To All The Pets We’ve Lost Before
I didn’t want to ever cover this subject, but it is an important part of the job. The recent loss of a doggy friend inspired me to do this.
Now. I work at a doggy day care. Everyday that I work I see dogs in their happy place. All day long they’re doing whatever they want (within reason.) They’re playing. They’re playing with each other, they’re playing with the staff, they’re playing in the water bowl, they’re playing with a ball, they’re playing with their own tail, they’re playing with a spot on the floor, they’re playing with anything they can get their paws on. They’re barking! They’re barking at each other, they’re barking at staff, they’re barking at their own tail, they’re barking at a reflection, they’re barking at a spot on the floor, they’re barking at nothing, they’re barking, and they’re happy. They're making best friends, sending and receiving all the love, and living their best lives! Most dogs understand that they’re going to be picked up by the ones they love most, and it’s these moments that really tug at the heart strings on a daily basis. I get to see the relationships that dog and owner have formed. I get to see the reactions when nervous dogs who don’t know what they’re going to find when they enter the lobby finally see their owner and their whole demeanor changes. I get to talk to the owners about their dog’s crazy personality, all the funny, or horrible things they do. I get to see that love every time I work. I mean, It’s so uplifting!
Working as a pet sitter about doubles all those heartwarming moments. Knowing the dogs in their own home, seeing them in their element, getting to know their quirks, getting to see the crazy, funny, or horrible personality traits in person, creating real bonds; it’s one of the best things!
As you may have gathered, there are a lot of happy moments going on. But that’s not all that’s happening. Doggy daycares and pet sitting services are just that: services. They exist to benefit the owner and to benefit the dog. But the staff is also affected. We create bonds, we fall in love with our furry clients, and at bad times; we feel the losses that inevitably happen.
So today, I just want to give some recognition to the pets we’ve lost this year. For my first year, I didn’t think the number would be so high.
This is Onyx. He was 18 when he passed away, so I would say he was very fortunate. I only knew Onyx for a few short months but he still had a funny kitty personality. One time I caught him sniffing in my taco bell bag which was on the table. I didn’t see him get up there but I didn’t think he would be able to jump like that anymore! One time I couldn’t find him anywhere. I looked in every spot that a cat could fit in the whole house and I couldn’t find him. I ended up texting his owner to find out his favorite hiding spots and I eventually found him in the laundry room sink patiently waiting for me to turn the water on so he could get a drink of fresh water. He was cool, calm, collected, and just loved to relax and enjoy the day. I could learn a thing or two from him, and I will miss him.
This is Layla. Layla was 11 years old and passed away from an unknown splenic tumor that ruptured. It was very sudden and unexpected. Layla loved playing with her Doberman sister, and being the boss. She was definitely the boss. Even if her sister wanted to do something else, she would do whatever Layla was doing instead. She was very stubborn on walks, and we usually ended up walking 15-20 minutes longer than I ever intended. Which was annoying for about 1 second, and then it’s just funny, and I would tell her that it’s ok, you’re the boss, we can do whatever you want, pet her head, and then keep walking. Layla was a dear sweet soul, I will miss her for sure.
This is Chester. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year with Mr. Chester. He was one of my first regular clients and I am forever grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and love him, and help care for him. He was 16. Sixteen! Being so close to Chester, his owners kept Lauren (his biggest fan) and I updated on all things Chester. So when our boy inevitably took a turn for the worst, we were there. We were by his side, petting him, talking to him, and exchanging stories in the small sad room at the vet, all of us crying. It was hard but I’m so glad his sweet owner’s let us join them in saying goodbye. Chester taught me a lot, and I’m finding myself wishing he could live for another 15 years. He was just the embodiment of companionship and innocence, and a very good boy. But he lived a good long life and everyone that loved him feels lucky and grateful.
I would also like to mention a few dogs that passed away this year that I never had the opportunity to care for via Petcheck but still bonded with and loved during many hours spent at daycare.
Sophie the newfoundland, only 3, they think she threw a clot. Gone way too soon.
Kobe the cocker spaniel, surprise lung cancer that took his life shortly after his diagnosis. Sophie the Great Dane, she lived a good 9/10 years, and was just the sweetest. Oscar the dachshund, always so full of love and so happy. Maggie the Australian shepherd, old age took her, but she will live on in the memories of those who loved her. Arnie the cat, old age took him as well. I didn't get to know him in a healthy state, but he still loved his life.
I am just so grateful for the opportunity to meet and get to know all these lovely dogs, and I know those of us that work with them feel these losses deeper than we ever expect, despite our mostly happy jobs.
So to all the pets we've lost before: you provided more love and comfort, more laughs and tears, and more joy than we can ever even express. You were all angels and forever will be.