WELLBEING: Coping with the Loss of a Pet

I know it’s not the sunniest of topics, but most of us have done or will deal with the death of a pet at some point in our lives. It’s a certain as taxes and getting a whopping great spot on your face right before a first date  (see, I tried to lighten the mood with a joke there)? The tragic passing of  Tatler Alan – Twitter sensation and all-round cool dude on Monday this week was a horrible shock that hit home just how fragile our pet’s lives can be, and how utterly devastating it is when we lose them.

It reminded me of something my mum always said – that losing a pet was worse than losing a person in some way. They’ve relied on you their whole lives (ok, cats pretty do their own thing, but still…) and in most cases have trumped a lot of our human-kind on the love and loyalty front too. She’s not wrong (mum’s rarely are).

It got me thinking about the pets I’d loved and lost – some of which were in their twilight years and went peacefully, and some of which were taken in more shocking circumstances. There had been the cat returned by a neighbour in a bin bag after a canine related run-in, the moggy accidentally run over by mum (she never got over it) and my first dog Princess – a beauitfully natured German Shepherd, Labrador cross who would kill you with kindness, but passed away in her later years from cancer.

Me and my dog princess

Me with my faithful hound Princess (and yes that is all my real hair)

As an only child, Princess was pretty much my only real pal until about the age of 4. I spent hours talking to her, adorning her with jewellery (poor love) and probably trying her patience. When she got ill, I remember going to school one day and when I came home she was gone. My parents tried to spin something kind about her having gone to a farm, but I knew the sad truth (the non-existence of Santa Claus had been leaked to me at an early age by a know-it-all friend) and I flew into a hysterical rage. I’m pretty sure I told them I hated them and that they were dog murderers. I was a dramatic child.

After a week of locking myself in my room and crying over Princess, I was eventually lured out by the promise of ice-cream cake, or some such thing and moved on with my young life. I still think about her though, and what a great dog she was.

How have you coped with the loss of pets?

Is it a good idea to get a new pet soon after the loss of one?


PS. No more sad posts next week, promise.

Sara is the Founder & Editor of StyleTails. A writer, design-lover and long-time animal-hugger, Sara launched StyleTails in 2012 to inspire people live a more beautiful life with their four-legged friends. Along with her canine sidekick George, a rescue Yorkie with a big attitude, Sara regularly commentates on luxury pet product and lifestyle trends and has been featured in Elle Decoration, BBC Radio, and is also an expert contributor to WGSN, the leading design trend forecaster.

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