Whatever the circumstances, the loss of a beloved pet can be devastating.
Sometimes, even well-meaning friends can struggle to understand just how profound that grief can be. And, it can be hard to know who to turn to for support.
That’s why Petplan Charitable Trust has created a new resource on our website dedicated to pet loss. Here you’ll find a wealth of useful helplines as well as links to support organisations and other services. Some pet owners have also been kind enough to share their pet bereavement stories in the hope that you may find them helpful.
One such pet owner is Linda. Within the space of a few days, she lost both her mother and her beloved dog, Barney (main image). Here, she shares her moving story.
Barney had been a wonderful dog to me for 16.5 years
“I lost Barney, my 17- year-old rescue border collie/Jack Russell terrier cross (ex Wood Green), Barney, in December, 2011. He had been with me for 16.5 years since he was 6 months old.
He was suddenly taken seriously ill whilst I was up in Derbyshire with my sister for Christmas. We had to go to the emergency vets in Derby on Boxing Day and waited several hours, as they were understandably very busy. Barney kept collapsing and could not breathe properly. When we were finally seen by the vet, he was found to have fluid on his lungs. There was no hope of saving him, so I had to have him put to sleep. I cannot tell you how upset I was. He had been a wonderful dog to me over all those years. He had seen me through a severe head injury accident and was even allowed to visit me in hospital. Barney was my sole reason for getting better; I had to look after him.
In the space of 10 days I lost my dear dog and my dear mother
“To make matters worse, my elderly Mother was in hospital at the time. I went from the vets to visit her and tell her the news. She was naturally very upset, as she knew Barney very well, too. I left Barney to be cremated and I still have his ashes and collar. My Mother died several days later. She had been due to come home in the first week of January after her 88th birthday on the 2nd Jan but she took a turn for the worse. So, in the space of about 10 days, I lost my dear dog and my dear Mother…
“I had kept a leaflet from Our Special Friends, which I had picked up at a local pet service. I noticed that they provided “Pet Bereavement Services”. At that time, I had no knowledge of this. I didn’t know OSF existed. I rang the lady, Belinda Johnston and she came round to see me. She talked me through things over a couple of hours and was definitely instrumental in helping me come to terms with (not ‘get over’) these losses.”
Volunteering with my dog Meg for Our Special Friends
“After this, I asked if there was anything I could do and she said the charity was looking for volunteers. So, in 2012, I started volunteering, walking a lady’s dog and have carried on since then. What’s more, I also work in the office doing admin on the animal side. I was so grateful for the help I was given and would highly recommend their services to anyone who loses a pet.
“I have since lost a dog and a cat. Now, I only have one dog, Meg, who is also a volunteer for OSF. This is how I met her. I had rung my friend in Yorkshire, who has kennels. We had become great friends during my time living in the same village. I told her about losing Barney and Mother. She advised me she had had an abandoned Border terrier found just before Christmas. She said she was a sweet dog and it was unusual to find an abandoned Border. So, the day after Mother’s funeral, I drove to Yorkshire and collected Meg.”
Meg has repaid my adoption of her a thousand fold
“I called her Nutmeg, Meg for short. Since then, she has become a great friend and has been a volunteer for Our Special Friends since 2013. She visited a sick, elderly lady in a care home for 3.5 years. When she died last year, Meg and I visit another elderly lady and take her for a walk. These walks have improved this lady’s mobility hugely . We are still walking round the local park weekly.
“So, following the loss of Barney and Mother, I found Meg and she found me. Meg is doing a lot of good in society and has repaid my adoption of her thousand fold. I have now had her nearly 8 years and she is doing well.”
All images courtesy L Sadler
Are you struggling to cope with pet bereavement? Visit our online resource