A week ago I ran into a neighbor I’ve known for ten years. We’re not close friends or anything, but we’ve always liked one another. After about ten minutes of casual conversation, she shared that they’d put their dog to sleep the day before. While I know she was working hard on having a brave face, it was also just as obvious that her heart was broken. And at my company, Healing Baskets, it’s a story we hear all the time.
It’s a funny thing about when we lose a pet. When we lose them, we seem to think we can (and should) work through it quickly … easily… The truth is, though, that pets are part of our home and members of our family. We sometimes spend years and years sharing our lives and our love with them.
We’re in a unique place when we hear that a friend lost a pet – we’re able to honor their sorrow even if they try to push it away or pretend they’re okay. Since my neighbor had to put her pet down, she even felt that her sadness was unjustified. She questioned if she had made the right decision. Could she have done it later. Should she have done it earlier? I shook my head gently, and I reminded her of a day fourteen years earlier, when she arrived in a limousine from New York with the stray puppy tucked into her shirt pocket. He was a chunky baby with ginormous paws. Her boss had rescued him from a the street in Queens, and my neighbors had welcomed him into their home – even as he grew bigger than Clifford the Big Red Dog (or so it seemed to all of us).
After I went home that day, I went into my studio and made them one of Healing Baskets unique pet sympathy baskets. I included a Rainbows and Bridges Pet Memorial Kit, a ceramic pet sympathy frame, and then I searched a huge box of photos to find a picture I’d taken of their daughter and dog at our neighborhood block party the year before. I don’t even think anyone knew I took the picture. Later, I left the basket on their doorstep with a simple note and my phone number. I know we can’t fix one another, especially when it’s a heart that’s been broken, but maybe, once in a while, being there is good enough. That’s what Healing Baskets is all about.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole
To your peace and joy, Caroline Cheshire
Founder of Healing Baskets, Inc.
PS: To see some of the Pet Sympathy Baskets referenced in this article, go to: http://www.healingbaskets.com/sympathy-gifts.htm