Select Page

Hite Digital Norman

(37 reviews)

513 SW 156th St
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170
(405) 701-9245

In addition to the sound of the dishwasher, the washing machine running incessantly, and the teenager yelling at his video game, another sound has been a constant companion for the entirety of my time in this family. That is the tippy-tap sound of Sascha’s feet (and the bell on her collar), our 16 year-old Shih-tzu. We’ve always joked that she is part cat, full of energy, self-sufficient, and accepting of affection only on her terms. As I write this, we’re just a few hours away from an appointment at our veterinarian’s office at Grant Square Animal Hospital in South OKC, where we’re afraid it’s time to say goodbye. 

Sascha came into my wife Amy’s life as a beacon of hope amidst personal upheaval. Rescued from a daunting environment and having survived severe depression alongside Amy, Sascha isn’t just a pet—she’s a survivor, a companion, and a cornerstone of our family. Her adventures span from the comfort of our home to the vast, open deserts of West Texas, where she accompanied me on weeks and months of loneliness working in the oilfield. 

Now, at 16, as her steps slow and her vibrant energy wanes, we face the heart-wrenching reality of bidding her farewell. The impending quiet that her absence will leave in our home feels like the end of an era. She has been a constant through the evolution of our family. From watching my and Amy’s love grow into marriage, to  witnessing the growth of our boys, Brady and Anderson, she’s been a source of comfort, companionship, (and the occasional pain in the rear. “Sascha, get OUT of the TRASH!”)

The emotions are complex—grief intertwined with guilt and apprehension. There’s guilt for the times impatience won over understanding when Sascha, being a dog, did what dogs do. There’s apprehension about how her passing will affect Amy and our Great Dane, Doc, who has never known a day without her.

“Little” brother, Doc the Dane

Today, as we prepare for a visit to Grant Square Animal Hospital that might be our last with her, the weight of the decision looms heavy. Yet, it’s a step we must face, armed with love and the memories of years spent together.

For those of you who face, or will face, the pain of a similar farewell, remember this: It’s okay to grieve. Our pets are not “just animals.” They are part of our histories, our daily lives, and our hearts. They teach us about loyalty, joy, and the beauty of living in the moment.

As we navigate this loss, here are a few strategies that might help: (And yes, I’m talking to me as much as anyone.)

1. Allow yourself to grieve: Give yourself permission to feel the pain and share your feelings with others who understand.

2. Celebrate their life: Create a memory book or a photo album. Share stories about your pet with friends or family.

3. Plan a fitting farewell: Whether it’s a small ceremony at home or a special spot in the garden, say goodbye in a way that honors their importance in your life.

4. Seek support: Don’t hesitate to join support groups or talk to a counselor about pet loss. Sometimes, sharing with those who have experienced similar losses can bring comfort.

It’s okay to grieve.

In time, the pain will ease, making way for memories filled with joy and gratitude for the time spent together. And remember, it’s not about the length of time they are with us, but the impact they have on our lives.

As I prepare to possibly say goodbye to Sascha, I am reminded of the unspoken pact we make with our pets: to care for them, to love them, and finally, to let them go with dignity when the time comes. It is perhaps the toughest part of loving a pet, but also the most profound.

Remember, in the face of loss, you are not alone. We, as a community of pet lovers, understand and share in your sorrow and your healing.

Joseph Singleton is a contributing author and online editor for Whirlocal South OKC, Moore, and Norman, as well as the Ops Guru at HITE.

Other WhirLocal Neighborhoods in Oklahoma