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Blogs and Stories

February 14, 2020
Christen Brautigan

Grieving over the loss of a Pet

Losing a furry or scaly baby can be difficult. I regard all the animals in my home as my children. I love them so much. I recently lost my sweet Buttercup, one of my bearded dragons. I adopted her knowing she had issues. When she took her last breath, I lost it. Yes, we all handle it differently and it is ok. Buttercup loved to cuddle, I took her out all the time when I ran errands, and just to hang out in the sun. She had the biggest smile when she heard my voice.

Coping comes in many forms. Being a vet technician, I have seen many animals go over the rainbow bridge. It isn't easy. So, after any animal I have known passes, I go home and light a candle and say a prayer. I know in my heart that their souls have crossed over the rainbow bridge, and they’re waiting for their owners to one day join them. I find it helpful to talk about my animal and how wonderful they were. I make sure the memories are not forgotten. When my son’s cat Mozart passed this year, he built a memorial in the back yard. Every time we go out, we remember him.

I know I said I would never adopt another animal but your animal would want you to open your heart and home and rescue another. Some people get another right away, some wait for the grief to subside. There’s no right or wrong formula for when the time is right. The Humane Society of the United States says,” it’s natural to feel sorrow, express grief, and need family and friends to help with understanding and comfort.”

Sometimes you won’t understand how something could shimmy into your heart and mean so much. I have many animals and have had many who have passed on through the years. I miss them all but there is one that when I think of her I still cry. I swear she understood all I said, followed me everywhere, when I was down would come to me. I lost her suddenly and wasn’t prepared but I know she is waiting for me. Some people say I lost my pet, we had to put my pet down, or they died, I say they crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. There is a wonderful poem out there called the Rainbow Bridge, it helps a lot. When children are involved, which we have done too, we plant a tree that the kids think the animal would like, make a cement piece with the name on it to place under the tree. So, remember they remain in your heart, watching over you and waiting over the bridge.