Sadie, seen in a photo from February 2006, died last month at age 16. She was a familiar sight at Halloran Auto Sales in Godfrey.
The loss of a true companion
Chances are, if you live in Godfrey, you were familiar with Sadie.
The unassuming black and white pup developed a morning routine, visiting the McDonald’s on Godfrey Road for a snack and then settling in for the day at Halloran Auto Sales, greeting anyone who came in with a wag of the tail.
According to her owner, Daryl Buder, Sadie was about 16 years old. After a full, happy life, she passed away last month, leaving a hole in his life and his heart.
Anyone who considers a pet to be a beloved friend, companion and family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of that friend.
According to Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed, who operates a website at www.pet-loss.net, there are steps one can take to help cope with the process each pet owner faces.
“Intense grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural,” Allen says. “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s silly, crazy, or overly sentimental to grieve.”
In addition to sorrow, owners may also experience a cycle of emotions including guilt, denial, anger and depression. Allen says working through those emotions is much healthier than keeping them bottled up.
“Express it,” she says. “Cry, scream, pound the floor, talk it out. Do what helps you the most.”
Some express that loss in poetry, stories, or photo collages. Others find comfort in talking about the loss with friends and loved ones.
“If you don’t have family or friends who understand, ask your veterinarian or humane association to recommend a pet loss counselor or support group,” Allen says.
Another thing to consider is the right time for euthanization. A veterinarian can assist with interpreting the symptoms of quality of life issues such as appetite loss and resistance to affection. Depending on the clinic, some may choose to stay during the process, as it can be cathartic and make it easier to accept the loss. Allen says one must ask themselves if they are up to the experience.
Children and other pets in the household will experience the loss just as adults do, and may require extra attention and support during the process.
“Never assume a child is too young or too old to grieve,” Allen says. “Discuss the issue with the entire family, and give everyone a chance to work through their grief at their own pace.”
In general, Allen advises against replacing a lost pet right away. If emotions are still in turmoil, one may develop unintended resentment toward the newcomer for trying to “take the place” of the old pet.
For more information, visit www.pet-loss.net.
Area pet owners have several options to honor their lost companions.
Gent Funeral Home in Alton began offering cremation services for pets this year. For information, call (618) 466-5544.
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home plans to offer a pet cemetery and crematory this fall. For information, call (618) 377-5627.
In Wood River, Jeffrey’s Flowers by Design offers items for people to remember their pets. For information, call (618) 259-6292.