“THINKING ABOUT RUSTY”
It’s been a little over a year since we lost our beloved Rusty, a great Cocker Spaniel with lots of love and personality! I still miss him a lot. He was so much more than just a dog. He was a companion and friend for the 14 years that I had him. Some of you my readers knew him too. The loss of a beloved pet is never easy. Many of you know that and have your own stories to tell. The loss of a beloved pet can be traumatic. This is especially true when the pet owner has had the pet for a number of years or when the pet reminds us of a deceased loved one. The death of a pet is cause for real grief and should be respected as such. The death of a pet falls into the category sometimes referred to as “unspeakable losses.” We don’t mind everyone knowing how much we miss a departed family member or friend. But it can feel embarrassing to admit how much a deceased pet meant to us. Often, bereaved pet owners must grieve in silence and wonder how they will ever get over the death of their pet.
The loss of a pet is traumatic because often the pet gave us unconditional love and acceptance when nobody else did. They were usually happy to see us when we came home or provided company in our loneliest hours. Their innocence and funny ways provided us with years of enjoyment and laughter. When anything important to us is gone, a void is created that takes time to fill.
Even in grieving over the loss of a pet, we should stay grounded. We can ask God to show us how to find true consolation and fill that void with His presence (Hebrews 13:5). Grief can come in stages, even when we are grieving the loss of a pet. The sight of an empty food bowl or a half-chewed slipper might spark tears. Allowing yourself to be in the moment and experience that loss is actually a healthy way to process it. We can pause for a moment and, through our tears, thank God for the years we had with our beloved friend.
As with any deep soul pain, God is our source of comfort. He is “near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Death of any kind is always a reminder of the brevity of life. Life was not meant to die. Sin caused that (Genesis 2:16–17). When our pets die, our sorrow can be a sober reminder of the effects of sin on this world. It also reminds us that our own lives are short. We, too, will die and face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). For those who belong to Christ, our judgment has already been satisfied by His death and resurrection on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). For those who do not know Christ, the death of a pet may be God’s wake-up call. He wants to get our attention. Far more serious than the death of a pet is the eternal death of a human soul. Grief is a season and does not last forever. Are you suffering the loss of a pet or a friend? Contact us here at Russ Hobbs Ministries. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to chat.