- This is in answer to:
- Describe your first experience with death. Was it with a family member? Pet? See all answers
- July 25, 2011 by nataliemac
- My First Experience with Death
Ever since I was born I'd been brought up with my parent's dog, Sammy, as our only pet. Sammy was a mongrel- a cross between a collie and a labrador- and was eight years old when I was born. He was a gentle dog; rarely growled, hardly ever barked and never bit. He had a lot of patience with me as when he was starting to grow old and probably more tired, I was evolving into an annoying, messy, loud toddler- there were several times where I kept attempting to ride Sammy's back "like a pony" and one time I slammed a door on his tail (by accident, let me assure you). Everytime I walked into a room to subconsciously annoy him, he walked straight out. I guess you could say I wasn't his favourite person- but I loved him a lot and couldn't have imagined living without him.
When Sammy was fourteen and I was six, he developed cancer. I never knew this though, I think my parents thought that I wouldn't understand. I probably wouldn't have. I just remember one day being at my gran's house with my gran and her dog, my mum and Sammy, and I remember that day being the last time I ever saw him. My mum had left me at my gran's and had taken Sammy with her, and I thought she'd just taken him out for a walk. An hour later, my mum had come back with just a lead, and she walked me home as I kept asking "where's Sammy gone? Why isn't he here?" I started to become upset and confused and I'd thought he'd run away or my mum had lost him. When my dad came home he'd told me that Sammy had gone on a long holiday with his friends and that I'd see him again in the future. He even picked up the phone and pretended to be Sammy talking to me, telling me he missed me and that he was doing just fine and having fun with his friends. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but being a little kid this was comforting for me. I wasn't upset as long as Sammy was okay. It wasn't until maybe two years later where I matured a bit and realised the actual truth. I think I'd always believed that he had died, but I believed everything my parents told me and that was that. Sammy was just on holiday with his friends and wouldn't be home for a long time.
I don't think this story was a good example of how I've coped with death in the past as it never really hit me, but it was the first and most vivid memory I have of it and I'll never forget it. I hope in the future when I have a family and a pet, and they pass away, I'll be able to do as good a job as my parents in comforting me with the loss of a pet.