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Coping with the loss of a beloved pet

Updated on February 1, 2016


No, not the gun. My dog. My missing, run away dog. Ruger wasn't just any dog. She was, is, my best friend. The way she smiles then sneezes afterwards. She is always getting into something. Trash, the kitty box, my sandwich I carelessly left sitting on my bed. She was a rescue. I'm not sure who rescued who. Sure, I took her from a bad home who was going to kill her, but I'm almost sure she rescued me. I was still in school when I first got her. My first rescue. Her nails were long, her coat was matted and she had a bad upper respiratory infection. I took the day off of school the next day and took her to the vet I took all of my animals to. They got her fixed up and she was good as new.

A few months ago, three exactly, she got out. Ruger has gotten out before, but she has always came back. One time, she got out of the fence by knocking a board down. I called for her and she came running back. That was in the summer. This time, she hasn't come back. I don't know where she is or who she's with. There is a lot of farm land around my area, she could be anywhere at this time. Where there is a lot of land, there is a lot of coyotes. I'm afraid she's gone for good. I've started coping with that. I can't talk for anyone else in my family, but it's hard. It is so, so very hard to cope with something like that. I promised to look out for her when I was holding her in the vet office the first time. I was the one who let her out to potty the night she went missing. I feel as if it's mainly my fault she's gone.

Here are some steps I've taken to start coping. I've started writing. I have written a lot these past few months. I've started watching the Youtuber, Markiplier a lot recently. He makes me laugh so hard sometimes I can't breath. It feels good to laugh. The night Ruger went missing, I knew I had to find her. I sat out on the tailgate of my truck for hours in the cold and rain, calling for her. My voice was so hoarse the next day, I couldn't even talk to my boss. I felt as if the world came crushing down on top of me. I couldn't laugh or have fun without feeling guilty about being warm and happy. I know it'll be okay. One day, We will be together again. Be it the afterlife or two years down the road I find her again.

Ruger's lost flyer poster.
Ruger's lost flyer poster.
My beautiful baby girl.
My beautiful baby girl.

Smokey Joe.

Smokey is a horse. She's a one of a kind horse. My first horse, the cause of many broken bones and bruises. We rescued Smoke from a bad situation. She was starved and standing in mud and muck all the way up to her belly. She was so scared of everyone. A few weeks later at my aunt's house, we all went up to see her. We tied her up and started brushing her. My little brother was probably four at the time and loved her. We turned our backs then couldn't find him. Turns out, Smokey loved her belly brushed. My four year old brother was sitting under her, brushing her belly while this crazy old mare slept. Mom knew she was meant for me.

Smokey took me to many shows and gave me a lot of good ribbons. The last few years of her life, she lived out in a pasture with all the grass she wanted, all the baths and all the grain she could eat. When she was about 27, she was diagnosed with COPD. It's a lung thing animals and humans can get. It's pretty scary. The last year she was alive, the winter was bad. It was so bad. The next year, we didn't want to put her through it again. So we made the tough choice to put her to sleep. Smokey went peacefully surrounded by family and love. She finally knew what love was. Finally. When I got word of it, I was devastated. I didn't eat, I didn't shower. I didn't even go to school for a few days. My friends were so worried about me. They would stop by every day after school and hang out with me. I finally started coping after almost a year. I started taking riding lessons. I started working at various horse barns playing with their horses. I started living again. It's never easy losing a loved one. Be it human or animal.

My old mare, Smokey. (AKA Forked Feature.)
My old mare, Smokey. (AKA Forked Feature.)

Here are some ways to cope with loss of a pet.

  • Allow yourself time.

Don't expect yourself to be okay right away. It isn't possible. Treat your emotional wound like an open wound. Nurse it.

  • Write about it.

Whether it be in a journal, note book, tissue or turning it into a hobby like I did. Let yourself be emotional and turn it into art.

  • Talk to people.

Call your vet. They may be able to help find a support group if you're bad off. Talk to friends, family, even strangers will listen.

Death is hard. Make sure if you have little kids, that they understand. Don't lie to them. Don't be to rough about it either. They may think that the pet is coming back. Let them know what's going on, if they're old enough to understand.

How did you cope with the loss of your pet?

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A video I made long ago..


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