In the latest of our series of mini interviews with friends of The Ralph Site we heard from Fiona Mackin, 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 have three cats, aged eleven, seventeen and eighteen and three Jack Russell crosses who are two, six and seven. As you can imagine, there’s never a dull moment in the house!
2.What was the name of your first pet?
My very first pet was a Chihuahua called Honey. Sadly she was killed in a road traffic accident when she was only one.
3.Why did you choose the name?
With her colouring it was an obvious choice, but also she was so sweet – small and cute.
4.Cats, dogs, or another species? Can you choose?! And why?
I love all animals, but if had to choose it would be a dog – they are so loyal and love you simply for who you are.
5.What is your favourite memory of an animal who has shared your life?
My second dog Murphy was amazing when I was confined to bed for three weeks following an operation. He stayed with me the entire time, only leaving the room to go outside to the toilet. Having him there really cheered me up when I was stuck in bed, bored.
6.Which three words would you choose to describe him?
Faithful, loving and protective.
7.What is your favourite fictional animal and why?
Lassie – as a child I watched the programme every week without fail and loved following all the heroics and adventures!
8.If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
I’d love to have an insight into how dogs think, and how they see the world; so if I could be any animal it would have to be a dog.
9.What advice would you give to someone who is grieving for a much-loved pet?
Firstly I would stress how important it is to take your time – it will get easier, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. Don’t feel guilty if you have to make the decision to put your pet to sleep – instead, think of it for what it is, a final act of love.
And if and when you feel up to it, do consider bringing another pet into your life – you won’t be replacing your lost friend, you’re just making new memories.
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 think it was back in 2013, when I lost my nineteen-year-old miniature whippet. I was so upset, and finding friends through The Ralph Site really helped me get through what was a very difficult time.
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