Coping with the death of a pet
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 23:11
When I was in the second grade, I begged my mother for a dog. We had tried to keep a dog once, but the endeavor failed. We had had a Dalmatian named Pluto for three weeks before we had to take him back to the original owner. “Dogs are outside animals,” my father would argue. That was until my mother decided it would be good for us to have a dog, too.
So we took an adventure to the local pet shelter. We were always of the mindset that one should rescue a pet from the shelter if given the opportunity. Therefore, we rescued Taz.
Taz was a “2-year-old, female, Australian Red Heeler.” At least that’s what the papers said. He was actually a 2-year-old, male, Red Heeler (we didn’t understand how that could be confused). We loved him like a member of the family.
Yesterday, my mother called me quite early in the morning. I know from past experience that this is always a bad sign. My heart didn’t begin to beat quickly, however, because it was still only 10 a.m. and I wasn’t quite awake.
However, she was in fact calling to tell me bad news.
Taz had to be “put down.”
I was crushed. I will put my stoic, proud side away and say that I cried for quite a while. I cried over the death of Taz more than the deaths of my great aunt and uncle.
To be honest, I was a bit embarrassed at first. Let’s not kid ourselves, Taz was an animal — a dog. My family members were humans. They were people who supported me throughout my entire life. So why was I more upset about the passing of my 15 (yes, he was that old) year old dog than the passing of members of my family?
Taz may have been a pet, but Taz was one of my very best friends.
Four years after Taz joined the family my parents decided to divorce. Taz was the friend that I could cry to and talk to and never worry about judgment.
He took care of my mother when she lived alone for a while, and gave us both peace of mind.
Throughout high school, Taz moved back and forth with me as I visited both parents, and eventually moved to Texas when my mother re-married. He spent his last years on the lake in pure bliss.
He loved to fish, hunt, ride on the boat and, of course, eat. Taz was really like a family member. And as cliche as that sounds, many of us can relate to the feeling we get when a loving animal greets you when you pull up to the house after being away at school for several long months.
Unfortunately, Taz won’t fulfill that role any longer. He is now buried at the lake house and will continue to run around barking at ducks in spirit.
However, I’ll always love him, and I know if you have a dog similar to Taz you’ll always love them, too. When the time comes (and you all know what I’m talking about), you can always come to me to share stories, have a shoulder to cry upon and remember the happiness that your best friend brought to you.
Graves is a junior majoring in communications and religious studies.