Saturday Morning Message: The Comfort of Pets

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The opening picture this week is of Dandelion, my daughter’s cat. She loves animals, but wasn’t able to have a cat when she lived at home, because I am allergic. So the minute she moved into her own place, this is the cat she chose from the shelter.

Cat Dandelion

This week more survivors shared stories and pictures of their beloved pets. For those of us who have pets, they offer much comfort not only when we are grieving the loss of a loved one, but also during this time when our lives have been turned upside down. Enjoy reading about these pleasant companions.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: How does your pet comfort you in a time of heartbreak?


Cat Buddy

From Carol C, mother of Dustin:

This is my kitty, Buddy. He came to me two years after my son, Dustin, passed. He is the sweetest kitty ever. He is curious, lovable and playful. Buddy brought laughter back into my life. I protect him with all my heart, because he loves me with all of his.

Dog Nanna

From Laura, spouse of Austin:

Nanna was Austin’s baby. He was always wanting to see her while we were in Texas. Before he died, I wanted to make sure that she got to see him and give him cuddles. It was a sight to see, a 135-pound Saint Bernard giving Austin so much love and being gentle with him. 

After Austin’s passing, Nanna was by my side always. I rarely went anywhere I couldn’t bring her. She would comfort me by sitting with me when I cried, and would just know when I needed some extra love. She was there when we had to put her sister, Bosley, down and even after that she never strayed. In her old age, I look at her and think how lucky I am to have the sweetest dog in the world as my dog.

Cat Sox

From Perry, father of Christopher:

Sox is my older cat. He is 15 years old. I rescued him the same year Christopher was killed. He has always looked out for me and has been there to comfort me no matter how bad the day was. When I sit in my favorite chair he sits next to me laying on my arm. If I recline back, he will reach out to touch me to make sure I am OK. He is my shadow around the house. At night when I go to bed, he headbutts me before I go to sleep, which is his way of making sure I am OK. Then he will sit on the pillow next to my head and this is where he will spend the rest of the night. When I am on the computer, he sits in the doorway as my lookout like he is keeping guard. It can be said that Sox is my emotional support cat, because he knows what kind of day I have had and never leaves my side.

Cat Monkey

From Linda, fiancé of Jack:

When I lost the love of my life, Sgt. Jack DiGiacomo, on Thanksgiving week, I was nearly suicidal. If it hadn’t been for my love of Monkey and not wanting to abandon him, I wouldn’t be here today. Monkey is guarding the warm laundry from the dryer to keep it safe. He’s 8 years old. Jack and I adopted him from a family last August when a new family member became allergic. Monkey was grieving with me for months, and barely ate. It is now four months later, and we are clinging to each other for support and cuddles. 

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 and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

TAPS worked with the Roots & American Music Society, a Memphis-based nonprofit organization to create a music album. A songwriter was paired with surviving families to compose songs that will be featured in the album. To learn more about the songs and the servicemembers they honor, go to Love Lives On website. You can also preorder the album there. 

This week’s question reflects our thoughts on music and our loved ones: What song reminds you of your loved one? Write a few sentences telling us why you chose that song. 

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. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated this week, send it to me and I will make sure it is sent. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing 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 Perry, father of Christopher. It was originally posted in the April edition of the Writers’ Circle, but I wanted those who receive the Saturday Morning Message to hear it as well. Perry wrote, “It was some time after Christopher had been killed when I heard this song. The song is called 'Brave' by Nicole Nordeman. The lyrics almost became an anthem for me and my coming to TAPS. So in my journey that brought me to TAPS, I had to become brave.”


Related Stories

Betty's Dogs

Grief Support from Pets

Just having your pet cuddle up next to you when you are feeling down can be uplifting.

Susan's Horses

Pet Support for Survivors

Survivors share how pets have helped them on their individual grief journey.

Dog henry

How Pets help us in Tough Times

April 11 is National Pet Day, a holiday celebrating our loving animals and the joy they bring to our lives.

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS Family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).