The Death Of A Pet – How It Impacts

Published on December 12, 2013 by in Blog

This has been a bittersweet year for me and my family. Not only did my mother pass away after a long period of time during which she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, but we also had two euthanize two of our beloved dogs.
Zoe, our Labradoodle would have been 14 in November and Ezra, our Shih Tzu Poodle would have celebrated his 17th birthday in September. I’ve had other dogs before these two but there was something about them that made them special.
Lois U3 Lois U2No, they weren’t true rescues although every dog or cat or bunny in his or her way is a rescue. Zoe was the last of a litter of Labradoodle puppies and was sold to us at a discounted price. The breeder is reputable but at that time she was helping out a family member and had both her dogs and her relative’s dogs to oversee. When we met Zoe, she came racing out of a barn with other puppies of all colors and sizes. Some looked more like Poodles and some strongly resembled their Lab parents. Zoe didn’t resemble either. She had Poodle legs and Lab ears, a Lab tail and was just a beautiful girl with a huge heart. For some years she had a boyfriend, Buddy, the Golden Retriever owned by our neighbor until he passed away. Zoe would wait in their driveway until she could see Buddy. She was a great companion to all of us and comforted my daughters through various stages of becoming adults. Our Shih Tzu Gizmo, was her best friend and they could often be found looking out our living room window to the backyard. Sadly, Zoe suffered from congestive heart failure and although we know she had a good life, we knew it wasn’t fair to her when walking even a small distance or going up and down a few steps was just too much for her.
Lois U4Ezra was our eccentric boy. Ezra came to us via a coworker. Her nieces were going to look at a litter of puppies and I told her if there was a puppy that she thought would fit in with her family, to bring him or her home. I wanted a second dog for our family. My children were in elementary school and I knew that Tootsie, the Lab we had was dying from cancer. Ezra was 8 weeks old and a little ball of fir. Once again we were enjoying puppyhood and watching him explore his new environment. Ezra was named after the two men who comprise the band, Trout Fishing in America. We did not need a trainer for Ezra. He trained himself. He was very funny, and went through a stage where he was afraid of corners. If we were playing ball, Ezra would not go after it if it landed in a corner. He also loved shoes, and would bury his head in them. He didn’t eat shoes or licked them, just liked to bury his head in them! Ezra, like Zoe and our dogs that preceded him was very friendly. He accompanied my older daughter to her Bat Mitzvah lessons and would run through the synagogue greeting the office staff and the nursery school kids. When my older daughter became a mother, Ezra never missed a diaper change or the opportunity to be next to our granddaughter. As he aged, Ezra’s eyes became dimmer, his hearing impaired, and forgetfulness increased. We had to add a belly band when it appeared that he forgot to urinate outside. He loved the wind and piles of leaves. He loved to jump on the furniture and claimed our armchair as his. It broke our hearts that we could not keep him going but to  keep him from the things he loved doing, was not fair to him and so two weeks after my mother died, we had to put Ezra down.
I have tears running down my face as I write this. This year has also brought with it the loss of Max, the beautiful yellow Lab who I cared for frequently. He was a big, beautiful boy who was always happy to greet anyone he encountered. His loss was very hard for his family as they had him since he was a baby.
This morning another client contacted me to say that she had contacted the vet concerning one of her senior dogs. I have great respect for this client. She adopts seniors. This sweet guy has multiple medical issues and it will be a loss for me when I visit her home.
Is it right or wrong to bring a new pet into the home after loss? Everyone has an answer. For us, the answer was yes! Our Shih Tzu was grieving as well as our family. Although we still had Ezra, there was not the relationship there that had been with Zoe. Our granddaughter also missed Zoe and even at 5, saw that Ezra was declining. One day, another pet sitter posted that her client had to rehome a 3 year old female Lab and that is how Lila joined our family. She and Gizmo are still working it out. She is not Zoe and we know we cannot compare her.
This time of year causes many people to reflect on both the joys and losses in their lives. In my area we are lucky to have an organization called PetFriends which provides compassionate telephone support for pet owners in grief. Their phone number is 1-800-404-pets.

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