It has been some weeks since I’ve thought of making a contribution to Pawjourr and I’ve finally plucked up enough courage to touch on a sensitive topic that’s really close to my heart. But before I begin, a gentle disclaimer that this story is not meant to tell or prepare you on how and what to feel, as in my opinion, no amount of preparation will ever be enough to deal with the loss of your beloved pet.
This is Junior, my little Bichon Frise who was always up for an afternoon snuggle – the bestest companion I had been longing for since before 2009.
I still remember the day I got him.
As though shouting to us “Notice me!”, a white ball of fluff jumped excitedly as he saw us in the pet store. My mum and I instantly fell in love and the moment I sat in the car with Junior in my arms, I knew my life was never going to be the same again. ❤️
Junior was a quiet little boy who didn’t really enjoy interacting with other doggos. He was like a little old man, always minding his own business and chilling out around us as we go about our daily activities. He enjoyed his squeaky toys and would occasionally come over to me for mini tug-o-war sessions.
Junior was ALWAYS around – through the late-night studies, family celebrations, and festivities, he was always there. Junior was really the sibling I never had. Milestones after milestones, I could definitely count on him to give me a really big comforting hug, and as strange as it sounds, he’s always one of the first few “people” I shared my good news with.
One thing I missed for sure was hiding food from him. Where there is the sound of plastic bags, there was Junior. 🤣 Someone, please teach me how to resist dem puppy eyes. 🥺
In March 2019, Junior left our family.
His deterioration which led to his death went relatively fast and came highly unexpected. Everything happened in the span of 4 days and it was agonizing.
It was truly a roller coaster of emotions in the days he was admitted, I was not prepared nor did I expect to lose him when we did. I hadn’t the slightest idea that recovery was not in his books and hence was not able to process or accept the loss. It was absolutely mind numbing that sometimes I wish I hadn’t brought him to the vet, just so our time together would extend. (Although I know I did the right thing, reducing his pain and suffering)
When the loss is traumatising, recovering is often complicated.
Without his little paws tapping the marble floors and occasional whines and barks, the house was unbearably quiet. Unable to face the silence alone, I purposely kept myself busy and stayed out a little longer. Every little thing reminded me of Junior and weeks following his death were just filled with sleepless nights and tears. I remember thinking to myself how nobody told me about this agony I would have to go through as a pet owner.
As much as I hate to admit this, the painful truth is that our pets don’t last forever.
It’s been over a year since I lost my best friend but not a day goes by where I do not miss him. I still cry at the thoughts of him from time to time. Goodbyes are heckin tough but I would do it all again in a heartbeat (which was why I decided to adopt Dexter but that’s a story for another day).
So as someone who has lost her bestest friend, here are some things that I found useful and would like to share:
Firstly, don’t be pressured to “move on” or “let go” – There really isn’t a reason why you should be expected to move on quickly. Give yourself time to grieve and reach out for comfort if you need to. It was a traumatic experience for me and the last thing I wanted was someone to tell me to move on so please do not offer such advice if you know someone going through such a situation. Just be there for them and lend them your shoulder to cry on.
It’s ok to find yourself going through good and bad periods – Some days are simply harder! I could be dealing with Junior’s passing really well one day, and be hit by a truck of emotions the next. But that’s fine, acknowledge your grief and allow yourself to express it but most importantly, reach out and seek support when you have to.
Lastly, amidst all the cuteness and silly moments with your furkids, know that the process of aging and death is inevitable. Spend and cherish the time you have with them as they had with you till now. Though it would eventually come to an end, the joy and sheer bliss of having met them are beyond the devastation that follows. So do not shy away or be afraid! I know Junior and I were meant to meet and he has been and always will be irreplaceable in my heart. ❤️