Those of us who are pet lovers face the loss of our beloved companions. It’s so hard to lose someone who has been with us for a number of years. Our animal companions become our family members. I am not married anymore so my pets are my bedmates as well. I love it when it’s cold outside and we cuddle up in the bed at night and snuggle. I miss them when they are not there. It’s hard, though, to do in the summer, since I live outside Memphis, Tennessee, or, as I refer to it, the Ninth Circle of Hell in summer.
We become accustomed to them following us around, accompanying us to the toilet and the shower, and particularly, the dinner table.
At present, I have five dogs and two cats. One of the cats is 17 and one of the dogs is 12. That means, I’m close to the end of my relationship with them, as much as I hate to think about it. When I moved out to the country, I promised myself that I would be able to have as many pets as I liked since I have plenty of land and I put in an Invisible Fence to keep them safe and off the road.
At one point, I had 7 dogs and 3 cats. I have lost three dogs and one cat in the last ten years that I have lived here and I mourned each one. Even though, I still have plenty of company. Pet lovers will understand that each one is different and brings their own wonderful qualities to my life.
I was thinking about loss the other day because a friend lost her pet companion of many years. I asked her if she planned on getting another dog. She said that she couldn’t bear the thought. She’d had Dominique for 12 years and she felt it would be disrespectful to her memory to get another dog so soon. I asked her if she thought she would ever get another pet and she said maybe, but not anytime soon.
In talking with animal-lover friends, I’ve discussed this issue many times. My late husband’s parents lost their German Shepherd after 14 years and he went right out and got them another Shepherd puppy, within a few days. They wouldn’t take the puppy and he ended up giving it to a friend. I told him that they probably weren’t ready but he thought he was replacing Baron quickly to help their grief.
Opinions vary as to when is the right time to replace a lost companion, but, in my opinion, one needs at least six months before they consider getting a new companion to share your home. That gives time for grieving and healing. I realize that there are those who may never want another pet and those who want one right away and that’s fine. But, I think, we must respect our relationships with our beloved four-leggers and take time to respect and treasure our lost relationships before we begin another.
Holly Cawein Price lives in the country near Memphis, Tennessee, with four dogs and two cats. She is retired from the corporate world, where she held a management position for many years. Holly’s background is in Program Management and Interior Design.
Holly always wanted to be a novelist and, after her retirement in 2009, she began her journey. Holly wrote feature articles and reviews for Suspense Magazine for several years and now she is focused on honing her skills as a writer of romantic fiction. Holly is working on two different series, one with Trouble the Cat Detective, and one with Christie Costner, an interior designer. Each series takes place in small towns in the south, since that is what is most familiar.
Holly loves to travel with her cousin (and partner in crime) and she hopes that you will enjoy each of her series, soon to be released. Holly has many favorite people, but her most favorite are her grand-nephew and her four grand-nieces. She collects old books, antique furniture and antique jewelry. Holly also makes jewelry and is busy working on her family’s genealogy. Holly sews and does art projects and writes, writes, writes.