01.22.13 Love

A Woman’s Best Friend: Grieving the Loss of a Pet

A Woman’s Best Friend: Grieving the Loss of a Pet

BY Amanda de Cadenet

My family is grieving the loss of our family dog, a French bulldog named Lizzie. She died suddenly from complications due to an aggressive cancer we never knew she had. We keep asking, How could we not have known she was so sick? We didn’t know because she didn’t ever show us she was anything but a happy, consistant watch dog and companion to my kids, myself and my husband.

If you know my family, you know Lizzie, she has been at all significant events in our lives for the last ten years. From being in the studio for the making of two Strokes albums, to staying by my side during the bed rest of my twin pregnancy, moving from New York to L.A., she ran through the middle of interviews on The Conversation when we filmed at my house and protected my kids should anyone approach them in the park.


When people say that pets are a part of the family I know what they mean. I love my dog more than some people who I am supposed to be close to; she only ever loved, greeted, entertained, comforted me when I was sad and kept my loneliness at bay.

Is it usual to hear her barking though shes not here? I think I see her in the corner of my eye, hear her snoring at night in my bedroom. I miss her terribly. I know I must grieve her loss the same as any other and I am certainly going through the expected phases of shock, denial, anger and finally sadness.

How do these creatures who can’t speak with words impact our lives so profoundly and with such deep love?

Doesn’t it make you wonder about all the animals who are killed and eaten by us? These creatures certainly have feelings and spirits, otherwise we would never fall in love with them the way we do.


I want to do something to honor my dog, but I don’t know what. My other animals, our cat Stanley and Ziggie my chihuahua keep looking for her. The whole house is confused. “Where did she go? Why did God make Lizzie died?” asked my son. I don’t have the answer for him, because I’m asking the same question.

I suppose the answer is, because life is hard and unfair and unexplainable and sometimes it just hurts, it sucks and there is no way through it but one day at a time. This is where I am grateful for my spiritual beliefs; they comfort me and remind me that there is more to the day than my eye can see, there is a whole universe out there that no one can explain. Lizzie is just part of the cycle of life and death and her sudden departure is teaching my kids that death is a part of life. I am thankful to be able to have this conversation with them. It’s an important and often scary talk to have, but so necessary.

Thanks for the parting gift Liz, I’m hoping if there is a doggie place of rest that she’s there with all her favorite foods and toys- playing, sunbathing and getting doggie massages.

I would love to hear your stories about a pet you loved who passed and what you did to to celebrate their life.

Amanda is a wife, mother, friend, photographer and the creator and host of The Conversation. @AmandadeCadenet


  • Diedre
  • scout

    I’m really sorry to hear this news, and I know how devastating it really is.
    I never forget my dogs and i know i will feel the same about our puppy when it is his time. I have recently become vegetarian simply for the same query that you had about all the other animals that are killed to be eaten, surely they all have big souls and huge personalities too, it just made me think about my moral values regarding animals.

    She will always be around as elements of this cosmos as we all are also.
    Slightly different, but my father died 7 months ago and I came across a poem by Mary Oliver (below) that really struck a chord with me and was a huge comfort, it made me realise that we are really lucky that we even got to share our time with these friends and family and that should be an honour in itself.
    You won’t ever forget them as they will always be with you.

  • rlm112003

    My condolences. I cannot imagine this happening to me, yet I know it will. The love is so profound, so pure and so real. It was that love that led me to be a vegetarian for just the reason you stated.

  • samiam0917

    My heart aches for you and your family. My sweet boy, Rufus, is my life and, like you, I love him more than many of the people I know. Here is something I read along the way that really touched me and has helped several friends when their beloved animals passed. I hope it brings you some comfort. http://apsorescuecolorado.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/a-dogs-last-will.jpg.

    Here is something a little more “out there,” but certainly a unique tribute: http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/pet-portraits-ashes-cremains

  • So sorry for your loss Amanda. I’ve experienced this with my dog. His loss was/is so profound. Truly once you find an animal friend like this, it’s no different than the humans in our lives, and even sometimes the bond can be closer, unique, not jumbled with words and expectations. When you think about it, all they want to do is love, have fun, be a part of and connect with you and their family and then protect that with all that they have… this is their only concern. Deep down it must be what we all want, but they just do it, live it, are it. so wonderful. Take care of that connection in the coming days. peace.

  • nadereh zelaya

    Blessings to you and your family at this time of loss.. Sending prayers your way

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