Having awoke this morning and still mourning Billy after 6+ months, I can attest to the depth and breadth of grief over the death of a dog. Billy had throat cancer, diagnosed in early April 2013 by my vet, who also offered to come to my home to attend to the inevitable.
She said it would be wise and humane not to drag out the decision, but I suppose I did. After 14-1/2 years of Billy’s devotion and daily companionship, deciding to put him to sleep was the hardest decision in my life. He died 18 April.
I have survived the deaths of my first son, my mom and dad and close friends, but nothing has affected me as poignantly and tenaciously as this loss. Here’s my theory: a human’s death is mitigated by surety that the beloved has gone Home, to heaven. But a pet’s death is accompanied by no such orthodox conviction. However, thanks to Father Jack Wintz in his essential book “Will I See My Dog in Heaven?” hope has sprung up in me, but the unfathomable loneliness remains.