How to Be Less Sad When Your Pet Passes Away

Filed in Living by on April 10, 2014 1 Comment


We adore our pets. How could we not? They’re so sweet and loyal, and each has its own quirky and endearing personality. They are part of our daily routine, from when we wake up in the morning to when we fall asleep at night, often with them cuddled up next to us in bed. We love our pets so much that we Americans spent a whopping $56 billion on them last year!

The picture accompanying this post is of my dog, Munson. Yes, I completely agree, he’s one of the cutest dogs on the planet. He is very small, weighing only 9 lbs., so the kids in the neighborhood think he is a puppy. They remark, “Oh, look at the puppy! Can we pet him?” So I sometimes call him “Puppy.” He gets confused since he knows his name is Munson!

When Munson passes away, I will be a complete basket case. He is my little buddy, and I can’t even imagine life without him. Bring on the Prozac!

So what might I possibly do to reduce my grief?

In an effort to lessen my sadness and suffering when that fateful day comes, I am employing some of my basic principles about life. The first is the concept of control. It is important to know when we have control over a situation and when we don’t, so as not to frustrate ourselves unnecessarily. I have no control over whether Munson will die or not (he will), or when it will occur, but I do have control over how I treat him while he is here. Another key concept is that there is only one way to “cheat death,” and that is to really live: take advantage of and savor every opportunity life has to offer.

As such, I hope to be less sad when Munson passes away by not worrying about if, when, or how he will die, or even how I may or may not react, but rather by spending as much time and being as caring and loving with him as I can while he is here with me. That way, when he does die, I will at least be comforted by the knowledge that we spent a lot of time together, we truly enjoyed each other, and I gave him as good a life as possible.

With this in mind, then, when I take “Puppy” for a walk, I try to be very patient and let him sniff around as much as his little heart desires (which is hard for a Type A like me). When my wife and I go on vacation, we make sure Munson is very well cared for while we are gone. We figure that since we are on vacation, Munson should be too! (I know, we’re both nuts.) And before I run out the door to go to the gym or the hospital, I often take a few minutes to pet Munson and talk to him. He seems to really appreciate this, and it also serves to slow down my Type A heart rate a bit.

Will any of this help at all on that inevitable and tragic day when he is lying lifeless in his bed? I can’t really say for sure.

Maybe, just maybe, amid the terrible heartache and grief, and the river of tears, I will be able to manage at least a brief smile, knowing that Munson lived a good and full life.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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  1. Bobby says:

    Oh god! when i first started reading the article i thought the little boy was gone!! I miss the little fur ball. Ellyn and I need to take him for a nice long walk (In Naples!) Ha. He is sooo cute. TTYL.

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