In the latest of our series of mini interviews with friends of The Ralph Site we heard from Susan Quinn, 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 two Senegal birds that have been with me since they were babies (they are now five years old). There’s also Pudsey, my rescue Cavapoo, who came to me at six months old. He will be two later this month and he’s already a bundle of mischief!
2.What was the name of your first pet?
My very first pet when I was young was a cat called Smokey, although sadly he got run over.
Then there was a budgie called Joey. The first animal I chose as an adult was a ginger cat called Kitty.
3.Why did you choose the name?
I lacked imagination back then I think, it was not a very original name for sure!
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 the full package, so to speak.
5.What is your favourite memory of an animal who has shared your life?
The first character to spring to mind is my soul mate Buster, he was a miniature brown poodle and he adored the snow. We made many happy memories playing and throwing snowballs for him, he just loved it so much. In fact he often had to be defrosted when he got back indoors!
He really was a wonderful boy.
6.Which three words would you choose to describe him?
Simply the best.
7.What is your favourite fictional animal and why?
Dumbo, from the Disney movie. I went to see it when I was young and just loved the story – it was sad at first but it all came good in the end.
8.If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?
I’d be a bird – I’m a bit of a free spirit and so to be able to fly anywhere, anytime would be good.
9.What advice would you give to someone who is grieving for a much-loved pet?
Come to a site such as The Ralph Site, where you can find the unconditional support and understanding you need. Don’t bottle it all in and feel isolated when others say “it’s only an animal, get over it” etc. We understand how you feel, because to us too, they are so much more than that.
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 had recently lost Barni, my Chihuahua, and I was feeling very down because my friends didn’t really appreciate how bad it feels to lose a pet. I typed ‘pet loss’ into Facebook and The Ralph Site popped up. It was the best thing ever – to find kindred people who instinctively understood how raw I was feeling, willing to give their time to listen and support me, meant everything. As a bonus I have since made lots of new friends along the way. The fact that most people stay on the site to help others speaks volumes about the strength of the community and the kindness of its members.
I for one would never leave, it gave me so much.
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