11.22.2011

Saying Goodbye to Yesterday

Nothing compares to the pain of losing a special dog or cat.

It's a different kind of pain... a unique form of heartbreak... a distinctive type of loss. 

For me, the impact of that loss... is devastating

While it's almost impossible to find the right words to accurately describe the pain of losing an incredible pet, here's my best attempt...

For a short, beautiful while, there's this precious, innocent creature, who lives and breathes... for me. There's this perfect little life... who exists just for me. There's this special, loving heart... that beats because of me.

There's this gentle, childlike being... who couldn't survive without me. There's this faithful, honest friend... who promises not to doubt me. There's this incredible, loyal soul... who never wants to leave me. There's this amazing, devoted spirit... who only lives to please me.

In truth, each dog, each cat, is a gift... a blessing we don't even deserve. And yet, this incredible blessing is offered to us, over and over again. The unconditional love, the undeniable compassion, the unimaginable forgiveness, the unwavering devotion... it's all right there... waiting for us.

For a short time here on Earth, we're gifted with a little piece of Heaven. It may look like a dog, or a cat, but don't be fooled. That's the closest thing to Heaven you'll ever see on Earth.

So, when our little slice of Heaven... leaves us for Heaven... it's nothing short of tragic. Even though we know in our minds... that their departure is inevitable. Even though we know in our hearts... that they can't stay here for long. Even though we hope in our souls... that we'll see them again some day.

For me, when a special dog (or cat) dies, there's this sudden, massive void in my world. A void that can only be filled... by the one who is no longer with me. A void that may get smaller... less painful... over time, but a void that will honestly never be filled again.

Losing a dog (or cat) is different from any other loss, because pets are our constant companions. Their entire life is lived, with just one purpose: to be right there, by our sides, no matter what. Their existence is dependent upon our existence; their happiness is wrapped up in our happiness; their love is always ready and waiting for our love. It's simply unreal.

Pets are our children, our therapists, our comedians, and our best friends. They never abandon, never judge, never reject, and never fail us. Instead, they always love, always listen, always comfort, and always forgive.

In return, we invite our pets into our solitude. We share with them our inner-most thoughts, feelings, secrets, and dreams. And they never think we're crazy.

In truth, your dog loves you... more than he loves himself. And there's nothing you can ever do... to change that.

In all the world, there's no relationship that could ever compare to the bond between human and dog (or cat). So yes, the loss of a pet... is absolutely devastating.

I've lost many pets in my lifetime. Obviously, I expect to lose many more in the years to come. But no matter how may times I experience that loss, it never gets any easier, or any less painful. There's always heartbreak, sadness, anger, guilt, denial, and despair.

There's always this massive hole in my life... where my baby used to be.

Because each and every time I lose a pet... I lose a child.

81 comments:

  1. well said...I have lost many pets and it ALWAYS hurts

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  2. Ashley~~PLEASE write a book!! I love your blogs~~I laugh & cry (alot) and I think you should put it all down in a book!! Thank you for everything you do!

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  3. Beautifully written. Ashley you always know how to put into words what so many feel. I know that I have felt that same loss so many times but would never trade my time spent with them.
    Kelly

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  4. Very well said, and exactly what it is like to lose a very special family member.. IT is something we will do again and again, but wouldn't change a thing.....

    Evelyn

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  5. I COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF. I ALWAYS CALL MY CATS "MY KIDS." THEY ARE INDEPENDENT BUT THEY REALLY MISS ME WHEN I'M NOT HERE. NOW THEY MEAN EVEN MORE TO ME AS I RECENTLY LOST MY HUSBAND. I'D RATHER BE WITH MY "KIDS" THAN PEOPLE. THEY LOVE ME FOR WHO I AM AND DON'T JUDGE ME!

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  6. I promise I will write a book one day. It's definitely on my bucket list :)
    -Ash

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  7. Bunnies too! Beautifully worded. It couldn't have been described better.
    Honestly I don't know how you do it. You are amazing. All of you. I cry when i see the commercials on TV. & due to my current living situation I can't save as many of these amazing creatures as I would like. I rescued 4 of my 5 bunnies & there is no greater feeling in the world than the unconditional love they give (all animals) as soon as I have the money I will donate to you & some other organizations. It's people like you that give me faith that kindness still exists. Thank you.

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  8. Ashley, beautifully written. Animals are a gift from our creator, a wonderful blessing, that should be cherished, loved, and protected. Thank you for your thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep writing and sharing and saving lives. You are in my prayers! May God bless you and shine His face upon you all the days of your life.

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  9. Very beautiful post. And so very true. The value of pets can be so underrated. I, too, love my pets as if they were my children, and I can't imagine ever looking at them any other way. i'm sorry for your loss and i know your pets are angels now, looking down on you and being thankful that they had a person like you to always love and protect them.

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  10. It is true, the pain eases, but the hole is always there. The love you feel never fades, and sometimes I wake at night and feel around where they use to lie beside me. I still cry when I look at pictures of my long gone pets. Seems as if just yesterday I had them as babies.

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  11. You say it so well Ashley...Thank you.
    I too, have lost the loves of my life and it always hurts so much.
    Thank you Ashley for what you do. God Bless!

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  12. I agree with the poster who said you should write a book about your life as a rescuer. I'm sure it would be both sad and uplifting, mixed with laughter and tears. It would be an amazing book because you find the right words. You are an amazing person.

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  13. On Monday, it will be one year since I lost Boo - one of my kitties. His real name was Sisko, but he was always my Boo. He was fine one night, and the following morning I had to let him go - heart failure. I'd been away until just that night before - and I still hold it against myself. I had a long, flowery story about Sisko and how he came into my life, what he meant, means to me - but it really all comes down to how we all love them. In truth - they all mean that. I still have six - 2 dogs, 4 cats. I've lost pets before, but it's always inevitable, isn't it? Your blog entry touched me deeply, at a very important time in my life, too. Thank you, Ashley, for all you do - for people as well as for furkids. You are beautiful.

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  14. Very well written - and very, very true. I feel the exact same way. My pets ARE my children - maybe a little hairier than other people's children, but they're still completely and totally my children - and my heart! I still tear up from losing my beloved Xada 2 years ago, so I also agree with you that the pain never totally goes away. But we must keep going to care for the other children in our lives, as hard as it may be at the time. {{HUGS}}

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  15. Ashley, you have said everything just as my husband & I feel about our babies. It saddens us when we see some people treat their pets as work machines and nothing more.

    No concern for their comfort in heat of summer or freezing cold of winter.

    They are our babies and they live to be loved by us and to give us love. Mine just jump all over each other to get to us to give love, we have to calm them down before they get hurt. Then we end up being washed with the sloppiest, wettest tongues in the world. And they have the biggest smiles on their faces from giving them.

    Keep up the fantastic work that you do to save these sweet babies.

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  16. you said what everyone feels but cannot express the words due to pain you have a wonderful gift please write a book

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  17. I know exactly what you mean...

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  18. These animals are our kids , our Angels , and you Ashley are their ANGEL !!! You ARE amazing !!!

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  19. many holes in my life and my heart that well never be filled, some r caused by others to ones that i will not know in life but all r very ____________, to many words to write...

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  20. Ashley, You said that so very well. The only thing is that people like us that love animals and have found your blog do not have to be told how it feels. It is the people who we are trying to reach to get them involved who probably never see these blogs. I wish there was a way to get to these people in order to get more of these animals in a forever home. These are the people we need to reach.
    Keep up the good work and maybe some day this will happen.

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  21. I lost my dog last year Dec. 20th. I had her for 16 1/2 years. The loss and pain is indescribable.
    I won't get another animal because I can't take the pain of losing them, yet that hole is so big. I miss that unconditional love and companionship she gave me. Ashley you are such an Angel and I will pray for you everyday, that you find the strength to go on and on!.

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  22. very well said for all of us that have committed to cared for our pets until death do us part. Someone mentioned a book by you..please consider..it would be something I would read over & over. God Bless you for being the voice for those that can not speak!

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  23. Beautiful! I always say that it is no coincidence that dog is GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS!

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  24. Wow, Ashley. The way you express your feelings n this blog is done with such poignancy and emotion that it's as if I'm experiencing what you are. They make me want to rush home just to hug and kiss my pit bull Skye. I'm truly sorry for your loss of Mister Kitty. I know there are no words to offer that can ebb the pain away -- only time can do that. Just know that some day you will be with him, and all of your beloved pets, again. And they are watching you from Heaven.

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  25. Ashley, so beautifully written. You put into words so eloquently how so many of us feel about our pets. They are a part of us. We live for them almost as much as they live for us. The bond we have with our animals is so unique - so different than that we have with people. There is no judgment, no residual anger or resentment, just forgiveness and love. When they leave us it truly is a hole that is never quite filled again because each animal is so unique and special and brings just a little something different to our lives. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss of Mister Kitty. She was a lucky little girl and because of you she knew love and she will have that with her always. ~Dani

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  26. You described exactly what I feel with each loss I have personally been through. When a person I meet doesn't understand my love for my pets, I don't get angry, instead I am sad for them because they've never experienced the love of an animal. Each of them is special in their own way. And all come to us for a different reason...to teach us a new lesson, but above all to teach us unconditional love. None can ever be replaced, but there is always room in my heart to love a new one.
    I'm so sad for your loss, but am glad Mr. Kitty was a part of your life and will always be a part of your soul.

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  27. "Death is not the end, but a new beginning" -- Visit Furry Angels to check our community for our loving deceased pets. Made up of beautiful graphics and words about pest. No donations are requested to join or be part of our community. https://www.facebook.com/furryangels?ref=tn_tnmn

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  28. How we have all felt the heartache of losing a beloved pet. You are right...they are part of our souls. Never will I forget the wonderful pets I have had through the years....nor the current ones I have now. Love to you, Ashley, for giving your heart and soul to these wonderful animals.

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  29. WOW! That was amazing! Thank you. As I wipe the tears away from my eyes and look over at my new rescue doggie, 9 rescue buns and pictures of those I love still and lost I realize that it is so worth it to know them even if it is for a short period of time. My vet gave me this when I lost my beautiful bunny boy ...
    " We who choose to surround ourselves with lies even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan..." Separate Lifetimes "The Once and Again Prince" Irving Townsend.

    Thanks for all the amazing work you do. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  30. Ashley, I type this comment thru eyes blurred by tears. Your words and those of many who have responded touch the still sore edges of heart holes left by those who have crossed The Rainbow Bridge to await my arrival. Yes, I have felt your pain many times. The beautiful creatures God has entrusted to me are not pets but are my Kritter Kids. They and their needs come before me and mine. I too feel sorrow for those who have never or do not understand the love and devotion given by a Kritter Kid. As I lay each Kritter Kid to rest I swear I will not (knowing that I most certainly will) humanize my next "child". Next time it will not hurt so much when their time with me or rather my time with them is over. My prayers are with you Ashley in your tme of sorrow.

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  31. Always been closer to my pets than humans. Pets have never betrayed me, whereas humans have!

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  32. Thanks so much for one of the most touching sentiments for only those of us who have a special bond in our love for our pets and just all living things in general. Your work is special and you certainly have been blessed with a gift. May God richly bless you in all you endeavor.

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  33. I lost two of my "children" last year within 6 months of each other. My beautiful cat of 6 years Doofus got a viral infection and died. My Siberian husky Quimby who was 11 died from complications due to to his diabetes. My heart felt like it was breaking each time. I have my cat Spot who is my old man of 13 in January. Ashley, I feel your pain and my heart cries for you. Remember they are at Rainbow Bridge waiting for you as I know mine are waiting for me. They are always in my heart.

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  34. ashley i cried when i read this. I lost my baby shadow 3 years ago. she was a black lab/chow mix. even though i have 4 other dogs. she was the sweetest gentlest baby anyone could ask for, she was 12 when she passed in my arms one morning and i think of her everyday. i took her and buried her at my parent farm on the hill and planted flowers. i go talk to her everytime i am there and tell her how much i love her and miss her. even though my other dogs are special in there own way, she was my baby girl.

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  35. Ashley, It breaks my heart when I see abuse to our 4 legged furbabies. I wish there was a way to save all. What you're doing is the closest thing to saving the furbabies of the world that I know. Would love to share a book that was given to me called "The God-Dog Connection". The author is from Aiken, SC. She autographed it for me and I would love to pay it forward by sharing it with you. You are a blessing for all of our furry friends. Will be passing through Meridian sometime tomorrow going to Taylorsville, Ms. would love to get the book to you while I'm home and see your rescue. God bless you for all of your work!

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  36. Thank you gpr everything u do! I still think about pets that I've lost everyday, i constantly miss them and ur writing is very inspiring. Pets r truely our gaurdian angels. I wish that all people treated tjem with love n respect lile they should!!!

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  37. ✿By no means should one say "Goodbye to yesterday" when refering to a beloved pet and all the wonderful memories in life they once brought to us. Perhaps the right words to say are "Hello to a new beginning" after they have moved into the next realm. -- Furry Angels

    ✞❀❁❃ Visit us!--- facebook.com/furryangels

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  38. I lost my beloved Snowy on 11/11/11. What a great tribute to all the pets I have loved and lost.

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  39. Beautifully said, thank you so much, Ashley.

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  40. It's only the matter of time for our old dog. Thanks, Ashley

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  41. Absolutely beautiful!!. I just lost my best friend Pepper. He was my life. He was my everything. It is so difficult to deal with. I miss everything about him every second of every day. I wish I could have him back. I love you Pepper always and Forever.

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  42. Ashley, I lost my beloved dog almost 2 1/2 yrs ago. He was my soul mate, my confidante, my sidekick. He was loyal, faithful, and very in tune with my emotions. I truly believe he felt what I did and was always there to offer comfort. Please know that I as well as many others, no exactly what you are going through. We love and appreciate all that you do.

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  43. That's a really beautiful tribute. Bless you!

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  44. To those wonderful people who loved and lost a special furbaby: You are the exact people who when they feel ready, can save another life. The good that you do comes back in the form of a rescued/abused animal who gets a fresh start in a loving home. All of my cats were rescued from abuse. Mr White is the most timid. Verbally and physically smacked around. Chance has permanent damage to his left paw, he walks on his "wrist" ( don't know catnatomy). I have to check his paw all the time, to insure in doesn't go gangrene. Sammy was a reject from a broken marriage. When they divorced, they divorced Sammy too. Patches was the runt, no one wanted her. Some @$$hat threw Little Dickens away at a feral colony area. I know because I help feed there.
    Your heart is bruised right now. If it is too soon, OK. I know there are alot of pets that have been abused and neglected and abandoned due to the banks stealing people homes. Peek inside your heart, there is a tiny spot of love just waiting to grow and be grown bigger. I swore off more cats after mine were deliberately killed. Somehow, while I miss them dearly, my cat family today is a source of joy and helping my blood pressure! Peace, Love & Light to of the caring people on Ashley's blog & Miss Ashley herself.

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  45. Thank you so much for this. You perfectly put into words how I feel about losing Lucy (the first animal of my own that I've lost). I am still alterating between many different emotions and a frequent one is "how can you be so destroyed over a dog? It's just an animal, right? Get it together."--even though I know this is a ridiculous thought to have, and I know that my grief is real and completely justified, I still question myself. Other times, the self-doubt doesn't even stand a chance because the pain is too intense. That's when I literally feel like I can't breathe and I wonder how my heart will possibly keep beating when it is so shattered.

    Ashley, you are not only a voice for animals, you're one for people too. You have just validated every human being that has ever experienced the devastating and crippling heartbreak of losing a beloved pet. Thank you again for saying what some of us haven't quite been able to explain. Again, I'm so very sorry for your loss(es). <3 xoxo

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  46. As sad as the info can be you do a wonderful job getting out the message. You have a good soul Ashley.

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  47. they are pieces of heaven.

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  48. It's so hard to find the words to help the pain. Obviosly, there are none. But you put into words what we feel. I hope it's ok if I use some of your words to help my friends. I have lost several quadraped children that they call me.

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  49. Everything that comes to us will always be gone, so better treasure each moments, love and respect at one another.

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  50. Beautiful wonderful words that reach right into the heart. Thank you.

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  51. so genius, so eloquent, so true. thank you.

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  52. Very well said..I loss one of my dogs and two cats in less than a year.I did'nt want to get out bed all i did was cry.I was starting to think it was to hard to keep going through again and again. I did pull myself together months and months later and rescued and puppy from a kill shelter & a friend bought me a injuried cat who i also saved.Im so sorry for your loss may your happy memories ease your heartache...

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  53. ALWAYS ON OUR MINDS, FORVER IN OUR HEARTS..

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  54. You said it so clear and true,missing space in our hearts after they are gone.Forever missed, but never gone.

    Deb Tampa FL

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  55. I know the feeling. I have lost some real special friends in my day. One pet perticuarly, she was that one special pet you have in you life...just a super special bond. When I had to put her down at 17 I thought I was going to die...I just couldn't breath. They will always be that void, but I have such wonderful memories. I love you Alley, my super special girl. The best cat I ever had

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  56. Ashley- You do such an awesome job. I was just wondering why dogs that have hundreds of advocates are killed. I know this is not your fault. I was just looking at all the dogs and advocating when I noticed that quite a few of the dogs that have died within the last couple of weeks had at least three hundred plus advocates. Doesn't this help help them? From what I read, I thought this helped save their lives. JUst wanted to understand more about this process. Again, thank you so much for all your hard work and for the love you have for all these wonderful animals! You are a truly wonderful human being and we need lots more people like you around. <3<3<3

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  57. Thank you for showing the Lucky Dog Rescue family, how sweet and loving a little kitty can be. I don't know how you got hurt, but I am glad you knew love and trust here on earth, so that you may find friends at the rainbow bridge waiting for their families. RIP Mister Kitty.

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  58. -Ashley-
    Whenever I've had to cope with the loss of a pet...I remember a quote I once read about the purpose of pets in the eyes of a four year old.

    "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life...like loving everybody and being nice all the time right? Well dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long"

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  59. That was dogs AND cats!

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  60. Ashley, you are an amazing woman and soul! To read your words is as if you read all the words and thoughts and feelings inside my head and heart. You are able to express them so very clearly and eloquently! Thank you for that! It also feels good to know that others are "way over the top" about their fur babies....like I am! I don't know you.....but I love your mind and heart! I wish you only good things....and thanks for all you do for the animals!

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    Replies
    1. Signed: Jody Marie Flynn, MN

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  61. well said and so very true i lost my rottie in 2006 and grieve for him still bless you for caring

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  62. THANK YOU ASHLEY...FOR EVER THING YOU SAY AND DO.

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  63. Having lost two dogs in 5 years, plus having to say goodbye to a couple of special cats due to a breakup, I know all too well the pain involved. Nothing in my life has come even close to the pain of losing a special friend. They don't judge, they don't give out smart ass comments, they are just there to love you unconditionally. No human can come close to what a dog or cat does. Another good story by Ashley!

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  64. Losing a beloved pet is one of the hardest things to have to suffer through. Every one of my pets has meant the world to me so when they've died the grief is almost unbearable. I'm sure to many caring people their pets can often be closer to them, and more loved, than other people in their lives. By that I mean we all have family members, etc, that we don't see very often perhaps and, in many ways, barely know, or perhaps we encounter people in our day-to-day lives who are not very pleasant in one way or another, yet pets are a huge part of our lives, they're never nasty, never demanding, never accusatory, never manipulative, etc. All they need and want is some love, affection and play, their basic day-to-day needs met and shelter. I always think that anyone who doesn't like animals, or is indifferent to them, can't be a very nice, decent person. Anyone who's a good person, with a good heart, has an affinity with animals.

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  80. I just came across your blog and I find it so intriguing! I love animals...moslty dogs. I watch a lot of shows regarding animal rescue. I always wanted to do that myself. Some shows end sadly and others have happy endings. Even though some don't end the way I would like them too, I still love watching them. I love how revovled your life is around saving these dogs. I never thought about getting dogs from breeders in the way you do. I just always wanted to raise them from a puppy. Most dogs from the shelters by me are all grown and I don't know if I could trust them. I aslo would like to spend as much time with a dog as I could, so if they are already grown when I get them, I would have missed out on the years before hand. I don't agree with most breeders when they keep breeding the dogs. It hurts them physically. I enjoyed reading all about your opinions on this topic. For the most part, I agree with you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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