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Losing a pet is losing one of your best friends

By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 6th, 2009 at 8:26 am in Pet loss.

Pet Cat
jazz4

“A final note” in my Sunday column was from Lisa Hoffmann of cyberspace, about losing her best friend:

A final note
June 29, 2009: Today I lost my best friend. His name was Leon.
I loved Leon more than I ever thought was possible. Leon was my orange tabby. He was the sweetest cat I have ever known. Even though some might say, “he was just a cat” he was so much more than that to me.

Pet rabbit
fancy rabbit

He woke me up every morning with his sweetness, waited patiently for me to come home at night. He let me know his every need, comforted me in times of sadness, and helped me truly understand what it means to love unconditionally. I don’t know that I will ever have the opportunity to have someone so special in my life again and although I am devastated at losing my little boy I am so lucky to have had him in my life.

I hope with time the pain will subside but right now all I can do is grieve. Please tell all your readers to love their pets everyday, time with them is all too short.
Lisa Hoffmann, cyberspace

Today, I found these special four responses to Lisa’s final note when I got to work:

Gary:
As everyone else, I enjoy and look forward to your column! I wish to send my condolences to Lisa Hoffmann on her loss of her beloved Leon. I also know what it feels like to lose your best four legged pal. I can only tell her that her grief will, over time, be replaced with fond memories (and the occasional dream!) that will put a smile on her face when she has a thought of her little boy.

Lisa, eventually put out tons of pictures of Leon in your home and adopt again! I have enveloped the philosophy that the passing of my feline buddies creates a new slot in my home for some other homeless creature to be adopted. This is NO WAY replacing — because you cannot replace these little pals. There are plenty of animals out there that would love to pay tribute to Leon.

All of my animals have been adopted from Friends of Fairmont Animal Shelter (www.fofas.org). In addition to finding forever homes for these critters (currently Spyke, Boris and Frank in my house (indoor only)), I also contribute a monetary donation every year and provide an hour or two of affection whenever I can.
Patricia Minnis, San Leandro

Gary:
In reference to the pain we feel when a beloved pet dies, I am reminded of a quote from Sir Walter Scott. He was talking about dogs, but it could apply to any pet … dog, cat, bird, chicken, goldfish, hamster … whatever. He wrote:

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race: for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of 10 or 12 years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”
Lucille Mieher, Fremont

Pet kitten
jazz3

Gary:
Today you published a note from Lisa Hoffmann, whose beloved cat passed >away. Would you please forward this e-mail to Lisa?

Lisa, first, my condolences — I know how painful it is to lose such a friend. If there is any possibility that you might be willing to open your home to another sweet orange tabby cat, I wonder if you will consider WeeGee. WeeGee came in my life 8 years ago as a lost kitten. I love him dearly. He is cuddly, attentive, loving and just plain sweet.

Just one thing — he likes to talk. His vocalizing is driving my husband crazy. My husband has been suffering from depression for a while, and WeeGee senses this, and vocalizes more. He is quiet when nestled in a lap, if the house is peaceful, or if he has undivided attention  We have two dogs and two cats, and poor WeeGee is at the bottom of the totem pole. I believe he would be much happier as a single cat household.

I love him and want him to be happy and peaceful. He’s watching me type this, sitting right beside me. If this note reaches out to your grieving heart, and you might find a space in it for WeGee, please contact me (forwarded e-mail contained contact information. /Gary).
Maria, cyberspace

Gary:
I read A Final Note in your today’s column and my heart tugged for Lisa. Just over 2 years ago I suddenly lost my precious Beausha who too was to me the most beautiful, sweet and loving cat. I never thought I would recover from my broken heart as I loved him so deeply.

When he became ill that morning, I rushed him to the vet who did not hold out much hope but would try what he could. I left him at the clinic and went home devastated. That night, I had a kidney stone attack, went to ER and was up most of the night. The next day, my husband took Beausha to a specialist some 40 miles away. He died that night. He had feline saddle thrombosis which I am told is a blot clot which lodges near the hind quarters causing paralysis and pain. The clot travels and that is where the fatal part comes in.

Unfortunately, due to my illness I never had the opportunity to say my good-bye to him. I was overcome with grief and pain; crying for days on end. As I said, I never thought I would recover or have another kitty to love so dearly again.

Eight months later, my sister brings me a 7 month old obviously abandoned kitten who I could not refuse. In some way, I found this a sign and saw some similar characteristics in Bellino that Beausha had. As the months and years have progressed, Bellino has become more and more loving, just as Beausha did. I’ve noticed that as cats age they seem to become more attached and cuddly. Then, this past October, my husband found an abandoned box of 4 kittens up the road from us. They were somewhere between 1 and 2 weeks old as their eyes were open. All had to be fed formula and one with a nipple  The others I could spoon the formula.

Without going into a lengthy story, I cared, cleaned and fed these 4 little creatures and took on the protective feelings of their mother. I simply fell in love with them — so little and helpless. I witnessed every stage of their development. It became absolutely essential that when I adopted them out it would be to someone worthy! At 8 weeks, first the smaller calico went to one of my sisters. A couple  weeks later the other calico went to another sister and her family. Right after the holidays the gray and white tabby male went to a family who are good friends with the same sister and her family.

Pet golden retriever puppy
golden ret.

We kept little black Ollie (short for Oliver and named for the black olive). Everyone of the kitties is an inside cat, and is loved dearly. I see my little children when I visit the family and of course, Ollie, here is the youngest and spryest cat in our family. My point to Lisa, is you never know what is in store. I often still think of my precious Beausha and tear a little for I will never forget him and still miss him. But, there are so many kitties out there waiting to be loved.

Lisa will surely find love as great with another (or more!) kitty while still remembering her precious Leon. I promise that.
Janie Higgins, cyberspace

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3 Responses to “Losing a pet is losing one of your best friends”

  1. Lynn Says:

    I am sorry about your friend. I lost 3 of my best friends last year. It was the worst year of my life. I still think I am in shock at times. Time will be your friend. Until then take care of yourself, your kitty would like that!

  2. Sid Korpi Says:

    My heart always goes out to humans who are suffering from the loss of their beloved animal family members. Too often, their feelings are met with derision from people who simply do not understand how deep the bond is between us and our pets.

    I felt so strongly about this that after my Westie, Ludwig, passed away in 2005, I held an All-Pets Memorial for him and the animal companions of some 30 human friends. A friend was so moved by the experience, she said, “Sid, you should write a book on how to memorialize our pets.”

    Several years later (this August, in fact) I published “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” to cover that and myriad other aspects of pet loss. In it, I include personal and professional insights on the animal lover’s unique grieving process and share stories from pet parents the world over, too.

    Sadly, just after I turned in my pages to the designer, my wonderful boy Westie Mortimer died. He became the book’s poignant epilogue and proved to me that all I learned in researching and writing this book really DID HELP me in mourning his passing.

    I hope those who are hurting and in need of some comfort and guidance will consider checking out my book along with the several other helpful publications available.

    What’s more, they can listen to my various radio interviews archived on my blog as a sort of preview to see if my work would be a good fit for them. They can visit the blog via my website at goodgriefpetloss.com.

    My sincerest condolences and empathy to those who are suffering this singular type of anguish at this time.

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