Last week my household lost a family member.
Our beautiful doberman of 10 years, Jessie, passed away.
Because our dog was not just a pet, she was family.
Some people may not understand the hurt that results from the loss of a pet, if you have never experienced this loss yourself. People don't seem to think that it is the same kind of grief as losing a human companion, but grief is grief and it hurts like hell no matter which way that you want to put it.
A dog is a friend, a loyal companion and in a way, it seems as if a dog will never leave you. Even if you are not aware of it, you are always aware of your dog being around. It's comforting to just know that they are in the house.
Not just for safety purposes ( I don't think robbers particularly like dogs ) but you never feel lonely when you have a dog around.
Some people don't understand this. The phrase "it's just an animal" is probably one of the most annoying and overused phrases ever when it comes to having a pet. It's also completely untrue. I will forever stand by the fact that my dog knew exactly what I was talking about. Just because they aren't able to communicate back, doesn't make it a pointless exercise.
I heard a phrase "He might be only part of your life, for him, you are his life".
I have already had a lot of animals walk in and out of my life, but it hurts just as much each time. The loss is never lessened by your experiences with it. The grief is never easier to handle. It is never easier to accept that your pet is no longer in your life.
I am well experienced in grief when it comes to the loss of a human being. But I could not proudly state that this is harder than the loss of an animal. The shock of the loss is the same. The pain in your chest is still the same.
If you ever have to go through the experience of losing an animal, remember that it is okay to grieve them just as you would grieve a human. The loss of Jessie has sent our household into a pool of sadness. Everyone is confused. The cat, for one, doesn't have a clue what is going on.
Maybe the loss of an animal is so great because I have never met anyone so loyal, so kind and so sweet as Jessie. There is a trust that can never be broken between humans and dogs. Nothing compares to it, and I know that I sound very mushy about it, but you will never understand it until you experience.
So, this article is dedicated to my sweet dog Jessie. I hope that you are having a great time running on beaches, devouring greek yogurt in front of a warm fire, pummelling a fluffy ginger cat and maybe even gathering a collection of socks to play with...
I will miss her forever and I just want dot thank her for every moment of happiness that she brought to my family.
Love you Jess.
Original Version first seen on Tralee Today on the 11th of February 2015.