Jennifer Randel, December 14, 2007
A pet’s death can result in grieving as intense as after a loss of a family member or close friend because the pet is considered a family member. The loss of the beloved pet can be disruptive to the lives of the pet owner and other immediate family members. It can incapacitate and make the person depressed. This paper will describe the disruption that can affect the person after the pet’s loss and because of this disruption, the need for social support must be established.
Losing someone or something you love is very painful. Almost everyone will experience this at some point in their lives. The grieving process when acknowledged or expressed has a potential for healing that eventually can heal the emotional pain we have endured. We grieve in different ways. Is there a right and wrong way to grieve? People go through shock and disbelief. They tend to become angry at others or at themselves for what happened to their love one. When your love one dies, you will miss their presence and even if it is a pet, it has the same effect.
Whether your loved one is a person or a pet, the impact of sadness would probably be intense, depending on the situation. Some people tend to be very depressed to the point that they are incapacitated. They cannot do simple daily function in life like making breakfast or making their bed every morning. It is really sad when a person goes through an extreme grieving experience and affects their physical and mental health.
Losing our Best Friend
I recently witnessed the death of my family’s best friend, our dog Wizzer. My son noticed that she was breathing heavily one afternoon. We took her to the veterinarian the very next day. He told us that her heart was beating abnormally. He did some blood work and told us that he would be calling with the test results as soon as he gets it. The very next day Wizzer was not better nor worse, her breathing remained the same. She lost her appetite and was not her usual self. We called the veterinarian anxious to know the blood result, he told us that there was nothing abnormal. We were relieved. My husband felt better and returned to work that night.
The next day my son heard Wizzer crying around 2:00 am. He woke me up and we both came down to see her. She was lying on her side gasping for air. Looking through her eyes made me realize that she was not going to make it. Sadly, it was her time. My son was hugging her and was extremely upset. He was stroking her head and scratching her ears to give her a little comfort. He prayed out loud to God and asked him to take Wizzer to heaven if she was in pain. The second after he said his prayers, Wizzer stopped breathing…..there was silence for a few seconds, my son asked me,
“Is she dead, Mom?”
“Yes, honey, she is gone.”
My son started to throw pillows all over the living room and said,
“Why God? Why?” I held him close to my heart and whispered,
“God answered your prayers, honey….He took her because she was in pain. She’s in a better place now.”
Wizzer died on my son’s arms that morning. We put a blanket on her. My son and I both slept by her side in the living room.
She was our family pet for 11 years, rescued by my husband when she was a puppy at North Shore Animal League. She was his companion, his best friend and his protector. She kept my husband company through some good and bad times. She was there when he went through his nephew’s death and his father’s death. Wizzer was my husband’s best friend.
When my husband returned from work around 8:30am that same day, he opened the door and Wizzer was not there to greet him, he knew she was gone. He gave us both a hug and went to the living room and hugged her. I assured my husband that she was not in pain for a long time and that she passed away quickly. He felt bad not being there for Wizzer on her last dying moment. We all did not expect that she was going to deteriorate fast.
Losing Wizzer was very upsetting. We are still heartbroken and very sad. One of the most difficult part of losing a pet is seeking to understand what has happened. Not being with Wizzer made it very difficult for my husband to cope with her death. He blames himself for not being with her when she needed him the most. She was there for him but he could not be there for her. It has been three months since she passed away and my husband is still having a hard time coping up with her loss.
Death can be goodbyes but it can also be a new beginnings. I guess it depends on how one looks at the situation. Our companion, our best friend will never be replaced….she will always be remembered.
Qualities We Miss
Loss is experienced by owners who see their pets as special. The quality of specialness was described by some of the people I know. Susan Firestone stated that her dog Imus was very smart and her other dog Poochie was a real mush. My husband, Robert, described Wizzer as one of a kind and describes himself as Wizzer’s daddy. (Appendix A)
The remarks stated illustrates what pet owners usually say when describing their pets. It’s the special qualities and the special relationship that they miss when their pets are gone.
The sense of having been needed by the pet is also expressed by owners like Joan Muller (Appendix A). Joan is a homemaker and is mostly alone at home while her husband is at work. She stated that her pets give her companionship and bring her a great deal of comfort in life. The dogs mostly depend on her. She walks them regularly, feeds them and plays with them most of the day.
Wizzer depended on Robert to trim her nails and give her medication. No one else can put her at ease and do these needed tasks but him. Her groomers had a hard time trimming her nails because she used to get really anxious and scared. Robert is heartbroken. Wizzer needed him constantly and our other dog, Buddy, is more independent . Buddy is not a companion as Wizzer was to him.
I find it odd that during the first six years of my life as a mother I thought my son was allergic to dogs. He begged to have a puppy for a long time and I refused every time he asked. The primary reason was I thought having a dog would exacerbate his asthma. He was diagnosed with this condition when he was only 4 month-old and the condition got worse when he was 4 years old. I remember taking him to his pediatrician 3 to 4 times a month and I remember being exhausted from waking up in the middle of the night to pat his back because he was wheezing a lot. His pediatrician referred me to a pediatric pulmonologist who prescribed a daily treatment of inhalation medication which prevented his attacks. I assumed that having pets with fur or hair would just make his condition worse.
Meeting my husband was a blessing in disguise. I liked him from the moment I met him but there was one problem, he had a dog. A black lab mix dog with black fur and I thought to myself, I cannot continue to see this person because my son will be having an asthma attack if he goes near this furry dog. If I have to choose between this man or my son’s health, I’d choose my son’s health anytime, so I had to tell this person that we’ll try to hang around with each other and if it turned out that my son gets allergic reaction from the dog, we will not continue to see each other and waste each other’s time.
Fast forward to 2007, I’ve been with this man since 2001 and more importantly, my son has never been better. He instantly fell in love with Wizzer. He enjoyed playing with her and petting her. My son even learned the importance of responsibility by feeding her daily and on time. He walks her with my husband regularly. My husband and my son spent more time with Wizzer than I did resulting in them being more attached to her than I was.
Attachment and Pet Humanization
Before one can comprehend the impact of loss and human grieving associated with it, one must have an understanding of the meaning of attachment. Attachment bonds between individuals develop in order to have some biological drives met, for example, drive for food or need for security and safety. The same understanding of attachment is associated with man and a dog, the dog’s drive for food and affection and the man’s drive for security and affection as well.
Forming attachments to significant others and biological children are considered normal behavior for all parties involved. For dog lovers, it is considered normal as well. My husband grew up having a pet dog in their household all his life. For him, it is natural to love and care for a dog just like he cares for his own brother and sister, it’s his instinct. Some people say, “Once a dog lover, always a dog lover.” I, on the other hand, was just recently introduced to this world of having a pet dog in the house and a pet that is cared for, almost like a human being. Let’s count the similarities between my son and our pet dog, they both have a doctor they see regularly (a pediatrician and a veterinarian), they both have medical insurance, they both get their teeth cleaned regularly, they both have their own bed, they both have their own vitamins and they are both loved by their Mommy and Daddy.
According to the statistics compiled from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey. There are:
The statistics above does not show how many are attached to their dogs. But I’m sure that most of these owners are so attached to their dogs that they treat them like humans which explain why most of those people grieve and mourn to the point that they get incapacitated just like when an immediate family member dies. Some products for pets are being made to resemble those for humans. Humanization is fueling consumer demand for premium products and services. These are evident in the growing business of all pet boutiques and upscale independent pet specialty shops. Owners spend more to care for their pets and have more time to develop a stronger bond and as pets are aging along with their owners, they strengthen the emotional connection between each other.
According to Philip L. Francis, Chairperson and CEO of PETsMART, Inc., there are more dogs and cats in this country than there are children, and we're seeing a growth in pet count of 1% to 2% per year. Spending per pet, however, is increasing about 3% to 4% per year. One of the primary drivers of their business model is the humanization of pets. A dog that makes the move from barnyard to under the sheets is going to need to smell and behave differently. Since PETsMART provides the means for that and does it ten times better than anybody else, that basic humanization trip and its implications lead to 3% to 4% more spending per head, per year.
The urge to buy extravagant things for your pet (i.e. clothes, toys) has been around for a while now. Other upscale pet products now in demand include jewelry, wedding dresses and tuxedos, pet toys and massagers, diamond studded collars, leashes and apparel (sweaters, dresses and T-shirts).
The extent of the grief and the nature of grieving speaks to a little-noticed transformation in American culture. Americans have seen a revolution in the way they mourn pets. Mourners can remember their pets with specially designed cards, gemstones made from the deceased’s ashes or etched glass gravestones. We have seen this practice when a human dies. We have sympathy cards and etched grave stones on the cemetery plots. Some people are treating their pets as a humans resulting in grieving as intense as after a loss of a family member. And for so many people that choose not to have children, the pets are it. The most difficult thing to go through is losing a child and this loss is very similar.
Grief is emotion and sensation that accompanies the loss of someone or something dear to you. The English word comes from the Old French grève, meaning a heavy burden. This makes sense when you consider that grief often weighs you down with sorrow and other emotions that can have both psychological and physical consequences. Grief can be hard, stressful and tiring. It is a normal reaction to a loss. All people grieve differently. My husband was shocked, my son was very upset while I was a little numb. I would cry only if I see my husband and son cry. I had to be the strong one during this time for all of us.
Pet owners who come for counseling report that they have difficulty sleeping, eating and functioning on the job. They feel incapacitated and they agonize over the insensitivity of their family and friends. They get angry at others who do not share the same pain of loss or at least acknowledge the loss.
Grieving can impair communication between the owner and his/her family members or friends. Some pet owners keep hide their feelings of grief. They claim that no one else will understand. They might think that other people would perceive them as crazy, not comprehending their loss. Grieving pet owners need to be reassured that their sorrow is normal. Their concern about other people’s responses is supported in the literature. “In our culture there is really no acceptable way of mourning a pet.” (Weinberg and Fischer, 1982 p xiii.) Many people are unable or unwilling to acknowledge that a pet can be an attachment figure resulting in the person not recognizing the significance of the pet’s death. Grief, if not over human, is considered inappropriate since pets can be replaced. The lack of universal, social mechanism for dealing with a pet’s death impairs the resolution of grief and isolates the grieving person.
Comprehending the grief we experience when our pet dog die is similar to when a person dies, to some extent. My husband cried and mourned when his dad died in 2004 and he did the same when our pet dog, Wizzer, died last September. There was a wake when my father-in-law passed away and we had an option of giving one to Wizzer but elected not to. My father-in-law was buried while Wizzer was cremated. I found out through a friend that it is illegal to bury a pet in your backyard in New York, although I knew some people who did and even got a headstone.
People get “waves” of sadness whether they lost a beloved person or a beloved pet. Weeks ago, while having dinner, my son was staring at Wizzer’s picture on the refrigerator and started to sob. One day, almost on the same week, my husband was watching All in the Family and Archie reminded him of his Dad and he felt sad too. The Holidays are coming and memories of our loved ones whether a person or a pet will be in our minds for we wish they could be with us and share a wonderful memory again.
Many people have tried to explain what grief is; the most well-known of these is from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book, "On Death and Dying.” The stages Kubler-Ross identified are:
Denial (this isn't happening to me!);
Anger (why is this happening to me?);
Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...);
Depression (I don't care anymore);
Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
Many people believe that these stages of grief are also experienced by others when they have lost a beloved pet but not all people go through all the stages. My email interview with Susan Firestone, Joan Muller, Krissy and Robert Randel revealed (see Appendix): 0 out of 4 went through the 5 stages of grief.
0 out of 4 went through Denial
2 out of 4 went through Anger
1 out of 4 went through Bargaining
2 out of 4 went through Depression
2 out of 4 went through Acceptance
A lesser known definition of the stages of grief is described by Dr. Roberta Temesin the book, "Living With An Empty Chair - a guide through grief." Temes describes three particular types of behavior exhibited by those suffering from grief and loss. They are:
Numbness (mechanical functioning and social insulation);
Disorganization (intensely painful feelings of loss);
Reorganization (re-entry into a more 'normal' social life.)
The incapacitated pet owners go through numbness and disorganization. They will eventually need some kind of support from an outside force - family, friends or professional help.
Different Ways of Losing your Loved One
Death is a part of life, we all have to die. Sometimes when your love one is suffering from a terminal disease and is experiencing tremendous pain, you feel helpless. Death can be a good thing if this is the case. The morning when Wizzer died, I could tell that she was suffering, she was drooling and her tongue was out while she was heavily breathing. Luckily, she passed away quickly after she saw me and my son by her side. Death can be comforting after one can accept and embrace the death of a beloved person or pet. Their memory remains and no one else can take this away from you. “People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.” (Marcel Proust, p76). Wizzer’s memory of liking snow, her sweet kisses and her excitement when opening her presents on Christmas Day will always be remembered. Sometimes it seems like she is just at grandma’s place, who is dog sitting for the day and will return home soon.
It can be very shocking when death was unexpected. “We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.” (Marcel Proust, p 134). My cousin’s German Shepherd dog was only 4 years old when she was hit by a car and was instantly killed. This happened when I was only 11 years old but I can remember how devastated my cousin was and her family. Snooky was too young to die, she was very loved and spoiled by his family. They bought another dog but will never get another German Shepherd ever again. There will only be one Snooky in their lifetime.
In other cases, one can prepare for someone’s death. My neighbor’s dog had cancer and their family anticipated Max’s death within three months of finding out her diagnosis. The family was prepared and knew where to take Max’s body for cremation and a wooden urn had already been purchased. They cherished each day they spent with Max, Laura (My neighbor) even took some time off just to spent her days with her beloved pet. The anticipation of Max’s death was calming to the family.
The difference between a pet’s anticipated death and a person’s anticipated death is the person can express what they want if they are able to speak or write or communicate in some way. I am just hoping that Wizzer wanted to be cremated. I am not certain if she wants to be in an urn or if she wants her ashes thrown on her favorite dog park but for now, her ashes remains with us in our china cabinet. When my husband’s father died in 2004, he was able to express what he wanted before his death. He bought a plot were he wanted to be buried and the place for the wake and funeral arrangements were already planned.
The ability to anticipate a loss results in an easier grief experience. Others have found no relationship between a period of anticipation and the severity of post-death grief. A few studies have found a mid-range "window of opportunity" for better post-death grief outcomes. Summarizing the understanding of the time of the concept, (Knott and Wild, 1986, pg. 57) identified these four themes on anticipatory grief:
It is likely that at least some of the contradictions on anticipatory grief are the result of its inconsistent definitions, contrary assumptions underlying the studies, and weak methods.
I understand death a little bit more today than yesterday. Having lost a friend, a father-in-law and a beloved pet, I underwent different stages of grief. I was sad but was able to skip the denial, anger and bargaining stages. I have accepted everyone’s passing and was able to lend a shoulder to cry on for my husband and my son. It was harder on them than it was for me. “We understand death for the first time when He puts his hand upon one whom we love.” (Madam De Stael).
Death can make us appreciate life. We should treasure what we have, appreciate everyday, thank God for having another day with our family and friends. Go see the Grand Canyon, play bubbles with your kids and do some impulsive things you would like. Enjoy life, enjoy living! “While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.” (Leonardo Da Vinci).
If a person gets too emotional after their beloved pet dies, it can paralyze them emotionally, physically and mentally. Bereaved individuals suffer elevated risks of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. They have higher consultation rates with doctors, use more medication, are hospitalized more often and have more days of disability. It is better, when possible, not to grieve alone. Allow your emotions to surface in order to work through them. It will not work if you try to suppress your feelings in the hope that they’ll fade. Blocking the grieving process will delay or disable your ability to eventually recovery. “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” (J.K. Rowling)
A strong and solid support system is key. Giving people as much opportunity as they need to talk through their feelings is also important. If people don’t know what they can do to help, tell them. People are not mind readers but are willing to help a family member or a friend when needed. Tell them if you want them to accompany you to go to the grocery, watch a movie, or just simply holding you as you cry. Talking about your emotional pain and grief is part of your healing process.
If you are not comfortable with telling family and friends about how you feel or if you are just a loner and everyone else seem far away or just busy with life, expressing your feelings can also be done in a creative way. Write about your beloved pet in a journal. Create a scrapbook or artwork; create an appropriate memorial in his or her honor (for example, donate to the animal shelter under your pet’s name). You can express your own pain and grief to yourself and this is healthier than keeping your emotions inside.
Take care of yourself physically by getting enough sleep, eating sensibly and engage in regular exercise. These tasks is hard to do when grieving but you must force yourself to eat so you can gain some energy to do activities which will eventually make you tired and hopefully get some rest. Do not use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of sadness to lift your mood artificially. Antidepressants are not meant to ease the sadness of grief; because grief, unlike depression, is not a disorder, masking the pain with medication may be less productive than working through the sadness. Healthy habits will help you with grieving, but substance use will impede recovery and can lead to long-term dependence. Own your grief. Let no one else tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” It’s okay to cry if you need to. “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” (William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth p.89.)
Some people’s philosophical or religious world view enables them to incorporate loss more easily. Religion can assist some people in making sense of death. It can also provide a religious community that is available to offer social support. “Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soul-less conditions. It is the opium of the people.” (Karl Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right). I disagree with Karl Marx, I believe people with strong spiritual and religious beliefs are strong people who have faith in a higher power. It is not an addiction, not a requirement but it is something powerful, so powerful that people in going to the grieving process recover more quickly and completely than nonbelievers. According to an article in the British National Journal, “Spiritual beliefs, regardless of religious practice -- appear to assist recovery from bereavement.”
Spiritual beliefs appear to play a role in how people grieve and therefore should be taken into account in their overall care. The researchers investigated the effect of spiritual beliefs on the outcome of bereavement in a prospective study of 129 people who recently lost their beloved family member, friend or pet. Overall, 43% of the study group said they had strong religious beliefs, 41% said they had low religious beliefs and the remaining 16% did not report any religious beliefs. Those with strong spiritual beliefs steadily recovered from their bereavement and reported progressively less grief at subsequent follow-ups. Those with low spiritual beliefs reported little change in their bereavement until after the 9-month follow-up, at which time they experienced rapid recovery. The nonbelievers, however, reported a brief improvement in their bereavement between the 1-month and the 9-month follow-ups, but subsequently experienced a renewed intensity of their grief that was still evident by the 14-month assessment.
Support groups can have an important effect on bereavement adaptation. Peer-support groups can either be led by other peers or by mental health professionals. Those led by mental health professionals may be more likely to generate therapeutic responses for all participants and to avoid any potential for non-beneficial responses to group therapy. If going to a place is too much or too soon for a person, a support hotline would be a great support as well. Imagine a hotline catered to bereaved people who lost their beloved pets. It works just like the existing suicide hotline. Volunteers consist of people who went through bereavement of their own pets and mental health professionals whose objectives are the same as the people in a physically existing support group.
The overall goal of a grieving pet owner is to come to terms with the passing of his/her beloved pet. Even though the sadness could incapacitate the person to an extreme there are different practical ways of coping with it. Eventually, life goes on and even though it may never be the same for some, it will go on. You may have lost your loved one but the memory will remain forever. “She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.” (George Eliot)
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me - Author Unknown
When tomorrow starts without me and I'm not there to see;
The sun will rise and find your eyes, all filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry, the way you did today,
Remembering how I'd lay my head, In your lap that special way.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you.
And each time that you think of me, I know you'll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name, and petted me with her hand.
She said my place was ready in Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But, as I turned to heel away, a tear fell from my eye,
For all my life I never thought, that I would have to die.
I had so much to live for, so many sits and downs to do,
It seemed almost impossible, that I was leaving you.
I thought about our lives together, I know you must be sad,
I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.
Remember how I'd nudge your hand, and poke you with my nose?
The frisbee I would gladly chase, the bad guy, I'd "bark and hold".
If I could relive yesterday, just even for awhile,
I'd wag my tail and kiss you, just so I could see you smile.
But then I fully realized, that this could never be;
For emptiness and memories, will take the place of me.
And when I thought of treats and toys, I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you and when I did, my dog-heart filled with sorrow.
But then I walked through Heaven's gate, and felt so much at home;
As God looked down and smiled at me, from His beautiful golden throne.
He said, "This is eternity, And now we welcome you,
Today your life on earth is past, But here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last;
For you see, each day’s the same day, there's no longing for the past.
Now you have been so faithful, so trusting, loyal and true;
Though there were times you did things, you knew you shouldn't do.
But good dogs are forgiven, and now at last you're free;
So won't you sit here by my side, and wait right here with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart.
For every time you think of me, I'm right there, in your heart.
Response from: Susan Firestone
Susan is our Departmental Administrator. I have known her and worked closely with her for 7 years. I also consider Sue a mentor and a good friend. She gives advice when I need one. Sue is married to Doug and they have two grown children. I met their pet dog Poochie 2 years ago during an office picnic at their place in East Setauket. I heard about Poochie’s death when Sue called in one day to let me know that she will not be at work that day.
How did you become fond of dogs? Hmmm....that's a good one and I don't know the answer.
(2) How many dogs have you had in your entire life? Two
(3) How many dogs do you currently have? None
(4) Do/Did you have a favorite dog? Both of our dogs were very special.
Who (Describe the dog, breed, personality) and why? Both dogs were mutts with a strong terrier influence. Imus was very smart and so wanted to please. Poochie was very dumb but a real mush, always delighted to get some affection. They were both incredibly sweet.
How did you get this particular dog? (rescue, from a breeder). Both were from the pound.
(5) You are receiving this questionnaire because your had a pet who passed away within your lifetime that you can recall. Name and describe a dog who passed away, when and what was the reason of the dog’s death? Imus was put down at 16. He had been going deaf and blind. When he could no longer stand to eat we knew it was time. Poochie contracted a heart condition that we did not know about. She died at home after one day of being very ill.
(6) Take me to the day you found out about this sad news, how did you find out? Poochie seemed to be having some type of seizures during the day, would cry out, collapse and then jump up and be fine. The last one, she collapsed in our bedroom, seized, lost control of her bowels and then seemed fine but we knew there was something terribly wrong. We planned to take her to the vet the next morning. When we woke up and went to her bed, we saw she was not moving. I was afraid to go near her. Doug did and confirmed she was not breathing and that rigamortis had already set in.
What was your initial reaction? Fear
(7) Was someone with you at the time? Yes, Doug.
Who did you call first? YOU! To tell you I would not be at work that day.
(8) Did you have to call a service to pick up the body? No
(9) Was the dog cremated or buried? Buried
(10) Who did you tell first (friends/family member)? My children, Ashley & Ian
(11) Do you remember how you felt that first week after your pet died? Lonely, terribly sad.
(12) How attached are you to the dog? We both were but I think Doug was more so.
(13) Did you get another dog after your pet died? No.
If not, did you think about getting one? No
Will you get one? I doubt it.
What was the reason for your actions (of getting one or not getting one)? Having to depend on someone to come in to take care of it when we are away.
(14) Do you still have any personal belongings of your pet dog? (i.e. leash, toys) Yes, some toys.
DID you go through the following stages?
(15) Denial (this isn't happening to me!); No
(16) Anger (why is this happening to me?); No
(17) Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...); No
(18) Depression (I don't care anymore); No but extreme sadness.
(19) Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes) No
Response From: Krissy
Krissy is 26 y.o. female who lives in Huntington, Long Island. She went to Northport HS and graduated Pre-Law at St. John’s in Queens. Krissy is a stranger to me. Krissy works with my sister-in-law at Jalbert Film Productions in Huntington, NY. My sister-in-law forwarded my email questionnaire to her and was kind enough to reply.
DID you go through the following stages?
Response from: Joan Muller
“You can use my name. I am a big animal lover and I will always have them or be around them in some capacity. They bring me a great deal of comfort in my life and I have a lot of respect for them.” -Joan Muller
Joan is my sister-in-law. She is a great mother, wife and sister to my husband. She lives in Great Neck, NY and Wellington, FL.
How did you become fond of dogs? I ALWAYS LIKE ANIMALS
(2) How many dogs have you had in your entire life? 8
(3) How many dogs do you currently have? 2
(4) Do/Did you have a favorite dog? NO Who (Describe the dog, breed, personality) and why? N/A How did you get this particular dog (rescue, bought from a breeder).
(5) You are receiving this questionnaire because your had a pet who passed away within your lifetime that you can recall. Name and describe a dog who passed away, when and what was the reason of the dog’s death? 2 YEARS AGO. SCOUT (GOLDEN RETRIEVER). SHE WAS OLD.
(6) Take me to the day you found out about this sad news, how did you find out? What was your initial reaction? I WAS HOME
(7) Was someone with you at the time? NO, I WAS ALONE Who did you call first? MARK (MY HUSBAND)
(8) Did you have to call a service to pick up the body? NO
(9) Was the dog cremated or buried? CREMATED
(10) Who did you tell first (friends/family member)? FAMILY
(11) Do you remember how you felt that first week after your pet died? SAD
(12) How attached are you to the dog? VERY
(13) Did you get another dog after your pet died? NO If not, did you think about getting one? Will you get one? What was the reason for your actions (of getting one or not getting one)?
(14) Do you still have any personal belongings of your pet dog? (i.e. leash, toys) YES. LEASH
DID you go through the following stages?
(15) Denial (this isn't happening to me!); NO
(16) Anger (why is this happening to me?); NO
(17) Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...); NO
(18) Depression (I don't care anymore); NO
(19) Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes) YES
Response from: Robert Randel
Robert is my husband. He grew up having a family dog all the time. I met him in 2001 and he had his dog Wizzer at that time. We got married and rescued our other dog, Buddy. Wizzer passed away in September 2007 and Buddy is still with us.
How did you become fond of dogs? My family always loves dogs.
(2) How many dogs have you had in your entire life? 3
(3) How many dogs do you currently have? 1
(4) Do/Did you have a favorite dog? YES, Wizzer…she is one of a kind.
Who (Describe the dog, breed, personality) and why? Wizzer, she is a mutt mix breed. How did you get this particular dog (rescue, bought from a breeder). I adopted her from the North Shore Animal League.
(5) You are receiving this questionnaire because your had a pet who passed away within your lifetime that you can recall. Name and describe a dog who passed away, when and what was the reason of the dog’s death? This past Labor Day. Wizzer was having trouble breathing over the weekend and took her to the vet. Her blood test came out fine but the vet said her heart seemed weak. She had a heart failure, she was retaining water.
(6) Take me to the day you found out about this sad news, how did you find out?
I was coming home from work when you called and told me that she did not make it. I came home and you were standing by the door with a sad face and Brandon was there as well, all upset. We hugged and I went to where Wizzer was and hugged and kissed her, her body was already a little stiff. I got more blankets for her and covered her body.
What was your initial reaction? Heartbroken
(7) Was someone with you at the time? Yes Who did you call first? The Vet
(8) Did you have to call a service to pick up the body? No
(9) Was the dog cremated or buried? Cremated
(10) Who did you tell first (friends/family member)? Joan and Mom
(11) Do you remember how you felt that first week after your pet died?
Sadness and heartbroken
(12) How attached are you to the dog? The most
(13) Did you get another dog after your pet died? No, but almost
If not, did you think about getting one? Will you get one? What was the reason for your actions (of getting one or not getting one)?
I called my sister Joan (she is the voice of reason) and she told me that I am not ready to have a puppy.
(14) Do you still have any personal belongings of your pet dog? (i.e. leash, toys) Yes, her collar, leash, pictures, dog bowl and her ashes.
DID you go through the following stages?
(15) Denial (this isn't happening to me!); No
(16) Anger (why is this happening to me?); Yes
(17) Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...); No
(18) Depression (I don't care anymore); Yes
(19) Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes) No