Pet Loss, Pet Grief, and Poop
By Coleen Ellis
This morning I was thinking of some of the most overwhelming emotions of pet loss and grief. Some of the most overwhelming, coupled with the most surprising.
Then I remembered poop. Yes, poop. It’s been a few years ago as I was helping a grieving pet Daddy with the loss of his beautiful Sheltie, Murphy. I remembered as we were standing by Murphy’s casket, telling Murphy stories, how he relayed his sadness over a routine event that morning, his daily poop pick up in his yard. He truly was rocked by that event, that routine, that daily ritual.
I didn’t think it was funny or odd when he was telling me about it. I just thought it “was,” as it was his so it was real for him.
But, then the day came after Mike the Dog died and I was in that same situation. I, too, was out in my yard doing my daily ritual, my daily routine, of clean-up of the grounds. The furthest thing from my mind when I started that chore was Murphy, Murphy’s Daddy, and how I would be affected by poop.
And, then it hit me. The enormity of the last time. All of the comments that Murphy’s Daddy said, again none of them that I found odd, slapped me across the face with the full realization of the meaning.
So I made my way through the yard. Bawling my eyes out. Hoping the neighbors wouldn’t see me and my swollen water-filled eyes as I knew I did not have enough brain capacity and communication strength to do nothing more than point at poop. Something I’m sure they did not want to hear, nor see, nor would they understand!
I tell this story so many times. Whether it’s a comforting thought, or one that will be cause for pause to raise an eyebrow and say “Hm…”
Our animals make us routine. When they die, the loss of that familiar routine can rock our world. Even when it comes to poop.