Pets are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

Every day I read the loss of a pet on Facebook.  The effects of their pain are palpable and heartbreaking.  It makes me think about the bond we cultivate with our pets, why it is so strong.

It’s simple. We are their mothers and fathers. We love them like our children. Yet the relationship between man and dog or cat is not the same. It’s unique. Our human children grow up. They become independent and need us in a different way or not at all. Not so with our pets. Their wants are constant. They depend on us to love, feed, care for and protect them. Unlike humans, our pets never outgrow us, never tire of us and never disappoint us. Their loyalty never wavers.  They are by our sides until their last breath.

The type of relationship we have with our pets is not always possible with humans. We share a certain kind of intimacy. We talk to them about anything. We communicate our feelings with or without words. There are moments when they have the uncanny ability to know what we need. They curl up beside us. Soothe us with their warm bodies and soft fur. Shower us with kisses. They are by our sides through joy and heartache. They give us something we may not find anywhere else.

Our love for them runs deep. So does our grief. It is emotional and physical. When they leave us, gone is their love and friendship and all the rituals we shared. It’s replaced with an emptiness that pierces our heart and leaves us broken open. It can hurt as much as the loss of a family member or dear friend.

They inspire us in ways we could never imagine. They teach us how to enjoy the simple things in life. How to be present. How to be loyal. How to love unconditionally without judgement or criticism. They are put on this earth because we need them like the air we breathe. They are one of the most precious gifts life has to offer. 

To anyone who has lost a pet, bless you for letting them be a part of your life. Bless you for the tender loving care you gave them and bless them for making your life whole.

The link below sheds some light on the grieving process and coping with the death of a pet.