Dear Abby: You gave some nice advice to ďAfraid of the Loss,Ē who wrote concerning the impending death of a beloved pet. I think your suggestion of a support group is helpful, but having lost a pet I had for 16 years, I have experienced the deep pain this man will feel.
Adding a second pet to his home while his pet is still alive often energizes an older pet. When the time comes, it will help the human to have another loving pet to help with the grieving.
As I learned, only time was able to take the hurt to a place where I could think of him without tears. Keeping the ashes of a pet can be comforting, whether you choose to bury them later or tuck them away in your home.
Most important is having a plan for when that moment comes so you automatically know what needs to be done. It really helped to have all the details of his final moments thought out so I felt in control.
I wouldnít have missed the love of my dog even knowing the pain that has to come in the end. Itís something that should be on everyoneís bucket list.
Cathy in California
Dear Cathy: My thanks to you and all the readers who sent heartfelt letters supporting ďAfraid.Ē Itís easy to see why dogs are called manís best friend because of all the love, affection, entertainment and companionship they give us, and why we only want the best for them in this life and after. Read on:
Dear Abby: Your pet is your child. Anyone who doesnít understand that isnít worth worrying about when the loss occurs. Will it hurt? Of course. But the pain does ease in time.
When my first dog died, I spoke with a grief counselor at a veterinary college. It didnít make my pain disappear, but it helped me understand it more. Enjoy every moment you have together and accept the unconditional love your pet has given you. You WILL get through it.
Deb in Belmont, Mich.
Dear Abby: I work at a senior retirement community, and the residents have a Halloween party each year. In the past, there were prizes for the best costumes. But, last year they stopped giving prizes because one of the residents is a professional artist and costume maker, and the association felt it would be unfair to have him compete.
This year it was decided not to hold the contest at all. The residents are disappointed. How can they continue to have the costume contest and include the professional?
Dressed Up in Louisiana
Dear Dressed Up: Ask the artist/costume designer to be the judge.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.