START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Surviving Pet Loss

  • 1 of 3
Surviving Pet Loss

By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert and co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear.

In the acknowledgments for Calm your Canine Companion Vol. 1, I wrote … “In memory of my beloved soul-dog, Byron. You remain forever in my heart.” While recording, I kept the above picture of Byron on the piano. I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. I wrote the letter below just hours before he passed away at the ripe age of almost 14, on May 28, 2003.

Dearest Byron,

Words canít possibly express what a treasure and gift you have been in my life. 12 1/2 years ago I wrote an affirmation that brought you into my life. I posted it on my bedroom mirror and read it every day. Six months later, in June of 1991, I learned that a 21-month-old Golden Retriever named Byron needed a new home. Iíll never forget the first time I saw you. You were wet because you had been playing on the beach and your entire focus was on retrieving the stick. Once the stick was gone though and I walked you to your new home, you acted as if you just loved me instantly. Barry said we were just trying you out for awhile, but I knew from that moment, there was no going back. We were lifetime partners.

You loved your new home and we so loved having you with us. You hung out with me by the piano a lot, and I loved it when you rested your head on my pedal foot – your favorite position. Although I loved you a lot then, I think we bonded more after we separated from Barry. You became my Rock of Gibraltar at that point. I knew the day that I left our home that if I had you and my piano, I would be happy. Your mission was to take care of me, and mine was to take care of you and have you by my side as often as possible. Every day, you came to work with me and became the school mascot at my music school. People passing us on the street would often remark, ďYour dog is smiling at me.Ē

What a team we made – hiking Montara mountain, daily walks along the coastal bluff tops, frequent romps on the beach chasing sticks and footballs. You always made sure I got lots of exercise and kept playing retrieve with your beloved frisbee. We took summer vacations together. Swimming with you was my all time favorite activity we shared, and Iím pretty sure it was yours. The first summer we went to Oregon together, we swam in every lake and river to be found. One day, after swimming and hanging out at the river for 7 hours, you cried like a baby when it was time to leave. Summer Lake Inn was the best, and Iíll always cherish the photograph of us swimming together there last summer.

This morning, you looked at me intently and this is the message I felt you were communicating to me: “Thank you for all you have given me, for I am eternally grateful. It has been the best life a dog could wish for. Remember this moment always, it is all that truly matters now. I have taught you well that love is more important than anything and the present moment is all that exists. It is now your time to carry this message out to the world.”

My commitment to you is to carry on in the lessons that you have taught me about peace, gentleness, and love. You are leaving your body, but you are not leaving me. Byron, thank you for being a miraculous gift in my life.

Infinite Love,
Lisa

The look he gave me that last morning carried me through many following challenging days. When a pet is part of your family, losing him/her can be a very painful experience. If we choose to have pets in our lives, pet loss is an inevitable part of the experience.

As I remember his passing eight years ago, I am reflecting on the support I received that helped me through that difficult time. And there are even more resources available today than there were then. Here are a few that you may find particularly helpful:

Next: Resources for coping with pet loss

  • 1 of 3

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Health, Humor & Inspiration, Pet Health, Pets, , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

240 comments

+ add your own
4:07PM PDT on Aug 7, 2014

thank you for all the advice I hope and pray I do not need it for a long time yet but my little 'darling' is getting old now and after getting an extended tummy due to retaining liquid have been told by my Vet that he has a problem with the valves in his heart which they will explore by an ecg when the 'water' pills he is on get his tummy back to normal, same water pills by the way that I am on (I'm getting old too) so am hoping whatever the heart problem it can be controlled by medication to keep him with me for several more years yet. Have only recently lost my Mum - my little 'darling' all I have left - so as I said thank you but hopefully will now need it for a long time yet. My respects to the memory of your lovely dog.

8:42PM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks

7:50AM PST on Feb 20, 2014

THANK YOU FOR SHAREING SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORY:) I AM STILL MORNING THE LOSS OF MY BELOVED PONIE WHO PASSED APRIL 2013. I KEEP HIM CLOSE TO MY HEART EVERY DAY AND MISS HIM TERRIBLY BUT BLESSED TO KNOW HE IS NO LONGER IN PAIN. I AM TRUELY LOOKING FORWARD TO ONE DAY BE REUNITED AND CROSS THE BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW BRIDGE TOGETHER. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE THANKED ME FOR SAVING THIS PRECIOUSE FUR BABIES LIFE BUT I TELL THEM IT WAS PONIE WHO SAVED ME:) RIP MY BIG GUY MOMMY WILL SEE YOU AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE:) ♡♥♡♥♡♥

2:00PM PST on Dec 2, 2013

dzięki

10:48AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Still trying to carry on after my beloved Minou's demise, and I lose another cat.
One of my kittens died on Friday 2nd. He was only 3 months old... I don't know what to think.
I am astonished, shocked, desperate. He was a gorgeous male, grey and white, healthy and sweet. A virus killed him in two days. The vets only make assumptions, nothing certain. How can it be? You are unable to tell me what happened? A healthy kitten, kept indoor and taken good care of, suddenly dies? An innocent creature, a beautiful baby, who plays, eats and purrs, is then dead in my bathroom?
3 months before I moved my cat dies, and 2 months after I move one of my kittens dies.
The coincidence is creepy, unfair and mean. I can't believe this. Misfortune has hit me twice in a 5 months.
What killed him and how? We were about vaccinating him. We wanted to keep him with us forever, not only for one month. I feel empty.

6:07AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

A dog or cat's life span always seems much too short. Saying goodbye is the hardest part of having them in your life!

3:58AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

We must know how to say goodbye

9:43AM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you.... I guess that all animal lovers have to go through this at some point ;(
Sharing.

8:41PM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

These comments both give me strenght and make me cry. Please give me some advice to feel better. What are the strongest medicines to fight stress, anxiety, despair, and insomnia?
My beloved cat passed away last Tuesday/Wednesday, at about 4 am. Everything changed. I am devasted. I can't breathe nor sleep. Medicines do nothing. I keep thinking and crying.
What I regret the most is that she died without me on her side: she was warm in her blanket, in her wicker basket, in the bathroom, with the heater near her. I stepped in to check her every 10 minutes, she was stable and tranquil. At about 4 am, I entered the bathroom and saw her static, with her head limp, her eyes wide open and veiled. I had a sussult, kneeled down, and touched her. She didn't move, her eyes still freezed. I touched her chest and felt no beat. I put my face in front of her nose and felt no breathe. I tried to do the cardiac massage: I can't do it properly, and it was too late. First I thought (and hoped) she was in a coma, but I was simply in denial. I started crying, instantly woke up my mother, and called the vet, then rushed to the vet with the car. She only could confirmate that she was gone.

8:33PM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

or excpect. I know that. But I can't help to ask: what if I was there 5 minutes earlier? Could have it been possible to do the cardiac massage properly and make her breathe again? Should have I moved her instead of keeping her in the same position? I was afraid to provoke another crisis and worsen her state.
They say she was safe and warm, and not alone, as we were in the house with her. They say seeing your pets die is much worse than finding them asleep forever. But still, I wish I stayed in the bathroom all the time, to be with her when she was leaving, and touch her, and talk to her for the very last time, not only 10 minutes earlier. I can't go over the fact that I should have been with her in that moment. I miss you too much my sister. I only hope you knew how much we loved you. We shared many beautiful years, you slept on my bed, and delighted us with your purrs. That will never be erased. I love you, forever.
Please give me some advice to feel better. What are the strongest medicines to fight stress, anxiety, despair, and insomnia?

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

He is very cute and if that's really him making those noises, he should have his own TV show!

Aw, what happy, relaxed kitties!

CONTACT THE EDITORS



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.