People love their pets and see them as members of their family. Pet’s birthdays are celebrated, conversations are held with their pets, and pictures of them are carried in their wallets. So when a beloved pet dies, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the power of sorrow. They give us companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love. When you accept that their time will be short, and understand and accept this bond you’ve taken the first step toward coping with pet loss: knowing that it is okay to grieve when your pet dies. With this understanding and finding ways to cope with this loss can bring you closer to the day when memories bring smiles instead of tears.
I have created many memories for people. One day I received a call from a lady who told me about her Scotty Corc. Corc had gotten ill and she knew that Corc would not be alive much longer. Corc was fearful of cameras and would act out anytime someone brought out a camera. She asked if I could do a pastel drawing from her dog. If Corc had been well trained and was able to sit still for at least 5 minutes I would be able to draw Corc.
I drove to their home and met Corc who was sitting with her Mistress. I wanted learn about Corc and what she meant to them. She was their baby and she was spoiled with tons of love. I put out my camera out and let her sniff it, I put up my easel and pastels, and paper, which she also inspected and then I let her sniff me. I spoke to Corc and let her know that I was there for her. She let me pet her and even hold her for a little bit. She soon settled down and sat quite proudly in her Master’s lap and let me draw her. It seemed as if she knew that this was important for her humans. She posed and looked at me all through the drawing. Something I was amazed about. Corc even let me take a few photos of her.
Roxy Foster was another family pet that seemed to know that she was heading toward the Rainbow Bridge. She was getting up in age, arthritis made movement difficult, but she loved her family and her buddy Bigsley, her companion Chow. Roxy was a female Chow who was so very regal. She reminded me of a lioness, while Bigsley looked more like a big bear. Roxy had a favorite place to lay in the yard. Since her mistress wanted to have a portrait of both Roxy and Bigsley together I took lots of photos and worked to capture the differences of the two Chows.
All my photos are for reference only and time that I spend with a family pet is very important. I learn a lot about how the family loves their pet and how well they are loved. Pet owners who want portraits of their pets know that their pet has a special place in their heart. I want to capture how special that pet is to their family.
Here are a few suggestions to help you cope:
v Acknowledge your grief and give yourself permission to express it.
v Don’t hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear.
v Write about your feelings, either in a journal or a poem.
v Call your local humane society to see whether it offers a pet loss support group or can refer you to one.
v Prepare a memorial for your pet.
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