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Ask Your Pet

by Jennifer Dickman


Dear Jennifer,

I’m a retiree. A few years ago I downsized into a building that didn’t allow pets. I feel tremendous guilt, because I had a small dog, Harry, and wasn’t able to take him with me. He’d been with me for his whole five years, and I feel terrible that I gave him up. Would you please ask Harry if he’s mad at me? Does he forgive me? Please tell him I’m sorry, and that I miss him, and wouldn’t have moved to this building if I had it to do over again.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Dear Deborah,

I’m sorry you’re in such emotional pain about Harry. Before I detail his session, I just want to inform readers that in most situations, the ADA allows you to have a pet in a “no pets” building, so long as a doctor states in writing that you have a disability and the animal is your emotional support animal. So, for example, if you have a chronic illness, suffer from something like anxiety or depression, many doctors and therapists are quite willing to do this for you. The physical and mental health benefits of having a pet are well-recognized.

I’m sorry that you either didn’t know this or it didn’t apply to you - please don’t add it to your regrets. Harry isn’t mad at you. He was very confused and scared at first, and went through a period of feeling hurt and abandoned. He says it took him a while to trust his new family, and to feel secure in his new home. It was difficult for him to believe that he would be staying there forever.

But, Harry says that things are better now. He understands that he’s meant to be with them, and is showing me an adorable little girl. He loves playing with her and being near her. And, he loves his home. He misses you, and says that your worries that you’ll “make things worse” if you visit him aren’t true, and he would love to see you. So, I’d think about that if his new family is willing to let you visit. It might be too painful for you, but it might also bring you closure.

Harry forgives you, and sends you his love. He still doesn’t quite understand why you did what you did, but he loves his family. He would have been happy to stay with you, but he’s also at peace with what happened, and just living in the present. He’d like you to do the same, and not look back with sadness.

There’s often judgment around re-homing pets, and the influx of “pandemic pets” being returned to shelters is of course horrifying. Sometimes re-homing a pet is a selfish choice, or one made without thinking out other options. But, there are times when there’s sadly no other choice. Sometimes animals are meant to bless more than one family, and the focus should then be on making the transition as easy as possible for them..

Many Blessings,

Jennifer Dickman


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Article Archives  This Month's Articles  Click Here for more articles by Jennifer Dickman
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