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.

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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.

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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

Comments

  • nadereh zelaya

    Anytime a loved one has passed away I put their picture on my altar. An altar can be simple, with crystals and candles. I light the candle in their honor and keep a copper cup which I replenish daily with water. The fire, the water is an offering that nourishes their soul.

  • 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.

  • JenniferEnnifer

    I’m so sorry, and feeling the grief in my heart for you. The timing of her passing and your writing of this is profound, as the 3rd anniversary of the death of my beautiful yellow lab, Sullivan, is in just a couple of days. His passing from cancer was a shock because we, too, didn’t know of his illness until the situation was dire. Time does soften the grief. Lizzie’s passing so quickly is a gift from her. You didn’t have to make horrifying decisions about treatment and extending her life, and when enough was enough. She was happy until the very end. The shock is enormous, I know. It is a new quiet when they go. Please know she is still right there with you, loving you, protecting you. *hug*

  • Jen tobin

    Oh, man….Lizzie Lou….my heart hurts and I feel your loss. I will miss her snorting and snoring and her little sideways head. She was such a sweet girl who got a lot of love…hugs. Xoxo

  • Tannis Dyrland

    I was sorry to hear about the loss of your pet Lizzie. I understand what you and your family are going through. It is hard right now, stay strong. Animals give us unconditional love and when we lose them it is heart wrenching. I lost my 9 year old Min Pin Riley in August 2007. He was the most affectionate, fun loving dog a family could have. He developed hemolytic anemia. While we tried as much as we could to save him, we were told he probably had cancer in the end. We had to make a very hard decision to put him down. Something we never wanted to do. I have never felt so much grief and sadness at that moment for the loss of a pet. Watching the live in him slip away as I held him in my arms. I too had more love for him than someone in my life I had also lost only 6 months before that. Which didn’t seem right. Why do animals do this to us. They are the best friends and listeners are person could have. We made a keepsake shadow box in memory of him. I am also thankful for all the pictures and video I have. I now have 3 more furry friends OMG. Oliver, Monty, Ginger (chihuahua’s) who always brighten up my days. 🙂

  • sue

    I opened your article and immediately started to sob when i saw your cutie and read about missing the sounds. I experienced a similar situation and my heart aches for you and your family. We lost our 7yr old pug in May very suddenly as well. Luckily i have never experienced a loss of a child, but I’m pretty sure it is close to what we experienced. He was my first ‘baby’ and i think of him every day. We have another dog, Lucy, a 7yr old boston terrier/pug, that was his partner in crime/snuggle buddy. We had a beautiful picture (taken on my cell) from a few years ago of my daughter (she was just barely a year) and she’s looking out our front door with her puppy bro and sis. We blew this picture up and put it in his fav spot….above his fav couch cushion. I love thinking if him in his fav spot. Sending you and your family happy fuzzy thoughts and opportunity to share warm memories over the next few weeks.

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