House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
inspired by:

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

They Aren't Ours to Keep

Right, you are either going to be one of Them That Get It or, Them That Don't.

I think of all my posts, this will be the one that will either speak to your heart OR,
have you scratching your head thinking "what is WRONG with these people?".

That's ok.  You Head-Scratchers can toddle off for a sec - but, do come back later, normal service will resume soon enough.


OK, so now we are alone ..... let's talk.

Let's talk about saying goodbye to our non-human friends or family members.

Unsurprisingly (given my childhood ie Wherever I Am ...&, not really coincidentally, subsequent life-style choice ie Write About Your Passion ), I have had much experience (sadly) in loss of this nature - starting from childhood, right the way up to last year.
My Folks get it
And they gave it to me.

2012.  The hideous year in which we lost 4 family members (3 dogs - old age, congenital health issues and ghastly accident & 1 cat - suspected shot, by someone I hex, daily).

I have said in the past that I believe very strongly in giving children the opportunity to grow and live with pets (doesn't matter what species).

This is Ollie.
He gets read to.
He pretends he is interested.
He seldom is.
He is a polite dog.
There are a myriad of joys, blessings and lessons that children can get from having a pet.

Yes yes yes, the kids get all the benefits & the old folks get all the poo-clearing & the bills.

Deal with it.  You the grown-ups. 
Our Gloria.
Only knew life in a cage.
Spent last 5 months of her life with us.
Left us, finally knowing
the deep joy of sofas & cuddles

Thiiiiiiiink of the liiiiiiiiittle chil'ren.

One of the least obvious, but VERY valuable, is the opportunity to address death & loss, in a safe way.
Hopefully, before they have to encounter it within the Human Family or Friend sphere.

 Things live.  We love them.  They love us. Inevitably, though, sad times come.  Doesn't diminish the good times.  In some ways it makes them more special.

These were tough things to explain to the Household 6 year Boy.  But, we did.

He was (& still is, at times) sad but he knows what happened.

Through my degree (Education & Biology) and then, subsequent research on helping adults (& children) with Pet Bereavement, I learnt a number of important things.

The most important, I think, is to use the words.  YOU gotta be brave.  No one digs using the 'D' word but, this is an opportunity to help your kid, so time to man up.

Say 'died'.  Not 'went to sleep' - potentially, trying to avoid 'the word' can give kids the fear of falling asleep, bed, having an injection themselves etc etc.


Talking to Children about death of a pet - here, there's all sorts of stuff out there for you to have a look if you want to.


I don't want this whole thing to be about The Kids because when you are a Grown-Up, losing a pet (Species Irrelevant) hurts like HELL too.

There is no skirting around the issue.  No getting away from it.

It isn't simply the loss of the physical  presence of a much-loved furry/feathery/scaly buddy- sometimes we mourn too for the severing of the connection with a former life.

  • Perhaps your cat predated your spouse.
  • Perhaps your budgie was a pet that you shared with a room-mate that has now moved away.

Now that creature is no longer physically present, you feel your connection with a previous life is also finally ended.


Sometimes, the loss of a pet reminds us as to what an emotional rock their presence in our lives has been.

  • Maybe that dog joined your household as a pup in a different country, moved around the world with you been a constant in a life full of upheavals.
  • Maybe your horse, acquired, finally, as an adult, returned you on a daily basis to that Pony-Mad Little Girl from *ahem* decades ago.
    (a phase that everyone, btw, reassured your parents you would grow out of!)

OR .....

It does not have to be anything like any of those things.

Perhaps you just really REALLY miss your friend.

Because a Friend is what these things are, to us, The Ones That Get It.

And, as much as it hurts when they leave us, I, for one, am so glad that I Got It.

And finally,

The Rainbow Bridge*
A long time ago I read something which I found very helpful.

A concept to meditate on (in between all the gulping sobs, snot-catching and eye-dabbing) which I, personally have found very calming.

(Note: I paraphase and have added my own take on it all)

Simply, these entities are not ours to keep.
They have their own journeys to follow, their own paths to follow.
As do we.
We are blessed to have been able to travel along together, for a while, but ultimately, our respective roads will branch.
This is true for all of us, regardless of hairiness, scaliness or number of legs.

They are not ours to keep.  That bit, in particular, feels right.

So, when the time comes, we must let them go & wish them well. 

*Bloody poem wrecks me.  You have been warned 


  1. Very wise. I like to think of those who have died as being back down the road. They stopped there, I kept on going.

  2. Thanks a lot made me cry! But I do agree with you 100%!

  3. My husband and I want a pet but we are having a hard time deciding one. I think we each want to replace the animals we've lost. He tends to only like the cats that looked liked his old one (fat-who likes fat cats?!?) and I lean towards black Labs as when I divorced my first husband I couldn't take Max (my dog) with me.
    I know we will find a furry friend to adopt at some point but for now I just enjoy looking at them!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...