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Turn grief into love this holiday

Canine Creek Pet Wash & Boutique


December 7, 2019

Photo provided

Kellie, owner of Canine Creek Pet Wash & Boutique, with her new pup Kami.

Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. Sometimes, the loved one comes in the form of our beloved family pet. This year alone, I have lost two of my four-legged family members.

Even though I was blessed with having my pets in my life for more than an average amount of time (16 and 15 years), the sense of loss is no different. Grief can make you feel sad, lonely, anxious and some days, it's just downright paralyzing. At times, the loss of a pet can be so deep you vow, "I'm never getting another pet; I just can't go through that again."

We adopted Kadie after she had been hit by a car and her "family" at the time chose not to have the surgery to fix her broken leg. They chose to put her down. Our vet at the time thought Kadie (who was not even a year old yet) was far too cute and young to put down so he did the surgery and we adopted her. What a life she had. When we lived in LaHabra Heights we had an acre of land. She played ball like nobody's business. She dropped the ball at your feet all day long. Even if you said, "No more Kadie," as soon as you moved near the ball she ran out the door and down the hill waiting for you to throw the ball. She was in great shape! The years went on and she was my son's buddy. Stuck like glue! Looking back, I cannot imagine her not in our lives. The joy and laughter she brought was unimaginable. She was a loyal friend and when the time came, I had to go alone, and make that heartbreaking decision. I couldn't let her suffer. I held her and we said our goodbyes. (I'm crying just thinking about it.) She really was a great dog!

To my horror, four months later, my nutty cat Kiki stopped eating. This cat was hilarious! She was found in a dumpster with her brother and we took both home. She, like Kadie, loved the house with an acre of land. She went out during the day, roamed the land, caught critters then came in to sleep at night. When we moved to Tehachapi, she became an indoor cat, which I know she was not fond of, but I could not take the chance of her trying to find her way "home," so that was that. She was so lovable. She couldn't wait to snuggle on the couch and watch TV at night. She was such a comfort to have next to me. (When she wanted to.) She definitely had the cat mentality... she did what she wanted when she wanted and I loved her for it. Cats mask their illnesses well, and even though I got her to the vet quickly, it was too late. How could this be? Two pets in four months. I used to joke at the store I had, "the senior crew." But now there was no joking, just a lot of tears. Dang I loved that cat!

Then the questions start. Will you get another pet? Initially, the answer was not right now. I have an 11 year old lab and thought we would just hang out together for a while. I didn't know what I wanted to do. We had a booth at a Have a Heart event in September and as we were setting up I casually looked to see what pets they had up for adoption. Of course, all were adorable. I set up and left. When I came back to break down, she was still there ... the little black dog I had spotted and thought was pretty darn cute. I'll cut to the chase, I adopted her. Her name is Kami and she is a handful! I really went round and round if I should get her. All the questions, "Do I want to have to go through that loss again? The horrible grief?" At the time, it was unbearable. I weighed everything. But her little face and wild spirit won me over. I could mourn the loss of my sweet pets forever or I could honor the life and love they brought to our family. I chose to give this little pup a home.

With the holidays approaching, many times our grief over loved ones that are no longer here is unbearable. But maybe, just maybe, you could think about changing some of that grief into the love of a new family member? They will never take the place of memories you have. However, you might be surprised to find you have room to make new ones in your heart and home.

For more information about Canine Creek Pet Wash & Boutique, call (661) 822-0307, or come in and say hi at 798 Tucker Rd., Ste. 5 in Tehachapi.


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