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A Dog's Perspective
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Welcome to the Homewoods Memorial Page, a peaceful place where our beloved canine friends can live forever online and in our hearts. Losing a cherished pet can be a very difficult time. We wish you a healing heart...
In loving memory of Poppy Loo, the adorable pooch who lit up the lives of Becca Rosenberg and Adam Copeland, a substantial donation was made by Brian and Beth Yeh.
Why Dogs Don't Live Longer Than People
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, John were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old John to observe the procedure. They felt as though John might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. John seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. John, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
My Forever Friend
I know that it must be different,
Now that I am no longer here.
I realize how much I was loved
And how all of you did care.
I know it will be hard at first
When you look around for me.
Expecting to find me in my bed
Or beside my favorite tree.
Someday you will begin to see,
Although itíll take some time,
the happy times you shared with me,
the memories are yours and mine.
Iíll remember you, my family,
And how much you meant to me.
So please donít grieve and donít be sad,
It was just my time to leave.
I have done mostly what most men do
And pushed it out of my mind;
But I can't forget, if I wanted to
Four-Feet trotting behind.
Day after day, the whole day through..
Wherever my road inclined -
Four-Feet said, "I am coming with you!"
and trotted along behind.
Now I must go by some other round -
While I shall never find -
Somewhere that does not carry the sound
Of Four-Feet trotting behind.
If It Should Be
If it should be that I grow weak and
pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done
for this last battle cannot be won.
You will be sad, I understand, don't
let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day more than all the rest,
your love for me must stand the test.
We've had so many happy years,
what is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so,
the time has come, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend,
And please stay with me until the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see,
the kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail it's last has waved.
From pain and suffering I've been saved.
Please do not grieve it must be you,
who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years,
don't let your heart hold back the tears.
Coping With Pet Loss
by Debbie Moore
It's difficult to imagine a more sad occasion than when a cherished pet passes away. Whether from an illness, an accident or simply from old age, it seems that our time together has passed by in a heartbeat. All the love and joy that our pet once added to our lives suddenly seems to be gone - leaving a gigantic hole in our hearts, and we grieve as deeply and sincerely as we would grieve over the loss of a human family member. In some cases, even more.
Oftentimes, pet owners are placed in a position where they have to make a decision about euthanizing their pet. Veterinarians are caring professionals with special training in helping pet owners to cope with making a decision to put their pet to sleep, but despite this, most pet owners torment themselves with feelings of guilt and questioning whether they did the right thing.
Unfortunately, society has been slow to recognize the impact that losing a pet can have on our lives. We are seemingly expected to just shrug it off, turn up for work the next day, and carry on as if our hearts and souls aren't broken beyond repair. We're expected to go on living without the center of our existence, or to "get a new one", as if a pet can be replaced as easily as a pair of socks. Coping with losing your cherished pet can, indeed, be very difficult for every member of the family.
How do we cope when it seems like our lives will never again be the same? There is no easy answer, but the most important thing to remember is that you are grieving over the loss of a very important member of your family, and you need to allow yourself time to feel sad, cry, reminisce and to heal your heart.
It is extremely important to let the people around you know that you have experienced a profound loss in your life. Talk to your friends, family, co-workers and associates and explain that you are grieving and will need them to cut you some slack. Whether it means taking some time away from work, getting help with daily tasks, or just having an empathetic friend to talk about your feelings with, it is important that you create an environment where you will be treated with care while you are dealing with your loss. People who do not have pets may not have a full appreciation of what you are going through - be sure to let them know how much your pet meant to you.
Say a proper goodbye to your pet. This will help you to achieve closure and come to a place of acceptance over what has happened. Your goodbye can be as elaborate or as low-key as you like; a back yard memorial service for friends and family members (and their pets, of course!), a private candle burning ceremony, or just a simple, heartfelt prayer between you and God. If you are not religious, find a favorite photo of your pet and focus on it, while you tell your pet how much they meant to you and how much you will miss them.
Take special care in helping children deal with their feelings. Often children are the ones who suffer the most when a pet dies. It can be very helpful to tell them colorful, happy stories about where pets go when they pass away. It is also a great idea to remind them that their pet will always be alive and well in their hearts and in Pet Heaven. Helping your children to create a memorial craft such as a photo frame or refrigerator magnet as a tribute to their pet can be quite beneficial. There are also many books available to help kids deal with pet loss.
Allow yourself time to heal. Don't push yourself back into life's mainstream until you are ready. If you feel like crying, do it. Go into your bedroom or a private, quiet place, close the door, draw the blinds, and let the tears fall. Crying can be a very healing activity, and you won't cry forever - honest!
Find others who are going through the same thing and talk over your feelings with them. There may be pet loss support groups in your area - contact your local animal shelter for information. There are also many pet loss support resources online, so be sure to explore.
Pay tribute to your pet's memory by making a donation in their name to a worthy animal charity. There are many, many animal charities out there, from your local shelter to pet rescue. Many of these organizations subsist entirely on donations, so your help will be most gratefully accepted.
Finally, think about your pet often. When you feel sad and miss your pet, try and replace that feeling with a happy memory of the time you shared together. Eventually you will come to a place where the happy memories replace those feelings of loss and sadness, and you will rejoice in the special time that you and your pet were given. Keeping your pet's "things" in a place where you can take them out from time to time and hold them while you reminisce will help you to feel connected to your pet's memory. If you have a favorite photo of your pet, consider having it enlarged for framing, or even having a portrait painted from it. Many artists now specialize in affordable pet portraits, and will create a beautiful memorial portrait of your pet that you can cherish forever.
Rest in Peace, Tess and Orville.