grieving_dog_pets_at_funeralTouching and convincing STORY on why pets should have a place in your goodbye plans! Dog’s owner dies suddenly, dog doesn’t eat or sleep for ten days, exhibits all the canine-applicable signs of grief. Dog goes to the funeral home, peers into the casket, goes home, eats ravenously and plays again.

If I do toot my own little pet-less horn, from the get-go I’ve been telling people who are pet lovers to please consider their pets in their goodbye plans! I’ve never even had a dog (or cat), yet it just seems obvious to me that they would mourn their owner’s (best friend!)’s disappearance. That they would actually (kind of? sort of? on some level?) grasp the concept of acknowledging the loss is stunning to me. Yet clearly that is what happened here, no?

It seems almost kooky to say, but what else would this be? That the mourning dog regained his appetite and normal playfulness immediately after seeing his owner one last time is compelling evidence. I’m torn between “AMAZING!!!!” and “Duh.”

If you’re a pet owner — go all out, my friend, and make sure your beloved is included in your sendoff festivities. At the very least, make sure they get some extra lovin’ and attention.

And if you’re arranging a goodbye for someone who had a pet, figure out some way for the pet to be involved. Assume, don’t wonder, that the doggie or kitty (or ferret, bunny, or whatever the exotic-else pet they had) can sense and understand even subtle communication, whether it be words, touch, or mental telepathy. 😉 Allowing the pet to be present may be all that’s necessary — and that might not normally happen unless you’re intentional about it.

Give them a place in the sendoff, because not only will the furry survivor likely benefit, but it’ll be one more honor and gift you gave to your human: not forgetting or overlooking this pet that meant so much to them.

PS and total non sequitur: As I was writing this post, the Cranberries’ song Linger came on the radio, reminding me of the sobering shock of Dolores O’Riordan’s sudden death. None of us knows how long we have.

And one more thing… kudos to this British Columbia funeral home for allowing, or possibly even encouraging, this! Remember: it’s your goodbye ritual, do what you need, and never be afraid to propose something out-of-the-ordinary to your funeral director.