Allow me to take a short detour from tea…
Losing a pet is heartbreaking. Anyone who has loved a pet knows that pain. But I never would have imagined losing an “internet” pet would be so upsetting.
Over the last 6-8 months, three pets, whose social media accounts I follow, have been lost. I don’t know their humans personally. I only know them via social media or through their professional careers.
First there was Bodacious, the Shepherd Cat from Twitter. Bodacious was an international sweetheart with followers from all over the world. This moody, hard working farm kitty from Ireland loved eggs and his daily farm work. I loved watching the daily record of his life on the farm owned by Suzanna.
Then suddenly, Suzanna writes a heart-wrenching post about Bodacious’ sudden passing. The outpouring of grief from around the world over this one kitty from Ireland was amazing. He even had a book written about him that was released last year, shortly before his death.
Then on Instagram came Gustav Batman, a GIANT Maine Coon kitty living in Norway. No, not another one! I will miss their posts showing this majestic and gentle giant. Again, another social media sensation and with followers from all over the world sharing the owner’s grief.
Then late last night I learned of dear Blanche. The adorable doggie of comedian Iliza Shlesinger. I had only discovered Iliza last year after watching some of her Netflix specials and I really love her humor. Her Instagram account is wonderful and it’s FILLED with posts about Blanche. Blanche also had her own Instagram account and Iliza’s fans would shower Blanche with gifts at her shows.
Blanche has traveled almost everywhere with Iliza and would open and close each of her shows as she’d run across the stage. Iliza’s love for Blanche was beautiful to witness…but witnessing her pain on losing Blanche is difficult.
The “social” part of social media is what draws me to it. I may not be able to travel to all of these places, but I can follow people and accounts that SHOW me those places. I may not have the opportunity to meet so many fascinating people, but I can follow their fascinating lives. I’m not mean-spirited on social media. My mother taught me to respect people. I may THINK nasty thoughts, but I try not to project them or preach. That’s not why I’m on social media. It’s a way to connect and feel connected to things, people, places, and events outside my life here in rural Maine. Following animals and scenic accounts are an escape from the meanness in the world these days.
That being said, following pets can lead you to a new level of connecting that I was not prepared for: losing them. As I have seen with all three of these pet owners, their pain is universal and so many people are sharing their pain and providing comfort on a scale one cannot even imagine. It must be overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time.
Grief is horrible. There is no time table or “right way” to do it no matter if it’s a human family member of a four-legged, feathered, or reptilian family member…it still hurts. My heart goes out to everyone who loved a pet enough to feel that pain. It means they meant something to you and you meant something to them. Pets truly are rewarding…which is why it hurts so much when they leave.
Blanche on Instagram: @blanchewaits
Comedian Iliza Shlesinger: @ilizas
Gustav Batman from Norway: @gustavbatman
Bodacious the Shepherd Cat: @1CatShepherd
This Twitter account is now following Ovenmitt, the other tabby kitty on the farm who is just as cute.
Also follow Inca at: @WSheepdog for the fabulous life that is the littlest sheepdog.
Suzanna, a sheep farmer in Ireland: @ZwartblesIE
BODACIOUS THE SHEPHERD CAT book is available on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y6nb6pzg