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The Heartbreak of Losing Your Pet: Is It Worth It?

Updated on June 8, 2016
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Amber spends a lot of time staring at and talking to her poodle Charlie Chicken.

The Grief of Losing your Best Friend

Dogs have shorter lifespans than most humans, and it's always the saddest to see your true best friend go. Every corner of the house, every piece of furniture, every minute that passes, the shadow of your moments together lingers. The whole house feels somehow empty, but the hollowest place would be your heart. My Schnauzer—Whiskey—he suffered throughout the night. No vet's were open. He cried while I sang to him, not daring to touch him, lest I make his experience more painful. I wanted to believe he was going to be fine. I really did. The next day, I took him to the vet's and watched the vet give him a jab. I had to leave him there for the vet to try to cure his critical distemper (contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure). I tried not to think about it, as I leave for lunch, because I can't do anything to help. Later, I received a call, and these words I shall forever imprinted in my heart: "Whiskey passed away at 5 p.m." Right there in the car, I cried the hardest I have ever cried. Whiskey, whom I had fed, bathed for, and played with, dead. One cannot simply fathom the bitterness of the loss of a best friend who had loved me unconditionally everyday, regardless of how I treated him. If only I had sent him to the vet at the first signs of diarrhea, the first sight of blood in his defecation, his bloating abdominal. But everyday, he was so happy, he was so cheerful, I didn't think any suspicions would be valid. How selfish of me! Until the very last day, even when he had no strength to walk, his eyes stared at me, twinkly as always, but this time he wasn't looking at me with joy, he was pleading me with his eyes. He tried to get up and run towards into my open arms, like he had always did, but he couldn't. I still remember his cries of pain from that night. How much pain he must have been in.

my neighbor's elegant poodles
my neighbor's elegant poodles

Is Owning a Pet Worth the Heartbreak?

Most often than not, your dog is going to leave sooner than you do, and no matter how much your prepare yourself for it, you will still feel tremendous sorrow. Just by writing about the memories of Whiskey in the paragraph above, I had cried, and had to stop writing so that I could wipe the uncontrollable tears away. It's been more than 5 years, and only now I truly understand, pets are here to stay, regardless of when they leave. They stay forever in your heart.

One point in my life, I wondered about the point about having pets when you're going to end up heartbroken anyway. So does owning pets even do you good? My answer was a firm no, until one afternoon, I had a sudden flashback of The Little Prince's fox. A sentence I couldn't understand, until I did. When the fox said that he shall be sad that the Little Prince is leaving, the Little Prince asserted that their friendship has done the fox no good at all, but the fox disagreed. "It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." The Little Prince had a mop of golden hair, and a patch of wheat fields that used to mean nothing to the fox, now meant the world to him.

Love and heartbreak is a package deal, and for a great, great love like the love you have with a pet, you are expected to confront with a great, great heartbreak. But what is a short period of heartbreak compared to days, months, or years, of love you shared? Smile because it happened. Smile because you had the best friend you could ever ask for. Smile because you know you love it as much as it loved you. Smile because your best friend will stay forever in your heart.

My time with Whiskey, though only for a short 6 months, has done me good, because of the yellow Winnie the Pooh bolster, because of the games we played, because of the clothes I made for him which he so smugly pooped in.

Now I am happy with Charlie, my male poodle. He goes to the vet at the first signs of anomaly.

charlie sleeping
charlie sleeping

Don't Overlook any Symptoms in your Pet

The only thing we can do about the past is learn from it. Let my experience with Whiskey teach us a lesson. The next time abnormalities emerge in your pet's habits, such as defecation, excretion, physical changes, vomiting, consult a vet immediately. Don't allow a moment of neglect to strip your best friend away from your life.

Also, a little tip: take pictures of your pet. Lots of them. Heck, keep copies of them! Pictures of Whiskey were lost because of a crappy phone who suddenly decided to shut down forever. Don't repeat my mistakes. I learned them the hard way, and from time to time, I'd have to try to remember his face, so that I don't forget his grayish whiskers and sparkly eyes.


Yes, the heartbreak is worth it, a thousand times over.


Do you think the heartbreak is worth it?

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The Little Prince -- A classic full of metaphorical wisdom that you don't understand until you do!


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