How it all began
As you might imagine, the story of Sweet Goodbye begins with a very special pet.
Nikita was a dark brindle Staffy of sorts, a very special gift from a friend to help me deal with the tragic loss of my beautiful Molly dog before her.
Molly and my first dog Ayla, both cattle dogs of sorts, I saved from euthanasia and tragically lost to accidents. My time with each of them was too short, their lives still young and it crippled me with grief.
Long before Nikita’s time had come, at nearly 14 years old, I worried about how I would possibly cope with letting her go. I dreaded and feared the inevitable sorrow that would come.
For some, like me, there is no distinction between human and animal. Both are living creatures and we love them with our whole heart, just the same.
It’s the reason I have been a committed contributor to truly remarkable organisations like Animals Asia, The Orangutan Project, BAWA, HSI, WSPA and the RSPCA for a long time now.
In the midst of my struggle over life without Nikita, it was my dear friend Made Wirawan – a humble Balinese rice farmer I have known for many years and whose family has become like my family too – who came to my rescue.
Over a cup of Balinese kopi in the family house we helped Made build, I told him of my anxiety about the day I would have to say goodbye to Nikita. With grace and gentleness he introduced me to the Hindu-inspired Balinese custom of adorning their deceased pets with beautiful textiles, trinkets and jewellery – just as they would for a family member.
He talked of the rituals involved and then presented me with some items in a simple plastic bag to take home and use when the time was right. Just having that precious plastic bag hidden in the back of my cupboard made me feel better.
Whenever that dreaded day arrived for Nikita, I was prepared.
Of course it did. Performing the ritual as Made had suggested and using the symbolic items to honour Nikita and prepare for her release brought me so much comfort.
Of course there was desperate sadness, loss and grief. But there was also celebration and remembering. Time passed, and my grief transformed to a revelation. I could share this process I had used to help deal with my pain over losing Nikita with others.
And so, inspired by Nikita and all my furry friends past and present, the generosity of my friend Made and with the support of partner Dave, our friends and family I have developed Sweet Goodbye – a step-by-step guide and kit for preparing to farewell and celebrating the life of a beloved pet.
I hope it brings you peace and comfort in your time of need.
Founder of Sweet Goodbye
This page is dedicated to my very special friend Lisa Otway, like Ayla and Molly she was taken from us too young battling cancer. Forever in our hearts 15.12.1971 – 09.06.2015