When a Friend's Pet Dies

SEPTEMBER 25, 2018  /  ADINA BAILEY  / 

When a Friend's Pet Dies
After my husband and I got married, our main motivation for buying a house was to obtain a fenced backyard as soon as possible because we both wanted to adopt a dog.
We first met her on a flyer. Truthfully, her photo was a bit goofy, but we decided to visit this intriguing pup at her foster home. She was exactly what we wanted. In short order, a 28 pound, slightly scared stray that the SPCA named 'Violet' became ours. In order to give her the dignity of a pure bred, we expanded her name to Lady Violet Rockingham and she became our daily companion on October 14, 2001.

When a Friend

The three of us ran, walked, and spent time in the yard. Violet curiously welcomed our three children. Soon, all six of us ran, walked, and sprinted circles in the yard. Violet cuddled with us when we watched movies and sought us out when we were sick or sad. When we came home after leaving for 5 minutes or 5 days, she greeted us like celebrities.
Sadly, our family's best example of unconditional love couldn't last forever. While she still wanted to be with us, her walks got shorter and her greetings were sleepier. We had the joy of spending almost 17 years with Violet and her vet believes she was at least 20 years old. My children never knew a day without her until April 6, 2018 when we had to say goodbye.

When a Friend

For several months, I've walked the road of losing a beloved pet, and I've come to learn three truths about pet loss.
1. The loss will be deep
Grieving after a pet has died is real. A significant part of your everyday routine is no longer there. The house seems empty and quiet as you look for your four-legged friend out of habit in all of her favorite places. You expect to hear her sounds. It takes a while to get used to the absence.
2. Pets love well
One of the reasons that pets are greatly missed is that they love well. Harsh words are never spoken and they offer unconditional love. Our dog, Violet, often knew when I was sad and she would seek me out. The first few weeks were especially hard because one of my sources of comfort wasn't there when I felt like I needed her most.
3. Acknowledgement of the loss is meaningful
My family appreciated the kindness from family, friends, and neighbors when Violet was no longer with us. A neighbor and friend both showed up at our door with potted violets that I still treasure. Another friend brought me daffodils to plant in the yard. My sister sent me a collection of purple plants that have bloomed throughout the summer.

When a Friend

When a Friend

A neighbor brought us a beautiful figurine to help us remember our sweet pup. Good friends brought us an ornament with her name.

When a Friend

I've treasured the cards and gifts we were given to help us remember Violet. It helped to know that others understood our sadness after sharing our lives with her for so many years.
Now when I hear that a friend's pet has died, I'll understand her sadness and acknowledge the loss in a small, but meaningful way.

Read other recent articles by Adina Bailey:


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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

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