Many native cultures once believed that we carry with us a piece of the spirit of those we love, and that they have a corresponding piece of our spirits with them. When we lose someone we love, our souls yearn after them because they are a part of us. The same holds true for animals we love - we share their spirits and they share ours. Grief for our animal companions is very real and must be honored, just as their important roles in our lives must be honored.
When I was thirteen and going through an extremely difficult time, my dog Rowdy was a tireless comforter and companion. I couldn't tell anyone about my pain, but he sat on the back porch with me and leaned his head against my shoulder, bearing silent witness to my tears and listening to my hurts, offering unconditional love as only an animal can. My heart broke the day he died, and though it has been twenty three years since I lost him, I still remember his loyalty and the joy he brought me, and I still miss him. I think I always will.
My very good friend Eve lost a beloved companion animal today, one who had been her mainstay during times of deep suffering and hardship. The grief is just as great and just as real as if her companion had been human. Little Anni carried a part of Eve's spirit with her, just as Eve carries a part of Anni's. Anni's deep love for her human companion was visible and almost palpable. She never failed to give love and support during Eve's darkest moments. Her contribution to Eve's life is worthy of honor and praise. Anni was a beautiful creature with a pure, giving, loving heart, and she will be sorely missed.