Until you have a pet(for me specifically, a dog) I’m don’t think you can truly understand what love they bring. Other animals share a lot of love, but I’m going to talk about dogs, because that is the pet I currently have. I have a lab mix named Molly. She was born on November 8, 2005. She is 10 years old, and here comes the sad part…she probably won’t make it to 11. She is the only pet I’ve had for these 10 years and she has helped me with more than you can imagine. I have friends who don’t understand how much I love my dog, and they think I love her a little too much. (My best friend’s dad doesn’t cry during the ASPCA commercials. So he’s pretty heartless when it comes to animals.) Anyways, back to my dog. She was the runt of the group so she still has puppy like features. Her siblings all look more their age. She is full of life, people never know that she is so old. Maybe that’s why it was such a shock when my parents called me with the news. Just last week I had spent the night at a friend’s dorm. The night before what full of laughter and memories. I came back to my dorm in a generally happy mood. That was when my phone rang. I could tell something was wrong by the tone of my dad’s voice. He sounded close to tears. “Molly…uhm..Molly has..cancer.” Tears. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing my Molly. I already had a hard time leaving her when I left for college. I didn’t like thinking that she could decide to go…and I might not be there. He explained to me the details, but I wasn’t listening too much. He said there was some medicine, but it would only lengthen her time for a couple of weeks. She wasn’t going to survive. We just had to make her last few weeks comfortable. I cried the whole day. I called my two best friends (because they had dealt with this and also they’re my best friends) and I cried the entire time. My friend in college met me for lunch and I told her what had happened. She doesn’t have a pet, but usually she is pretty sympathetic. Not that day. I don’t know what it was, but there was no sympathy. She seemed to think I was crazy for being sad. It was just a dog.
A word of advice: It’s NEVER just a dog. Never tell someone that. To tell them it is JUST a dog, is completely unsympathetic. Losing a pet, is like losing a friend. Dogs release the same endorphins when they see their owners that we do when we are in love. Maybe some people don’t connect to their pet the same way many people do, but I was very connected with Molly. She slept in my room with me, and if I wasn’t there she would sleep by my door. When I moved when I was 12, she was my stability. She seemed to be the only the thing that was the same. She gave me comfort. When I struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts (a subject for another time) she can tell and she sits with me. Dogs are more than JUST a dog. They are friends and they are in love with their owner. They long to be with you. To lose that…is unbearable.
Molly is still around as I write this, but I am in college and she is at home. Everyday I fear that I will get the call that she decided it was time to go. It could happen any day. Walking into Target or any other store with a pet section hurts me. It kills me that I won’t be able to bu her a new collar or dog bone. She won’t be running up to me when I open the door to come home. She won’t be with me when I feel like ending it all. She will be gone. And I’m sorry to post such a sad story, but there is a lesson to this.
Dogs are lovely animals. Whether you get to have one or not, I want you to know that they are not just pets. Suffering with the loss of a pet is depressing. Never mock anyone for crying or locking themselves up. They are allowed to grieve. Just because you might not understand, does not mean that it isn’t painful. Just…be there for them. They lost a comforter and that’s what they need. It’s not just a dog, a cat, or any pet. It is a friend that was unable to stay around long enough…