A Vanity Plate for a Dog
Having worked in mental health since 2015, I’ve seen a lot. With that experience, I’ve become seasoned to the many adversities that my clients bring to therapy. That being said, there’s one circumstance that I’m especially sensitive to: pet grief.
On Saturday, I received an email from a client informing me that her family dog, Koda, had passed away. Even with my expertise as a therapist, I’ve accepted that nothing I can say will be adequate for the special type of pain of losing a pet. So I took to writing this post.
As I clicked out of my client’s email, I had another email from the DMV alerting me that my license plates were set to expire. As I browsed the DMV email, I couldn’t shake the vicarious grief I had for my client’s loss.
You see, I lost my first dog in 2017 and while the pain has transformed, it still hits hard from time to time. When a client loses a pet, I empathize deeply and the waves of sadness and joyful memories of Abbie wash over me.
This morning, I woke up with an idea. Why not honor both Abbie and Koda with my license plate renewal?
In Virginia, you can choose from a variety of specialty plates. I decided to get the “Animal Friendly” tags to honor Koda, as $15 of my annual fees will go to help the animal shelters in my town. While I was at it, I paid an extra $10 to make the plate a memorial for Abbie.
“AB8IE” was the closest thing available.
It cheered me up to be able to memorialize two beloved pups with something as mundane as renewing my vehicle registration. I don’t know if there’s an afterlife for our beloved pets; however, one of my favorite movies from childhood was “All Dogs go to Heaven,” so that’s proof enough for me that I’ll see Abbie again, haha!
Side note: It makes me chuckle to imagine Abbie branding my Prius with her name between bites of Dominos pizza on a cloud somewhere.
Losing a pet is hard. I hope this post normalizes the experience for someone else and evokes a smile or two.
For more on my beloved Abbie, click here.
Thanks for reading!