Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year/ Advice

I would like to wish all of you a happy and blessed 2009. Your words of consolation at the passing of our beloved pet were comforting and reassuring. Thank you and God bless you for being so kind and compassionate.

When the Critter passed away, it affected not just me, but other people in my immediate family as well. I have heard via some very wise sources that getting another dog significantly helps with the grieving process. While I'm inclined to do just that, part of me hesitates for a number of reasons. On the other hand, it seems cowardly not to proceed, especially if the main reason for not doing so is out of fear of facing the disheartening possibility of losing another pet. What would you do?

I keep going back to this quote by C.S.Lewis:
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless -it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
~From the book The Four Loves.

I highly welcome your advice.


Rita said...

Hello Tom,

Happy New Year sincerely wished!

My advice, for what it is worth is give yourself a good period of time before you even make the decision.

The grieving and sense of loss are precious in their own way and should be allowed to be the reality they are without obscuring these feelings with another bundle of fun. Would you rush to find another girl if one you loved had just dumped you? Yeah, I know that situation is very different, but do dwell on the similarities.

Thank you for sharing the Critter with us.

Mike and Kim said...

Hi Tom,

My little sister, Kris, had your site on her blog so I hopped on over to say I was so sorry to hear of your recent loss. Having had "human"-pet members in our family, I can certainly relate to the profound affects of losing one can have on a family.

I think about what an incredible life Critter had with you....and then think about what a great life you would offer another pet...doesn't get much better than that! We had a cocker spaniel in our family that can NEVER be replaced...and his memory lives on in all of us! We still yell out his name every once in a while when we are all together! Talk to Kris about him...he was one of a kind!

Be a St. Francis....get another one!

In the meantime, I pray that all the happy memories sustain you...forever!!

The Pfaffs

Melody K said...

I think, definitely get another dog, but wait awhile and give yourself a chance to grieve first. You'll know when it's time.
May you have peace in the New Year!

Adrienne said...

You'll know when the time is right. Critter can never be "replaced". Each of our little fur people has their very own personalities.

That being said, I am a huge believer in rescuing dogs from the Humane Society. Millions of these wonderful dogs are put down every year for lack of a home.

It may take awhile to find a small dog at the pound. It took us about 2 or 3 weeks to get Sophie. We called each day asking if any small dogs came in. There are also rescue groups for different breeds.

All, except for my very first Yorkie, were either from the pound or rescued from a less than wonderful situation. And all of them (except for Elle) were adults, by that I mean at least close to one year old. (No toilet training that way plus you can really get an idea of their personality.)

Elle was a puppy mill reject, Sophie came from the pound as did Angela the cat. Erica the cat, as you know just "moved in."

Poor little Sophie had been so abused she was terrified of everyone and we had to work with her for many months before she was socialized. She has been one of our sweetest and most lovable dogs ever and worth the effort.

Under no circumstances should a doggie be gotten at a pet store. These are the supporters of the puppy mills that should be outlawed in the states where they are allowed to operate. These people are perpetrators of horrendous abuse and disregard for the animals that God placed under our dominion.

I prayed for Critter, you, and your family today at Mass. I think I miss him almost as much as you....

Owen said...

The next dog will die. It may die before you die. That's the cold truth. However, to have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all - so they say.

Let me radically shift gears to speak of human life.

When our first son Joel died we felt ready to open our hearts to life within three months. Some said it was too soon. Others insulted us telling us that we could not replace Joel - as if we didn't know this, as if that was our intent. We conceived almost immediately.

Back to dogs. I have lived through five dog deaths. Three as a child and two as an adult with children of my own. Each dog was a blessing to us. None replaced the previous. All were their own unique personality. Each death was very hard even as each of their lives enriched our own. We were never very long between dogs. We took time to mourn our loss and when ready we looked again.

If this makes any sense, good. If it muddies the waters, ignore it. I am sure you will follow your heart and do what is best suited to you and yours.

Art | Faith | Souls

paramedicgirl said...

Tom, Happy New Year!

Those words of C.S. Lewis are very wise. Take them to heart. Get a new pet. Once you start playing with a new puppy, you will never regret it. It doesn't mean you will forget Critter, but if you are the kind of person who loves animals, why not get another one? We outlive our pets, that's nature. If we outlive our children, that's heartbreak.

Shirley said...

Tom, my husband and I both think that with your capacity to love you can only benefit by having another dog. I'm sure you will know when the time is right,and I'm sure that there is another dog out there that will love you back in that inimitable way that dogs have.

Tracy said...

My advice.. give yourself time and then start looking and if you feel your ready.. go for it.. Pray about it and give it time.. I think that you'll just know if it is meant to be:)

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Tom: Many here have the same advice I do. Give yourself time to grieve Critter and appreciate Critter for what he gave you and what you gave him.

When I had to put my old cat down it was 7 months before I got another cat. The silence and absence were tough but I was not ready to just "rush out" and get another buddy.

I got another cat because I'm firmly convinced God provided. After the 7 months, my cousin and her friend found an abandoned kitten in a farm field in South Dakota. They brought him to me. What could I say? Thus, I adopted Sodak whom I still have 3+ years later. A few months after that, he needed a buddy so I adopted Kaylen from a rescue/foster agency.

Now, we are a happy family. However, I still have Junior's ashes. I still after 3+ years, am not quite ready to let those reminders go.

Don't rush yourself.

Still praying here, my friend.

Kirk said...

Hi Cousin Tom,

I have just got back from London.

I am sorry to hear that your dog has died and I understand the grief and heartache that you must be feeling.

I agree, you should get another dog. There are plenty of animals out there in this often cruel world, looking for someone to give them a loving home.

Coming from a family that has always had dogs and cats (and birds and goldfish too) I can tell you that my fathers always said that we had to have a mourning period. We could never 'replace' our beloved friend but then the time would come when we could welcome a new one into our home but only once a period of time had passed.
And it is amazing when I think of it that a certain dog or cat was found to be in need at the very time when we were thinking of getting a new one. Like Adrienne, apart from my darling Hamish, all of our pets came from refuges.

I will say a special prayer for you this evening.