It was 5:00am in the morning and someone has gotten into the habit of manoeuvring his head under my hand and then pushing it upwards, with the movements becoming more and more forceful until I stir. However, if I do not stir quick enough, there is always plan "b" which involves stomping over me and voicing his opinion that it is time for his 'slave' to arise.
Pets - those other species inhabitants that we share our lives with and in my case, whose every whim we must cater for.
Despite their antics, it can often be surprising to realise just how much they affects us especially when they are no longer around. About five years ago, the Sethmeister caught an extremely bad dose of cat flu and nearly departed across the void ... and it was then I realised how much he means to me (despite the early wakeup calls) and resembling "Salem" from Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. His pitiful cries when he goes on "holiday" to the Animal Welfare League may pull at the heart strings, however the stone-cold glare and "telling off" I get when I reclaim him again soon puts an end to that.
With age now starting to take its tool as the Sethmeister is not as nimble as he used to be, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe I should start preparing myself for his departure. I am lucky, however, that I have this luxury as often we lose our beloved companions suddenly ... which can leave us feeling a whole range of emotions - from the loss itself through to the puzzlement of why they have affected us so much in the first place.
Moira Anderson has a very interesting and informative web site that I would highly recommend people to visit if they find themselves in the situation of having lost a beloved companion ... fur, feather or even scale covered - they all effect us.
First of all, the feel grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. They provide us with a source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of fun and joy - which are things we often do not able to find in any of kind of relationship (even with our nearest and dearest).
Don't be surprised to find that you may go through a whole range of emotions - grief, denial, anger, depression, just as with any other form of death.
Allow yourself to grieve - build a shrine, construct an altar, or perform a requiem or ceremony of some kind. Also reminisce about the good times as this will also help you understand what your pet's loss actually means to you. Share your stories with other pet owners - the Animal Welfare League has a Faithful Friends page that you may like to consider contributing towards.
Whatever you do, never consider yourself "foolish" or "silly" for grieving the loss of your pet for despite their demands, they teach us so much ... where would we be without our pets.