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When You Lose A Beloved Pet


by Sybil Sage

There’s no song that captures what you’re experiencing when you lose your pet, no Sinatra to croon, “One less coat to untangle, one less water bowl to fill.” You’re not sure if others have felt the same grief and you don’t know how you’ll come to grips with the pain.

Minutes after our dog died, with her lifeless body lying on an examining table, the vet asked, “What would you like to do with the remains?” Neither my husband, our son nor I knew how to answer. We shook our heads and waved off the options of keeping or scattering her ashes, returning home with an intense emptiness.

For eleven years, I’d shared a queen-sized bed with my husband and a Tibetan Terrier named Z.C. Now there would be two of us, no bundle of warmth resting at my feet. For eleven years, I made sure to get home before she needed to be fed or walked. Now there was no excited greeting at the door. For eleven years, I had to make sure not to leave food on the coffee table as she would eat anything within her reach. I gave more time and attention to her coat than I did to my own hair. It was only after she was gone that I realized how much of my attention went to her and how large a role she played in everything we did.

The only comfort came from looking at pictures of Z.C. I took a particularly cute one and made it my computer’s screen saver. What I learned from losing my pet inspired me to add a new item to my online mosaic boutique, an urn designed to be warm and fuzzy. I include the pet’s name and photos in a mosaic design. The process and the object are intended to be personal and uplifting. For those not needing an urn, I create a vase with photos of the pet. The pet URN ity is for anyone wanting to embrace loving memories and keep the pet’s presence in the home.

After a career writing comedy for television, Sybil Sage brought her creativity to pique assiette, the French mosaic style that uses plates, designing functional art that includes vases, picture frames, planters, candlestick holders and her newest item, custom made cremation urns (for people as well as pets). The work is original, unusual and often personalized. She developed a process that allows her to include small photos in the vases and urns.

A piece from her Breaking News series — political satire on cremation urns — was selected by the Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition to be in their Wide Open 2 exhibition. The pet URN ity, “Remembering Cinnamon,” was chosen by the American Juried Art Salon for their 2011 show.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. It’s a tough time I know. When I had to make the decision to take my previous dog in I felt I was dying inside. The only comfort at the time was that it was me, my dog, and the vet. No one else was there because he was closed and came in for me.

    Now we have an urn in our bedroom with his collar draped around it and a photo of him next to it. It gives me great memories.

  2. I know how you feel. I have lost a few too. The longest was a 17 year old cat. And I told myself no more pets after that.

    But soon after that, a little hungry beautiful siamese cross kitten just decided to sort of adopt me. She won’t leave. Now she’s officially a resident 🙂

    Here’s blowing you some comfort all the way from Malaysia. Take care now 🙂

  3. Your words expressed perfectly the many feelings you go through when you lose a pet. We had to put our Abby to sleep in January due to an autoimmune disease that took her from us after only 12 years. Tomorrow she would have been 13 and I still look for her every now and then only to realize she’s gone. Abby was a cocker spaniel, so she required some grooming much as you described, and the last month of her life was spent trying to entice her to eat and making sure she had all her medication on time, along with researching her disease and trying to find something that could change the outcome of her diagnosis. Like you, when she was gone I had a lot of time on my hands and I felt so empty even though I have another dog and 2 cats – they helped fill the emptiness but each one is unique and Abby was definitely the one who took the most care and had the most personality and she got into more things because of it. The house stays a lot cleaner now but I would give anything to have those “problems” again. I’m so sorry for your loss as I know how much you are hurting. Our king size bed also feels quite empty.

  4. Pets are family and it is very hard to let them go. My Peanut was 9 when we found out he had cancer. With medicine and lots of love he did live to 14. It was always in the back of my mind that my best friend would pass on. Not knowing when, I spent each day like it was his last. Gave him lots of love and took very good care of him. He has been gone for two years now, and I have two new cats. Each one has a little bit of Peanut in them which is nice.

  5. Ysabelle Lawrence on

    I felt really down when I lost my very first dog that I cried too much. I was just a kid back then and my childhood friends would laugh at me because I was crying for a dog. This happening was really sad. And I agree with the post.

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