Losing A Pet Hurts Like Losing A Best Friend

Losing A Pet Hurts Like Losing A Best Friend

Losing pets can feel heart-breaking; they're our companions, our babies, our best friends.

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Growing up, my family always had a dog. As a bunch of animal lovers, this was and still is important to us. Recently, we lost our dog, Lizzy, of ten years, and dealing with the loss has been especially hard.

Pets really become a part of the family and provide immeasurable amounts of love and companionship. You get used to their greeting at the door when you come home, so excited to see you after a long day away. You take care of them; feed them, walk them, bathe them. They become a staple in your everyday life and you look forward to them being there.

That is how my family was with Lizzy. She was such a sweet dog, but she was getting old. We noticed her struggling to get up, being unbalanced on her feet, and crying when she was in pain. However, without fail, she was always there for us. She always forced her body up to come and give us kisses and say hello.

She would even have spurts of "puppy" energy, in which she would play with my dad and run back and forth. Granted, she would slump right down and fall asleep right after, but that love for life was still there. She was still trying.

Somehow, I had a feeling something was going to happen to her when I was away at school. All summer I was afraid she was going to die when I was away. And then I got the fateful call.

Lizzy could no longer walk or even hold herself up. She took a tumble down the stairs and was really hurting. The big tumor on her side, which started as fatty tissue, could have easily turned into something more dangerous. She was in pain all the time and no longer acting like herself. That's when my family made the decision to put an end to her suffering.

I immediately got on the train and was taken to the vet where they were keeping her. My heart flooded with sadness, I didn't think she was going to recognize me or even acknowledge me when I walked into the room. However, they brought her into the exam room and she came right up to me and licked my face. I smile to myself knowing I got that compassionate goodbye from my puppy.

My whole family cried gallons of tears that day. Now, our house is oddly empty without her. Even my cat is wondering where she is and is laying in Lizzy's usual spots. After having a dog in our house since I was born, it feels strange not having that energy there.

I'm sure plenty can relate, and all pet-owners know how much these animals mean to us as humans. Losing a dog, cat, hamster, or fish can hurt pretty badly. Lizzy will always be in my heart, even when she leaves my everyday thoughts. Our pets are still with us after they pass on, even when it feels like there's something missing.

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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When You Give A Girl A Dog

Having a new sidekick for life is the best way to kick off summer!

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When you give a girl a dog;

She gets her best friend,

Someone who will always love her unconditionally and without fail,

Someone to talk to when she doesn't need a response, just comfort,

A warm pillow to cuddle with at night when things get tough or life is scary,

A protector,

A family member,

A lifetime of memories,

When you give a girl a dog, she gets a lifelong friend, that becomes her family. Growing up with dogs my whole life, I was never without a floppy-eared companion when I needed one. It started off with Labradors, then a Jack Russell, two beagles, hunting dogs, and finally the sweetest hound dog a girl could ask for.

I love all dogs, mutts, purebreds; I'm not biased to any kind of dog. Although I love me some golden retrievers and Newfoundlands, I am an active advocate to "adopt, don't shop." Dogs in shelters deserve just as much love as a dog that comes from a breeder. If you are searching for a specific breed, there are specific breed rescues all throughout the United States. I always try to support local animal shelters and brands that donate to help homeless dogs, like Puppie Love or PAWZ. If I could open my own shelter and help every stray animal I come across, I would. After I finish college, I want to become a foster parent for dogs, and always have my home filled with endless amounts of love, fur, and slobber.

As summertime approaches, one thing is present in my mind; Puppies and dogs. Summer and spring are the times when lots of puppies are born, and lots of them end up in shelters. Dogs are lifelong companions and they become our family. However, what some people fail to realize is, a dog is for life. You can't abandon them when they aren't a puppy anymore. This is how so many animals end up in shelters and rescues. This summer, I ask if you are planning on getting someone in your family a dog, look to shelters. Shelters always have puppies, young dogs, adult dogs, and senior dogs.

Shelter dogs are the best kind of dogs in my personal opinion. They have so much love to give, and some of them have very trying backstories. I understand the appeal that buying from a breeder gives, but sometimes I think, "why should I pay $1,500 for a dog when I can go to my local animal shelter, pay $75.00 and get a dog that is just as great or better?" Throughout my life, all I've had was Labrador Retrievers and Lab mixes; always bought from a breeder, and even when we got a beagle, we got him from a friend who breeds them.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I wanted another dog. We had just lost our beagle, Blitz, and my Lab Jessie seemed lonely without a friend. I begged (more like annoyed) my Dad from February to August, I even created a powerpoint that finally convinced him to let me have another dog. After I got his approval, I started looking at my local shelter in Dinwiddie, and the local SPCA in Richmond. It was hard. I'd find a dog I liked, but they just never jumped out at me. When I started my senior year, I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to find a dog.

However, all my disappointment disappeared when I was scrolling through Facebook and came across the picture of a white puppy at the local animal shelter. He was one of two, his sister had been adopted early that week, and he was left alone. He and his sister had been picked up on the side of Courthouse Road, without a sign of their mother. From the moment I saw his picture, I knew it was meant to be! I asked my Mom to take us by the animal shelter after school to meet him, and it was one of the best feelings ever. He was snow white, long lanky legs, big paws, and the prettiest brown eyes I had ever seen. I picked him up and he just snuggled right into me; at that moment I was hooked. I knew he'd be coming home with me.

We went home that day to tell my Dad, and the next day I adopted him after school. I named him Harry, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Harry Styles (and Harry Potter). It's funny, his name didn't suit him at first, but now I couldn't imagine him being named anything else. Harry is hands down the best dog I have ever had. He has more personality than any dog I've met, and he never fails to make me smile, even when he's being annoying as hell. He's my best friend, and someone I can talk to when I just want to talk without having a response.

Harry has been a faithful friend for three years now, and sometimes I feel since he was a shelter dog, he just has so much more love to give since at the start of his life, he didn't have love. I love my crazy boy, and he loves me. I can't wait to be home with him for the summer and go on some adventures together. We take the most dysfunctional selfies together, he tries to steal my food, I try to tell him, no but I end up giving him a bit of what I'm eating anyway. He's a chicken nugget fiend just like his Mama. Harry is my best friend and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the whole world.

So this summer, if you are leaning towards getting a dog, go to your local shelters. There are so many loving dogs who need good homes this year.

Trust me, you won't regret adopting a new best friend.

"Whoever said diamonds are a girl's best friend..never owned a dog."

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