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

  • andrea

    Amanda – thanks for sharing that story. I lost a kitty a couple years ago. She was the first pet I ever took complete responsibility for. I always liked cats, but didn’t really want the responsibility (I was pretty selfish.) My boyfriend and I were out getting dinner on Christmas Eve and on the way back he said, “you need a cat” and we stopped at Petco. (Not the best place to get pets, maybe, but that’s how it happened.) I was going to say “no” but she was the only cat in the store. She was in a cage, a black cat, on Christmas Eve. Somebody had put a red collar on her to make her look “festive”. She gave me this sad look like “No one is going to take a black cat on Christmas.” So of course I let my boyfriend get her for me. When my boyfriend and I broke up, she stayed with me. She was an older cat and only lasted about three years. She was glued to me. She was there through some really rough spots and taught me so much about myself. Sounds silly, but she really changed me. Like others have said, I still miss her. I still feel her spirit is around, somehow. Can’t prove it, I just feel it. So sorry for your loss and so glad you are honoring the life of Lizzie.

  • Reading all of your stories helps ..but still missing my girl so much . her ashes are coming home today so I am thinking about what I can do with my kids to honor her..

  • Dear Amanda,

    As soon as I saw the title of this article I knew I had to read it. Losing a pet is so hard! I lost my cat “Minou” almost a year ago, he was 20 years old! (I’m 25…so you can imagine that I almost spent my whole life with him).
    I have two advices :
    1- Give yourself some time to grief : this is as painful as the lost of a human being! I mean when he passed I cried so much, and I felt this huge pain inside of me.. It’s was even stronger to me than when someone at work died…which led to my second avice:

    2- Grief with people from your family, people who loved your dog, people who love animals. I was surronded by a few people who were juging my pain! How dare could they? well it’s easy, they never had pets, never received love from them, they couldn’t understand what I felt. To them it wasn’t “normal” to feel this way. This is crazy, having a pet is one of the best life experience you can have, these people are missing something.

    Believe me time will help.In seven days it will be one year he’s gone. I still miss him terribly, he was a reaaaaally nice cat, amazing with childrens, the kindess one.

    I went to visit my parents to other day, my father show me an old film that he found : my sister , 12 years old playing the piano and Minou, watching her playing (he loved it). This is still hard to watch believe me I cried! But you will keep him in your heart for the rest of your life and he will always be with you.

    Now I have another cat, my own, her name is Luna I love her and she helped me through my grief. Maybe someday you will take another pet and you’ll share other beautiful moments.

    Elise
    (I’m writing from France sorry for my english)

  • susan riddle

    It’s their eyes. It’s initially the vulnerability and then the complete trust. Then the absolute love and devotion. I’m so sorry.

  • Rita Cruz de Carvalho

    Lovely Amanda,

    We had a cat 8 years ago, Sr. Peixoto. An old cat from a rescue. He got sick and died, only after 7 months of living with us. The pain was almost unbearable at the time. He was one important being in my life. The connection that we develop with animals is different than the one we do with humans. It is different, but it is not “less”.

    Eight years have passed, but I think of him every single day. Sometimes I still cry. I miss
    him terribly, but he is with me always – I have learned fundamental things while he was with us and ever since.

    I haven’t the slightest doubt that animals have feelings and even a soul, which – again –
    might be different than ours, but not necessarily less important in the Grand Scheme of Things. I don´t eat animals anymore, I don´t use their skin, I don´t buy them – an animal it´s not a thing. Instead, I try to be of use to them, for there are many who suffer. At this day, we take care of 14 cats, and more, and dogs and people and nature, if we can.

    This is our way to honor Sr. Peixoto. I’m sure you will find yours to honor Lizzie.

    It gets better.

    Love,

    Rita

  • fifi11c

    Oh Amanda, I’m in floods of tears after reading of your loss. She is a sweetheart in those pictures. My beloved Amber (Boxer), passed away four years ago and there is still a gaping hole in my heart from where she left . Watching my daughters pain was almost unbearable she had been their playmate for 12 years. If it helps , we planted an ornamental bush in the garden for her ashes to lay beside. It’s comforting to have somewhere to focus your private thoughts and memories to smile when you look at it because I know she would have dug it up had she still been here. Love and best wishes to you and the family x

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