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Preparing to Say Goodbye
Nadia Crighton shares her personal experience as she gets ready to farewell an old faithful friend.
It’s never an easy thing as a pet owner. But it is the hard reality; that most of us will outlive our beloved animals. Many pet owners can easily bring themselves to tears thinking of the dogs, and cats, they have lost along the way.
From those childhood furry friends that would run endlessly beside you, to the teenage companions who were always around to support hormone driven-tears caused from young friendship woes. Then there’s those ‘first’ pets you own as independent young adults, the ones who really prepare you for life as a parent and all the responsibility that comes along with caring for another life. Loosing these pets is like leaving a part of your past behind. A loss I’m beginning to prepare myself for. The memories of all the pets we have lost, will live on, and still have the power to move us in ways only a pet owner would understand.
Now as a fully-grown and aging adult, I have personally had my fair share of goodbyes. With all of them taking a tiny piece of my heart as they made their final journey to that giant park in the sky.
As I type this today I’m once again preparing to say goodbye to an old friend who has seen his fair share of my blood, sweat and tears, my success, my love and my life. Mr Rupert, as he is affectionately known, is a 16-year-old Australian Mist. He’s outlived all of our ‘first’ pets we have had the pleasure of owning as a growing family. But today, as his aging body, frail with pain and sickness begins to take over it’s now up to me as a responsible pet owner, to make the call that enough is enough.
Those dreaded words that fall from the veterinarians mouth has made the choice easier… “There is nothing else we can do for him but bring him in again and we can have a chat.” I know everyone who has lost a pet, knows the agony in this decision. But the reality is there is no magic pill that can turn by beloved Mr. Rupert back to his former years. He’s now completely deaf, is suffering from kidney disease and is battling asthma and chronic coughs. His quality of life is diminishing quickly, and sadly, through tear stained cheeks, it’s time to ready myself to say goodbye.
Now comes the time to prepare myself, my husband and my four young children on how we can say farewell, celebrate his life and ensure we never forget our little “Rupee Doopee”. This will also be my youngest childrens’ first encounter with death, so being prepared is very important. As their mother it’s important I walk them through the grief process and make them feel secure and safe with the feelings that this event will evoke. Mr. Rupert is my four-year-old little girl’s best friend. He is her shadow, and sleeping companion. The pain she will experience will be difficult. For me…loosing a long-time friend and watching my children in pain…will be excruciating as a parent and pet lover.
Writing this is also therapeutic. I can only hope that these words can help others who also face these tough decisions in the best interest of their pet.
- Firstly I’m going to find some lovely pictures of Mr. Rupert and have them framed, one for each child to have next to their bed.
- Find a lovely commemoration stone so we have a place in the garden.
- I have made the appointment at a time when all the children will be home, so they can comfort each other when I come home and break the news.
- Dust off The Sunshine Cat by Miriam Moss and Lisa Flather. This book was instrumental for my older children when we lost our beloved Siamese. It’s great to read to the little ones to help them understand their emotions.
So with all this in place, and the appointment booked. There is only one thing left to do. Enjoy the last few days I have left with my ‘old boy’. Give loads of cuddles, and even though he can’t hear my voice anymore, lots of praise for the endless purrs during the tough times, and the companionship during the lonely ones…and more importantly for enlightening our lives with his beautiful nature and awesomeness. The vet put it perfectly “Mr. Rupert is just one awesome dude…”
Goodbye Mr. Rupert. Thank-you for coming into our crazy lives. Your little paw prints shall forever stay on our hearts.