I had a dog. It was big and black. His name was Mummzer; He was a boxer, lab, and pit mix. He was a rescue dog and he loved him very much. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It had taken me a long time to get there. It took me two years after Khamudi, my cat, died before I could think of having another pet.

Before I had Mummzer, long before I had Mummzer, I had a cat, the first cat I ever had. It was a beautiful lilac gray point Siamese, and I loved it very much. I love all my animals very much. His name was Khamudi, which means “My sweet” in Hebrew. Cats are supposed to live a long time, right? I expected to have Khamudi with me for at least twelve or fifteen years. However, this was not the case. At the age of four or so, Khamudi fell ill, very ill. I’m not going to tell you. Suffice it to say that I did everything I could to save him. I put him through so much discomfort trying to save him. I feel very bad for what I did to him and to him, and I swore that I would never allow one of my animals to suffer like this again.

Now I know what I was doing when I subjected Khamudi to all these indignities. I was trying to put off my feelings of grief and loss at not having my beautiful cat in my life. When Mummzer was about six years old, he fell ill. He developed brain cancer. It was very difficult for me to let him go, and I kept my promise to myself and Khamudi. I did not allow Mummzer to suffer aches and pains. When it was time to say goodbye, I invited his friends so that we could all say goodbye and tell him how much we love him. Just writing this makes me tearful and now I have another wonderful dog, Dafka. Again, it took me two years before I was ready to have another pet.

We mourn the loss of our animals and this is normal and natural. We care, love and caress them. They, in turn, have cared for us, suckled and caressed us. They have made us laugh and perhaps they have made us cry. No matter what our other feelings are, we love our pets. People who have never had pets may not understand this and say hurtful things. They can say things like “Get over it”; “It was just a dog (or a cat or whatever pet you had).” Please know that the feelings you have are normal and natural and there is no time limit for your grief. It will take as long as you need.

Grief is a process. The feelings we go through when grieving the loss of a loved one, including our pets, are:

* Denial

* Go to

* Negotiation

*Depression

* Acceptance

We don’t go through these feelings in a straight line, from one to the other. We jump and we can certainly feel more than one at the same time. I urge you to take your time and allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling.

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