Thankful. That is the theme of this week’s post. Preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, this time of year brings about mixed emotions of joy, nostalgia and reflection. With that said, I’d like to share my thoughts on what I’m grateful for despite experiencing pet loss.
1. Thankful for our time together
I’ve had two cats in the past 20 something years; my first love Precious, who lived to be 8 years old and my other pumpkin Dusty who lived to be 13 ½ years old. Although in retrospect, that time was short, I’m thankful and grateful for our time together. Our time together reminds me of a line from that movie Steel Magnolias where Julia Robert’s character Shelby tells her mother, “I’d rather have 30 minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special”. For this reason, I’m so blessed.
2. Thankful for all the unconditional love
I’m grateful for all the love those two little fur balls gave me and my family. They looked at me like they adored me no matter the situation: no makeup, frumpy clothes, sneakers and all. No matter if I was in a bad mood, sick or totally preoccupied, they were always there by my side.
3. Thankful our paths even crossed
On this great big Earth it’s funny how sometimes our circle of friends and acquaintances can be so small and intertwine. Life has a funny way of making things happen you did not expect. In this instance, I never expected to make a run to the grocery store for my mother and come home with groceries and a Siamese & Calico mixed 6 week old kitten, who I would later call Dusty. I guess the good Lord had other plans in store for me.
4. Thankful for a new perspective
Raising pets gives you a new perspective outside of yourself. You are not only thinking of you but of others. Having raised two cats gave me a fresh perspective into what it takes to be a good cat mom and some of the sacrifices you make such as forgoing extended vacation to ensure they are cared for and looked after. I gained new insight into what it takes to care for pets, aside from startup expenses like a litter box, food and a collar. You now have to think of spending extra money on quality food and good veterinary care so they stay healthy or get quality treatment.
In addition to the basics, you also have to think about holidays and birthdays. What play toys and gifts will they love to have and play around with. Lastly, having pets makes you see that a family is not only made up of people but consists of all those that share a bond and lots of love, which include those with paws too.
5. Thankful for making me a better person
Some of the qualities I know I have gained and improved upon since being a cat mom are qualities like increased patience and giving back. I’ve gained the courage to explore more facades of my creativity in writing this blog and painting my art. Thirdly, I have found a greater sense of peace and happiness since having raised them in my life. Although I do grieve for them after their passing, I still have an inner sense of gratitude and love I carry with me always.
6. Thankful for good friends
Raising two fur balls and then losing them, makes you see who your friends are in your time of need and support. I’m grateful to have a great husband, good girlfriends and a solid support system during difficult times. It’s also great to have friends that can not only empathize with you but also understand and have lived this journey post pet loss.
7. Thankful for a compassionate veterinarian
There is nothing more valuable than having good quality medical care. Not only is having a vet a blessing but having a vet that is compassionate and cares is priceless. One of the moments that I remember quite vividly after Dusty passed was receiving a personalized note in the mail and also a donation made in Dusty’ s honor to a local animal charity.
Additionally, the professionalism and heart-felt service and compassionate I received when finalizing Dusty’s final arrangements was priceless. It made going through that experience a touch less stressful because I knew things would be taken care of and in order.
8. Thankful for alternative medicine
When my youngest cat Dusty was diagnosed with cancer and I was told it was inoperable, before getting a second opinion, I could not just do nothing. In a quest to fight using alternative ways, I discovered natural holistic medicine for pets online.
Although, Dusty eventually lost the battle, the natural medicinal remedies I gave her without a doubt gave her extended quality of life. Her ability to regain some of her energy in only 3 or 4 days in addition to gaining some weight back, gave her more quality of life. For this I am grateful, even if it was for a short time.
9. Thankful for peace
Both Dusty and Precious brought such a sense of peace and happiness in my life. They both were there by my side during my darkest hours as well as my happiest moments. They shared this journey called life with me including dealing with all the hurdles along the way.
Our pets represent what true unconditional love is about. I’m sure any pet owner can testify to what I’m talking about. They make your bad days just a little more bearable and make your happy days that much better. Nothing beats a smiling furry face with a purr or a wagging tail.
10. Thankful to know everything comes full circle
Last but not least I’m not only grateful for the time spent but also glad to know I can do it again. Everything comes full circle. I know when the time is right and I am ready, I’ll be able to adopt again and share a new bond with another furry friend. It is just a matter of time.
Those are the 10 Things I’m thankful for after experiencing pet loss. What about you? What are you thankful for this holiday season? Comment and share your thoughts below.
Originally published November 2018. Updated November 25, 2020