header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
74°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 13
1961 - First Mass celebrated at new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (3rd building) in Newhall. Cardinal McIntyre attends [story]
OLPH


Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Jul 12, 2015

DianneErskineHellrigelAnyone who has ever owned a pet knows how much that dog, cat or goldfish can become part of the family. I have owned lots of dogs and cats in my life, and with each loss I’ve suffered a period of grieving.

A dog or a cat is not “just a dog” or “just a cat.” In my house, they are a part of the family, and losing them causes an intense emptiness.

One year ago today, I lost my sweet Zuliebear, a Bengal cat. A Bengal is a cross between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic shorthair. She was the most beautiful, intelligent, goofy and playful cat I’d owned, up to that point. She also required more than a year of training before she was “household suitable,” as the breeder who tossed her out had described her.

I’m still not over the grief, but I’ve gotten a new kitty to keep me company that’s just as rambunctious as Zuliebear was, if not more. So today I am thinking about the grief we all suffer with the loss of our pets, and I want to offer some suggestions on how to deal with it.

b-BG-Small-Flagstone---Pet_Losing a beloved pet hurts. It hurts a lot. This is normal. It’s natural to grieve over an animal you’ve spent countless hours petting, hugging, walking and playing silly games with. Animals give you so much love. They are a source of comfort and joy. Frankly, they are the perfect companions. They never divulge secrets, they accept you for who you are, and they are a constant part of your life … until they die.

Everyone who owns a pet will most probably have to go through this at some point. You’re not alone. People experience grief in different ways. Some cannot accept that their pet is gone. Others suffer guilt over the death, especially when the vet puts your sweet baby to sleep. Some people refuse to get a new pet out of loyalty to the pet they lost. Many feel powerless, hopeless and depressed. All of these are normal reactions to losing a pet.

Pitttie%20faceIf you’ve lost a pet, you will need to work through all of these feelings. Try to be honest about your feelings, examine them, and come to terms with what has happened. This is a first step toward acceptance and the ability to move on.

One of the best things you can do is think about all of the good times you and your pet had together. Those good memories are gold. Work on a memorial for your pet, if that is something you’d like to do. Think about what might have happened to your pet if your loving heart had not given him a home. Those years you had together are priceless.

If you are feeling guilty because your pet was euthanized, remember that your pet’s quality of life was not what it once was, and the problems would only have gotten worse, and the pain your best pal was feeling was causing him to suffer greatly.

Pets-that-dont-want-to-go-to-the-vetsYou and your vet know what is in the best interest of your pet. Trying to keep an animal alive just for the sake of having him around a little longer will not help either of you. Euthanizing a pet that is critically ill is the final act of love you can give him. End the suffering, and do not blame yourself. Try to be relieved and comforted in that fact that the pain and suffering has ended.

It’s a hard decision. Lots of tears are very helpful. Don’t hold it in. Let it all out. And don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. Grief is personal. No two people will react to their loss exactly the same way.

Some people find that filling their gaps of time by doing something else – taking a class, visiting with friends, doing something physical such as hiking. All of these activities will help you work through your feelings. Visit your friends, join an exercise program, or volunteer with others.

If you have children or other pets, you will also need to address their feelings and help them work through the loss. Both your children and other animals in the household will need reassurance, extra attention and lots of hugs.

lucy1Practically, the next step is to figure out what to do with your pet’s remains. The easiest thing to do is to leave your pet with the vet. There is most likely a fee for this. Some shelters also accept the remains, most likely also for a fee. Sometimes you can bury your pet at home. Check your city for burial options and prohibitions. If you are renting your property, this is not an option for you. There are also pet cemeteries and cremation services available if you prefer. If you have thought ahead, there are life insurance and burial policies available for your pet.

Once you have worked through your grief, you might find a hole in your heart that needs to be filled. This is the time for you to start looking for a new pet to fill the void. I always look for shelter animals, especially those in a “kill” shelter. It makes me feel good to have saved another life.

s1034nwgin5vcnauGoing to a kill shelter is always hard. Looking at all of those hopeful faces and knowing you can adopt only one (in my case) is really tough. I want them all. To narrow down the choices, I try to spend time, up close and personal, with each of my favorites. Eventually, one of them makes the biggest impression on me and ends up going to his or her new home.

You will never forget your old pet, but the new darling will work her way into your heart and soothe your weary soul. Animals definitely make the very best of companions. This is when you can move on.

A final note: To replace my beloved Zuliebear, I eventually adopted a Savannah Breeding animal that had run his course. He was going to be put down because they were done with him. I’ve been working since September to socialize him. He has calmed down and is now a huge part of the family unit. He still has some lessons to learn, but he has come a long way.

Every day when I look at him, I am glad I stepped into his life and he wasn’t “put down.” He may be an elderly cat, but he still has so much to give – and so do I.

 

 

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Jeanne says:

    I am saving my cat’s ashes and will do the same with the next one. When I pass I will have my ashes sprinkled along with my kitties.

    We will all be together in heaven. Jesus promised to “prepare a place for us” in heaven and he knows my place must have my family including my precious kitties.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Aug 12, 2022
Historically, California has been the most wildfire prone state in the United States. In 2021, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reported over 4,000 fires that burned 60,507 acres across the state.
Friday, Aug 5, 2022
While we are in the middle of the long, hot days of summer, what better way to beat the heat than go to The Cube – Ice and Entertainment Center?
Tuesday, Aug 2, 2022
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger issued the following statement following the Board of Supervisors’ final approval of a November ballot measure giving the Board authority to remove a publicly elected sheriff from office for cause.
Tuesday, Aug 2, 2022
Unfortunately, our beautiful city is no stranger to the threat of wildfires.
Monday, Aug 1, 2022
Dear Community Members, Wow its August. That is crazy!
Monday, Aug 1, 2022
Grab your lawn chairs and picnic blankets and plan to spend your summer nights at Central Park.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1961 - First Mass celebrated at new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (3rd building) in Newhall. Cardinal McIntyre attends [story]
OLPH
Are you worried about getting diabetes? Have you been told that you have pre-diabetes? One out of three American adults has prediabetes.
Aug. 16: Henry Mayo Hosts Diabetes Prevention Program
Avian influenza refers to a family of influenza or flu viruses that commonly infect birds.
L.A. County Public Health Urges Public to Protect Pet Birds from Bird Flu
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 19 new deaths throughout L.A. County, 3,995 new cases countywide and 112 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID Roundup: County Moves to Medium Community Level
Marvel Comics’ best-known, tree-like sentient being, Groot, a character that became widely popular through the action comedy "Guardians of the Galaxy," gets his own animated show on Disney+ this week.
CalArts Alum Kirsten Lepore Brings ‘I am Groot’ to Disney+
Work along the I-5 corridor in Burbank continues and will include nighttime lane reductions and the closing of the Verdugo Avenue off-ramp during the week of Aug. 15 to Aug. 18.
I-5 Corridor Improvements Include Nighttime Lane Reductions
As part of his legislative package calling on accountability, transparency, and integrity in the state government's procurement process, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Senate Bill 1271 (SB 1271) passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 11.
Wilk’s Measure Increasing Transparency Passes Assembly Committee
The early portion of The Master's University women's soccer team's schedule in 2022 will have a national tournament-type feel.
TMU Women’s Soccer To Play Top Teams on Florida, Indiana Trips
Princess Cruises today announced updated COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, removing the vaccine requirement for most voyages of less than 16 days so that anyone can cruise and adjusting pre-travel testing requirements to make it less complicated.
Princess Cruises Removes Vaccine Requirement for Most Sailings
As the summer travel season wraps up, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reminds drivers to be responsible and never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Aug. 17-Sept. 5: LASD Will Increase End-of-Summer DUI Patrols, Checkpoints
Historically, California has been the most wildfire prone state in the United States. In 2021, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reported over 4,000 fires that burned 60,507 acres across the state.
Ken Striplin | Keep Your Family, Home and Property Safe from Wildfires
The county of Los Angeles Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission is hosting a Special Hearing on Deputy Gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Aug: 19 Special Hearing on L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Gangs
1944 - Newhall Refinery on Sierra Highway destroyed by fire (then rebuilt) [watch film]
Newsreel
As local students get ready to head back to class for the new school year, your Salvation Army Santa Clarita Corps wants to ensure they have the supplies and resources necessary for success.
Salvation Army Santa Clarita Hosting Back-to-School Drive
The Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark Presents: "Sundays at the Landmark" on Sunday, Aug. 28, with Dave Berg. He will present "Stories to Share.
Aug. 28: Author Dave Berg Presents ‘Stories to Share’ at Rancho Camulos
The WiSH Education Foundation's much-anticipated Cocktails on the Roof event is back for the community to enjoy on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Subaru of Valencia campus.
Nov. 19: Cocktails on the Roof Returns with ‘Share the Love’ Event
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is reminding residents that no one will ever call your home demanding payment for "outstanding warrants."
SCV Sheriff’s Station Warning Residents of Scam Calls
Carousel Ranch, in Agua Dulce, was presented with a $5,000 donation from the Logix Federal Credit Union Community Stars Foundation.
Logix Foundation Donates $5K to Carousel Ranch
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday no additional deaths and 107 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, with a total of 15 new deaths and 4,345 new cases countywide.
Thursday COVID Roundup: 107 New SCV Cases; No Additional Deaths
The California Department of Transportation announces overnight full closures of Interstate 210 in the San Fernando Valley for striping and staging of a temporary lane configuration for a paving project.
Caltrans Announces Full I-210 Closures
The Valencia High School Band and Color Guard will hold a Clothes 4 Cash clothing drive fundraiser every Tuesday, Aug. 16 to Sept. 13.
Valencia Band, Color Guard Holding Clothes 4 Cash Fundraiser
2018 - Big Oaks Lodge in Bouquet Canyon burns down [video]
Big Oaks Lodge
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cautions residents who are planning to visit the below Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters:
Ocean Water Use Warning for Los Angeles County Beaches
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation is starting two tasty ways to support the non-profit's efforts Friday August 12.
Aug 12: Two Fundraisers To Support Michael Hoefflin Foundation
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: