The story behind Our Wonderful Pets
When my beloved dog, Toby passed away, I lost my best friend, my loyal companion and a little piece of my heart, forever. Toby was an extension of myself and involved in every aspect of my life- relationships, career, travel, the birth of my daughter and so much more.
It’s not easy living without Toby by my side and his death marks the end of an era in my life and the beginning of a new one. It is sometimes hard to imagine that I will ever be as happy as I was when Toby was around. He made me smile every single day of my life and that is a remarkable skill unique to our pets- no judgement, no bad moods- just always happy to see us.
Just six months prior to the passing of Toby, my beautiful cat, Milly died in sudden, tragic circumstances- the sadness surrounding her death has been intense.
Toby, Milly and I were a team- inseparable buddies who shared everything. Like most pet owners, I sang silly songs to them, had a variety of cute names for them, have photos of them everywhere and included them in all our family events- Christmas, birthdays etc. Losing both of them so close has been heart wrenching and there are no words to properly describe how empty I feel.
Saying goodbye to my companions was hard enough but explaining it to my two year-old daughter, Charlotte has been extremely difficult. Toby and Milly were the first things Charlotte smiled at, the first words she uttered were their names and they were involved in all her milestones. She did not know life without them and suddenly they were gone. This is huge for a little girl who bounded gleefully downstairs every morning to ‘make breakfast’ for her pets. And, I know that how parents handle the death of a pet can have a huge impact on how children are equipped to deal with death and loss later in life.
I gained enormous comfort from the many emails and messages of support I received from fellow pet lovers who really understand what I am living with. Sharing stories and photos on my Toby The Wonderdog Facebook Page really helped me through the lonely months.
Strangely, there is a current lack of support and information for others going through the pain of pet loss. I decided, as a legacy to Toby, to do something to change the situation. So, with the generous support of the Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS), and in collaboration with Victoria Spence, a Civil Celebrant and expert in End of Life Care, I have created Our Wonderful Pets.
This is a site for people to honour the lives of their special pets and share their feelings with others who understand. It is a place to seek comfort and also read expert advice to equip people with the skills to cope with their loss. I want everyone who visits the site to feel validated in their feelings and know that, along with many others, I understand how extraordinary the bond is that we share with our pets.
The love we have for our pets does not end when their lives do, they are part of us forever and live on in our hearts and minds. I hope this site offers a valuable place where we can truly celebrate all our pets have given us.