By Jackie Kellum
This topic is an emotional subject that is faced by any person who has had a family pet. The death of a beloved pet is profound. Although we know our pets have a shorter lifetime than humans, our hearts still are wrenched when it happens. Many people who do not have such a close attachment to an animal or have never had a pet do not understand this phenomena. Pets are family and can be as close or closer sometimes than our own human family members.
Animals give to us love, loyalty, appreciation and understanding without expectations of something in return. Their absence in our lives leaves a great void. Each of us grieves in our own way and length of time. During this reflective time we possibly think about maybe getting another family pet, or not, in the future. This decision making time is a combination of a head and heart evaluation process. There is no one answer for everyone. It is a personal decision, not to be influenced by others. If your decision is to take another pet into your family, you are not showing disrespect to your lost pet, and certainly are not “replacing” your lost buddy. No other animal can be exactly like your deceased beloved pet. Let your heart lead you to your new pet family member instead of a list of requirements.
While the topic of loss is being discussed, this is a reminder that human parents [pet owners] have an obligation to their pets to provide for their pet’s care in the event of the owners’ death or inability to care for their pets. During the last two months several incidents occurred where friends / neighbors had to scramble to take care of family pets that had been left behind after the death of their owner who made no provisions for their pet’s care. To be blunt, we are all going to die. There are no exceptions although we may think we are special. It is not if, it is when. Do not place your beloved pet in a precarious situation about its future.
Please, if you really do love and worry about your pet and take seriously your obligation of having a pet, plan ahead. There is a simple form available to fill out giving instructions to others about what care your pet needs and what is to happen to them when the owner is unable to care for them. The form is available on Anita’s website, www.anitasanimals.com and titled: Pet Godparent.
A small dog came to Anita’s – dumped by someone who did not want to take care of her. She was not the most attractive girl you would have ever seen. But aside from her body that had mange, she had loving eyes. A local woman did see beyond this girl’s body, and she saw her gentle soul through the dog’s brown eyes. This abandoned dog was given the name “Honey.” Her new mom waited until mange treatment was completed at Anita’s and Honey went to her forever home to start a new life with a family who loved her. Although Honey was smaller than her two larger dog-siblings, they understood that she had a place on the couch [and bed] and was part of the family now.
Anita and her volunteers would like to again thank the community for their support for her animal rescue work. And thanks to the individuals, spay & neuter groups and rescue group volunteers for their dedication and love of animals – It does take a village.