By Coleen Ellis
They’re tough to pick out in a crowd, because their make-up varies. They’re millennials, boomers, of all races, varying religious preferences and life styles. They like gardening, traveling, Harley’s, cooking, and mechanics to name a few.
They’re pet daddy’s. Again, they’re tough to pick out just by looking. But, bring the topic up of a loved pet, and it only takes a second to know you’re in the presence of one!
I’ve encountered countless pet daddy’s that have a fierce, deep love for a variety of species. Stereotypically one might think the big, vicious dogs, or the snakes and reptiles would be the animal of choice for our pet daddy’s. Clearly not true, and so heart wrenching when it is the big, tatted up guy whose world has just been rocked with the death of a cherished pussycat, or a tiny little Chihuahua.
Yes, they love deeply, and they grieve so deeply, too.
“Big boys don’t cry” has been a statement we’ve all heard. Therefore, it breaks my heart when I know a pet daddy is scared of being shamed for the tears when it comes to the loss of a beloved animal. As a friend and pet loss companion, I know the importance of providing a safe, non-judgmental space for a guy to grieve and mourn a loss. A place where “big boys don’t cry” means nothing and isn’t welcome.
Jim had just lost his second Rottweiler. Mike and Bob were two litter mates who were Jim’s only “children.” Jim and his partner, Bruce, didn’t live together, but they shared custody of the two Rotties. Bob had died two years ago, and Mike had just died. Much like any couple, Bruce and Jim walked their grief journeys in their own personal ways, with Bruce being more closed off in sharing and Jim wanting to talk, and talk, and talk about “The Boys.” What I loved hearing from Jim was how various men approached him at work, guys who had been through the loss of a loved pet and found it among themselves to reach out to their co-worker and give them the permission to share and know they weren’t alone, guy to guy.
So for all of our pet daddy’s out there, Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for loving so deeply, and permission to grieve when that one bad day comes. We’re here for you, to provide that safe, unconditional love, non-judgmental space to be you.