The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Cherish family pets while they’re present

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The Collegian Logo

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

As an avid lover of all animals, my pets have always had a large piece of my heart reserved for them.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when one has to decide whether to prolong a pet’s suffering or release it from its pain. Sadly, that time has come for me and my family.

Families often adopt a pet when their children are young, as mine did. So, it is not surprising to hear about the loss of a pet when those children reach college.

Recently, I lost my Labrador Retriever of nearly 15 years due to old age. Even though I know 15 years is an exceptionally long life for a larger breed, the absence of a wagging tail waiting at my front door leaves me feeling incomplete.

I did not realize until his health took a turn for the worst, how much I took for granted. He barked constantly, and it often left me angry and frustrated. But I would do anything to hear his high-pitched barks echo through my house again.

Those who have never had a pet might not understand the depth of loss. However, those who have loved a pet know that a pet is never “just a pet.”

Dogs and cats live an average of 13 years, making their passing a truly traumatic experience comparable to losing a family member or a friend.

While we all respond to loss differently, remember that grief is personal. There should be no shame in how anyone feels. No one should believe it is inappropriate to grieve for an animal companion.

This has been one of the most painful life lessons I have encountered, especially witnessing my mother’s decision that it was time to let go of who she considered her child.

Many believe dogs live shorter lives because they already know the key to a good one. Therefore, they don’t have to stay as long.

We can learn many valuable things from them: Always greet loved ones at the door, enjoy the simplicity of walks, be loyal and never pretend to be something you are not. As the saying goes, “Be the person your dog thinks you are,” and give them the unconditional love they give you.

Most importantly, always remind them that they are good dogs, even if their favorite snack is your shoes.

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