In the latest of our series of mini interviews with friends of The Ralph Site we heard from Diane Brodie-Farmer, who has given us some wise words of advice for anyone experiencing the loss of a much-loved companion.
1. Do you currently share your home with any pets? If so, please tell us about them.
Living at home with me at the moment are Nina a Romanian rescue dog, and Benny a tabby cat.
2. What was the name of your first pet?
My first pet was a dog named Lucky.
3. Why did you choose that name?
She was already part of our family before I was born so I didn’t name her, but she had been the last puppy in the pet shop (back in the days when puppies were often sold that way), so my dad called her Lucky.
4. Cats, dogs or another species? Can you choose? And why?
I have always had dogs, but since getting married we have had cats too. If I really had to choose (and hopefully I won’t ever have to!) then I would say dogs, as I love going for walks with them.
5. What is your favourite memory of an animal who has shared your life?
There are so many! One that really makes me smile is the memory of taking my first dog (Pipsey) up to the local park and her playing on the slide with me and my friends, going up and down constantly!
6. Which three words would you choose to describe her?
Faithful, funny and lovable.
7. What is your favourite fictional animal and why?
I would say Garfield – he reminds me of a cat we had once who was a real character.
8. If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
That’s easy – I would be a pampered cat in a good home. What a great life they have, coming and going as they please.
9. What advice would you give to someone grieving for a much-loved pet?
First and foremost I would tell them not to feel guilty about grieving. I found looking at old photos and memories helped me, but I have been lucky that each of my animals has lived to a great age. All my dogs were over 13 years old when they passed, so looking back I think I tried to mentally prepare myself for the inevitable. Of course, even so I was heartbroken each time.
I did find getting another fur baby helped me, and rescuing Nina after losing Lottie was the best thing I ever did, as I hated coming back to an empty home. It’s funny, some parts of her character are so like Lottie and that makes me happy.
10. When and how did you first come across The Ralph Site? What do you think is the most important role of The Ralph Site community?
The community was recommended to me by a friend who had found The Ralph Site after losing her own cat – I have found great comfort in reading the words of others who have experienced the same great sense of loss that I have, and I would encourage anybody missing their four-legged friends to join in.
We’ll be featuring regular mini-interviews with friends of The Ralph Site in future; so do keep an eye out every first and third week of each month!
Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support