Grieving a Pet

Nothing hurts like losing a pet.

A few weeks ago, after a long three month battle, I had to say goodbye to my best friend of 15 and a half years. To say losing Snickers was anything less than earth shattering would be a lie. She was my absolute world, and I miss her more than words can say. My heart aches for her each moment of the day. The grief is overpowering, but a few things have helped me during this awful time.

Remember They Are No Longer in Pain
As much as I want her back, I know that is selfish. Snickers was in an incredible amount of pain the day we had to say goodbye, and I know now she is free of that. She’s back to her best self, no longer suffering or having to deal with medications. My girl can have all of the treats, sunny naps, and zoomies her heart desires without her pain having to slow her down. She feels better, and when I remember that, I do too.

Keep a Memento
Snickers left a big paw print right in the center of my heart, so it is only right that I keep a physical reminder of her where I can see it each day. Along with her collar, I was lucky enough to get a set of paw prints from my vet. I then used those and had them engraved on a gold heart charm, which matches her name tag on her collar perfectly. No, it isn’t her, but it is a nice memento to have and to keep close.

Talk About Them
Yes, it will hurt, but talking about Snicks and reliving all of the wonderful memories she gave me helps to keep her spirit near. I think back to when she was a kitten, all the way through her geriatric years when she still had bursts of that same energy, and smile about all of the amazing moments we had together. From sassing me when I got home from work to reading hundreds of books together, she was a part of my life all day, every day, and I will continue to talk about her and make her a part of my days moving forward.

Look for Them Throughout the Day
I still see Snickers outside of my bedroom door. I feel her jumping up on the couch to snuggle. I always will. Aside from the tricks my mind plays on me though, I look for signs of her each day. She was there in the sunshine on her favorite blanket the day after we parted. She was there in that rainbow two days after we lost her, and we were bringing two new rescues home. She is always there, and I will always make a conscious effort to see her, thank her, and tell her how much I love her.

Honor Their Memory, While Helping Another
Snickers taught me that my life’s purpose is to help animals. Even though my heart feels broken beyond repair, I know that she will be with me with each new rescue I help. While it will look different to everyone, the first step for me in honoring her was adopting a set of litter mates from my local shelter just a few days after her passing. This may seem fast, but our family always knew that when the time came, we would take her memory and use it to help whoever needed us next. These kittens will never be her, but they are already an incredible addition to our lives. We see her in each of them every day, and know she helped lead us to them.

Grief is a long road that never does come to an end. I am still grieving the loss of my first cat, Buster, from over 15 years ago, and my dog, Porkchop, from 9. Whenever the sadness becomes too much, I remind myself of all of the great times we had together. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does help me remember how lucky I am to have had them to love.

I’ll see them all again one day, but for now, I know they are happy, healthy, and watching over me on Rainbow Bridge.

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