In the latest of our series of mini interviews with friends of The Ralph Site we heard from Elaine Bottom, 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.
At the moment I have two very young cats named Mylo and Rosie.
2. What was the name of your first pet?
The first animal in my life was our family cat, Skippy; we had him when I was young.
3. Why did you choose that name?
I don’t know actually – my parents named him – but as I remember he didn’t stay still for long, so that may have had something to do with it!
4. Cats, dogs or another species? Can you choose?! And why?!
Difficult one, but I’m going to have to go for cats as I’ve always been brought up around them -they have a special place in my heart.
5. What is your favourite memory of an animal who has shared your life?
Toby was a beautiful big white cat who loved plenty of attention – he would sleep at the bottom of our bed and keep us awake with his really loud purring!
6. Which three words would you choose to describe him?
Loving, affectionate and cuddly
7. What is your favourite fictional animal and why?
As a child I used to love watching The Littlest Hobo on TV, wondering what adventures he’d go on next.
8. If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
I would definitely be a cat – I could sleep all day long!
9. What advice would you give to someone grieving for a much-loved pet?
Unfortunately I have lost several cats over these past few years, probably the worst was losing my two beautiful kittens last year in a road traffic accident. It is always extremely hard for anyone to grieve and go through the process of losing a pet, but what I would say is to take each day as it comes. Cry, laugh, scream – do whatever you feel you need to do; and always treasure the special moments you had with them.
Never feel guilty (as I did, for months after losing Simba and Belle). I miss them terribly and always will, but I know that I gave them the best possible life that I could, and that they had a loving home. It does become easier as time goes on.
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?
I first discovered this amazing community back in 2010 when I lost my cat Chloe – a friend of mine told me about it. However, it’s only in the last year that I have met some truly wonderful people – through losing Simba and Belle they have become my ‘cyber friends’. The Ralph Site is like one big family – we all care about one another. Without Shailen’s hard work and dedication, I don’t honestly know where I would have turned to for support.
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