The loss of a pet is the loss of family

Published 10:24 pm Saturday, September 26, 2009

The loss of a family member is hard and painful. Most of us have experienced the deep grief of losing someone dear to us. The death of a pet can also be a traumatic event for a family to endure.

Many people who do not have pets may think the thought of grieving over a pet seems silly and almost ridiculous.

If you never had a special bond with an animal you probably would not understand. It does not take long to build that bond and it lasts their entire life.

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Pet loving people understand. We share our lives with our pets. We celebrate with our pets, we cry with our pets, and if you are like us, we even sleep with our pets. Someone might say that I am putting pets on the same level as people. I am not. I do not feel that pets are equal with people, but I am saying that pets play a significant role in our lives.

I have heard it put like this: Dogs are not our whole life, but they do make our lives whole. To some, their dogs are the whole life. A pet may be all the family some have.

Pets bring a love to our life that is limitless. Dogs are always happy to see you. They are always forgiving and they never hold grudges.

They comfort you when you are down and they are always faithful. We, as people, can learn many lessons from dogs. Dogs are not judgmental nor do they discriminate. It seems that God has blessed this world with pets to show how we should act towards our fellow man.

The last few weeks we have had several clients pass away. When the owners called to inform us of their loss, I could definitely hear the pain in their voices.

As they fought back tears they told me of how much they will miss their beloved friend.

It seems that dogs only live long enough to become really attached to them. A sympathy card we have at the shop says that if our lives are but a whisper, theirs are but a sigh in the winds of time.

I can understand the love they have for their furry companions. We love our dogs as much as anyone.

Not only are they companions to us, they are also co-workers. Our three dogs — Gracie, Sena, and Boaz — come to work with us everyday. We call them our greeters and they do a fantastic job.

Pets’ lives are short, too short. Loss teaches us that. Loss teaches many things. Grief awakens us. We should not take for granted what we have.

We need to enjoy life and the people and pets in it. Let us not wait until they are gone to realize and appreciate what they bring to our lives.

This past week my family experienced the great loss of a great person. This article is dedicated to my awesome Grandmother, Opal Barker. She will always be missed.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker and Kate Barker own The BARKer Shop pet grooming in Ironton.