submitted by Peggy Sue Mason

The heartbreak of losing our pet is overwhelming in so many ways. My husband and I are currently grieving the loss of our 13 year old Shih Tzu Chewy, and we were not prepared for how difficult this would be. Although we were preparing for the time to come, the immediate pain and emptiness is horrible.

We have been discussing our feelings openly and have shed many tears together. I can only imagine how hard it would be to mourn the loss when you do not have a partner to share those feelings. These little critters just find a way to sneak into our hearts and grab on. There are moments every day that were just a normal part of our life, but now have changed forever.

Chewy loved to lick our legs when we would get out of the shower, I know some of you think that is gross, but now getting out of the shower has even become a reminder! My husband loved coming in the door after work because he knew his little friend would be so excited to see him, of course the fact he fed her played a part, but now coming home is not the same. These are just a couple things that have changed, I am certain every pet owner has things that they will always be reminded of their little beast.

We are finding ways to bring her memory into long term memorial ideas. There are many ways to do that, I just wish I had thought about them before the time came. I would have liked to keep a tuft of her hair and perhaps took a few more photos or videos. We chose to have Chewy cremated and did it as an individual cremation so that we could have her ashes. Some people choose communal cremation and do not get the remains, but we chose to have her ashes returned to us. We are having some of her ashes placed in a little heart urn, and a few in a charm holder, the remainder of her ashes will placed in the Pet Memorial garden at the NEW Zoo. That is one of the ideas I want to share. The area that the pet memorial garden is located is in the children’s section of the NEW Zoo. It is a beautiful resting place for our beloved animals to be. The cost is currently $80 and then you can purchase a stone to have placed. The NEW Zoological Society is the contact for this at (920) 434-6814 or a link is at www.newzoo.org.