Absent Companions – Reflections on Pet Loss

Grief over Pet Loss is universal.  It has no gender, color, age, race, political or financial demographic.  We may all experience grief very differently and most assuredly we all  cope with it a little differently.  The grief truly does vary with each loss.  I have learned that to fight the profound sadness and sense of loss is fruitless but  to try to surround myself with others who have had the same experience. I have also found it helpful to read encouraging words often more eloquently stated than I am able. 

I have gathered here a collection of words and thoughts expressed by people; some famous some not so famous but perhaps you will find here a story similar to your own or some words that express just how you feel or how someone you know feels. 

 Some of the writings are by authors,  some are written by the strongest soldiers and the bravest heads of state, but all are bound with us in this common experience; the death of a dearly beloved pet.

        I feel about my dogs now, and all the dogs I had prior to this, the way I feel about children –  they are that important to me.  When I have lost a dog I have gone into a mourning period  that lasted for months.              Mary Tyler Moore



My friendship with Mitzi was like the friendship that many children have with their pets. My mother and father thought it was “good for me” to have a dog for a companion. Well it was good for me, but it was only many years after she died that I began to understand how good it was, and why.               Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)


Here lies DASH, the Favourite Spaniel of Queen Victoria
By whose command this Memorial was erected.
He died on the 20 December, 1840 in his 9th year.
His attachment was without selfishness,
His playfulness without malice,
His fidelity without deceit.
READER, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of DASH.          

Queen Victoria, epitaph on the gravestone of her cavalier King Charles spaniel, Dash, who was buried in the castle’s garden.


We had a dog, Apples. He was 13 years old, toothless, blind and had the worst breath this side of Jabba the Hut. But he was the sweetest dog, and I cried and cried when he died.         Marlee Matlin


I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?         Sir Walter Scott


Jason Oliver C. Smith, a big dumb guy who was tan, died March 30 of lung cancer and old age. He was 13 years old and lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, his license was current and he had had all of his shots. He is survived by two adults, three children, a cat named Daisy who drove him nuts, and his lifelong companion, Pudgy, whose spaying he always regretted, as well as a host of fleas who have gone elsewhere, probably to Pudgy. He will be missed by all, except Daisy. He never bit anyone, which is more than you can say for most of us.    Anna Quindlen, an obituary for her golden retriever

I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness.  If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven],  I believe he’ll be there. Rev. Billy Graham


“This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog.  I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations.  Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands.  Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what?  By the grief of one dog. “    Napoleon Bonaparte  (on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle.)  Napoleon was haunted by this scene until his own death.

Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less
of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.
Thornton Wilder


Many people have heard the remarkable example of devotion involving a Skye terrier dog who worked for a Scottish shepherd named Old Jock. In 1858, the day after Jock was buried (with almost nobody present to mourn him except his shaggy dog) in the churchyard at Greyfriars Abbey in Edinburgh, Bobby was found sleeping on his master’s grave, where he continue to sleep every night for fourteen years.    Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson    The author of the inscription on Bobby’s headstone is unknown.  American donors erected the tribute in the 1930’s:

Greyfriars Bobby.
Died 14th Jan 1872.
Aged 16 years.
Let his loyalty & devotion
Be a lesson to us all.   


The best way to get over a dog’s death is to get another soon.    Ronald Reagan


“I didn’t know if there was a special dog that she was looking for… she just slowly walked through the little burial plot, reading the names and pausing now and then to stop by a gravestone. She stooped down once to touch one of the grave markers and to brush something off of it. She looked sad and thoughtful, and finally left, without saying a word.”   Unknown member of Queen Elizabeth’s household, talking about her visit to the cemetery on the castle grounds, where her dogs are buried.

There’s a stone I had made for Luke at the top of the hill road, where the pasture opens wide and the setting sun highlights the words carved into its face. “That’ll do, Luke, that’ll do.” The words are said to working dogs all over the world when the chores are done and the flock is settled: “That’ll do dog, come home now, your work is done.” Luke’s work is done too. He took my heart and ran with it, and he’s running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his, forever.    Patricia McConnell   For The Love of a Dog


I explained it to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark, I’ll be very patient and wait,
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.

Unknown Author














4 responses to “Absent Companions – Reflections on Pet Loss

  1. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. 🙂
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    • I am so glad you found my blog…doing something right.. It means alot to me to know that you enjoyed and have me bookmarked. I promise to become more prolific! Take care. Patricia

  2. Hello. I just found your site. I just unexpectedly lost my beloved sheltie, Chase, earlier this week due to kidney failure. I am heart broken and miss him so much. I have found it very helpful to read some of the comforting words here.

    • I am so sorry for your loss of “Chase”. I used to own Shelties, a beautiful little girl named Taffy and a boy named Bentley. They have the most responsive and loving eyes. I will be thinking warm thoughts for Chase. It is a blessing to me to know that my words have been of some comfort and thank you for sharing that fact with me. Take good care. Pati

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