Throughout the course of my life, I’ve sent many personal sympathy cards to friends, relatives, and co-workers. I’ve also been on the receiving end, having lost several family members over the last several years. But I was quite surprised to receive sympathy cards for a recently deceased family member. You might be wondering why I was surprised, considering the fact that sending sympathy cards is a pretty common practice here in the United States. But this “family member” was actually a pet. Spike was with us for 17 years! That’s longer than most marriages these days, so it was with great sadness we were faced with ending his suffering.
Pets don’t live as long as humans but the sadness felt can be the same. I know people will say he was just a cat, but he was more. He was a sounding board when I needed to vent, a comfort when I felt sad, and a clown who could make me laugh. While the whole family felt sadness with the decision that had to be made, no one was sadder than my 19-year-old daughter. Spike had been a part of her life for as long as she could remember. So the sympathy card that arrived a few days later from our vet was gratefully received.