Kinsey had dropped dead in the backyard. As I sat and read the words in the email from my client, I couldn’t believe it. I saw the message entitled Kinsey, and thought perhaps she had experienced another seizure. I should have noticed the time – just after midnight – a clue that something was wrong.
As I stared at the screen, my usually calm demeanor felt a shock wave go through it. Kinsey had a pacemaker. She wasn’t supposed to collapse and die. It seemed like an eternity before I could get up and call her guardian. After a morning of sadness, talking with her cardiology group, and shifting from a veterinary to a spiritual perspective, I knew that as in every beloved pet’s death, it was time.
Many people don’t understand the emotion surrounding a pet’s death. Our friends mean well when they tell us to go out and get another dog or cat. But we know it’s not that simple. We have to grieve the part of us that’s gone. Many clients have told me that they grieved more over the loss of their pet then over a human relative’s death. They talk about the guilt they feel from these emotions. From a spiritual perspective, those humans were loved, but they weren’t part of them. They weren’t on this earth to walk life’s journey with them. Their animals were.
All our pets teach us something as they travel through life with us. Sometimes the journey is difficult; sometimes it’s nothing but joy. In either case, their passing can create a grief that takes us to our knees.