Mourning my dog

homebodymomJune 1, 2010

Thursday I had to put down my 13 yr old Lab Willie. We adopted him at 9 months old and he grew up with my daughters who were 5 and 3 at the time we adopted him. He was an angel from his 1st day with us until his last. My heart is in a million peices. 2 1/2 years ago we got another lab named Riley( a guide dog puppy we raised, but who flunked his exam and came back to us). Needless to say our entire family including Riley (who has never been without his big brother) and our 2 cats , is in mourning. Less than 2 days after we put Willie down, my best friend calls me to tell me about the new dog she adopted that morning. She called me every day for 3 days talking about this new dog ( she already has 2 others) and how cute he is, how excited she and her daughter are, etc.....I think she asked me once how I was doing.

Am I being a %^$#&? I don't want to hear about this new dog right now. My heart is broken, and it seems to me that she is being incredibly insensitive. Her daughter is my oldest daughters best friend (they are 16), and her daughter has been "very angry" that my daughter isn't more excited for her for getting a new dog. Don't they see that the timing is a little tough? I just found out today, that they are bringing the new dog to a sports practice both girls attend on Friday morning. I am thinking about letting my daughter skip practice. I would have to spend 2 hours pretending to be so happy for them. I know in my heart I should be happy for them, but I can't get past my grief right now. I miss my boy so, it seems like all my happiness is gone, and I am just angry and broken.

Am I wrong?

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I'm so sorry for your loss. You aren't wrong because you deserve to be given the time to mourn your dog. Your friend is being insensitive, but it sounds like she may also be trying to nudge you towards adopting a new dog, so in her mind she may be trying to help. Still, it's insensitive to think you can just replace your dog, so even if that's her motive she's still off-base.

If going to the practice makes you or your daughter uncomfortable, I would just skip it and tell your friend that you're both too sad to be good company. Maybe she'll take the hint.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:25PM
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You absolutely are not wrong. You are grieving. Your friend also is not wrong. She is joyful. The problem here is that your heart is full of pain and can not share her joy. Hers is full of joy and can not share your pain.

Sit down with your friend and her daughter and explain this to her. Let her know that you wish you and your daughter could feel happy for them, but that you simply can't right now. You need time to grieve the loss of your boy and to feel sad, and you understand that they can't feel sad with you right now, any more than you can feel happy with them. Tell them that seeing them with their new dog is just making your loss feel that much more acute and intense, so you need time to heal before you'll be comfortable spending time with their new dog.

Hopefully, they'll be able to understand that you are reacting at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum right now, and they'll respect your need to honor your own loss.

I wish you and your family a peacrful grief.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:37PM
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It's hard for some people, even those with pets, to understand just how much of a loss a faithful animal can be. I am sorry and understand your grief I have grieved for many of mine who have passed over the years.

You probably should be honest about asking for some personal space to grieve. I'm sure you are happy for them, but she isn't showing much empathy. And, her daughter is totally off-base for being angry. Putting it as kindly as I can, she needs to grow up a little. It isn't 'all about them'.

Hoping you can work through your grief to be comforted by good memories of your special boy. I've never had a pet be 'replaced' by a puppy. I've learnt to love the new ones in their own right, but each pet is unique and special in their own right.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:16PM
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i'm so sorry for your loss. this reminds me so much of the time a woman came to visit me. she knew my husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. he was only weeks from death. all she could talk about was her new boyfriend and how happy they were together and how much they were looking forward to a long, happy life. i could have strangled her.

i agree with the others here. you need time to grieve and this isn't a good time for her to smother you with her happiness. i know just how you feel.

((((hugs))) to you and your family.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 10:51PM
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I am so sorry for your loss, my rottie passed away in Sept from cancer so I know how badly your hurting. Tell your friend your happy for her but right now is not the time for her to be boasting about her new dog.Take however long it takes to grieve,I still cry alot and I talk about her all the time. Best Wishes to you and your family.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:20AM
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I'm also so sorry for your loss ... I agree with the others and think you need to tell her that you're greiving and can't get excited right now about her new dog when you are missing yours very much. If she's any kind of a friend, she should understand.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 1:15PM
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thank you everyone for your kind words and suggestions. This is such a difficult time, but I know is a part of loving and giving your heart to a pet. It just hurts so badly.

I am going to speak with my friend and hope she is half as understanding as all of you have been.
thank you again

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 2:21PM
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You are not being unreasonable.

Try saying this, "Susie, I know you are all excited, but I need some time to mourn for the dog I just lost. Please respect my feelings."

And repeat it until she gets the message.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Ahhhhh. Even though you know you are doing everything to keep your dog from suffering, helping him to cross over with dignity and the least amount of suffering takes much out of a peron. Much like losing a child of 13. It as if someone has gripped your heart and wrung it out so it is only half full. Wandering around as if someone has just punched you as hard as they could in your solar plexis and you feel as tho you can not catch a full breath. The morning ritual is gone and all day long you feel as though you have forgotten something. Many people dont understand. I think your friend is misguided. I think her intent is to distract you from your grief and her hope is that her new addition will take some of your pain away. When you have a connection with a pet who has gently placed paw prints all over your heart and has changed you making you a better human being you are not going to get over that beings passing anytime soon. Thank your friend for her efforts, let her enjoy her new family member and let her know that you are really having a hard time jumping on the happiness band wagon. That you will let her know when you are feeling better and then can be with her to help celebrate her new pup. I hope you are not completely overtaken by your grief. Sorry for your loss. Take care.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:50PM
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I totally understand how you feel, she is being very selfish and inconsiderate. I agree with lazygardens, put her on the spot and tell her how you feel.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 12:56PM
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You are definitely not wrong! I think you should probably skip practice. As the previous people have said, your friend's heart is probably in the right place - trying to get you to focus on moving forward (nudging to get another dog), but of course it's also rather insensitive because that is the LAST thing you want to think about after losing your dog who is essentially a family member. You had a death in the family, and that can be heartbreaking. I sympathize with how you feel. My childhood cat passed away a few months ago and I was sad for a long time. Grieving is a process so take your time with mourning.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Your friend and her daughter are being insensitive to say the least, but I doubt if it's intentional. They sound clueless, with no idea that losing a pet can be as difficult as losing a human family member. Try to forgive their lack of tact, and share in their joy whenever you are ready. My sympathies on the loss of Willie.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:58PM
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How are you feeling today? Is this the first dog your friend has owned and is this new puppy the only dog her daughter has known? I ask because I'm wondering if they've ever experienced the grief you are going through. Until they walk a mile in your shoes they will never understand what this pain feels like. You have every right to avoid whatever makes you uncomfortable right now, you are not obligated in any way to please other people. They're being insensitive. This is a time when you look after yourself and your family and let others wait.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 2:32PM
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Thank you everyone for your continued kindness. My family and I are getting along. It is rough, but we are keeping busy now that summer vacation is here. I did meet my friend's new dog (who is VERY cute) when my daughter went to her home to sleep over.
I never discussed with her how I was feeling, I just avoided the situation until I (and my daughter) could handle it. Ms. N
non-confrontational- that's me!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 8:33AM
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i'm glad to know you are healing. it takes time, lots of time. much like when we lose a close human family member, each of us grieves in a different way and on a different schedule. and i think it's safe to say that all of us who are "dog people" have lost one particular dog that especially touched our hearts.

i have lost dogs over the years, beloved dogs that i did not think i could live without and the hurt was so long lasting, i wondered at times if i would ever be able to love another one. but, when i lost simon, my male corgi, 6 months ago, well that one left a hole in my heart that can never be healed. if i live to be 100, i will miss that little guy every bit as much as i do today.

while our departed furkids are no longer suffering and they are running in grassy meadows, napping in the sun and waiting for us to join them on the other side of the bridge, it is we who are left behind to mourn.

(((hugs))) to you in your sorrow. it's just so hard!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 10:16AM
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