Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Adventures With Annie: A Dog's Tale

I had not heard from Lyn for several weeks since our exchange of Christmas cards. "Radio silence" from my busy friend is unusual; she frequently sends funny or inspiring stories, and hilarious pet photos. And then, last night's message arrived:
"Deb, after 21 years of having 1 or 2 dogs, I don't have one right now.  My little Annie died Feb. 1, here at the house." 

Author, Lyn Gray, with Annie
Annie has quite a reputation among young readers; she is the star of the Adventures with Annie books. Curious, high-spirited and, in her first adventure, believes herself to be The Great Hunter! Annie followed in the paw prints of her big sister, Maggie, who played Toto in their local school productions. 

When a dear dog's tail has wagged for the last time, and there are no eager clicks of toenails coming across the floor, and the water bowl isn't there to be kicked over accidently... life radically changes.

"I hate to come home because she's not at the door to greet me; I hate to stay here because she's not in any of her usual places. I haven't been able to put her things away yet, either."

What do you write to a grieving pet owner?

  • If you have experienced the death of a pet:  "Boy, do I understand how hard this is. I'm so sorry."
  • If you aren't a pet person but saw their devotion::  "You two had a special bond. (Pet's Name) was lucky to have you."
  • If you ever hung out with them:  "My favorite memory of (Pet's Name) was the time ______." 
  • If the person has other pets:  "How are the others (use names if known) handling the death of (Pet's Name)? 
  • DO NOT suggest a replacement pet.
Lyn adds that any questions or suggestions about new pets is "too soon." 
  • DO NOT ask when they will get another pet. Period.

Remember, you do not need to be a "pet person" to write this type of note. 

Your thoughtful condolence will be a deeply meaningful memento of a wonderful relationship. 

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