If you have looked at my web site, you have met my co-therapist, Dafka. If you haven’t met him, I invite you to check out my web site, therapywithzora.
Dafka is big and black. He is English bull terrier, lab and pit mix, and he is almost four years old. I love my dog dearly. He makes me laugh, and I do get very angry with him. It took me a long time to get him.
Before I got Dafka, long before I got Dafka, I had a cat, the first cat I had ever owned. He was a beautiful gray Siamese Lilac Point, and I loved him dearly. His name was Khamudi which means “My Sweet” in Hebrew. Cats are supposed to live a long time, right? I expected to have Khamudi with me for at least twelve or fifteen years. This, however, was not to be. At age four or so, Khamudi got sick, very sick. I won’t explain to you what was wrong with him. Suffice it to say that I did everything I could to save him. I feel very badly at what I did with him trying to save him, and I would never do that again.
I know, now, that what I was doing when I subjected him to all those indignities, when I humiliated and tormented Khamudi by all of the treatments I put him through; I was trying to postpone my feelings of grief and loss over not having my beautiful cat in my life. We do grieve our animals and this is normal and natural. We have tended them, and nursed them, and caressed them. They, in turn, have tended us, nursed us, and caressed us. They have made us laugh, and maybe made us cry. They have also made us angry. No matter what our other feelings are, we love our pets, and it is wrenching to say good-bye to them.
There are certain feelings which we go through when we are grieving the loss of a loved one, including our pets. They are:
We do not go through these feelings in a straight line, from one to the other. We jump around and may certainly feel more than one at the same time. There is also no “acceptable” time for going through these feelings. People may say, “Get over it already”. Please do not believe them. It will take you as long as it takes you to grieve the beautiful animal that was a part of your life.
If you would like to talk about your feelings, about the loss of your pet, or any other losses, please feel free to get in touch with me. Just know that whatever it is you’re feeling is normal and natural; and it is important for you to go at your own pace.