Pet Sitters Grieve With You, But Alone
As animal lovers, we're destined to outlive several pets during our lives and we'll often grieve alone because pet loss is not memorialized the same as human family loss. People without pets may not get it at all. Rarely when a dog or cat dies, do we drop everything and make elaborate arrangements to celebrate their life. Even if this was done, would people visit with casseroles, deli trays, flowers and hugs? Other pet people understand, but did your friends know your pet?
Since starting Harpers Ferry Tails Pet Sitting I've learned a lot about pets and myself. I'm extremely attached to my four cats AND all my pet clients. Whether it's daily or occasionally, I'm hooked. They rely on me to know what they need, and I learn to understand what they want, which builds trust. Pet care creates a close relationship combining
respect, trust, guidance, and friendship from species capable of unconditional love.
Not all days can be purrs and wags, however. When I find out that a pet client has crossed the Rainbow Bridge I listen, offer my heart and any help. I am very sincere when I say how sorry I am while I remain professional and supportive. I want you to know you can share your feelings. This is big- I understand the emptiness in your heart you think will never heal. No words will help now and saying, "time will make it better" or "they're in a better place" only fills silence when silence is OK.
I understand because when you called I felt like I'd been hit. My heart broke, and I wanted to UGLY CRY. I'm sad for you, I've lost a friend, and memories of every goodbye to a pet just flashed back to me. I'm a hot mess, but it's not about me, so I hold it together. This is my hardest day.
I don't sympathize; I empathize, and I'll only say that here. I loved your pet too and I feel the emptiness already. I’ve also lost pets and I'm reliving that through you as we speak. I’ve seen pets die peacefully, I’ve had to put my feelings aside, thinking only of the animal and not myself and make tough decisions, and I've had to end suffering as quickly as possible. Being the decision maker in these scenarios never gets easier. There is guilt, regret, admonishment and grief. There is also relief and then there's guilt from the relief. The relief of finally being free from the co-pain and suffering of one who relied on you to know best. Modern medicine provides a comfortable transition via euthanasia but doesn't provide a measuring stick. I have my criteria, and whether they're the same as yours, it's never easy.
As a professional sitter, my relationship with your pet was unique and special. When you couldn't be there I made sure your babies felt safe and happy, like you trusted me to do. My job is to protect them from harm, feed and clean up after them, play and exercise with them, talk and listen to them, pet and love them. These interactions created a bond that began our friendship. They love you the best, and sitters know we are the carnations in their bouquet, while you are their long-stem roses. Still, when I walk into your house and get an excited reaction by a fur friend, it’s like winning an Oscar- Every Single Time!
We don't live together, and I haven't known them as long, but we've built memories, had some laughs, created stories and seen some things. We’re friends.
So, if you lose a pet, know that your pet sitter also feels the loss but is thinking of you. I'll be remembering, crying, calling my friends, etc. I don't need sympathy or acknowledgement.
There are places to grieve and share where I'll let it out. I only share this so know how special your pet was. Pet sitting is about love and that includes the people. Tell me how I can help.
I love your pets and am so very sorry. I'm so grateful that you trusted me with your precious ones and lucky to have the opportunity of their friendship. If you do see me crying, it's just
for all the people who missed their chance. That's a terrible loss indeed.
Peace and Pancakes to all the amazing pets who have passed through my life and through
Harpers Ferry Tails Pet Sitting