Losing a Life Long Pet is Never Easy by Jamie Gilcig – September 11, 2014

jg2CFN – Having a pet die for some is like losing a child.   While I’m not trying to directly compare the emotional crush, it  can be devastating.

This past month I have had three friends, or two friends and a stalker, (let’s not get semantical) lose their beloveds.    We’re talking life long dogs and cats.

I live with three seniors right now.

Fitzy & Sam July 2013Sam is either 22 or 24.  He was 8 or 10 when I adopted him nearly 15 years ago.  He was going to be put down in a shelter for being anti-social.

He’s a weird cat.  He didn’t know how to play or what catnip was when I brought him home and he’s a fierce cat, humping my other male and chasing Mel when she was a 7 week old puppy.


To start with a little fuzzy lump  ball and experience what is close to being 14 years of an amazing experience is heart breaking for me.

Honestly while I intellectually understand that her days are now numbered and how lucky this past year has been, emotionally I can’t believe that fairly soon I won’t see her fur around the house, or hear her snorts and snores when she sleeps.  When it’s cold It’ll feel weird not to  have her digging in for warmth or getting between myself and my girlfriend in bed.

I won’t have her nudging me with her nose or woofing at squirrels three blocks away.

Ooh what did Melly doA huge chunk of my life will be gone.

Yesterday a friend told me she was afraid to tell me about her dog passing because of Mel; but she was still in shock herself.     She even said someone had asked if they wanted to sell her house to them because they thought she wouldn’t want to live there any longer.

People don’t understand that for most lifetime pet owners losing their pets is like losing a family member and how big a hole that leaves.

Another shared how their vet showed up at their home to put their long time pet down.  The dog had lost its back legs and could barely lift its head; but they still ordered pizza and let her have a last feast.  She left this world with a full tummy and a lot of joy.

You tube is now littered with last day videos of owners and their pets.   I personally can’t handle those.     Heck I can barely handle writing this piece.    Each day I focus on spending a chunk with Melly.    She deserves it and I think part of the reason she’s made it this far has been the extra care I give her.   She’s on Metacam, which costs nearly $200 per bottle; but frankly has been worth every penny.  She gets massages and I cook most of her food from scratch.

mel & fitzy snoozing aug 20 2014She has good days and bad days; like most of do as we get old and ill.

She still has her moments and plays.  She still loves to eat.   She tried to chase a squirrel in the yard; but it was a weak gallop that drained her.

Her little bro from another mo, Fitzy, keeps her young too. If the big guy upstairs allows I’m hoping for Mel to make it to 15 which would make for one very old Rotty.

butch 2013

Butch is 15.  He’s a chunky cat.   It’s funny how cats change over the years.  Butch has now become a big suck.  Cats and dogs may not replace children, but they don’t end up in jail, and you don’t have to pay for college or university for them.     They don’t really ask for much, and they tend to give what so many fail to value in their lives.

To those who have lost what really amounts to their best friends this year, hang in there.   We have memories.  We’ve had shared lives.  We’ve had the gift that was created when man domesticated animals.

For those of you who have lost a pet this year, or last you have my utter condolences and for those, like me, dealing with the last chapter’s of the great stories that have been our beloved pets……

A Pet’s Prayer

We may never fill those holes in our lives;

but for whatever amount of time we’ve had them those holes have been filled.

And pain should keep me from my sleep, If it should be, that I grow frail and weak,

Then you must do what must be done

For this, the last battle, can’t be won.

You will be sad, I understand.

Don’t let your grief then stay your hand,

For this day, more than the rest,

Your love and friendship stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years

What is to come can hold no fears.

You’d not want me to suffer, so,

When the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend only,

 Stay with me to the end,

And hold me firm and speak to me,

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will see

It is a kindness you do to me

Although my tail its last has waved

From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

Don’t grieve it should be you,

Who decides this thing to do,

We’ve been so close, we two, these years

Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

Smile – for we walked together,

For a little while.


  1. Excellent article Jamie. People who don’t have pets never understand the loss.

  2. Author

    Hugger it’s very frustrating to see our shelters filled with animals that people simply have failed. People have to understand before adopting that cute puppy, kitten, or bunnie, that it’s a life long responsibility.

  3. Agreed 100%. It’s not just the good times. I’ve always picked up rescue / shelter dogs when the time arises.

  4. Oh my God.. Jaime, when I read your headline I thought Mel had passed and my heart sank. Was ready to come over to offer condolences and assist in any way you might need.
    Read further and wheww, my heart lifted.
    Say hi to Mel for me and give her a treat.

  5. Had Gerry’s response too with the headline. Sweet tickles to your senior babies. They’re among the lucky ones

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