When you adopt a pet, it becomes a huge part of your life. They basically become another family member. You buy them things, you take them to the vet, you take so many photos of them (that you later post on social media—be honest), you take them with you when you move, you celebrate their birthdays, and you love them. Pets create a very unique and special bond with you, to the point that every family member has a different connection to them. That is why it hurts so much when they pass away, when they are no longer in your life.
There are some people who do not understand the meaning of the relationship with a pet. To them, they are just animals and they should not receive any special treatment or be grieved. People who believe this have never truly experienced the love of a pet. They haven’t experienced the wagging of a tail after a long day of not seeing you, the soft purring of pure happiness, or any other expression of love from a pet.
But then there are the pet lovers. Those who have been so lucky to be loved by a pet or two know that “I love you” can be barked, meowed, or oinked, among other beloved languages. Pet lovers know that on sad days there will be a fur ball next to them to remind them that they’re not alone. They know that best friends can be found eating from the floor when they accidentally drop some food. Because pets may come in many sizes and shapes, but they all leave a huge mark on their owners.
A pet is an unconditional source of love for any owner. They are a best friend, but they sometimes also act as a sibling or a child. There are plenty of times when pets become your most loyal confidant; you know your secrets will always be safe with them. As a pet owner, you feel like no matter how much you think you are failing, your pets will always love you. In the eyes of your pet you are perfect, and that makes you feel so much better when everything else around you goes wrong. Pets are love, confidence, loyalty, devotion, happiness, admiration, a support system, and a family.
Then one day your worst fear becomes a reality: your pet dies. It can happen unexpectedly or with months of warning. No matter what, their death will always hurt profoundly. You never expect them to leave you. For some reason, owners tend to believe their pets are immortal, that they will grow old by your side and you will never say goodbye. Sadly, that is not how it goes, and one day you find yourself crying over your best friend.
It’s hard to find comforting words. Death is never easy, and the death of your pet affects you differently. It hurts to lose your most loyal companion, knowing you will never see them again, and that they will not be waiting for you at home. That a part of you is now alone. But one thing is certain: you will remember your pet for the rest of your life. The memories you created together will carry you through the grieving process—and through that, they will live on forever.
If you are grieving the loss of a pet, The Rainbow Bridge Poem might bring you some peace and closure during this difficult time (which you can read here). And above all, remember to take the time to grieve them, be sad, be angry, cry, scream, and do anything that will help you get through this rough patch.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.