It feels like you are stood on the edge of a cliff, not knowing which way to turn. There’s no way back now, you can look left, look right, stay where you are and eventually, you know that you will have to jump off. This is the awful and inevitable end to the journey that we all have to make with our beloved pets. We love our Cavaliers so very much and want them to be with us forever, but sadly we all know that they are with us too short a time. Some people are lucky enough to have them from very a young age, others have rescued their pets, not always in the best of health, however we all hope to have them with us for many, wonderful, happy years. Our faithful friends.
Then sadly we all come to that cliff edge, our beloved ones start to fade, the sparkle in their eyes dims, their health begins to fail. We want to give them more time, medication helps and there have been so many huge improvements in veterinary care nowadays, which means that we can provide that care for longer. Until we are stood there, with our pet, wondering if today will be the day, should we try for that bit longer, or is our little Cavalier beginning to suffer. We love them so much that all these decisions hurt, are we doing the right thing? Are we being disloyal to our pet, even thinking about letting them go?
Until that final, awful day, when we decide to say goodbye. We all know that feeling, saying goodbye is the most heart wrenching feeling. Still torn in two ways because you know its the kindest thing, you love your Cavalier so much, but don’t want them to suffer. Then comes your own pain- oh boy it hurts so much. You want to feel the weight of your pet in your arms once more, to look down and see that sweet face looking up into your eyes.
This is bereavement, just the same as losing a much loved human companion, so the loss of your pet feels just as raw and so very final. In fact it hurts more because we have had to make that decision, as our final act of love. I think that the whole mourning process starts long before we have lost our pets. It actually begins when you realise that time is now very precious and the end is close. That long, sad, bitter-sweet goodbye.
Not everyone will understand, some people think “why are you so sad, it was only a dog/ cat/ rabbit etc” but to us and other fellow pet lovers, we know exactly how someone who has just lost a beloved pet is feeling. The arms ache, the heart aches, no more feeding times, medication regimes are no longer necessary for a sick pet, your structured day has now been fractured into a million pieces. Tears are always ready to flow, the throat closes up, but you feel like you have to put a brave face on things for other people. If you are lucky enough to have other pets, they help to distract you, to keep your routine and purpose, although your mind always strays back to your lost one.
Like any bereavement, it all takes time to feel any return to a sort of “normal” way of living and we will never forget those pets that we have lost, especially those who we have been particularly close to. We go through the acute pain and learn to cope and hopefully, one day we will be reunited at the rainbow bridge. Ultimately the age old saying ‘Time is a healer’ is very true, you will never ever forget your Cavalier but as each day and week passes your grief should subside little by little.
There are groups who are specifically there to help you through the grieving process, just like there are for the loss of a beloved human. It is whatever helps you to learn to cope. Then one day, your tears will dry and turn to smiles at the memories you shared, you will be at peace with your decision and will be able to look back fondly, with love.
If you need help and are not coping there are some wonderful organisations that can help-
Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Service