(250) 245-3165 hollyjeans@shaw.ca

The grief and loss when a family pet member dies. Into our hearts creep the most unusual creatures that grab us and we fall hopelessly in love. Such is the case with a tiny miniature pinscher puppy name Joss. I received her as a gift from a fellow Canadian horse owner, Dan, and I loved her from the moment I met her. She came to live with us January of 2001 at six months of age. I first met her at 3 months of age and she was very personable and was very drawn to me. But she was a runner and Dan who was going to keep her, lived close to a busy road. So regretfully he parted with her. She began her life with me, a busy psychologist, coming everywhere with me. She came to work, sat in on most of the sessions with clients and became a true therapy dog allowing people who had trouble being touched, a safe place to touch. She had a very soothing nature and helped my clients who had challenges with emotional regulation become calm.

She left us in April 2015 after a three year battle with cirrhosis of the liver and pancreatitis. She was becoming crippled with arthritis and on constant medication. She was almost 15 years old when she left us. The grief has been ongoing for me for the last two years due to the liver disease diagnosis as I watched a formerly playful dog who loved to eat, grow thin and pick at her food listlessly and struggle to climb stairs. The complete loss of her was only mediated by Patricia Gauthier of Patapin’s Miniature Pinschers in Ontario. I spoke with her when Joss was first diagnosed and love for her first MIN PIN who died, resonated with me. I made a decision to purchase another puppy from her when Joss passed away.

The grief I felt was similar to the loss of a dear family member more intense than I could have imagined. Part of the reason that I decided to pen this essay was to let prospective clients know that the grief from losing a much beloved animal is similar in intensity to the loss of a human family member. The need for support and understanding from family and friends is also needed at this time. But our society does not always understand the depth of grief and loss that a person who loses a pet or pet family member as I like to state, undergoes.

For some individuals who have lost a family pet member the decision to purchase another puppy is put off for awhile or for some the decision to purchase or adopt is much sooner. Nether way is right or wrong, only different. Make sure that you make an informed decision and wherever possible either adopt or purchase from a reputable breeder who has excellent ethics.