Powerful emotions are not unique to humans as Sadie, the devoted dog demonstrated at a memorial service.
Sadie, a 13-year-old border collie-dalmatian-shepherd cross spent her entire life with Andy and Julia Beaulieu, they got her when she was eight weeks old and has been part of the family ever since.
Unexpectedly Andy suffered a heart attack at home and when paramedics rushed over in efforts to revive him Sadie stayed by his side, snuggling his hand. The paramedics could not revive Andy and left a devastated Julia and Sadie behind.
Julia was struggling with the passing of her husband, and so did Sadie, she would stand by the window waiting to see Andy pull up the driveway as always, but it never happened. She stopped eating for 10 days and lost 10 pounds.
Through her grief Julia recognized that Sadie was grieving as well, so Julia included Sadie in the memorial service, so she too can say goodbye to her beloved owner.
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At the visitation Sadie walked up to the casket with Julia, she jumped up against the side and peered into the coffin, for a few moments both Julia and Sadie took a last look at Andy. Julia said Sadie had a shocked and puzzled look on her face, but then relaxed and stayed by Julia’s side. After the service, they went home and Sadie ate her first meal in 10 days. She finally had closure and understood on some level what was going on.
Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary, also the author of ‘How Animals Grieve’ said:
“Grief is not a human emotion. Love is not a human emotion. These are emotions we share with other animals.”
Sadie stayed by Andy’s side during his last moments, her human parents was her world, whether Sadie fully grasped what was happening is probably debatable, but she knew something was wrong nonetheless and made the effort to be there for him not leaving his side.
Do we extend the same unconditionality to our loyal pets when they need us the most? A few veterinarians have recently spoken up about this topic on social media, trying to spread awareness of what our pets go through moments before their own death.
Many owners are overcome with emotion when the time comes to let go of their beloved pet and choose not to be present when they give their last breaths. Would they still choose the same path if they knew how terrified and alone their pets feel and act, sensing that something major is going to happen, spending their last moments searching for the familiarity of their family, scared and alone.
Stand by your beloved pet and show them the same loyalty and unconditional love they show us every day, forgetting for the moment about your own grief so you can comfort and be there for your pet the same way it’s always been there for you, no matter what.
A good example of their loyalty was demonstrated when a German shepherd named Haus protected 7-year-old Molly Deluca from Tampa, Florida against the attack of a diamond-backed rattlesnake in the backyard of their family home.
He risked his own life to ensure the safety of his family and sustained 3 bites from the snake in the process ending up at BluePearl emergency veterinary hospital in Tampa, Florida with an antivenom drip in an effort to save him.
Loyal and protective without a second thought to their own well being and deserving of the same dedication and love they give so freely to us.