Adopt a dog: Dealing with the loss of a pet

Losing a pet is always devastating and sadly there is no easy way for pet owners to deal with their grief. For Gracia Amico, CEO of PetsPyjamas, the loss of her dog Steffi prompted her to open her heart and adopt another dog in honour of her memory. 

As many of you already know, I have had a very sad two weeks – losing my wonderful Steffi in a squirrel chasing accident.

We rescued Steffi when she was two years old – she came to us as a very shy, timid, beautiful dog who did not seem to know what pleasure was. I remember thinking she would never roll onto her back for a tummy rub, nor did it seem she would ever come to us spontaneously for a cuddle. The fact that she was a little withdrawn made me somehow love her even more, as I felt a huge urge to protect her and make her happy.

Over the next two years she became the centre of our lives and the source of most of our happiness. She developed a wonderful, loving personality – she became confident and tactile, licking hands, rolling over for cuddles and throwing her toys in the air.

Gracia and Steffi

Although she was only in our lives for a short time, she was the most rewarding presence I have ever had in my life. I used to listen out for her breathing and wonder if she was truly for real! I know I could not have loved her anymore and that she was truly a wonderfully happy and serene dog – loved by everyone who met her.

While we are still hurting very much, my partner and I decided very early on we wanted and needed to rescue a new dog in honour of Steffi – we have an abundance of love and need to give it to a dog. We tried to find out how to deal with grief, even reading up on it – but found that there simply is no answer and it is different for everyone. For us, we decided that the best solution was to adopt another dog as soon as possible.

So, we went out to many rescue centres and found solace in seeing so many lovely dogs and talking to the wonderful people who run these places. Dog’s Trust in Harefield was fantastic, as was the Bath Dogs and Cats Home, where we found our perfect candidate – the most wonderful six month old Lurcher. She has had to go through various tests, been spayed and had an umbilical hernia repaired. Assuming that her follow-up appointment with the vet goes well – and she’s looking fine right now – we will finally pick her up tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Thinking of Steffi still makes me tearful but the thought of adopting another beautiful creature fills me with love and excitement. I will keep you up-to-date on how the next few months go with Piper!

Next time: Collecting Piper from the rescue centre.

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