In the latest of our series of mini interviews with friends of The Ralph Site we heard from Sue Illman, 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.
Yes, I share my home with two cats, Molly and Toby. Molly is ten and is a very quiet cat – she loves to spend her day sleeping on my bed.
Toby is just a kitten and he’s a dear little boy! He really wants to play with Molly but she isn’t impressed – she would much rather sleep!
2.What was the name of your first pet?
She was a lovely cat called Tinker.
3.Why did you choose the name?
Because she looked like a cheeky puss! It turned out that her name really suited her!
4.Cats, dogs, or another species? Can you choose?! And why?
It would be cats every time for me; they have always been a big part of my life. Even as a child I can never remember a time when we didn’t have a cat or two sharing our home.
5.What is your favourite memory of an animal who has shared your life?
Every memory I have of my beloved Louis is a favourite memory for me. I lost Louis in February of this year and a part of me died with him. I know that I will miss that little boy forever.
6.Which three words would you choose to describe him?
Wonderful, cheeky, missed.
7.What is your favourite fictional animal and why?
It would be Dumbo, the adorable elephant from the Disney film – those big cute ears get me every time!
8.If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
You won’t be surprised to read that I would choose to be a cat – how nice to simply lay there whilst humans pander to my every need.
9.What advice would you give to someone who is grieving for a much-loved pet?
I would say in all honesty that time really is a healer. You will never forget your precious friends of course, but it does get easier. And you must never feel guilty about opening your heart to another pet, when the time is right for you.
10.When and how did you come across The Ralph Site? What do you think is the most important role of The Ralph Site community?
I found The Ralph Site while searching online for a bereavement support group after Louis died. Losing my baby was hurting so much that I felt I needed to look for people who would understand just what I was going through. Somewhere I could get the support I needed to get through the rough days, so that hopefully I could then go on to support others when it got easier for me.
Understanding and supporting each other is the most important thing about The Ralph Site for me – only those who have lost much-loved friends can really understand how hard it is. For this reason alone I am so thankful I found The Ralph Site support group.
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