Furbaby Comfort in Times of Grief

When the going gets tough.

(Cooper licking my elbow as I type)

Furbabies don’t understand when someone dies. They carry on as usual, but sense something’s wrong. Maybe with cats, it’s because our purr is off, or our auras are. With dogs, it’s our demeanor. They know, without being told a thing. No explanation required. I need that kind of empathy. My younger brother, Chad, died suddenly this past weekend. He’s had immense challenges for years after a tragic skiing accident as a freshman in college left him with a severe head injury. There were close calls since then, accidental overdoses of his seizure med, and choking incidences. But we always got him back, a little worse for wear, but still with us. This time, we didn’t get him back. He’s with God now, freed from his earthly bonds, but my, oh my, how we miss him. Chad was one of the good ones. His challenges didn’t diminish his inner light. It burned brighter.(Image of my sister, Catherine, Beth, brother John, and Chad in glasses)

Chad insisted on living his life as fully as he could after the accident and was an inspiration to many. His warmth and gentle spirit touched all who knew him, as did his love of nature. He spent his last hours (weeks, months) laying stone around the beautiful water garden at his and my parent’s home, a project that brought him much joy. Now, the water garden is his memorial. Chad’s Pond. Stones with inscriptions from friends and family will be laid beside this lovely site. I will help mom plant bulbs and perennials around it–a memorial garden. We found a plant order form he had already filled out, likely with this in mind.

I have admired that water garden often this week. Each time I return home from these bittersweet visits, I’m greeted by an exuberant puppy, ecstatic to see me. After circling the room/house/yard like he’s been shot out of guns,  Cooper calms down and sits not only with me, but on me. This is new. Normally, Kitty Cream sits by my head. Last evening, when I was very sad, he sat on my middle and snuggled close. He’s nearly three and has never done this before. Kitty Peaches hugs me. Jilly sits by my side. Kitty Pavel isn’t a Cooper fan, so he perches overhead on the couch. I am not alone. Furbabies see to that. Where I am, they are.

(Cooper and Jilly)

‘We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.’~George Elliot

(Peaches and Cream as kittens)

‘What greater gift than the love of a cat?’ ~Charles Dickens

23 responses to “Furbaby Comfort in Times of Grief

  1. They just know and do the only thing they can, snuggle, since they cannot verbally help. I wonder if they realize just how much they DO help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful tribute, Beth! And the garden sounds like a very fitting memorial, where you can sit, remember, and exchange stories about your brother Chad with your family.

    Pets can empathise without understanding. They don’t need to – they simply comfort you by being there.

    Take solace in your pets’ support. Much love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donna Simonetta

    Beth, I am so sorry about your brother’s passing. There are no words for that kind of loss. The support of your little furry crew is beautiful. Hugs to you, and pets to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry for your loss and grateful to know you’ve been given such comfort amidst your sorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sending healing prayers and hugs. I am so sorry for your loss, Beth. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My deepest condolences to you and yours. What a Beautiful tribute Beth. He sounds like a wonderful man. Your post comes in as I’m facing the challenge of my disabled brother collapsing in front of his building on Tuesday. I am his (and my moms) medical proxy. Two hospital days later it seems his meds to blame.
    I love that you have that special place created by him to remember him and I enjoyed the quotes -unconditional love is sweet especially from a cat!


  7. What a lovely tribute, my dear friend. Big hugs coming your way and to your entire family. My thoughts and prayers are with you, always

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My little Biddy was my comfort during the sad last 3.5 years. Losing her almost did me in. She always knew my moods and did her best to comfort me. Amazing how pets share your emotions. So sorry Beth about your brother, Chad. Sending hugs and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a heartwarming post. Sorry your family is going through a loss. Hugs.
    Sue B

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad to know you do want people who bring stones to write something on them. We will! Hang in there, this is a lovely tribute. Hope to see you at the memorial.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Grief can be debilitating. Breathing in and breathing out, and time helps. Friends, both human and furry, can ease the emptiness. I’ve learned that the soothing doesn’t come from words, but from the mere presence of the consolers (hence the four-legged assistance). We’re all familiar with loss and sorrow. We are here, our presence near. Take heart, dear friend.


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