Ree Drummond, also known as “The Pioneer Woman,” recently opened up about what it is like to lose a beloved pet — and the experience of getting a new one.
In the “confessions” area of her website, Drummond dedicated a section to stories about Charlie, her basset hound.
Sadly, Charlie was diagnosed with lymphoma a few years ago.
Drummond had known that he was sick for some time, but thanks to a vet she trusted, he lived a little while longer than expected.
Then, one Sunday last January, after attending church with the family, she came home to find that Charlie was not doing well. The vet came to the ranch that day and put Charlie down.
Our wonderful local vet ... came out to the house so Charlie wouldn’t have to leave the ranch. It was peaceful and quiet ... I’ve sobbed off and on ever since, mostly because of all the good memories of the best dog a family could ever, ever have.
This sentiment may sound familiar to anyone who has lost a beloved pet. Drummond wrote that she felt “a little funny” writing about Charlie's death because her grief was over an animal, and not a person. But Drummond explained that mourning the loss of a pet is a valid and very human experience.
I feel a little funny writing much about this, because Charlie was a dog—and because there is so much human tragedy and sadness all around that this can’t even begin to compare to. But anyone who’s ever loved a dog understands that it’s a special kind of loss—one that all dog families have to go through. He lived a full life out here with the cows and the rabbits, and I’m so grateful he was ours.
Over the past week, on both her Instagram account and homepage, Drummond shared the news that the family got a new basset hound puppy, whom they named Henry.
In a post dedicated to him, “Dear Henry,” Drummond posted a few playful photos of the newest member of the Drummond family.
Drummond explained that even though she was happy to have Henry, it was a “bittersweet” moment. It brought back memories of Charlie, as well as the death of her nephew, which occurred shortly after losing Charlie.
Even as I was preparing this post about sweet little Henry, I was reminded that Charlie died one year ago today. I can't believe it's been a whole year, as I still feel those doggie-related tears of loss so acutely. But then I'm taken to an even harder place as I realize that we lost my nephew last year, just after Charlie died, and that date will be coming up very soon [...] And while one can’t even begin to compare one loss (a beloved pet) to the other (a beloved nephew), the grief and tears are still (and will probably always be) tied up together in one painful season.
But in an Instagram post right before the new year, Drummond seemed hopeful that she could bond with Henry, while understanding that he would never replace Charlie or make her stop missing him.
No one can ever replace ol’ Charlie the ranch dog … but this little guy sure is going a long way to fill the hole Charlie left. Even Walter likes him! At least he will in a couple of weeks. Meantime, I'm completely puppy drunk. Schnockered.
Grieving for a pet can be painful, as Drummond shared with her readers. But it seems that with the decision to get a new puppy, Drummond is attempting to open her heart again to loving a new dog — and is succeeding.