developed congestive heart failure and I had to make the hard decision to euthanize her. I held her in my arms, a grown woman sobbing over a rodent, and when I looked in her eyes, and saw the plea for suffering to end, I thanked her for being a part of my life, and let her go with a kiss and a promise that we would see each other again. I had Lily cremated and her ashes returned. She rests in a special garden that bears her name. You may shake your head that I would go to so much trouble and expense for a Guinea pig.  My husband, who is very practical, didn’t question my motives once. To us, Lily was family. 

We lost my 6 year old yellow lab mix (Bumble) 1 week ago. He was goofy and amazingly lovable, he was a rescue that had a horrible first year of life. He was a lot of work in the beginning but we found an amazing trainer that was able to help us understand each other. My family is heartbroken including my other 2 dogs. Just feel lost without him, it seems so unfair that after overcoming so many obstacles (Abuse&Poison) that his life was cut short by cancer.

I lost my beloved best furry friend Molly almost 2 months ago, she turned 11 this year, we went for walks every day, she slept on the bed, was so hard losing her, I wandered what I could go to ease the pain. It finally came to me to take a favorite picture I had of her and put it on a key chain, and that way she could still go every where I do, and for me that has helped me for the sadness I had in losing her, I still have hard days, but then I look at the key chain and it brings a smile to my face.

Thank you for this article…a FB friend sent it to me. I lived next door to my mom for 10 years and we shared our beloved rescue dog Lucy. Mom passed on 9/22/19 and Lucy began exhibiting symptoms. After a month of treatments & medications an MRI revealed an inoperable tumor on her spine and I had to say goodbye to her immediately without her ever coming out of anesthesia. The grief was so overwhelming I couldn’t work and when I finally went back to work I got fired because I had taken so much time off caring for my mother the last year of her life. Being at home without my Lucy is still excruciating. Pulling in and being alone is tough. She was my sweet soul mate. I got my job back and am starting to recover but I really appreciate hearing someone say out loud that this grief is deeper than people realize.

I’ve lost several of my Rescued babies! Each one leaves me with such a broken heart! But, to know that they knew unconditional love and affection before leaving this world makes all of the difference to me! I’m about to lose another one soon to cancer! I just love my Brody Bear every day and tell him how much he is just Soo Loved and cherished!

My family lost our Ottis this year snd it was so hard on all of us. It’s been months but we still misss him dearly. He loved to just s uggle right where you were and sometimes it was annoying but that’s how he expressed his love for us.. He was a borrower so he’d borrow u der thr the covers and scoot right next to you. Always givings kisses and always wanted to be on your lap. He loved running in the field and loved his little football. We got to spend 12 years with him and we wanted more for he was the perfect family dog. Ottis we will always LOVE you. Please eatch over Us!!! We will see you again someday for we know you are in Heaven enjoying being you and not in anymore pain. We did everything we could to make you as comfotable as possible before you passed for we knew that your time was coming we didnt want to see you go. When we woke up and seen that you had passed in the middle of the night we were devastated and we still are!

Thankyou for writing this.  I lost my baby Izzy when she was 18 months to spinal meningitis and that was three years ago.  The pain still resonates with me as if it was yesterday.  She was so sweet and young.  She had the best cuddles and liked to crawl under my sweatshirt to keep warm. She will be forever missed.

Sadie got very sick in April 2018 I tried everything to get her better, but nothing worked and had to put her to sleep. She’s been gone 14 months and I still miss her every day. She was my best friend, my travel companion and my four legged daughter. She was the sweetest little girl and I was so lucky to have her and I know that one day we will be together again. I have been asking her that she needs to send me another dog when she he feels it’s time.

Winnie…my sweet sweet kitty! Died super unexpectedly this January and I still cry for her randomly. My other kitty is still missing her terribly also. 10 years wasn’t even close to enough time. I love you so much Winnie and I can’t wait to hold you again. 

We are getting close to making end of life decision for our girl. 6 1/2 years old with cancer in her leg. We’ve done this before but it hurts in a new way since my significant other also is dealing with cancer.

My husband had a heart attack on May 17, 2019. On May 20, 2019 just 3 days later my little fur baby Riley crossed the rainbow bridge. She was just about to turn 12. My husband is fine now but we haven’t had the heart to remove any of her toys. I am crying as I write this because I am so devastated. She was the best pup ever. Never had one accident in the house. She loved everyone. I have a 2 year old grandson who asks about her all the time. We tell him she is in heaven with great grandpa but he just doesn’t understand. They were best friends. He tells us to go get Riley and boy I sure wish we could. 

We lost our precious Raven unexpectedly this past Sunday night. Here one day and gone the next. Beautiful and in excellent condition she was the sweetest lab pit mix and only 8 years old. Just as the article says she was the first and last thing we thought of everyday besides each other and the house is so quiet we don’t even want to be here. We’re just crushed……

We lost our beloved lab-retriever Jackson on 6/3/19. 
He was suffering from nasal cancer. He was 13.5 years old. We are devastated and grief stricken. We did all we could for him but in the end his last 4 evenings were very difficult for him. He passed peacefully in one of his favorite spots in the yard by the pool. We miss his bark, his smile, greeting us at the door and snuggles. Life will never be the same. Don’t think we can get another dog. It’s too painful. 
Thanks for your article. I know we are not alone in our grief. 

we lost our best friend chico…was our little cuddler..

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