Remembering Our Friends

Beau, a boxerA lot of my friends have senior dogs. Unfortunately, that means that a lot more of my friends had senior dogs. Over and over, I face the loss of a friend, a dog I have known for years. A family dog like Beau, who loved my visits because he got extra walks and tons of attention (not that he was exactly starved for love and affection otherwise). A longtime friend’s dog like Molly, who was a frequent guest in my home, or little Casey. (They were both poodles, though, so it might not be fair to lump them in with dogs; I am convinced that poodles are a link between canines and humans, tending more toward the human than any other dog breed.)Molly, a black standard poodle

Each time a beloved dog passes away, I search for the perfect card. I’m always disappointed that the best dog-product stores have all the top treats, toys, clothing, and accessories for dogs, endless adorable birthday and thanks-for-taking-care-of-me cards … and pathetically few sympathy cards. And many of the few they do have are, well, awful. In addition to the card, Deni and I have a custom that we’re getting better and better at honoring. We choose a charity that we are sure that both the late dog and her or his human would support and make a memorial donation. I have to admit that I have missed doing this on many occasions, but I do feel that it is a meaningful way to mark the life of a beloved friend. Unfortunately, beyond offering these gestures, we haven’t come up with a way to make the loss any easier.

A number of books have been written about the loss of a dog. A particularly good one is Anna Quindlen’s Good Dog. Stay. I haven’t re-read it in a while, though I should; I have recommended it over and over, though.

What do you do to help a friend through the loss of a dog? What have you found helpful? Let me know, and a future Thinking Dog blog post will feature reader suggestions.


5 thoughts on “Remembering Our Friends

  1. I love the charity donation. Personally, I think sharing photos and funny/sweet stories of your time with the pup is really so great. My friend’s dog died unexpectedly recently and I sent them a photo of my tear and mascara stained napkin after I read about his passing. They told me that it made them laugh and touched them so much.


  2. My pet sitting business makes donations, in the lost pets memory, to a well-deserving dog and cat rescue group, and Pet Sitter International offers some good pet sympathy cards. I have an “In Memorium” section on my website with photos of lost pets, and a number of meaningful quotes appropriate to pet loss and meant to be consoling. I know a local church has an interment wall to bury pet cremains, they offer burial services for cremains that will be buried there, and a slightly different one in cases where the pets will be buried elsewhere, and they also offer grief/loss classes, recognizing that loss is loss, no matter whether it is a pet or a person.I can also offer an excellent (based on recent experience) 24/7 veterinarian for possible euthanasia and cremation, should that become necessary


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