Saturday Morning Message: The Comfort of Pets
Author: Carol Lane
This is a perfect topic for today since it is National Pet Day, a holiday celebrating our loving animals and the joy they bring to our lives every single day. More importantly, the holiday creates public awareness about the challenges shelter animals face and encourages humans to help them.
This week survivors introduced us to their companion animals and how they are a comfort while their owners are grieving. The opening picture is my last dog, Henry. Although he has passed, it has been difficult for me to think about getting a new pet. He was loving and was always there when I felt down after losing my son, Bryon. He also practiced self care as you can see when he was taking a break on the living room couch. I hope you will enjoy the survivor comments and pictures. It is lovely to see that not all of the special pets are dogs.
Mother of Bryon
Answers from Survivors
Responses from Survivors to last week's question: Introduce your pet to those who read this message and write a few sentences introducing your beloved companion to us.
From Beverly, sister of Adam: This is our dog, Moose, also known as the "Mooseman," "Mooser," and "who's-a-good-boy?" Moose is a 2-year-old male mastiff/terrier mix. He is black with white markings and weighs about 50 pounds. Moose showed us unbelievable depth when he comforted all of us in the days following my brother's death. He stayed with us and would come up to anyone who was crying or upset with his tail gently wagging and soft nuzzles. He would stay with the person until she was soothed. He knew us and wanted to give us his love whenever he could. My mom remarked, "My goodness, he's a natural therapy dog!" It is amazing how loving and special our pets are. We are blessed and so thankful to have Moose.
From Liz, mother of Dean: This is our son Dean and his beloved dog Bo. Bo is a Catahoula and is now 2 years old. After Dean was discharged from the Army, he was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. He acquired Bo and they went everywhere together. Bo was Dean’s registered support animal. Bo was there when Dean went to Heaven. Bo has been with my husband and I ever since. Bo now comforts us when we are sad and has been an incredible companion over the past 11 months. I’m not sure how we would have moved forward to this point without Bo. Bo has become my service dog and has aided my grieving and mourning and calms my anxiety. When I’m sad he comes and rests his head in my lap. When I’m happy he is right there to keep my spirits up.
From Winona, spouse of Clifford: I would like to introduce you to my little girl, Murray. My grandchildren found her in the woods a few weeks before my husband passed away Sept. 28, 2014. No one claimed her, so they saw fit to give her to me as a companion. Murray has saved me from many imaginary dangers, from toll booth operators to fast food cashiers. She makes me laugh and listens to me when I cry. My little adventurer is brave and willing to go almost anywhere with me! For the past two years she has looked forward to our kayaking adventures on our local small lakes. She takes her place at the bow of the kayak and stands guard, looking more like a hood ornament on a car. Looking forward to seeing other military family pets!
From Lydia Joy, mother of Carl: This is a picture of Walker and Scott. (Walker is white, Scott is blue) I've had them for about 18 months. While they don't talk, they chirp and sing all the time. They have been good company while I am working from home. Many times when I am on a video chat, people say "I hear birds."
From Charlene, mother of Devin: This is Foxy Brown Bigelow. She’s a 5-year-old Shiba Inu. She is a sweet, lovable, funny girl. She loves treats and attacks vacuums. She has helped our family with our grief, because she loves to play, get our attention, and keep us laughing even with the lockdown.
From Kelsey, mother of Michael: This is Cereal Killer Josephine. She crossed the rainbow bridge on my son's birthday this year. She was 19 years old and a great companion to my son. After he died, she would go into his room and sit where his bed had been. We loved her very much.
From Cheryl, mother of Jack: This is my friend, Raven. She was dumped off as a pup. I answered an ad from the person who picked her up. She is a sweetheart!
If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
We are all spending more time in our homes during this time of social distancing to keep us healthy. This is another new normal for all of us. Our pets can be a big help during times of difficulty. This week, let’s continue to introduce our pets to those who read this message. How does your pet comfort you in a time of heartbreak? Please send a picture.
The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. I am always looking for questions and songs for future messages. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing email@example.com. In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
♫ Song for the Week
This week’s song is from Leslie, mother of Eugene who gave us the song this week which is "Over the Rainbow," sung by Eva Cassidy. Leslie wrote, “This beautiful singer died some time ago. She left her songs for us to enjoy. I feel my son somewhere over that rainbow.”
A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist available to you on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.
Pets can be comforting. How does your pet help on your grief journey?
Survivors Crystal and her son Max fostered a sick little puppy named Earl who stole their heart, and the hearts of 4 million viewers who've seen his story online.