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Coping With a Dog's Death: Poems About Losing a Pet

John is a nature and animal lover. He now has five cats, three hens, and various backyard visitors.

Rolly, our beautiful Maremma who passed away in tragic circumstances.

Rolly, our beautiful Maremma who passed away in tragic circumstances.

When Pets Pass

Pets of all types are wonderful companions and invariably become part of your family over time. Whether they be dogs, cats, horses, birds, fish, snakes, chickens, or whatever, there is a pet to suit everyone.

The Happiness of Owning a Pet

Research has shown that people with pets are overall happier, less stressed, and live longer than those without. So if, like me, you are a pet lover and have animals as part of your household, it is always a sad time when one passes away. It doesn't matter if it is in tragic circumstances or due to old age, it is still an emotional time, and you have to grieve just like when you lose a human friend or family member.

I have lost count of the number of pets I've lost, in one way or another, growing up. But as an animal lover, it was always a traumatic experience, and I often grieved for months. As I get older, I realise that life and death are just natural processes that we must all face, but that being said, it still isn't easy to come to terms with "death."

The most common advice handed out by others on the death of a pet is, "Get another one to replace it. You'll soon get to love it just as much and get over the one that died." In the past, I have tended to do just that, and it does work to an extent, but this time having three other dogs isn't necessary.

How I've Grieved

Since devoting more of my time to writing, I have found that I turn to the pen more often than not to express my grief, joy, and emotions of things that happen in my life. Before (in regard to death or an extremely trying situation), I would go into my shell and grieve silently while trying to put on a brave face, but that just extended the grieving process and made it more difficult.

Now I find that by not wasting time and immediately writing about the situation, it enables me to vent my feelings and to 'get over' the grieving or stressing more quickly and get on with life.

Why I Wrote This

This morning (or possibly during the night) one of our dogs passed away. Amber was a golden coloured Pomeranian who came to stay with us (a stray) approximately 10 years ago.

I woke up this morning to go through my usual routine of letting the dogs in (they sleep on a covered verandah), and the cats out (or vise versa sometimes), feeding them, the chickens and turkey, etc. I turned the kettle on to make my wake up cup of coffee and then opened the door.

The cats Basil, Humphrey, Phoebe and Fanny were all meowing for food as cats do, and the dogs Coco, Jackson and Ginger came running to greet me (oh, so did a turkey). All except Amber. Admittedly she has not been well for a couple of weeks, not eating or drinking much and very lethargic, though not in any apparent pain. I could tell her time was near as she was deaf, almost blind and missing most of her teeth. We have no idea how old she was when she came to us, but she was already full-grown, and we have had her for 10 years.

I went out to check Amber's bed, and my fears were realised. She wasn't breathing, and her body was cold and stiff. She'd passed quietly away during the night. My routine for the morning changed then as I carefully wrapped the small dog up in an old towel and carried her out to the garden for burial.

We do live on 40 acres, and unlike a town block, we have plenty of areas available to suit such a purpose as unpleasant as it may be. We actually have a closed-off area, that used to be a vegetable garden, which serves as a pet cemetery (sounds like a Steven King book). Roosters and hens that have died from old age, or been killed by wild dogs, and a cat named 'Rambo' who had belonged to my grandsons and had an unfortunate encounter with a washing machine, rest there. Now Amber joined them.

This is my way of dealing with my grief.

Amber in her Winter bed near the fireplace

Amber in her Winter bed near the fireplace

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Read More From Pethelpful

My Dog Amber Died Today

My dog Amber died today,

She just lay down and passed away.

Knocked on the door to doggy Heaven,

Not sure her age, at least eleven.

My dog Amber died today,

Ten years ago she came to stay.

Our other dogs just took her in

Treated her like their own kin.

My dog Amber died today,

To our home she chose to stray.

From wherever she had chose to roam

We gave her a happy home.

My dog Amber died today,

In not much pain I hope and pray.

Amber was the name we chose,

Due to her colour I suppose.

My dog Amber died today,

She was getting old and grey.

Hard of hearing, almost blind

But a happier dog you couldn't find.

My dog Amber died today,

No more petting, no more play.

This last week she just lay around,

Had trouble getting off the ground.

Amber and her second puppy Spike.

Amber and her second puppy Spike.

My dog Amber died today,

To a better place they say.

Well at least that's what I like to think,

She couldn't eat and wouldn't drink.

My dog Amber died today,

She had two pups along the way.

Ebony and Spike two black pompoos,

Cuter pups you'd never choose.

My dog Amber died today,

Sad day for me I have to say.

Her little body stiff and cold

I wrapped her up in careful folds.

My dog Amber died today,

I'll grieve for her in my own way.

I buried her within the garden,

If this is morbid I beg your pardon.

My dog Amber died today,

Another one has left the fray.

We still have three so life goes on,

But the smallest one is gone.

My dog Amber died today,

Poms are cute in their own way.

She'll be missed by one and all,

R.I.P. with Rolly and Pearl.


A Strange Coincidence

Shortly after dealing with the death of Amber today, I eventually got my cup of coffee made and sat down at my desk to check emails. The first one I saw was notification of a new gig on fiverr.

Anyway I go to the website to check out the details of my requested writing gig, and this is what I found:

"I would like a bedtime poem to be read to a dog, at least one full page please :-) I want it to be comforting, cute, with charm, something a parent or child might read to a pet dog or puppy.

Also, please give quote on about 25 pages of short stories and poems for same topic with table of contents.

Thank you"

Well, I was taken a little aback as you can well understand. I don't believe in coincidences, and the subject of this request was just incredible considering the circumstances. I believe this to be "synchronicity" as coined by Carl Jung:

"Psychologist Carl Jung believed the traditional notions of causality could not explain some of the more improbable forms of coincidence. Jung felt that where no causal connection can be demonstrated between two events, but where a meaningful relationship exists between them, a wholly different type of principle is likely to be operating. Jung called this principle "synchronicity."(from Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle [1952] by C. G. Jung.)

Spike yawning

Spike yawning

My Dear Little Doggie

As my mind was still on dogs at the time it didn't take me long to come up with the poem required by my client. I sent it to her and she was more than happy, however because fiverr's general conditions gives her exclusive rights I can't publish it here. However I will include the first and last verses:

"My dear little doggy

You've had a long day,

So much to experience

And fun games to play.

My dear little doggy

Now close your sweet eyes,

One more day is done,

And another will rise."

© 2015 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 19, 2019:

Thank you for reading Peggy. I am sure all pet owners can relate to the sadness of losing their loved companions. The unfortunate thing is that they have a much shorter lifespan so we can lose quite a few during our time here on Earth. I too hope we get to reunite one day in Heaven.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2019:

We had an amber colored Pom that looked much like your Amber. He was such a sweetie. My parents used to have a pet cemetery when they lived in the Wisconsin countryside when I was a child, so I can relate to your having one. It is a comfort. We have faced losing many beloved pets through the years, and it never gets easier. I hope to see all of them again someday in heaven.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 19, 2019:

Thank you Audrey. Yes, our fur babies are very special especially after our children grow up and leave home. We now only have one toy poodle Ginger, 14 years old, blind and deaf, but she still seems happy enough. It never gets easier when they pass on but you are right they will be there wagging their tails excitedly to greet us at Heaven’s gate.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on April 19, 2019:

John...I am so very sorry about your recent and past losses. I still mourn for all of my fur children and always will. Unconditional love is hard to find in we humans, but our beautiful doggies give it freely. Your sweet babies were blessed to have you to care for them . Their love for you will continue on and they will patiently wait to greet you at heavens gate.

Your poetry is filled with a beautiful description of why we love our animal children. Thank you for this tribute.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 15, 2019:

Oka, I am so sorry to hear about Gizmo’s passing. I only have one 14 yo toy poodle now Ginger. She also has cataracts and is deaf. She can find her way around the house to her food an water bowl etc but I have to carry her up and down and watch her while outside so she doesn’t wander and get lost. I had two other dogs die in the last 18 months. It is very sad.

oka antonio on April 15, 2019:

my 16 year old pomeranin Gizmo,died on april 3, 2019, he was supposed to be 17 years old on May. he has cataracts, had him use disposable diapers for dogs, but he was still functioning wellexcept that i carry him up and down the stairs so he will not miss a step and fall. he helped me with my grief in my life, happy to have me back from work everyday. i am still crying now and wake up from my sleep. the other 2 dogs are depressed too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 10, 2017:

Yes, Paula, it is so sad. I have been through it too many times but you need to treasure all the love and good times the pets bring to your life. Like you I keep adopting new ones, but always miss the old ones as well.

Suzie from Carson City on April 10, 2017:

Oh Jodah....sooo sad. I have lost several of my feline & canine kids through the years, I don't cope very well at all. I'm sad, sick and miss them so for a very long time. Each time, like so many, I say say"No more pets!" it's much too hard when we lose them.

But of course eventually I'll look into a pair of pleading eyes that say, Please adopt me and take me home & love me." and I'm raising another fur baby!......Peace, Paula

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 09, 2017:

There is nothing sadder than having a pet die, GalaxyRat. Our three dogs are now 12 years old so they sadly won't be around much longer and one is now deaf and blind so that is difficult to deal with.

GalaxyRat on April 08, 2017:

I cried halfway through the poem. I had a pet die (his name was Mr. G), and I'm still going through grief.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 30, 2016:

You're welcome Jodah. A friend of mine in NJ has a dog with the same name. Poor Amber. Prayers sent to you for Coco. Thanks for your condolences on Marshall. *hugs*

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2016:

Thank you Kristen. It is like losing one of the family. We are away from home at the moment but were shocked to receive a phone call from our pet/house sitters that Coco was ill and had gone in the back legs. I was prepared for the worst and went to collect her he next morning to find she was walking again and improving..she is almost 12 years old now so we have to be prepared for this unfortunate event. So sorry to hear about your cat. Marshall too.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 30, 2016:

Jodah, I'm so sorry for your loss of Amber. I feel your pain. Amber's happy over the rainbow bridge. Three weeks ago, I had to put my cat Marshall to sleep. I did love your two poems. Well done!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2016:

Hi again, Audrey. Glad that you found this hub at this particular time when the information was helpful in dealing with your memories of Clancey. Amber and Rolly often invade my thoughts. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on August 29, 2016:

My thoughts have been filled with memories of my beloved 'Clancey' for the past few days. Though I always think of him for some reason this little guy keeps appearing in my mind. Then I found this hub. You express so well the devastation one goes through with the loss of a pet.

So very sorry about Amber. And the photo of Rolly is magnificent. So little information is available about the tragic sadness that goes with such a thing.

Thanks John,


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 18, 2015:

Thank you for reading and sharing your own experiences llonagarden. Fortunately most of my pets of recent years have succumbed to old age rather than by careless drivers.

Ilona E from Ohio on May 18, 2015:

I liked this sensitive essay on dealing with the grief of losing a pet.

Like you I bury my lost pets on the land, over the years, my dogs have aged and then found rest under trees planted over their graves. Most of our pets have been lost to fast drivers on our country roads.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 19, 2015:

We are on the same wavelength here Dana. Pets are family and it is almost as traumatic losing a pet as it is a human family member. I hope your present dog keeps on being your best friend for many years to come. Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on March 17, 2015:

Jodah I have lost so many pets I cannot count. There was a time when I thought I would never get anymore animals because I couldn't take the pain, it is like losing a beloved member of your family. Right now I have a dog and he is the love of my life. He does take a lot of the loneliness away. He is my best friend.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 09, 2015:

Thank you peachpurple, I like to think so.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 08, 2015:

you made a beautiful poem for amber, i am sure she will rest in peace

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 05, 2015:

Thanks for your caring words Heidi. Yes I have great memories. Other pet owners know exactly what this is like. I'm at peace now, thanks.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 05, 2015:

So sorry to hear about Amber! Been there too many times with our goldens. Unlike Amber, we've always had to put our sweet pups down. Hardest thing I've ever done, bar none. I hope your wonderful memories will give you comfort. And, yes, I do believe in coincidences. Sending you peace!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 05, 2015:

Hi Mary, thanks for the condolences. I can't imagine life without pets but part of that is having to deal with losing them. I appreciate your kind words, and vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 05, 2015:

Thanks Mary, you are right that it never gets easier. I think we gave Amber a good life and she gave back. Thanks for the vote up and share too.

Mary Craig from New York on March 04, 2015:

So many of us relate to your loss. I'm so sorry. I have lost many dogs and loved each one of them and grieved their loss. Each one took a piece of my heart with them. We never forget our little furry friends. You've written a beautiful tribute here. God bless.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 04, 2015:

Oh, dear Jodah. I grieve with you! I have lost so many pets in my lifetime, and it never gets easier. You just have to know that you provided much love as possible, and think of all the good times you had with your beloved pet.

Voted UP, and shared.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 03, 2015:

Hi Deb, yes it is hard but the years of joy they give outway the loss. You are right sometimes I don't know who owns who. Thanks for your kind comment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 03, 2015:

So many of us have been in the same boat with pets. It is so hard to lose them, but they bring so much joy with a good long life. I don't know what is better, a pet, who actually owns you, or a person. It's a tough call. I can truly sympathize. Thanks so much for sharing this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 02, 2015:

Thanks for reading Mel and your kind thoughts. Yes it is sad when a pet passes but I think Amber had a good life. Oh well, one down, three to go. "synchronicity", the word for the day :)

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 01, 2015:

I remember you writing about Amber some time ago. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful pup but your poem was an awesome tribute, capturing the sadness of the monent but the happiness of her life all at once. I too think there is somerhing to this synchronicity thing. Great hub!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 01, 2015:

Thank you Michael-Milek, for your kind and wise comment. Life goes on despite loss and you have to say positive. Indeed, the best may be yet to come.

Michael-Milec on February 28, 2015:

Hi Jodah.

Your loss fills me with sympathy and compassion. Loss of your pet refreshes memory of my own experience... Yours though to my understanding had quick turnaround as indicated in your second poem, which is suggesting short lived past and focusing on now and beyond. "Synchronicity"- rich in meaning and powerful in decision (word never heard before ) - might mean in this case, there is " better yet to come"- even another Amber if a desire of your heart.

Voted up and beautiful.

Have a nice Sunday.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 28, 2015:

Thank you Lesley

Lesleysherwood on February 28, 2015:

Awe, that is so beautiful - every word!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 28, 2015:

Hi Lesley.It would have been heartbreaking to have to put Lucy down after having her grow up with you for 17 year. Thank you for reading and your comment. You won't find the reat of the poem online. It is going to be published in an eBook, but I will pot it here for you in comments,

My Dear Little Doggie

My dear little doggie

You’ve had a long day,

So much to experience

And fun games to play.

My dear little doggie

It’s you I adore,

Even when you are naughty

And pee on the floor.

My dear little doggie

So cuddly and warm,

Everyone fell in love with you

From the day you were born.

My dear little doggie

You are fun to have ‘round,

I toss you the ball

You chase it and bound.

My dear little doggie

You love your toy bone,

When you chew it makes noises

A very loud tone.

My dear little doggie

Tomorrow we’ll play,

We’ll walk to the park

And have fun all the day.

My dear little doggie

Now close your sweet eyes,

One more day’s done

And another will rise.

My dear little doggie

Please don’t make a peep,

The sandman has come

And it’s time for your sleep.

Lesleysherwood on February 28, 2015:

Awe, John. I'm so sorry for your loss. Amber looks so cute. I have lost animals and the trauma I felt was exactly the same as a human relative. The pain is unbelievable! I remember having to put my Lucy (Jack Russell) to sleep. She was 17 years old and I felt that I had grown up with her in a way. I bought her in my 20's and she died when I was in my 40's. I remember coming back from the vet and feeling so sad because life was going on without my Lucy.

I tried to find the rest of yr poem online.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 27, 2015:

I meant to say it was Dad and not us kids that changed the plan

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 27, 2015:

Yep and I still maintain and not the kids that changed the plan! Wouldn't have it any other way though

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 27, 2015:

This sounds like our family lawrence. We can't even kill a chicken. We bought two turkey chicks to fatten up for Xmas Dinner....that plan has changed, they are too friendly and already pet. Will be ham again...or turkey from the store.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on February 27, 2015:

I grew up in a menagerie with cats (up to three at any one time) Dogs (two) fish, a goose, pigeons (six until the cats ate a few) a jackdaw and any injured animal we found. Dad hated cruelty to animals and always nursed them back to health. Oh then there were two pigs as dad wanted pork for Christmas one year so we got piglets in the January with the idea of fattening them up. Until then we'd always had chicken at Christmas and guess what? When the time came we just couldn't do it so we still had chicken though we did sell Winnie and Wilfred

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 27, 2015:

Thanks Cam, much appreciated.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on February 27, 2015:

I've lost a few pets as well. It's never easy to see them go. Thanks for the beautiful writing, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 27, 2015:

Thanks Will, your comments are spot on... dogs and other pets do not live long enough (unless you have a parrot or a tortoise). So glad this hub had a special meaning for you.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 27, 2015:

I've had all sorts of pets, but dogs are somehow man's very special friend, and God's gift, so when their shorts lives are over, we grieve. The only drawback to a dog (and most other pets, actually) is that they don't live long enough.

This is a special Hub to me, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 27, 2015:

Thanks for sharing that Flourish and for your kind thoughts.. It is hard enough when you have a pet pass away every 3 or 4 years, but with your rescue cats and losing them regularly it would be hard to cope with. Most of our animals have been rescued, strays or from someone needing to find a new home for them. We have never paid for any pets. Yes, if someone else buys your property at some stage it could be interesting to see their reaction if they dig it up.