At a time when so many people have welcomed new pets into their lives, there are some that have sadly had to say goodbye to their pet during this tough period.
At a time when so many people have welcomed new pets into their lives, there are some that have sadly had to say goodbye to their pet during this tough period. Whilst there is never a good time to lose a pet, at a time where our mental health is already taking a battering, it can really be a struggle.
National Pet Month team member, Laura Waters unfortunately experienced this at the beginning of the third national lockdown in January when her family lost their beloved Springer Spaniel, Harvey. “For 12 wonderful years, our family life had revolved around Harvey, he was the most loving, well-mannered and kind soul.”
“During the first UK lockdown in April, Harvey’s health began to deteriorate from the energetic typical Springer that we knew him to be. As I do not live with my family, I had to hear this initial news over a video call from my mum, along with my two sisters which was very hard hitting. I had constant worry that something was going to happen, and I would be unable to say goodbye.”
Thankfully, when the restrictions eased it allowed Laura to visit her family and they spent the summer with Harvey, going on walks in his favourite places. “I was very grateful for this time, which without the pandemic and working from home, I wouldn’t have been able to do.” Although he wasn’t a full picture of health, he was happy and was making gradual improvements.
“When I received a call early in the morning from my mum at the beginning of January, it felt like my whole world came crashing down hearing that Harvey had been put to sleep in the early hours of the morning. Just the night before we were on a video call and he was playing around like a puppy again. Being on my own at this time meant I had no one to comfort me and I found it really difficult not being at home as it almost didn’t seem real to me.” As we all know this is the last act of love and kindness which we give to our pets who equally gave us so much love in return.
For Laura’s parents at home this had also come as a huge heartache and the house felt so empty without Harvey around. Being in lockdown only exacerbated the feelings of loneliness and the huge hole he had left behind. “It was also made much harder due to the strict social distancing protocols which vet practices have to adhere to during the pandemic, meaning that my parents had to say goodbye to Harvey in the cold, wet car park. Yet, throughout the whole year of vet visits, treatments and surgeries, the staff were always so great, regardless of all the pressures they were facing every day, and for that we are very grateful.”
“I think for me, I didn’t really speak to anyone much for a couple of days and isolated myself even more at this time. Everyone mourns differently but being in a lockdown even more so. I was glad to be working as it kept me distracted from my constant bombardment of thoughts about Harvey. For some, they may find talking to people really helps them through the bereavement process instead.” There are lots of useful resources online to help when you lose a pet, we have linked some at the bottom of this page.
Shortly after losing Harvey, the Waters’ family then had to say goodbye to their elderly cat Tom, who they had taken on five years ago from a family member who passed. “Losing two pets in just under two weeks and all the negative news about lockdown really knocked me for six, and my family also were not coping very well.”
Whilst everyone takes their own steps through this awful time, since then the Waters’ family have welcomed a new addition to the family. “As my family were really struggling being at home without their four-pawed shadow, we knew at some stage there would be another dog in our lives. We didn’t expect it to be quite so soon, but when we came across a gorgeous Springer Spaniel puppy who was available, we all felt ready to take that step. Since named Reggie he has bought a beam of sunshine into our lives. He has given my parents a new lease of life, running around causing puppy mayhem. He’s taken to his training very well and we are so glad we get to give him a lifetime of adventures and love.”
This blog is dedicated to all the pets who have recently crossed over the rainbow bridge and for any pet owners who have had to experience this at such a terrible time.
Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service available online: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss and on the phone: 0800 096 6606
Cats Protection – Grief and Loss: https://www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/grief
Mind – Bereavement Useful Contacts: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/bereavement/useful-contacts/
NHS Mental Health resources: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/
Rainbow Bridge Grief Support: https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/grief_support_center/grief_support_home.htm