Losing A Pet: A Loss Felt Forever

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Like many of us who have experienced the painful process of saying goodbye to our furry family member, Jodie held her sweet dog last week as he was put to sleep to end his suffering.  At 15 years old, his quality of life was all but gone and Jodie had to make that incredibly painful decision to let him go.  Thankfully, Jodie tells me that his passing was peaceful.

The last picture taken of Jodie with her sweetheart, Mickey.

“Dr. Bennet at Blue Cross Veterinary in Phoenix was so compassionate, and gentle with my Mickey.  She gave him a sedative first to relax him, and a treat.  Then, we held his head and kissed his nose while she gave him the shot to stop his heart.  After we spent a few minutes saying good bye to him, they made a paw print in a little ceramic disc with his name and hearts underneath.  I baked it when I got home, and plan to paint it black and white, like his fur.  They were awesome, and I highly recommend them to any pet owner,” said Jodie.

Once I read this, I was in tears and I just knew that I had to honor Jodie’s request and write an article about her sweet Mickey.  And Jodie sent me some fun pictures of Mickey’s life to include, too!  But first, to all of you that have been in Jodie’s shoes, you know firsthand how painful it is to lose a pet and it is truly a loss felt forever.

I remember coming home after our beloved cat, Zilker died in surgery at 15 years old.  I couldn’t get over how empty the house felt without her.  She was like a little dog that even did tricks like sitting and shaking paws and we had her before our children were born.  She moved with us, comforted us in hard times and purred in our lap during the joyful days.  Most importantly she gave us unconditional love and we loved every inch of her right back, so I can once again (5 years later for me now!) feel Jodie’s grief in my own bones.

But aren’t those years of smiles, laughs, comforts and even a few challenges worth it?  And although the tears flow one minute and I found myself choking back more tears the next, I knew that the pain of loss is the result of how much I loved that cat and I would have rather loved that much than to not have had that love at all, so I took the pain and I let myself feel it, as I endured the process of letting her go.

Several months later, I adopted two new cats from my local animal shelter.  They have been great companions, but they can’t replace Zilker and that is OK.  Those two kitties remind me of the beauty of the circle of life and they are happily thriving in our home now.  And if you need to take a few months to heal before you adopt a new pet, do it….or if you feel that you want to look at rescues or puppies or kittens the next day, then do that…just follow your heart.

And now back to marvelous Mickey!  With these pictures from Jodie, let’s celebrate sweet Mickey’s life now!  Just look at what a special dog he truly was!  And Jodie tells me that Jack Russel Terriers are simply amazing dogs to have, so check out a terrific rescue organization called AZ Jack Russell Rescue.

Also grieving is Mickey's long-time best buddy, Scooter seen here proudly posing for a pic!


Mickey was always quite the poser!



What an athlete and what talent!











And my favorite picture from Jodie is Mickey after a swim. Just hanging out. What a cool dog!













And here is something that is pretty cool….Mickey’s human Dad, Dan who adopted Mickey as a pup is dealing with the loss in a very special way, too….through a tribute that he wrote all about Mickey in an article that the LA Times is even considering publishing!  To see’s Dan’s heart-warming tribute that appears in the Noozhawk Newspaper in Santa Barbara, check out the link that appears below this article.  Dan’s wonderful words take you through the years from the first day that Mickey came home with Dan as a new pup through his adult dog years.  You will love his article and it will put a big smile on your face, just like the smiles that Mickey put on Jodie’s face as he graced her life with his perfect pup presence.  To all of you that have loved and lost a pet and to Jodie, my heart goes out to you because Mickey took a piece of Jodie’s heart with him to the wonderful and peaceful place where he now resides…and a piece of him will always reside in Jodie and Dan’s hearts.  Today we honor you, sweet Mickey.

Dan’s newspaper link that you have to check out…





  1. Losing a pet can be devastating, especially to children in the family. Here’s a poem, that I’ve shared with several friends, and we read when we lost our Bailey to cancer a few years ago. Praying for you!

    • managedmom says:

      Thank you for sharing, Lisa. My friend, Cherene gave me this same poem when our Zilker passed away. Such a wonderful poem to share with people.

  2. That was an awesome article about my boy Mickey. He wrapped his love around my heart so tightly that I find it incredibly difficult to do anything but cry and smile at the same time. He was an old soul, who seemed to have more lifetimes than one in his body. He was special beyond any four legged friend I have ever known. My, and Jodie’s, life were blessed with having the honor of caring for him. Because he certainly cared for and protected us. I realize now that when I picked him up that very first day, I didn’t chose him…he chose me. Thanks so much for your post. Daniel

    • managedmom says:

      Thank you so much, Dan. Your article was so heartfelt, wonderful, warm and made me laugh and cry as I read it several times. Absolutely touching and fun to read about your super special cool dog, Mickey. Our Zilker was an old soul, too…I swear! And I do believe they choose us. Our little girl has been begging us for a dog for the last five years and we are now considering it and have been for the last several months. It will be an interesting adventure to see which special pup chooses us…if that is meant to be. With two very happy and spoiled cats and a busy schedule, we have not decided to do this yet, but I am reminded by your article of the hard work and dedication required to adopt a new pet and then I’m reminded that the adventure is filled with a huge powerful paw print that is forever left on your heart and that is priceless. Cheers to Mickey and to the incredible life that you and Jodie gave to him.

  3. Rachel, I am forever grateful to you for your heartfelt article honoring my amazing dog Mickey. The tears have subsided for now, but each time Scooter searches for her brother and best friend on the patio or in the house, it breaks my heart. How do we make our surviving pets understand? I held out Mickey’s empty collar
    When I got home that day. She looked up at me, confused, and licked it. She has also inherited Mickey’s dish, a very snazzy zebra striped bowl he ate out of his entire life. The toughest part for her is when I leave for work, she gets upset knowing she’ll be alone all day. She has always had her brother to pass the hours with. I suppose the routine will become normal, hopefully soon. Her playful spirit is very calming to me. I am getting ready to walk her now. She loves it, zipping after birds and wiggling her butt at passers by. I need her SO much more than she needs me right now. She is the best medicine!! Thank you again. I hope Mickey’s spirit has touched your readers…

    • Mickey’s spirit has definitely touched me, I can tell you that! Do keep us posted on how sweet Scooter does as time progresses. I wonder…did your vet have any advice about that? Bless your heart and your sweet Scooter’s heart, too.

  4. You should have a warning before you read this article…. Something along the lines of, “KEEP KLEENEX CLOSE!” Awesome story! Thanks for sharing this beautiful love story!!!