Dealing with the death of a pet - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

TUESDAY, August 31, 2010

Dealing with the death of a pet

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - If you shared your heart and home with a dog, you will no doubt feel a great sense of loss and sorrow when your pet dies.

News 8 Meteorologist Shawn Styles is mourning the loss of two beloved cocker spaniels. He's sharing his memories of Buddy and Winky. He also spoke to a support group that helps families cope with their grief.

If you've ever seen me do a story in my garden, you'd know that I had two beautiful cocker spaniels, Buddy and Winky. Although I had a lot to do with the way the garden is laid out, when it comes to the tomatoes, that was Winky's job.

"(Winky) was such a funny little girl. She was a tomato hunter, and we have tomatoes all over our garden from Winky because as we all know what goes in comes out," Molly Styles said.

Winky and Buddy had a special bond with my wife Molly.

"We had a home birth, and just two of them popped out -- Buddy and Winky," Molly said.

That was 15 1/2 years ago, and along the way the memories have grown.

"They used to lie right behind the gate and put their little faces and paws through the little bars," Molly said.

But with age comes illness. Winky was first with pancreatitis, which she beat. But then cancer hit Buddy last summer.

"(Buddy) went downhill pretty quickly right after Labor Day, and it was difficult but we know that he went to heaven with his dignity intact," Molly said.

At the same time, Winky was also diagnosed with cancer but beat it.

"She looked death in the eye twice and she won," Molly said.

But then two weeks ago it took both the pancreatitis and now liver cancer to bring the Winkus.

"We had so many people praying for us and they had us in their thoughts and prayers. It's not easy. I really felt their love and their support and I know Winky did too," Molly said.

Losing two pets in a year is hard.

"You can never replace an animal with another animal, you can just kind of succeed them. You could get a golden retriever that looks just like the golden retriever you had before, but it's got a totally different personality," Dr. Bruce Lindsay of the Windansea Veterinary Clinic said.

The San Diego Humane Society can help with the loss through their support group.

"It's really a place where people can come and be with other folks who are going through the same things and that understand the grief that they're feeling," San Diego Humane Society PR Coordinator Candice Eley said.

So as pet owners, it's important to go through the grieving process, and everyone will do it differently. For me, I will continue to remember Winky and in a special way every summer when the tomatoes come back I'll remember how they got here.

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