Grieving for My Pet

Photo taken by Teresa S.
“ We are so very sorry for your loss.  Bubba was a sweet soul.  We are thinking of you during this difficult time,” were the thoughtful words I read and captivated from the card that came along with a beautiful basket of flowers.  They were delivered to my home from my co-workers.  As I read the card, I felt more pain.
The agony grew as I started looking around the apartment and at his favorite spots.  His empty cage and bed also made me realize that not only was he physically gone, but he was also no longer here to feel the physical pain and discomfort caused by cancer.  Cancer is as difficult to battle as it is to understand it.  In the many years that I’ve been in the veterinary profession, I have never seen a disease that’s as difficult to treat.
“But why did cancer have to get my dog? I don’t understand,” I thought to myself.  No words of kindness or wisdom from others were going to make me feel better.  As much as I appreciated them, I knew I was not going to be completely comforted by them.  All I knew is that I had to find my own way to do it.  I had to at least try.
Bubba was always a happy dog.  He loved everyone and everyone loved him.  Like my friends and coworkers said, he was a sweet soul and would not have wanted me to be sad.  He was the type of living being that enjoyed life to the fullest, even during his chemotherapy.  He loved to please people, and would have hated seeing me upset all the time.  Although it was extremely difficult for me, I knew I had to find a way to live life the way he did, and live to serve other animals in his honor.
Days became weeks, and weeks turned into months.  so much time has gone by and I still miss my Bubba bear.  His cage is still exactly the way he left it with his bedding in it. During the days that I’ve been grieving, I’ve also stayed busy.  I’ve been working, reading more, and have gone back to what I have also loved doing since I was a kid; art.
I started drawing again and picked up photography as a new method of art.  I even started traveling a bit more.  Traveling is one of my main and most expensive hobbies.  It is now more important to me, because it is one way to capture great moments.
I also started to search for all the memorabilia I had.  I realized that I have many pictures of Bubba, but not as many of when he was a puppy, which is one of my biggest regrets. I also continued taking more CE classes that have allowed me to grow in the veterinary field and also joined the veterinary cancer society.  This was my way of coping with my pain.
A book I read stated that most of us have out own memories of being profoundly grief stricken at the death of a beloved pet.  These are not childish concerns, but the mature reflections of loving pet parents.
One of the most important things to know is that every living being is here to connect in one form or another and teach us something important.  Bubba was a wonderful four-legged child.  He brought me so much joy and taught me so much about living life. The most vital lesson he taught me was to try to appreciate and enjoy life more. As difficult as the process has been for me, I will continue to take those steps and do it for him.

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