A veterinarian never gets used to animal loss


Dear Amy: I know you are an animal lover, and so I would appreciate your perspective on this.

I’m a veterinarian and always offer sincere condolences when a client loses a pet — I will send a card, make a donation to an animal charity, and often follow up with an email or phone call.

Recently I lost my much-loved dog and have been slightly appalled at the reactions of people I have known for many years.

A very few have offered condolences. The general attitude has been that I “should be used to it.”

Amy, a veterinarian never gets used to it. It is such a helpless feeling to not be able to cure your own pet, even when you logically know that everything possible has been done.

I am trying not to have hard feelings over this, but it’s difficult.

— Grace

Dear Grace: I am so very sorry. Every person who has said goodbye to a beloved pet grieves the loss of a companion and friendship connection that is very hard to describe, but should be easy to understand. Losing this connection brings on a special sort of heartbreak.

I’ll quote the late great poet Mary Oliver, whose collection “Dog Songs: Poems” (2015, Penguin) is a tender, touching, and funny tribute to the dogs who romped through her life:

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased.

It is no small gift.”


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