Meeting the challenge of loss

Over the last year, we have gone through some challenging experiences with the loss of Pugs in our community that have crossed the rainbow bridge.

People outside of this community or who have never had a dog see us mourning the loss of our dog and often think its an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog.”

However, those who have a pug in the family, know the truth: Your fur baby is never “just a dog.” They are your best friend and constant companion. A memorable and important relationship in your life. Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted.

That’s why we love our community; its socially diverse and geographically dispersed. With no cultural playbook to help us through this time, we are writing our own. Great examples of this are:

· Circus Pugs @circus-pugs Kennedy and her family’s beautiful service for Barnum

· Butters and Weston's touching tribute on Instagram @quatchipug @peanutbuttersthepugs the grief was palpable and we all felt sadness

· Theo Chang’s, wonderful Sand, and her loving reminder and tattoo of Theo @thetheochang_n_zeldasesame

· and @MinnieandMax Pug celebrating Chubbs the Wampug’s life at their birthday party with a toast and Chubbs favorite, a strawberry.

Without grief rituals, many of you have made your own. This greatly helps us integrate the loss into our lives and help us move forward. One of the most important things the experts teach us is that you never “get over” grief. But, we are lucky to be being surrounded by community of pet owners who “get it.” This helps us all.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, a few things to remember is that loss is different for everyone and presents unique challenges.

1. The deafening silence – the silence in your home after the death of your pug may seem loud. While your dog occupies physical space in your life and your home, many times their presence is felt more with your senses. When your baby is no longer there, -the silence – becomes piercing. Being aware of this stark change and reality will help us to prepare for the flood of emotions.

2. The special bond with your pet—the relationship shared with your Pug is a special and unique bond, a tie that some might find difficult to understand. Your grief is normal and the relationship you shared with your pug needs to be mourned.

3. Grief can’t be ranked—sometimes our heads get in the way of our heart’s desire to mourn by trying to justify the depth of our emotion. Some people will then want to “rank” their grief, pitting their grief emotions with others who may be “worse.” While this is normal, your grief is your grief and deserves the care and attention of anyone who is experiencing a loss.

In recognition of the joy that these babies have brought us, as a community, we will be celebrating together in building our team for Strut Your Mutt,- the beauty that these dogs bring to all of us. It is the beauty of a rescue – combined with the open hearts of all of you. You make a difference everyday to our rescue puppies, seniors and disabled dogs. You are the game changer. As you may celebrate in honor of one of your dogs, we also celebrate the commitment of this community to change the world, one pug at a time.

Join our team for this year’s Strut Your Mutt, in San Francisco, on September the 7th.

With tremendous respect and gratitude,

Kim Smith

Executive Director

Tiny Paws Pug Rescue

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