The connection between our animals and us can be an incredibly strong and tenacious tether.  When we lose a good friend — who just happens to be a pet — we begin a grieving process that can, at times, feel painful and never-ending.

What about the other side of the grieving dyad?  Do our animal friends miss us when we die?  As I was pondering that question, I happened upon this image someone posted on Facebook:  A dog despondent in sorrow and collapsed on what appears to be the fresh grave of his human friend.  It’s a touching image that speaks to the deep connection we share with our animal comrades.

I am reminded of our cat Jack who, before he died, would wait at the door for Janna to return when she was away visiting her family in Iowa.  When she was off at work, Jack didn’t wait by the door for her to come home at night.  However, when Janna was out of town, he would quietly long for her by sitting three feet from the front door, in a tense position, waiting for her to open the door.  He would sit like that for hours and hours and hours.

I would try to talk to him and let him know that Janna was okay, but that she was going to be gone for a week, and that he might want to at least eat something or take a nap with me and let down his guard a little bit — but Jack would have none of that.  He would just stare intensely at the door waiting for it to open.

I would bring him into the bedroom to sit with me.  He would get right up and run back to watch the door that would not open.

Finally, after about three hours or so, something lizardly lit his mind, and he somehow realized Janna wasn’t going to be coming home any time soon, and he’d relax a little bit on the floor and wait for her.  Then, a few hours later, he’d eat and drink a little bit.  By the next morning, he’d be back hanging out with me.

It was always fascinating to watch Jack ignore Janna when she finally returned from her trips.  He’d allow her to pet him, but he would not purr for her, or look her in the eye, and he didn’t stay in the same room with her for a day or two.  Then, just like everyone else in her life, Jack would be unable to resist the lack of “Janna Love” and he’d return to her in every way — as if she’d never left his side.

We love our animals and our animals love us.  When people ask me why I am Vegan, my simple answer is, and has always been, “I don’t eat my friends.”

9 Comments

    1. I always find it hauntingly odd when people claim to love animals so much — yet they eat animals. Where they draw the line between loving an animal and actually eating one is always a fascination — especially since is pig is much more intelligent than a dog.

  1. I grew up with pets. They were always part of my life. When I was in college, I got a dog, a farm puppy. He was a Black Lab-Coonhound mix and I named him Toby. That dog was with me through thick and thin over the next 14 years. I was devastated when he died. No other dog can replace Toby, he was like my first child. Along with my son and daughter, I how have 3 dogs – Kodi, Misty, and Nina; 2 cats – Smokey and Max; and a guinea named Leo. My son has 2 owl finches – Patton and Kat. To me, a house isn’t a home without pets.

  2. Should we arrive solo at our home…………
    My dog Patches: Greets me enthusiastically, then ‘looks’ for my husband.
    My dog Patches: Greets husband enthusiastically, then ‘looks’ for me.
    She knows the home is not complete without both of us there. (She’s red heeler, and Austrailian shepherd mix)
    I’d hate to say what she would do should the red truck suddenly ‘quit’ leaving and coming home.
    She’s an amazingly smart dog. And with that knowledge, I’m left to wonder WHY she does what she KNOWS she’s not to. 🙂

    1. That’s excellent your dog loves you both, Lillian!

      I was not as lucky with our cat Jack. He immediately bonded with Janna — and the two of them shared a torrid love affair for over ten years! I was always left out of the passionate hugging and kissing and cuddling. Yes, sometimes it was disgusting, but still… ! SMILE!

      Then, in his last year or so, Jack and I spent a lot of time at the veterinarian together and, after a particularly hard surgery on him, he sort of re-bonded with me instead of Janna. That was hard on her, but for a short while I was able to experience, first hand, what a wonderful relationship they had all those years. I was certainly missing out on that deep connection. I was fortunate to have it for a little while.