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When will grief end?

by Kitty Walker, LMSW-ACP

Dear Kitty,

On January 1, 2001, I had to take my best friend of 15+ years for the last ride of her precious life. Making the decision to put her to sleep was the HARDEST thing I've ever had to do. I am a Paramedic Firefighter and I'm around death and dying all the time. But this has effected me in such a way I NEVER thought possible.

I know it was the right thing to do because she had gotten so much worse in the past 2 weeks, but God it hurts. Cee Jae was my pet cocker spaniel and in my life more than any one else except for immediate family. When the decision was made, my 2yr old son bent down and gave her a kiss, I thought I was gonna die, We left, all the way to the Hospital I balled like a little kid, I'm still crying, trying to type. Please tell me it will get better. Cee Jae is buried in our, HER back yard. I talk to her every day, but I'm hurting so much. Do you have any suggestions? Please help...

Lost and Lonely

Dear Lost and Lonely,

Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of Cee Jae. No matter how much death you have been around in your profession, nothing could prepare you for the heartbreak of losing your precious best friend of 15 years. She was, as you said, a treasured member of your family. You asked me if it gets better, and I take that to mean you want to know if the pain of grieving lessens its grip over time. I can reassure you that it almost always does, even though at its most intense, it seems like you will hurt that much forever. Because we take them into our hearts so deeply, the pain of mourning a beloved animal can be devastating.

You said that you talk to her every day, and I take it that brings you comfort. Other things that might bring you comfort, when you are ready, is to talk with others about what a great dog she was, sharing memories about her exploits and tender moments. In addition, we have a new memorial area at Beyond Indigo where you can post an obituary or life story about Cee Jay if you wish.

May your heart find healing and be comforted by memories of the precious time you had together.

My Best to You,

Kitty


Ask Kitty is a psychotherapist specializing in grief and loss issues which humans encounter when their pets die. She has worked in this area for a number of years, providing counseling to people at this special time of need. She also provides consultation and education to employees of veterinary clinics in her area.

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"Everything is great. The staff (both drs & reception) are amazing which is why we keep coming back. Miriam is extremely knowledgable and helpful for whatever we need. Our pups love going to the vet!"

"Everyone is always so great towards me and Bella. I'm so happy I have such a great vet office, keep up the good work :)"

"The staff is always so friendly and you can tell that they love their jobs. Every pet is greeted with enthusiasm and compassion."

""Value" is a tough thing - veterinary care is expensive. The line-item receipt really helps me understand all of the components of a visit and a checkup. There's never getting around the 'gulp factor' when it's time to pay...but I feel that my pets are getting excellent, and not excessive, care."

"Your "front of the house" people are great. Miriam and the rest are efficient and courteous, and clearly know and love our dogs. Can't buy that."

"Dr. Schnoor has treated our dogs since weaning, 9 years ago. She is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate. She helped save my female dog's life a few years ago, for which I will always be grateful. Dr. Ross has been a great addition. He is also conscientious and well informed. Human hospitals could learn a lesson."

"Dr. Ross is very thorough and professional. He takes time with clients to review pet status and healthcare planning. The support staff is great with the animals."

"I really appreciated the follow up email I received from the doctor asking if I had any additional questions"

"Something I really appreciated about this office is that the woman who made my reservation for Dylan actually remembered him (and loved him) from his stay while with Feline Friends. It's nice to know that the staff are not just veterinary professionals, but also animal lovers."