I am saddened to hear about the death of British soul chanteuse, Amy Winehouse. She was a truly amazing artist with whom I became familiar back in 2007 after a friend (and fellow veterinarian) introduced me to her unique sound.
Winehouse’s “Back to Black” quickly topped my most-played list and remains a reliable listening experience while driving, hosting a dinner party or providing veterinary acupuncture treatments. Actually, Winehouse’s foreboding song, “Rehab,” can be spun positively and nicely accompanies my provision of an acupressure massage or needling to a canine or feline patient.
In hearing of Winehouse’s passing, I wonder if she left behind any pets. Having only seen one image of her walking a dog, which appears to be a Scottish Terrier, on the cover of her album, “Frank,” I found myself searching for a connection between Winehouse and companion animals.
In February 2010, Lana Berkowitz’s “A Pets Chronicle” featured a blog titled, “Amy Winehouse calls shelter to take her cats,” which shed light on Winehouse’s apparent problem with feline collecting:
“Earlier this year, Winehouse received the moniker ‘Catwoman’ after bringing more cats into her London home. The Sun reported, ‘She loves cats but doesn’t know when to stop. Controlling that many is proving to be a disaster.’ Typical of her addictive personality, this is the second time Amy Winehouse has collected a gaggle of kitties just to turn and give them away. Last year she dumped her furry companions with friends before heading to the Caribbean.”
Considering Winehouse’s well-documented drug and alcohol abuse, it does not surprise me that she exhibited a propensity toward animal hoarding and could not sufficiently care for her feline companions. In my house call clinical practice, I have dealt with people having personal situations similar to Winehouse, which motivated me to write, “Veterinary Perspective on Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding.”
Besides cats, Winehouse also expressed affection for birds. In Brad Wheeler’s The Globe and Mail article, “Amy Winehouse’s Erratic Past Shouldn’t Overshadow an Unforgettable Voice,” we learn about her crafting of a tune in honor of an avian companion.
Wheeler reports: “Amy Winehouse wrote the slinky, jazzed ‘October Song’ in memory of her pet canary … The bird’s death left her heartbroken, but with some solace. ‘It was a sad time,’ she recalled, ‘but I got a good song out of it.’”
If Winehouse did have any pets at the time of her death, I hope that their care will be undertaken by a responsible adult or rescue organization.
The sudden loss of a human or animal household member can have behavioral and physical repercussions on a pet. Changes in energy and digestive habits, or other concerning clinical signs, may be clues that your pet is having problems coping with a companion’s loss. Should your dog, cat or canary (or other pet of choice) exhibit such signs, make sure to pursue an examination by a veterinarian.
Although Winehouse is gone, her legacy will live on through her music.
Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.