Goodbye Peppy: Coping with the Loss of a Family Pet

I have written about grief in the past because it is something that affects all of us throughout our lives. This post will be a bit more personal as my family dog has recently passed. For many of us, pets are a part of our family and we grieve for them just as we would a human family member.

Pepper, the Border Collie mix rescue dog, joined our family in the spring of 2004. Right from the start she was the oddest dog I have ever met. She didn’t like to be pet and would try to chew on your hand if you tried. She would have little hissy fits and run uncontrollably around the house or yard. She would have to run around the table counter clockwise before she went outside and she always loved to eat jujube candies and popcorn, but only if it had butter and salt. It took her a long time to bond with our family and over the years she never really did listen to anyone. She always marched to the beat of her own drum. She was both the most frustrating and beautiful family dog.

When I moved out of the house, it was thought that at some point I would take Peppy with me. By the time I was settled in with my fiancé in our own house, she was so used to living with my parents that it didn’t seem fair to move her. She was their dog.

Eventually my husband and I got our own fur baby and Peppy begrudgingly accepted Ollie into the pack. Over the years she mellowed a little bit and I am glad to say she got to a place where she loved affection and knew exactly when someone needed a hug from her.

It will seem odd going to visit my parents and not having Pepper come to the door, but like losing a human family member losing a pet involves a transition. There have been lots of tears and memories shared and I’m sure there will be more to come. It is okay to be sad because losing anyone you love is sad. I will take care to make sure I am looking after myself over the next few days so I can be present and available for my clients. The surprise of losing Peppy will wear off and my parents and I will be able to focus on the great life we provided to that silly dog and the joy and entertainment that she brought us. Take care my dear Peppy, I hope you’re running free and getting your fill of jujubes and buttered popcorn.

 Danielle

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