Why is losing a pet so difficult?

stephanie wilde

This is Molly. We rescued her from the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society (SFAHS) Sept. 29th 2019. They guessed her age to be between 5-7 years old when we got her. We had just lost our beloved dog, Freya, who we had also rescued from SFAHS to cancer and we were lost without her. Freya cracked our hearts open to the love, goofiness and joy that a pet can bring, and also the intense heartache that comes with losing a pet. Reeling from the loss of Freya, we didn't know if we wanted a dog as "old" as Molly. Were we prepared to go through that heartache of loss sooner rather than later? We were worried that no one would adopt her since she was older. We also feared that someone else would adopt this sweet, tennis ball loving soul and we would miss out. So of course, we took her home! This photo above of Molly was taken on her ride home that day. Look at that smile!

She brought so much joy to our lives! She was a hugger. She would come put her head right next to your face or on your shoulder and "whisper" things to us. Molly and I had a session with Brooke Carlson, who communicates with animals, and she told me that Molly was telling us how much she loved us, and that she wanted us to love ourselves as much as she loved us. Dogs. Are. The. Best. 

In June 2020 we got our "covid puppy" like so many others. We decided that we wanted 2 dogs when we had Freya, but she passed before we could get her a BFF. So, into the picture comes Luna. Her mom was rescued by Almost Home Canine Rescue and she gave birth to 3 puppies. Luna was fostered by an amazing woman in Chester until she was 10 weeks old. We brought Luna home and they slowly became inseparable. They loved playing and napping together. Molly showed her the ropes and tolerated the puppy behavior well. 


July 3rd, they were playing tug of war and with some balls, and Molly laid down in an odd spot and was a bit lethargic. We watched her a bit and she would perk up a bit, but then have more lethargy later in the day etc. We made a Vet appointment for her and waited. On July 8th, she didn't want to eat in the morning. We called the vet and they told us to bring her in right away. They found masses that they believed to be cancer on many organs. We took her home and began spoiling her, knowing that the end was near. She still had playful moments with Luna and us and enjoyed one last camping trip with us. She loved being outside. 


The photo on the right above is of the paintings that Jillian Gunlicks of Jillian Artistry painted of Molly and Luna. She is so talented! I am so grateful that I have these paintings. They were gifted to me by Aubrey who worked with me at the shop for years. 

We knew it was time to let her go on July 18th. We gave her cheeseburgers, and pup cups and so many more treats and found all of her favorite balls. We called Dr. Harris of Compassionate Care Home Pet Euthanasia and she came to our house. She was so kind and patient with us and with Luna. I wanted Luna to be there to know that Molly was gone. I feared that if she didn't know, that she would search room to room for her endlessly. 

The days leading up to losing her and now still, are raw with emotion and grief. I find myself tearing up often. I think the reason it is so hard to lose a pet is because the love is so pure. It is so uncomplicated. Many times our human relationships have up and downs, but our pets are constantly there, loving us. Unconditionally. They don't get angry at us for not doing the dishes or not keeping a promise etc. They just love. They can sense when we need comfort and they sit with us. They don't tell us to cheer up or try to distract us from our feelings, they just sit. They allow us to be ourselves, just as we are. There is no judgement from them or expectations for us to behave or react a certain way to anything. I mean, they definitely know when its dinner time though. :) They sit with us in the good and the bad. They share our joy and greet us as if they haven't seen us for weeks even if its just been 5 minutes! I have teenagers so many times, the dogs are the only ones coming to greet me. Ha! 

They require so little from us, and they love us so much to the end. It often times seems so unfair that our pets don't live longer and that our children have to experience this loss at a young age too. We talk about this loss with our kids and we agreed that the joy these pets bring to us for years, is worth the pain of losing them. 

I know we made the last 3 years of Molly's life amazing. She was so happy and loved. She taught us so much about love. She was playful and peaceful. 

Her sister Luna misses her and is a little lost right now without her. We've been spoiling her with new toys, lots of fetch, some extra training, and kong treats to wear her out a bit more. She has so much more energy now that she doesn't have someone to play with. I know we will rescue another good boy or girl when we find the right one. I also made a deal with Luna that she would live to 14 so that I get lots of time with her. I don't think that is quite how it works, but it's worth a shot! 

Thank you to all those of you who have shared your pet loss stories with us over the years. When I say that I am sorry for your loss, I say it from the bottom of my heart. We know just how much those pieces mean to you and how hard it is to come in and design them with us. If you have a pet and you know you'd like a keepsake, please get in touch, we would love to help you keep them close to you always. 

I did take Molly's nose print after she wasn't doing well. She's also been a model for us and some of our samples so I have lots of keepsakes with her paw prints. It brings me comfort to see these throughout the shop daily. Between those, the memories and the never ending dog hair that I will no doubt continue to find forever, she will always be remembered and loved! 

Thank you for reading my first blog post. I think it has helped me process my grief a bit and I hope that if you've gone through the loss of a pet it has resonated with you as well. After I shared about losing Molly, a client shared that she had just lost her cat and that her Vet gave her this poem, which I wanted to share with you as well. 

"You no longer greet me as I walk though the door, you're not there to make me smile, to make me laugh any more. Life seems quiet without you, you were far more that a pet, you wee a family member, a friend a loving soul I'll never forget. You were such a great companion, constant, loyal and true, my life has been much richer, because I had a friend like you." **I was unable to find the author of this quote to credit them. 


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