By Sunday, June 24, 2018 12 No tags Permalink

June is the sixth month of the year, the second of four months to have a length of 30 days, the third of five months to have a length of less than 31 days, and the month in which I experienced sudden unexpected pet loss…


Living through sudden unexpected pet loss has to be one of the most difficult and incredibly painful experiences of a persons life. It can impair your emotional and physical health.

I know – I have lived it…

 Did you know –

symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year – Scientific American

It took quite a while for me to understand why mourning Leo’s death was so different. I remember feeling both embarrassed and ashamed for my uncontrollable tears and sobs. Not fully comprehending the depth of despair a loss of a pet can cause, I withdrew due to my own fabricated sense of isolation.


Psychology Today has an excellent article clearing up the nine myths that are frequently associated with grieving your pet.

It –

explores nine frequent misconceptions when it comes to experiencing the death of a companion animal and clears them up with the truth.

Three of the nine were “spot on” for either what I was thinking and/or feeling or what I was forced to deal with –

#1) Myth: You shouldn’t be grieving for your pet this much – False! That pain is so deep and so real, anyone who tells you that hasn’t wept in your towel.

#2) Myth: Expressing your emotions for the death of your pet should be limited and hiddenFalse! There were many times I felt that way, but I was so grief stricken I couldn’t have hid it if I tried.

​​#7) Myth: I’ve been grieving for months, I should be over this already – False! This foolish statement right here just spun me into more guilt.


Leo’s illness was quick to invade and consume his body and for months I blamed myself. “Why didn’t I notice something?” was the question of the day. Every day. Sometimes – all day…

I guess I wanted my brain to make sense of it all. Listening to cliches for comfort like “things happen for a reason” created anger and serious negative attitude issues.

Guilt is one powerful emotion. In my case it was debilitating. I can not tell you how many times I mumbled the “what if?” scenarios. Harley and Leo were inseparable. His change in behavior due to our loss weighed heavily on my shoulders as well…

For weeks I feared I was losing the Harley I once knew.


Eventually I began to cope with the process of grief. Over time I realized moving forward didn’t necessarily mean moving on.

People meant well when they suggested I move on, but my interpretation was that they wanted me to erase (or toss away) his existence.

When a dog you’ve loved and cared for daily – dies, you can easily become invisible and lose your identity. Your entire world changes because that dog was such an intricate part of your life.

Recognize those changes and find ways to address them.

To this day I often think about something someone very wise told me.

They said –

“Leo’s absence is similar to having a limb amputated. You will never ever be the same, but – you will learn to adjust and you will continue to live. It will just be different.”

Even today, with sweet, cuddly Harley and goofy Jaxy by my side, I still feel like that amputee. I believe I always will…

The loss is immeasurable, but so is the love left behind ❤

  • Kristin Clark
    June 24, 2018

    I can relate, 100%, to what you describe. My heart goes out to you, and to Harley. Sending you love and support, from one dog mom to another.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Thanks Kristin – appreciate it. Please stop by and visit again soon – we love having you 🙂

  • Emma
    June 25, 2018

    The good thing about pet friends is they understand. Mom still has a hard time talking about Katie and it has been two years. Humans spend so much time with their dogs, 24/7/265, like small babies that never grow up. We are always dependent on you, and when that pup goes away, it leaves a huge hole in so many places, not just the heart, and not just if it is the only dog or in a family of several dogs.

  • Monika & Sam
    June 25, 2018

    A poignant and touching post about pet loss. Thank you for sharing it. I hope the passage of time has helped fill the loss in your heart with recognition of its impact.

  • sand spring chesapeakes
    June 25, 2018

    Going through a loss is so hard. Thank you for this post.

  • Shadow's & Ducky's Mom
    June 26, 2018

    Thanks for sharing this post, Cathy. Like you, I still feel like an amputee nearly three years after Callie got her angel wings. Our worlds will never be the same as they once were; but it helps knowing that we are not alone, that we have friends who experienced very similar deep emotions.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      You said a mouthful my friend – I am eternally grateful to virtual friends like you who were there for me during my darkest hours. I will forever cherish that kind of friendship. We are better for knowing such unconditional love and I think, smile, and miss him everyday as I am sure you do when you think of Callie. God bless my friend, always…

  • Lindsay
    June 26, 2018

    Ahh Cathy, this one tugged at my heart. It’s never the same when we lose our beloved animals, you just learn to adjust your sails and find a new normal. I miss every single one of my dogs that has passed away.

    Sending you so much love and hugs.

  • Tiffany
    June 26, 2018

    I miss Leo too everyday. Thanks for writing this article. I loved seeing the pictures of him too. I know he still lives in Harley’s heart, always. And I swear a bit of his spirit is in Jax.

  • Mary Anne Coffin
    June 27, 2018

    Absolutely spot on! It has been last April since I lost my sweet Eleanor Rigby. She stood with me through the toughest times of my life, never let me down like humans and knew my deepest darkest secrets. We have a new doodle now, after some time passed but in no way will Miss Abbey Road ever take my Eleanor Rigby’s place. I completed understand every single word of this heartfelt article. Other doodle lovers get it, the rest of the world, not so much.

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 24, 2018

      Mary Anne – may I say I LOVE your choice of names! They are magical. I am sorry to hear about Eleanor – we share a special place you and I – one I wish no one else would ever occupy. While Harley is my first and I often refer to him as my “heart dog” Leo was the real creator of this website, and he was my symbol for stepping out of my comfort zone. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, please come back again soon.

  • Jan K
    July 7, 2018

    You hit every nail right on the head. Grief often lasts longer than some people, or even ourselves, think it will. I often find myself feeling sad for what I think is no good reason, but I’ve come to realize that I am still feeling Cricket’s loss. I think I learned from past losses that the sadness can linger for quite a long time….
    I also know from past losses how much harder the sudden unexpected ones can be. My heart is with you, because I know that sometimes that guilt never completely goes away, even when you know it’s not logical. ♥

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