My parents lost their 2 year old dog today.

Really, she was still a puppy. That’s the beautiful thing about dogs – they retain their joyful youth for so long, especially when comparing their lifespans to those of their best friends. I feel lucky to have loved every single cat and dog to share a home with me. Having experienced the loss of a loved pet before, and knowing how much joy my two cats bring me, I’m not only mourning the too-soon death of an dog I liked very much. I’m mourning for my parents as well.

Something that amazes me about humans is our capacity to love these other creatures. 

Something else that amazes me about humans it how many of us lack empathy when it comes to pet loss.

“Oh, it was just a dog.”

What’s even more amazing is that while some of these people are the ones who have never had pets or felt close to one, similarly as often they’re people who do have pets, and ones whom they will mourn with exhausting pain. Yet they can’t relate their own love and attachment to their animal to the love and attachment someone else has for theirs. 

Fortunately for my parents, they’re surrounded by people who only feel concern for them. Their puppy had a great many friends, the majority of whom have contacted some member of the family today to share in their grief. These are the voices my parents hear, and I couldn’t be more grateful:

“I love you.”

“She lived a good life.”

“She was the best at catching Frisbees.”

“You were lucky to have each other.”

“She lived more in those two years than some people I know have lived in a lifetime.”

I love my parents very much, and I feel their grief today. This post is for the people who inevitably question it. I wish you could understand. I can tell you that I like my cats more than I like a lot of people. They may not be human. They may not think and feel the same way we do, but trust me when I say they can love. That puppy loved my parents very much.

So the next time you hear that someone has lost an animal, try to remember to put yourself in their shoes. It’s a lesson we’re supposed to learn as children, but sometimes we adults need reminding.

Rest in peace, Panda.