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Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Posted by kms4me (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 23, 11 at 0:36

Three years ago today, I lost my beloved dog Homer. His death was so hard for me to come to terms with that, shortly thereafter, I started a thread on this forum where I wrote of my loss, terrible grief, and how I thought there might be something wrong with me because though I had lost many people close to me, his death was the one I was having the hardest time dealing with. The day after I wrote it I felt stupid and regretted my post, thinking that others would judge me or believe it was somehow disrespectful to those who had lost people to talk of my great pain and despair after losing my dog. But instead I received messages from those who knew how I felt, who assured me there was nothing wrong with my feelings, and whose kindness and understanding did so much to help me through the loss of my darling Homer.

Though I thought the thread would fade away, to my surprise it did not. Other people in pain from the loss or impending loss of their companion animals started posting, and the "Feeling guilty because I miss my dog" thread took on a life of its own. When the original thread became full, several people who had posted on it sent me emails asking if I was going to continue it as they'd found great comfort there and were hoping that an extension of the thread would allow others to find an outlet for their grief and to receive the same kind, loving words that I did when I originally posted about Homer. So, three years later, on the anniversary of his death, I am continuing the thread. It feels right.

If you are reading this now, it is most likely because you too have lost a dog or another animal that meant the world to you. Please tell us how you feel, talk about your pet, and freely open your heart. We can't take away your grief, but we can give you comfort and the benefit of our experiences. We have walked in your shoes.

I encourage you as well to look at the original thread, "Feeling guilty because I miss my dog", as there are some wonderful stories and really good advice there and many things you can most likely relate to.

Above all else, know that you are not alone, weird, or dysfunctional. Your loss is real and you have every reason to feel what you do.

All my best,

Kate

Here is a link that might be useful: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

good morning, kate. i know i am not the only one who is so glad to see this "part 2". you have done a wonderful thing by continuing the original thread.

as you go about your day thinking of your beloved homer, know that you are surrounded by love and SO much gratitude because you have helped me and so many others come to terms with the loss of our pets.

i don't know who said it but i read something once written by a man that each time a dog died, it took with it a piece of his heart and left a piece of its own heart behind. he hoped he lived long enough that eventually, his whole heart would be that of a dog. for some strange reason, we seem to not be able to live without a dog in our lives. although the pain we feel when we lose one is often some of the worst pain, we always seem to find another furry friend who needs us and the cycle begins all over again. we wouldn't have it any other way. :)

i know homer, along with my maggie and simon, and sam, quincy, piper, scooter, all of the dogs we have learned to love because their owners posted in the original thread...they are watching over us, just waiting for that day when we will all be reunited with them.

(((hugs))) to you, my dear friend.

nina


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I don't know why my heart is breaking more today than it has every other day, but it is... Almost 13 years ago, my brother brought home 3 of the most amazing puppies (Treeing Walkers).. Brothers from the same litter.. Harley, Buck and Leroy... About 1.5 years later, we rescued another Walker from the mountains where he'd been abandoned and was probably not that far from death.. Buddy.. A few months later, the day after C-mas, Harley died suddenly.. Broke my heart... But, had to focus on Buck, Leroy and Buddy... Several years ago, we lost Buck to liver cancer at my b-day in January.. Broke my heart.. But, we had to focus on Leroy and Buddy.. Then Buddy got sick but he was with us for a while until the week of C-mas this past year.. Broke my heart.. But, had to focus on Leroy.. We knew he would be lonely and would need us.. What we didn't know is that we would lose him 15 days later to lung cancer.. Broke my heart... With no one left to focus on, I find myself drowning in grief for all four.. For no particular reason, I dreamed of Leroy last night and I've been a mess all day.. I had no idea until they were gone just how big of a chunk of my heart and my life they had occupied.. I wonder how I existed before Harley, Buck, Leroy and Buddy.. I know I did, but how?? My life didn't seem empty then, but it sure does now. I have two cats I love dearly, but it's not the same and they have their own part of my life and heart.. I have thought of Harley every day of my life for the past 11 years he's been gone and I miss him as much today as I did then. They were such awesome boys.. I know that I was blessed not only to have found one such true friend, but to have found 4 of them.. But, that leaves me sitting here wondering how I'm supposed to cope without them.. I also find myself feeling bad for being a mess knowing that my Leroy carried lung cancer with no complaint.. I keep thinking back and I still don't see it.. How could we have all missed it? But, I know that they are all together in Heaven waiting for the rest of the family to join them.. Anyway, thanks for listening...
Jade


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Jade,

I am sorry you lost all the members of your 'pack', your beloved boys.

All of us who have posted here know how lonely you feel and how empty. And none of us know any way to lessen those feelings, but we do know how important it is to admit to them, talk about them, and realize they are the sad price we all pay for having the love of an animal. In your case, four of them.

You wonder how you existed before you had them. Though there's a lot of sadness in that statement, there's also an admission of how much they worked their way into your heart and your life, how special they were and how much of your identity came from being their "person." I know you mourned each one's death individually, but as you realized, you had to keep on going and caring for the ones that remained. Now that you have lost the last one, I think a delayed reaction has set in and you are feeling ALL of their losses in a really deep way. I'm sure it feels overwhelming. After almost 13 years, it is the end of an era.

I know you feel guilty that you didn't realize Leroy was ill with lung cancer. But to my knowledge, there is not much medically that can be done for lung cancer in dogs, and knowing that he had it would only have added the agony of knowing his death was coming, of feeling helpless, and so in a way I think you were blessed that you didn't know until the very end. As for your dreaming of him, I really think you are lucky. Though it makes you very sad now, someday you will treasure those dreams, your night time memories of him. I hope you get to dream of Harley, Buck, and Buddy too. You have lost them physically, but they will always be in your heart and in your mind. They will always be your boys.

Though it hurts so much now, you will find a way to get beyond the worst of the pain, but it's going to take time. Even though the memories hurt right now, treasure them, hold them tight--they are the wonderful legacy your dogs have left you.

Take care and all my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I remember feeling so devasted when I lost my 13 year old Westie, Sean 8 years ago. The emotion was close to if not the same as losing people I was close to who died. I remember the anxiety, the endless walks alone (harder because Sean would have been walking with me). Just driving by our favorite woods would cause me to choke up even a year or more later.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for sharing that story and your memories of what it was like to lose Sean. Eight years, and you still remember.

You wrote of getting choked up driving by the woods. There are several places I haven't hiked or camped or canoed because, even three years after his death, they are still too much a part of my life with Homer and and I am not yet ready to experience them without him.

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Hi All ~

I just had to say good bye to my beloved dog Princess 2 days ago. She was a 14 year old lab mix, and was what a good dog is supposed to be. She was my baby she went almost everywhere with me. She even went to work with me the first 4 years I had her because I worked as a vet tech and she was our office pet. She was always by my side I called her my shadow. Kate, I completely understand how you were feeling 3 years ago, as I just lost my grandfather last week and losing my dog broke my heart more so. I don't think I have ever cried like that. I am going to gather up all the pictures I have of her and make a photo album. Have you gotten another dog since you lost your Homer?


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Kate, I am so glad you are continuing this thread. When I found this almost 8 months ago although it didn't stop the pain it did start the healing by being able to share my thoughts and feelings with others who feel the same and share in their pain and loss as well. I still miss my little dude more than words can say and I cry a little every day but i'm at least able to remember happy times and memories more often, I also don't feel the guilt any longer just the loss. I guess that's progress. Please take care of yourselves and let yourselves grieve. I am sure that if I hadn't found this thread I'd be much worse off. Thank you all for sharing your losses.
Paul


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Kate-
I can see how you would avoid those favorite outdoor spots without Homer. I felt guilty hiking without Sean and when I eventually got another Westie, Denny it wasn't the same. He's not the woodsman Sean was so I don't take Denny there much- he's happy patroling his own back yard for squirrels. It's amazing the different personalities dogs have, even in the same breed. Did you ever get another dog?


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Minow9,

Though you had 14 years with Princess, I bet it doesn't feel like it was long enough. It never does. My heart goes out to you on the loss of your baby and your shadow. I know how much I relate to those words you used to describe her.

If you'd like to post a picture or tell us more about her, please do, and let us know how you are doing.

Paul, thank you for posting here. Your kind letter and others like it did a lot to help me decide to resurrect this thread. I am glad you are feeling better but not surprised that it still hurts. You went so above and beyond to take care of your dog and it's obvious how much you love him still. Your story will always touch me.

Daniel, it wasn't so much that I felt guilty about being in those places, it was that the lack of my little dog running through them made them feel different to me because they WERE different. There were trees and meadows and rivers and lakes that I knew almost like the back of my hand, but without Homer there, so much of the joy of the experience was missing. His exuberance and happiness, his presence, were too much of what made those places special.

To all three of you: Yes, I have another dog. Like Homer, Monty is a rat terrier, but that is pretty much where the comparison between the two dogs end. I think I got him too soon after I'd lost Homer, and though initially things were good and I was so happy to have a dog in my life again, he quickly became a disappointment. He was too big, too destructive, too high strung, not very bright, hard to train, not as affectionate... In short, he was not Homer.

Things were rough for a long time, as long as I kept comparing Monty to Homer. I think I had somehow thought that having another dog would take the pain of losing Homer away, or at least bring it to bearable levels, but it didn't. I had to grieve, to cry, to endure the long, bad feelings of loss and loneliness and accept that Homer was gone forever. Monty couldn't take the pain away, and he should never have been expected to.

Once I let go of the comparisons and realize that I could not recreate the experience of Homer with another dog, I accepted that Monty was different and that my life with him would be different too. I realized he had a lot to offer, that our relationship was a work in progress, even that some of the things that had initially bugged me so much about him were turning into things that were kind of endearing, especially once he stopped eating furniture.

We've found our own new places to hike and roam and camp, places where I don't miss seeing my little Homer but sure enjoy seeing my Monty run and play. There is no competition between the two, they both have their very different places in my heart.

All my best,

Kate



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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Kate-
I agree with you on the different emotions involved with getting a new pet. Because I also replaced Sean with another dog of the same breed I immediately became disapointed with the new dog by comparing him to Sean- almost expecting a clone. It took at least a year to accept him as we was and love him that way.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

i knew when kate started part II that it would not be long before i would be here posting about another loss.

my sweet ashley, my first dane, the love of my life, my heart dog in so many ways, the dog that helped me begin my healing after the loss of my darling husband 3+ years ago, the dog of my dreams, the most perfect dog on the planet, was helped across the rainbow bridge on thursday, august 18, 2011, at 12:20 p.m. i rescued ashley when she was 7 years old, just a little over 3 years ago. the ravages of arthritis on her old bones finally took its toll and i knew i had to ease her pain.

ashley was a gift from God and from my late husband. every minute of her time with me was pure joy.

if you feel so inclined, you can go back to the original thread and read the story of how ashley came to live with me. you will see why she will always be in my heart.

the vet was so compassionate, ashley's passing was so peaceful and i am so thankful for that. i cradled her head in my lap and stroked her soft ears as the vet whispered to her that her job here on earth was done, it was time for her to go meet my husband, the man who made our life together possible. she quietly slipped away and i am left with the same grief i felt when i lost my husband, the same emptiness, the same dread that i will not recover. the only thing keeping me going now is that my remaining 2 danes need me. were it not for them, i would surely have died of a broken heart.

rest in peace, ashley. mommy will see you again some day. give my love to the daddy you have finally met and give him a big slobbery kiss from me. i love you with all my heart!

Photobucket


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Ninah,

I am so sorry. I knew her time left was short, but I was so hoping for you both that she would be able to get through the summer and you'd have a little more time with her. A little more time... like that could ever be enough.

Knowing how much your heart is breaking right now, there isn't anything I can say or do that make you hurt any less. When we euthanize a loved animal, there is at first a slight sense of relief that their pain is over and the choice has been made and followed through, and then comes the rush of overhwelming loss and the sense of disbelief that they are gone from our lives. You had her a too brief three years, but I know she will live on in your heart forever.

You've been through this before, but I know that doesn't makes losing Ashley any easier. And though words fail me right now, you know how much I care about you, how much I understand this whole wretched process, and how sad I am for you and the pain you are going through.

You rescued her three years ago, and you rescued her one last time from her terrible pain. You know you did the best thing for her twice.

All my best, and know my thoughts are with you.

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Hello all!

Thank you Kate for beginning this blog. I, too, am sad. I lost my beautiful 12 year old golden retriever this past Sunday morning. We awoke suddenly about 5:30 am and she was having trouble breathing and her gums were already gray. We talked to her and petted her for about 30 minutes and then she passed. I miss her so much. We euthanized another dog 10 years ago and I remember how hard it was to get through the grieving process. Now, here I am again and I so dread the next few months. It is such a long road and I know somewhat what it entails. But it makes it easier just knowing that they are many others going through the same thing as I am. We had her ashes returned yesterday but it meant nothing to me. As I looked into the box, I did not see Missy. Missy was alive and happy. She was constantly looking to be loved and petted. Inside that box was not Missy. I long to pet her, to hug her, to sing "My Girl" to her once again. That was my song for her. Even if it is true that we see them again, that time is too far away. I dont want to go through this process again...

Teresa


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Teresa,

I know how beautiful and wonderful golden retrievers are, and I am sorry you lost Missy. Waking up and finding her in that condition must have been a shock and so hard for you. I know that there is not much comfort for you right now, but it was a great thing that you were able to be with her, to talk to her and pet her as she passed, surrounded by your love.

I am glad you have found comfort in this site. I know, sadly, what you are going through right now and how many rough days and nights you have ahead of you. But I am betting that, no matter how terrible you feel and how much you miss her, you would not have missed the experience of loving her and she loving you, for the world.

Several people here have expressed their beliefs that we will see our dogs again. While I am not as sure of things as they are (though I definitely hope they are right!), I know that no afterlife worth its salt would not have our dogs there. But even if this life here is all any of us get, I know that so much of its sweetness, joy, and exuberance, comes from having dogs. And though their lives are short, the memories and legacy they leave, the way they touch us and change us, open us up to giving and receiving unconditional love, is miracle enough for me.

Teresa, you will get through the worst of this pain, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. Please come back and tell us how you are doing.

All my best wishes,

Kate

PS: I smiled thinking about you singing to your dog--I used to sing "Brown Eyed Girl" to my golden, Bridget.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Thanks for posting this. My husband and I just took our pretty girl, Zoe Lynn Marie, to be euthanized yesterday. She was a mutt who spent the first months of her life locked in a bathroom before my husband got the family to let us take her. I gave her three names because she was just too beautiful and sweet, that one name wasn't enough. Zoe seemed to understand whatever I said, and she patiently listened over the 11 years she was with us. Zoe had big ears, like a Corgi, and I loved to give her kisses there. I'm so sorry I'm rambling- I just miss my Zoe so much! She came into our lives a few months after our marriage, and is our first animal to go. I'm comfortable with the euthanasia because she isn't suffering. I just want to give my girl kisses behind her ears this morning, and I can't. My Zoe gave us so much love- I miss my good girl.

Sorry for rambling but thanks for letting me post.
My_girl_Zoe


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

My Girl Zoe,

You did not ramble. It was your love for your dog pouring out, and there is not a soul who has posted to this forum that doesn't understand. The good thing is that, though the pain will be with you for a long while, that love will always be there.

She was a very lucky dog that you persisted and rescued her from such a terrible situation. You gave her the wonderful life that every dog deserves but sadly many do not get.

I'm sorry you can't kiss Zoe Lynn Marie behind the ears anymore. I think about Homer, all the adventures we had canoeing, camping, hiking... but what I miss the most is the simple, soft warmth of his head on me knee.

Thanks for posting and please take care.

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I had to say goodbye to my 8 year old rottie yesterday, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. People don't understand the connection her and I had so they think I'm being over emotional. I don't think I'm ever gonna get over her being gone. I Love You Eva and will miss you forever.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Danielle - I am so sorry about your Eva. You are not over emotional; only you know how you need to respond to your pain. There is nothing anyone can do or say right now that will make this better for you, but I hope you can take a bit of comfort from this site because everyone who has come here is feeling or has felt the profound sadness that comes from the loss of their beloved companion.
Please take care.
Augusta


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Danielle,

I know how hard it is when you are experiencing such grief and those around you don't seem to understand the depth of it. The reason is simple--they were never blessed enough to so totally love, and be loved, by a dog as wonderful as your Eva.

If you'd like to come back and write more about her or share her picture, please do so. I know how hard your loss is and will be for a long time to come, and my heart goes out to you. But I think the depth of our grief equals the depth of our love, and it wouldn't make sense if you did not miss your Eva so and feel so sad at having lost her. It's a testament to how much she gave you, and how much you loved her back.

All my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I apologize for continuing to resurrect this thread, but I've been searching the web for a couple days now, looking for a place to grieve a little. I understand losing a pet is nothing like losing a close relative, but I feel similarly sad nonetheless unfortunately.

I'm a 27 year old male, who has grown up with labs my whole life. My wife, was a farm girl and she never had big dogs in the house, never really grew that kind of bond with a large dog, and didn't really want a big dog in the house.

Last February she surprised me for my birthday by taking me to a breeder and letting me pick out a yellow lab. It feels like just yesterday still, that Bear ran up to me and laid down at my feet. He immediately stood out amongst his 11 other littermates. I picked him up and he started licking my face excitedly and we knew we had found our pup.

Bear had just been weened off his mother, and was not yet 6 weeks old, but the breeder told us he was ready, so we took him. Having him at such a young age helped us to raise what turned out to be the most loyal and loving dog I've ever had. We dont have children yet, so we raised bear as if he was our child, just overwhelming him with attention. Like others have mentioned, he truly was my best buddy, and only wanted to be with me and make me happy/proud.

Monday afternoon, I came home from work, anxious to take him in the back yard to play fetch. Instead what I found was his stiff cold body laying inside his cage, and my heart simply sank. He was not yet even 10 months old. We decided not to do a necropsy because we didn't want to put him through that, but it looked as though his heart simply failed him in his sleep. No signs of struggle, and he was laying in his favorite sleeping position.

We took him out to my inlaws farm, and within 2 hours we buried him with his bed, blanky, and favorite frisbee under his paw. I can't seem to stop replaying the moment I found him, or laid him to rest. I also can't seem to do normal things around the house without thinking about him, and wishing he was lumbering around behind me. We want to get another puppy to focus our attention on, but have no idea how long to wait. Bear just brought us so much happiness, we have a gaping void we need filled, but we know it shouldn't be too soon.

Reading these posts helped me feel less lonely, as I see that other people have gotten through this, and had similar feelings. It seems so silly to be so crushed over the loss of a dog, but between the bond we had and the sudden unexpectedness of his death, this feels truly tragic.

Thank you everyone for providing me an outlet for my feelings, and for sharing your own stories, which have made me feel better.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I am so sorry you lost Bear, especially when he was still just a puppy. I am glad you found this thread and that the stories here have helped you--your story in turn may help someone else going through their own sad experience of losing their pet.

We seem to want things, even bad things, to make sense, and coming home and finding Bear stiff and cold, with no warning or explanation, I'm sure has made a terrible situation even worse. I know first-hand how not knowing the cause of death can haunt you and make it even harder to let go.

When I started this thread, I was worried about admitting that the loss of my dog was harder to take than the loss of many people who were close to me. But, as you noted, you were raising Bear as if he were your child, and though you weren't making that comparison regarding his death, that's how you thought of him in life--as your kid, a member of your family. Whether we say it or not, we DO think of our dogs in ways that defy logic but speak to the heart--they are family members, they are children who depend on us their whole lives, and who never grow up. There is nothing wrong or silly about being crushed over the death of an animal who has taken such an important emotional spot in your heart.

There is a big temptation to go out and get another dog to fill the emptiness and to provide an outlet for the affection and love you can no longer give Bear. It makes perfect sense--life does go on, and it is in part a tribute to how happy Bear made you that you want the presence of another dog in your life. But please be sure that it is the right time, that you are over the worst of Bear's loss, and that another dog will be chosen and loved for being him or herself, not as a replacement for Bear. That would be unfair to you all.

Please take care, and all my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Kate, you are a very wise woman.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I lost my Zoe not quite a month ago, and wanted to post a follow-up. Thank you, Kate, for your compassion. Though we will all never meet, what another wonderful thing our beloved babies have done in bringing us together to help each other!

My sister got a puppy, Winslow, around the same time Zoe came to my family. Well, Zoe and Winslow quickly became fast friends and we joked about their puppy romance. Sadly, Winslow's lymphoma returned, and my sister and her family said goodbye to handsome Winslow yesterday. I have no doubt Zoe and Winslow are together again and having a ball.

Less than a month after losing Zoe, I still cry and miss her dearly. Bit by bit, though, I'm comforted more with the unconditional love she gave us. She and Winslow were such awesome doggies! I miss her warmth, her beatiful and expressive eyes, and her wonderfully cute ears. I am a better person for having had the love and loyalty of a dog.

My heart goes out to everyone posting, as we are all finding our way through the void. I wish you all strength. Rest in peace, sweet and gentle Winslow. You are without pain now, and I know you're having fun playing with Zoe. I love you both and miss you two puppies.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

All of these stories are so heartbreaking.

I have a story also. On Monday, our dear sweet old cat passed away. He was 15 years old and we knew he wouldn't be around much longer. I thought I would be prepared for the end, but I wasn't. I can't walk past his dish or his bed without bursting into tears. He, like others above have said, was my shadow. He walked with me everything I went. Now, just walking to the mailbox without him trotting happily along beside me breaks my heart. I can't eat my breakfast, have no appetite. I cry at the drop of a hat. He was the sweetest little friend anyone could ask for. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and feel him cuddled up against my back, purring away. He'd sleep on my lap when I was at the computer. Even if he was sound asleep in his bed, he'd drag himself out of bed to greet my husband when he walked in the door at the end of the day.

Every morning, I'd get up and go downstairs and he would jump off the couch and follow me to the kitchen for his breakfast. Now it just breaks my heart to get up in the morning and walk downstairs and not have him follow me to the kitchen for our breakfast.

Anyway, I know how you all feel, and it's nice to be able to talk about it with others in the same situation.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear oldgardener,

You found out a painful secret. You can only fool yourself into thinking you are prepared to lose an animal you love. You may think you are resigned to it, that it will be a relief to have it over, even that it is for the best. Then it happens, and you realize you were only kidding yourself. It hurts terribly, no matter what you've told yourself, and then the missing goes on and on. And on.

There are the big things, like your cat not being there cuddled up next to you, and the little things like following you down the stairs. When an animal is gone, everything they did looms large and feels like one more aching absence. It is. We get to know them so well and count on them to do certain things, and when that is gone it is almost like the sun has quit rising. Life as we know it has changed forever.

Of course you are hurting and will for some time to come. It wouldn't make sense if you didn't. You have lost a great friend, companion, and love.

I am sorry for your pain but happy for you because you got to experience one of the greatest things life has to offer. You got to love and were loved by an animal.

Please take care. If you want to come back and tell us more about your cat or how you are doing, that would be great.

My best thoughts and wishes,

Kate


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Hi all who have loved and missed their pet, and hello to Kate, who lost her precious Homer,

I thank all of you for sharing your stories, and Kate, I thank you for starting this forum as a follow up to your original post. I searched the Internet for a place to "vent" following the death of my dog, and when I found this site, I thought this would be a place where others would understand my loss.

You see, on Dec. 1 of this year, I took my dog Beau in to be euthanized. He was 12, and while I think I could have kept him going longer, I realized that pushing his life along would have been for me, and not for him. He had a long list of ailments, and I always promised him I would not let him suffer, so I believe (and my vet gently confirmed this) that it was time for him to be relieved of his troubles.

While I know this was best for him, I am nonetheless struggling with this loss. I cry every day, and I often relive the awful moment when the vet whispered: "He's gone" to me. And yes, I feel guilty about this because I know a woman who son died this past summer, and here I am mourning my dog!

I am blessed because my children are both in college, healthy and happy, and I have a nice marriage, and good/compassionate friends. I know all these are gifts in my life, yet I am undone by my dog's death.

I guess I am looking for advice, or assurances this feeling won't last forever. I know logically that time will work its magic on this pain but then again, if anyone has encouraging words, I would love to hear them.

I thank you for reading my post, and I extend my heartfelt sympathies to those who have lost their littlest friend.

Thank you for reading,
Patti


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raeloss,
I lost my son this summer and this is the first holiday season we have spent without him. I miss him terribly. My world is turned upside down.
11 years ago I had to put down my dear friend Chester. He had been a loyal companion for my family for 11 years. As sick as he was he jumped into the car to go to the vet like he was a pup. The vet confirmed our fears that he could not be saved and we said goodbye as he slipped away from us. The vet, the techs and my husband and I cried over the loss of such a great dog. When I told my son that afternoon, we cried together. I say all that to tell you this, as long ago as we lost our friend Chester, we still miss him. I smell him in the house at times and at others our 3 dogs will raise their noses and sniff. I am convinced he walks through this house as he did for so many years. Losing Chester was almost as hard as losing my son, and I am sure in 11 more years I will be missing both the same as I do now.
You will not soon get over your friend's loss. You can choose to get another dog, but they'll never be Beau. You will love them as much and that helps fill the void but you will always miss Beau.
Good luck and know that he waits on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge for you.


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Dear Burtsmomforever,

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes because of your compassion in taking the time to write, especially given that you lost your son. How can you reach out to others with such empathy, given that you had such an extreme loss this summer?

I am so very sorry your son passed away - something I cannot imagine - and your Chester, too. I have heard the expression that God (or the fates or life or whatever your belief system may be) gives us only what our shoulders can bear, but I cannot imagine losing one of my children, so clearly your burden is significant. Thank you so very much for taking the time to write, and to reach out at a time when I am sure your first instinct is to turn inward. Your heart must be very generous indeed.

As for Chester... That your vet and techs even cried for your dog touched me, because as I walked in to the vet's office with Beau, one of the staff people started to cry. I appreciated their concern for Beau, and their sympathy, definitely, just as I appreciate yours now.

I was interested that you can smell Chester at times, because I feel very certain that I smelled Beau one day and another day, I am convinced I heard him walking in the upstairs of my house. It was so loud that I asked my husband if he had gotten up early, but he did not. I am definitely not mistaken about the sound I heard.

Finally, I appreciated your forthright comment that I will not soon get over this loss. It's good to know that reality. And it is good to imagine Beau is on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge. I certainly hope there is a Rainbow Bridge -- that idea alone gives me a great deal of comfort.

I cannot thank you enough for writing to me, especially when you have experienced such a profound loss. I am so very sorry you lost your dear friend Chester, as well as your most precious and beloved son. I cannot imagine your grief, especially at the holidays. There are just times when the phrase "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem adequate and this is certainly one of those times. I wish so much that you did not have this loss.

Thank you so very much for writing. I am very grateful to you for your kindness, and I hope you find some comfort in knowing that others empathize with you. I am so sorry your son passed away.

Thank you again...


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raeloss,
Thank you for your kind words. I have experienced quite a few losses this year. My little sister died in February at the age of 47, far too young. My son was only 30 and my only child. My parents have lost their health and are both at the end of their lives. At times I feel like I am going to collapse under the pressure of all of this but I have to go on because I did not die so I must have more to do. At least that's how I get through each day, one at a time.
I believe you heard Beau walk through the house, just be open to him when he comes.
I hope you can feel good about giving Beau the best life he could have, and that you loved him as much as you could. He was a happy dog while he was with you and you did what was best for him but hard for you in the end.
I find comfort in the fact that I believe Chester met my son on the other side, and that they are together with my sister and all the other family who has gone before.
If I think any differently I will lose my mind.
Thank you again. Try to have a good holiday season and always remember Beau.


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Dear Burtsmomforever,

Oh my. You really have experienced losses. You and I must be in the same age range, because my son is 24 - just a wee bit younger than your precious son. And your sister died too, at 47? That's so tragic. The rule of life should be that our children should never pre-decease us, and losing a sibling at such a young age - I wish that were against the rules of life, too. I can well appreciate that you have to take each day at a time.

I too take comfort in thinking there might be another side, where Chester was happy to greet your son and your sister. I have a friend who says that when we die, our "machines" simply stop working, and we stop. I hope that is NOT the case. I cannot imagine having just one chance to know the people that I love. I cannot imagine you not being with your son, your sister, and your Chester one day. It just doesn't seem fair that our short lives are the only chance we have to experience one another. Like you, I think I have to believe there is more. I lean on that in my life, not just about Beau, but with all those I hope to experience again in some fashion one day.

I am very sorry your parents are facing the end. I do understand this, definitely. Both my parents are gone, and if you are the caregiver for your parents, then I'm not sure how you even had the strength to write me a note. Your plate is very full, and I hope that you have compassionate friends who have listened, offered their hearts, and even made some dinners for you. Even practical things like that can help.

Thank you again for offering comfort to me, when I know that in the grand scheme of things, I have much to be grateful for in my life. I hope you can keep your strength up, and I do think your son, sister, and Chester are all together, and sending their love to you.

Thank you again for reaching out to me. I so appreciate it.


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these last few posts have renewed my faith in mankind.

burtsmomforever, i cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. you have my utmost respect and admiration for how you are handling your grief.

raeloss, i am so sorry for the loss of your beloved beau. i lost my senior great dane in august. it was time to ease the pain of the arthritis that was ravaging her once-strong body. ashley was my heart dog in every sense of the word. i will miss her forever.

as with any loss, a tincture of time will heal but there will always be an empty place in your heart. this is the price we pay when we love an animal.

nina


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Hello Nina,

Thank you so very much for your kind words regarding the loss of my Beau. And please accept my heartfelt sympathy regarding the loss of your Ashley - your heart dog. The phrase "heart dog" conveyed immediately your feelings for Ashley, and yes, I think we will miss these wonderful companions forever.

And yes.. I quite agree with you for having admiration for burtsmomforever. She certainly gave me much to think about when she answered my note. As I said in a previous post, I realize I have much in my life that is good, and that is something I appreciate and do not take for granted by any means.

Your phrase "tincture of time" is so literate, and so true. Time does heal, and yes, this is the price we pay for loving our little friends. I do feel Beau's loss but my sense of loss is a small price to pay for the gift of his company and the joy he gave me.

I take solace in the kind words that you and burtsmomforever offered, and I thank you so very much for writing. That was so thoughtful of you.

Thank you again...
Patti


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Hi all,
I'm so thankful to have found this forum. I lost my 14 year old Pomeranian, Sweet Pea, just a few days ago. She had been ill for quite some time and became short of breath and even started to collapse. We took her to the vet but there was nothing they could do. Her heart was failing her. :(
At that point I had to make the most difficult decision to put her to sleep. We couldn't watch her suffer anymore. My heart is broken and although I know she would have continued to suffer, I wonder if I should have done
things differently.
I have episodes of sobbing over the loss. The holidays have actually made me feel worse. And I have a 3 week old baby to care for right now. I just want to hold Sweet Pea again and rub her belly, let her kiss my nose and tell her how much I love her.
Thanks for listening.
Shalon


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Hello Shalon,

I am so very sorry you lost your precious Sweet Pea. Many people were so kind to me when my dog passed away that while I do not have answers for you, I can at least give you what others gave me: I am offering you much sympathy in the hope that you can find some measure of comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and that your grief is understandable to other pet owners who loved and grieved the loss of their pets.

I can understand your concern that maybe you should have done things differently for your Sweet Pea but if she was suffering, and if the vet said there was nothing they could do for her, then you did the kindest thing you could have done: you loved her enough to let her go. When I feel particularly bad about putting my dog to sleep, I sometimes repeat those words in my mind: I loved him enough to let him go. It takes courage, yes, but I especially think it takes a very loving heart to let go of the pet that you loved so very, very much.

As for the sobbing - I think it is part of the process, and likely something you just need to do. However, I hope that time does its magic in helping you adjust to your life without your Sweet Pea. Believe me, I know how hard this is, and I wish I had words to lessen the pain, but unfortunately, I only know that I can offer sympathy, and heartfelt concern that you can find your way through to accepting your loss.

I hope things get better for you, and I hope your precious three week old baby can help you get through this. No doubt all the firsts you will see - the first smile or the first giggle, for example - will be events that will warm your heart and give you reason to smile.

Again, I am very very sorry for your loss, and hope that you find comfort here with others, like me, who have empathy for what you are going through. I am so very sorry.

Patti


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Shalon,
I am so sorry for the passing of your dear Sweet Pea. Our animals become so much a part of our family that it hurts something horrible.
It might help you some if you want your baby to know about Sweet Pea to get them a stuffed dog and name it Sweet Pea. You can bond with your baby by telling them stories about the real Sweet Pea. And in those stories, she lives on.
You have lost your best friend at a very hard time. Please take care of yourself and make sure the sadness you feel over her loss is not masking changes that you can experience after the birth of a child. You are trying to process several different life experiences all at once and where there should be nothing but happiness and joy, you are having to experience grief and loss as well.
Congratulations on the birth of your child, love it as though there is no tomorrow. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.


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shalon, i am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet pea. please know that you did the best for her. i know it's easy to "second guess" decisions like this but as so many of us have done in the past and will continue to do, we must be advocates for our pets. when they are well, we are happy campers. when they are ill, we coddle them and give them medicine to make them better. when they reach end of life, laying them quietly to rest and easing their pain is our duty. i always try to think of it as the last act of kindness i can show an animal that has given me unconditional love. i have always tried, as hard as it was, for my face to be the last thing my pet sees as they go to sleep for the final time. i have said good bye to dogs, horses, even goats. each one, in their own way, was special to me, some more so than others but still, all special. it is never an easy thing to do, be it a beloved dog or a farm animal.

i do believe our pets go to heaven and i cherish the thought that some day, i will be reunited not only with my beloved gary but also with all of the pets who have gone before me.

(((hugs))) to you in your sorrow. i LOVE the idea of a stuffed animal for your baby. for your baby to learn over time the love you have for sweet pea will enrich his/her life beyond words and it can give you a very special connection to her.

God bless!


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Thank you all for your kind, encouraging words. It's been a week now since we let Sweet Pea go. I miss her dearly and know that I always will. I am hopeful that time will ease my pain. I know you are all right about caring enough about her to let her go, it's still so very hard to come to terms with. Caring for the new baby has been a pleasant distraction for me. And I love the idea of getting a stuffed animal for him to "know" Sweet Pea.
Thank you all again,
Shalon


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

It's been 8 weeks and I am having such a hard time with the loss of our sweet Gypsy to lung cancer. I am 64, wonderful husband & 2 wonderful adult daughters, but she was my life.

We got her Feb 2004 after the loss of our 1st dog. She was about 4, had been "loose on a farm" with no puppy socialization and in a shelter for 9 months. She just hid in the back of the cage & they said she would never be a "normal" dog. We had to visit her 7 times because they wanted to be sure it would be okay. It was hard at 1st, but she became the sweetest, gentlest, most loving dog we could ever have imagined. She didn't care about toys, never begged, rarely barked. We walked her 3 times/day & slowly got her used to the car so we could go to the park every day. I was a stay-at-home mom so we were together always except she slept in the living room at night. She travelled everywhere with us (from PA) to CA, FL, Canada, etc. I mostly rode in the back seat with her so she wouldn't be stressed. We never left her home alone for more than 4 hrs and when she got sick, never more than one. I talked to her constantly.
Unfortunately she had many health problems: 1st colitis, so we changed her food; in 2006 a spinal stroke so we took her to physical therapy including water treadmill, exercised and massaged her legs at home & she completely recovered; 2009 surgery for a benign mammary gland tumor; 2010 a torn knee ligament resulting in a severe reaction to the Rimadyl vet prescribed so we took her for acupuncture and gave glucosamine/chondroiton -- she seemed to be recovering when she was diagnosed with the lung cancer. I slept beside her on the floor every night. We did chemo etc for 5 months and she seemed to be doing well, partial remission; then the cancer figured out how to resist the chemo and returned with a vengeance. We couldn't let her suffer or put her through any more treatments; the vet said it was time to let her go.
The pain of loss is incredible, as you all know. On top of that, my whole life nothing I ever did in my parents' eyes was good enough. So I always have to find something to blame myself. I know we did everything we could and she wouldn't get better. But my family wasn't the hugging and touching type so now I go crazy thinking I didn't pet her enough!!!
Thanks for listening. It helps to relate this to others who are so devastated. Only you can understand how heartbreaking this is.


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Dear joanpitt,

I am so sorry you lost Gypsy. I would like to tell you that, after 8 weeks of grief, you are through the worst, but I can't. It's not possible to love an animal the way you loved her and have the grief simply be over. As long as you continue to love Gypsy, and you always will, her leaving you is going to hurt. That's the price we all pay for the miracle of letting an animal become part of us.

One of the great things about having an animal in our lives is that they give us a clean slate. Gypsy didn't know that you always seemed to fall short in the eyes of your parents, and she wouldn't have cared if she had. You on the other hand, DID know about her past, that she was close to wild and unsocialized, that the powers that be had determined that she would never be a 'normal' pet. And maybe, just maybe, because of the way your parents treated you, you decided to ignore the label and give that girl a chance.

I was so touched by your comment, "she was my life." But if she was your life, you were her saviour, adopting her despite the warnings, changing your schedule to accommodate her emotional needs, giving her love and doing everything you could to give her a great quality of life. From the way you described Gypsy, her early, fearful life, I would bet that you gave her just the right amount of affection, as much as she could handle, so please don't mourn because you think you might not have petted her enough. With her background, it is amazing that she opened up as much as she did, that she loved and trusted you at all.

You healed Gypsy's emotional scars, you did your best to heal her physical illnesses, and you gave her a great life. She knew that you were a wonderful, loving, caring person, and maybe now is the time to let the background noise of your parents' criticisms fall away. Because your Gypsy would be the first to tell you that you most certainly did not fall short where she was concerned.

All my best,

Kate


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Kate,
I can't thank you enough for your kind and caring words! You have made me feel so much better. What you say is true. I know that guilt is a part of grief and can make us focus on what we think are our failings and inadequacies. Many people have even told me that in their next life they would like to come back as my dog. I am just so lost without her. I have gone the last couple of days to the local shelter, hoping to walk some dogs -- but they are mostly too big/strong for me. So I've been helping in the cat room -- cleaning cages, litter, dishes, laundry, whatever. They don't like to be held a lot; when they are free of the cages they like to run and explore!
It fills a few of those empty hours and exposes me to animals without being ready to have one full-time yet. I agree with Patti's comment -- I have many blessings in my life yet I am undone by my dog's death. My deepest sympathy to all who have posted here and my gratefulness for a place to find such compassion.
Joan


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Dear Joan,

I am so very sorry for the loss of your Gypsy. Anyone who has posted here, I think, can certainly relate to your sadness. As you read in my original post - I was certainly undone by the loss of my dog.

So much in your story resonated with me. You were a stay at home mom, so you had time to be with Gypsy. I was a stay at home mom with a freelance writing business, so I, too, was with Beau pretty much 24/7. Even now, I sit down to work, and I miss Beau next to me, or I miss him putting his head on my leg as I worked. My sister-in-law put it very simply: She told me that Beau was sweet every day and really, how can we NOT miss a personality that is sweet every day?

Similarly, I related to your description of Gypsy's health problems. Beau did not have the same medical condition as Gypsy, but he had other issues (too numerous to detail!) and over the years, I became his care giver, and was happy to fulfill that role for him.

Beau was a rescue dog, and there is no doubt in my mind that you rescued Gypsy. Sometimes I wonder if dogs who are rescued are especially sweet? That's probably a bias on my part, I suppose. Either way, and for whatever reason, you and I were blessed with sweet and loving dogs. It makes sense to miss that in your life.

I was sad to read of your concern over whether you petted Gypsy enough. If you were good enough to ride in the back seat with her, to assure her during a car ride, something tells me you were quite generous with your affection. You also said you talked to her constantly. Again, I can only imagine that you were good, kind and loving to your Gypsy.

My guess, in fact, is that everything you did was good for Gypsy - her disposition would not have been as sweet had you not treated her so well. Don't let your past (the criticisms from your parents) dictate your self worth now. You rescued Gypsy, so let her rescue you in return, and let her sweet attitude confirm for you that you did nothing that deserves criticism. On the contrary, reading all you did to help Gypsy leads me to think you did an exemplary job of trying to keep her comfortable and healthy.

I have no magic words, of course (not that you asked for any) for relieving you of your grief. I wish grief were something we could turn off, but sigh, it's just not that simple, as you well know. I hope you find comfort in the kind words that people here have offered. I know I found comfort in them. And, I hope it is comforting to know that others understand your heartbreak. While I would not wish grief on anyone, I am nonetheless comforted in knowing that others feel for their dogs as I did for mine. I think the grief is very hard, but I agree with Kate in that this is the price we pay for letting these animals into our hearts.

Best wishes to you and again, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Patti


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Patti,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful message for me. You truly understand how much this hurts and how much I loved Gypsy. You are so kind to give me encouragement and empathy when you are suffering with your own loss of Beau. The kindness and understanding of others who have shared this pain is indeed comforting. We are basically strangers when we come to this forum yet we know each other very well, connected by our beautiful furkids.

Joan


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Joan, this week I was told my dog has months to live. I'm grieving now as if he's already passed on. You said your dog was your life, mine is too. It's harder on me because I have no kids to divert my attention to, I'm alone in the house all day with my dog so the thought of him not being here one day is unbearable. I wish I could be like my husband, he isn't letting it get to him. He has work, gym, things to divert his thoughts. I asked how he can not let it upset him and he answered he'll feel bad when the time comes. I want to be able to trick my brain into thinking that way but I'm constantly dwelling on what's coming, there's a black cloud hanging over my head that has me so depressed I barely eat or do anything. Trying not to let the dog see my sorrow because it will bring him down...but it's there every waking hour. I don't want to leave the house because my dog could collapse at any time like he did last week. So I'll be his constant guardian from now till the end..no doubt making our separation all the more painful when it comes because I'll be so accustomed to being close to him all day long. Since you have kids you can go to their house and focus on their lives, it's a reason to get out of your house. Do they live nearby? Can you travel? That's what i would do, get out of the house and the memories.

I was telling a friend this news and she said her dog is in the same situation. But she's not taking it the way I am. She has 2 jobs, kids, a very busy schedule. The dog has never been 1st in her life...or 2nd or 3rd. That's what got me thinking is this grieving an indication something is wrong with how I lead my life? Did I put too much emphasis on a dog? Other people don't fall apart when their dog dies, they have so much else that the void is not that big. For me, my life revolves around only 2 living beings...husband and dog. No wonder I'm feeling this way, there's not enough "people" around to hang out with. Does this make sense? I think the key is to find activities, change of scenery, diversions, focus on something new so you don't dwell on the past and what you've lost.

Everyone I know who has lost their dog tells me they grieve up to the point they get another dog. The day they bring home a new pet their spirits pick up and they begin to heal and move on. It's those dreadful months between that are so hard, you don't want to get another pet too quickly or it will be unfair to them. After 8 weeks I think you will find you are ready to open your heart to a new dog. You just have to find the right one.
I'm rambling...


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flyingflower,

I am sorry that you are facing such a hard time ahead. Speaking from experience, there is no good way to divert attention from what you are going to go through. And there is no right way to deal with it either.

My husband was in complete denial that Homer was going to die, and he was in complete denial that our Bridget was going to lose her battle with bone cancer five years prior to that. I felt so alone as I was consumed by the thought of my dogs' deaths. I curled up next to them every night, feeling their hearts beat and praying that they would pass on their own. I felt physically ill, my heart ached, and I thought I was going crazy with grief. I was angry with my husband because I felt so alone. I thought if he loved the dogs as I did, there was no way he could not feel as I did. For me, the impending loss of first Bridget, and then Homer, dominated my life and brought me such pain, and I thought either I was crazy for being so consumed by what was coming, or he was uncaring and insensitive because he was able to go on with his life as if nothing was wrong. I felt like my guts were being ripped out, my heart was in a vice, my head was going to explode... and there was my husband, seemingly without a care in the world. Having other dogs, children, a job, nothing distracted me from what was coming.

In other words, I was like you. I had people, work, in my life, and yet my dogs, Bridget and Homer, meant the world to me. I say that because you seem to be apologing that your dog has become so important to you and that you think that is because of some failing on your part, a life not full enough with people or tasks or other things. We love our dogs, our cats, our pets, because we do. Married, single, young, old, we love them because we give them food and shelter and they give us things that no equation, no expectations, can quite define. They make us whole in a way our own species cannot.

When I knew that Homer was going to die, I had to keep reminding myself that he was still here, that it was o.k. to live in the moment and not think ahead, to just pet him, talk to him, and block out everything else. I reminisced with him, told him how glad I was that he was my dog, how loving him was one of the best things I'd ever experienced, and did my best to drink in the tactile pleasure of touching him, counting his endless spots, noting the little whorls and cowlicks of his hair, and kissing his elbows, of all things. And after I would go in the bathroom and scream and cry, dry my eyes, and then go out and lay by him, on the couch, on the floor, by the door, wherever he was most comfortable, and touch him again.

When Homer died, I had about 20 seconds of being relieved that it was over and the terrible worry and fear was gone. He would never hurt again. And then the thought of my life going on without him hit me.

This forum is full of what happens next in this painful story. But what I want so much to address explicitly with you is that, if you spend the last days living in the moment, petting him and giving him treats, you will, after his death, find comfort there, knowing that you gave him comfort, security, and that his job loving you was well done. It will not make his death hurt less, but it will make dealing with it in the future less painful. I can't describe it but I hope you trust me on this. I've been there more often than I will share and I know it to be true.

The second thing I want to say is to not compare yourself with your husband or anyone else who has lost a pet and not seemed to be as heart-broken as you are. This thread, which is on its second incarnation, would not exist if there were not people like you and me who agonize over the loss of our pets. But that doesn't mean that our spouses, friends, coworkers, who may put on a brave face don't feel the same way. It's just not possible to love a dog and not lose a part of yourself when they pass.

No answers, but heart-felt wishes and prayers, and hope you know you are not alone.

Kate


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Kate, thank you for your kind words. Today I brought my dog outside to the driveway and he lay on his cot in the sun for hours. That has always been his most favorite thing to do (other than going for a walk). I like gardening so the past 13 years we've been gardening buddies...he watches people and cars go by while I dig and prune. Today felt like everything was back to normal and I loved it...yet it's just a facade. My comfort is that my dog is unaware there aren't many gardening days left for him. But he sure enjoyed this day.

I couldn't help think about the day he won't be out there with me. How will I go back to gardening if it's going to trigger this memory? Weeds will grow and my neighbors will wonder what happened to her?! That's been my coping mechanism in the past, I try to run from anything that triggers memories. Your thoughts go where you go but changing venue does help a little. I told my husband I don't know if I'm going to be able to be in this house during the day, I'll have to get out. Don't know where I'll go for all those hours. At some point I'll need to return and that's when I'll face THE DOOR. You know what I mean? Opening the door and no furry face is there to greet you? Instead of the sound of nails scampering across the floor and panting there will be silence. Ugh. Once you get used to a dog greeting you every day it's terrible when there's no one there.

Today when we were outside a woman I've never seen before walks by with her dog. She stops and we chat for awhile. I ask how old her dog is and she says "he's 12 but I tell people he's 3 because he's my life and ... I want him only to be 3!". I thought WOW, is she in for a hard time. Her dog is small and I'm sure he has several more years left. She kept saying, "he's my whole life, I love him, he's my world, ok he can be 5". I found it sad and funny at the same time. I just said, "I know". There's a lot of us out there I guess. Either fearing when the day comes or dealing with it after it has come.


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flyingflower, I apologize for not writing sooner. One of our daughters was here from CA :). I am wondering how you are doing? As you mentioned, I was unable to go in the front door for weeks, went in through the garage instead. Everything does trigger a memory, the things in your house, in your yard, on TV, in the store, everywhere. I am still struggling, still really missing our sweet Gypsy. But I have been volunteering 5 days a week at our local animal shelter, working mostly with the cats. It makes me get up and moving in the morning, and it's good to be around animals again. When there are smaller dogs, I can also walk them. We are still undecided about another pet. Gypsy was so sweet and undemanding, never begged and rarely barked, was housebroken from day one. Since she had been in the shelter so long, I think she was just happy to be in a real home. She was content to be on her blankie in the living room or going for one of her 3 daily walks. We got our first dog when I was already 42 and so first experienced this terrible loss at 56, and with Gypsy I am 64. I had no idea how to deal with this pain. It was especially hard because many of my friends were never attached to a pet like this and they just don't understand. My husband loved her dearly but has more other activities (like golf) and wasn't attached in the same way. I don't feel much like travelling yet because Gypsy always travelled with us. I light a candle for her every night and that helps me. Please let me know how you are doing.


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joan...since my dog started chemo my life has sunk to an all new low. He's lost his appetite and almost nothing appeals to him. The chemo has changed his sense of taste so everything tastes bad to him. He's starving yet he won't eat. He received his 2nd chemo on Monday and the problem has only gotten worse, getting him to eat is a nightmare, I spend most of the day cooking and trying new things. He'll like something one day and hate it the next (I hear that's not uncommon). Today was particularly frustrating and depressing because I so wanted him to improve on my birthday. Instead he barely ate and neither did I. I didn't want to go out to dinner or anything, was in no mood for celebrating. The oncologist has him on so many meds to compact this eating problem but nothing is working. I'll have to call him tomorrow and tell him the past 2 days since his chemo have been the worst. Other dogs don't experience this problem but mine is one of the unlucky ones, just my bad luck. I fear the only recourse left is to stop chemo and give up the extra 6 months he might have lived because of it. To get to this point and have to stop because stupid chemo makes food taste inedible to him is so disappointing. He has so much life left in him, even wants to go out on walks. But if the cure is turning out to be as bad as the disease what's the point. :(


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Hi everyone,

I found this forum while desperatley searching for help online and you all seemed so kind. I am actually a veterinary surgeon in the UK. On Tuesday I had to put my beloved dog Sasha to sleep. I am so heartbroken. She was my soulmate dog. She was around 12 and a half, a rescue dog who we had for over 11 years. She honestly was one in a million, I shared such a deep emotional bond with her and now its gone. I was still a student when I took her from the charity clinic I was working at. She had terrible kennel stress after being found as a stray and I feared she would be euthanased as no one would pick her. She was so beautiful, chocolate and tan with brown eyes and a brown nose, some sort of terrier cross. As soon as I took her home she went to sleep on my mums sofa, its like she knew she was safe. We shared so much with her, my husband and I had only been together 3 years when we got her, she saw us through our early years while I was doing my vet degree in Scotland, my first job, our wedding and finally moving back near my parents in London where I now work at a charity clinic. We went on a "dog holiday" every year and she loved long walks in the countryside and especially the beach - she would run and bark at the waves until we had to literally drag her away. She was a bit nuts, but thats why we loved her, many people didn't understand her, she was a complicated dog. She would chase shadows and reflections as if they were real, she even barked at the rain when she was young and when I was at university she would run round and round chasing the water from the giant sprinklers on the sports pitches. She was totally unique, I will never have a dog like her, I don't even know how I can ever go to the beach again. She was also so gentle. She loved to be at home more than anything, curled on the sofa or sneaking into bed with me and my husband, right under the covers - she was such a comfort. We got her a friend, Snoopy, a rescue Jack Russell after 4 years as I felt bad leaving her alone when I started working. They were good companions to eachother, she was always a little indifferent to other dogs but once we had him, she stopped howling when we left her. He, on the other hand, needed her a lot and now he is so quiet and sad. I know I'm rambling, but there are so many memories and they hurt so much at the moment, we have literally hundreds of photos and they break my heart. The worst thing is that I had a miscarriage late in 2010, there were a lot of complications and it was the worst time of my life. Sasha was such a huge comfort to me. I was so lucky to fall pregnant again last year and our beautiful daughter was born in November. When we brought Sophie home, Sasha gave her a little sniff and then settled back onto the sofa as usual - she seemed to understand who she was. It was a month later that she first became unwell. It started very gradually, she just became a bit fussier with her food, not unusual for her as she had never been a greedy dog. We thought it was behavioural, due to the baby, but she never showed any signs of jealousy. The food situation worsened to the point that we had to hand feed her and she was refusing things like scrambled egg and chicken. She was still bright as a button on walks and we even took her for a weekend at the beach in Wales and she barked at the waves as usual, but she would not eat properly. I could not find any problems on examination, so ran some bloods which showed early kidney problems but this did not fit with how off her food she was. I took her to a specialist who scanned her and nothing was found. I knew deep down the worst was coming but we tried treating her for gastric ulceration, inflammatory bowel disease, infection and then finally with steroids. Nothing helped, we got enough food down her every day but it was such a struggle. I would find my husband on the floor in the kitchen in tears trying to feed her. She would sometimes run away from the food we were offering, at the end, she would start shaking when we approached her with food, it broke my heart. It was only about a week ago that she became a little quieter on her walks, she stopped running for her frizbee, something she did without fail every day. She also developed bad diarrhoea from the steroids. The specialist offered further investigation, but expressed concern that we would not find anything manageable in an older dog with the start of kidney failure. I know deep down it was some sort of cancer. Sasha hated going to the vets and any procedure caused her a lot of fear and stress, she was never really ill her whole life. We made the awful decision to put her to sleep on monday, the day after my poor husbands birthday. I spent tuesday morning in bed cuddling her, she was very quiet and on strong painkillers, I just couldn't believe I had to let her go. I put her to sleep myself, on the sofa, in her favorite spot. My husband held her. It was very peaceful but the moment the light went out of her eyes haunts me. I can't believe she is gone, that I will never stroke her soft head again or feel her snuggle up to me under the duvet. The pain is so intense, it feels as though my heart is broken completely. I have lost pets before, my horse when I was 21 and a young cat to FeLV four years ago, but Sasha was the one I never expected to leave me - its so stupid, dogs don't live forever. My daughter gives me so much pleasure, but everything is dulled by Sasha's loss. She is only 3 months old, its so unfair on her, I feel like a bad person. I sometimes think Sasha knew that I needed Sophie to be born, in order to heal from the miscarriage and to be able to cope without her - but I can't. I have Snoopy too and two lovely cats, but Sasha has left such a hole, it can't be filled.
Please help. I feel so stupid for the depth of feeling I have but my husband is heartbroken too. I don't feel I will ever recover from this but I have to, for my daughter. I am on maternity leave till November and I don't want to ruin this precious time. I had so looked forward to the summer and all the walks with Sophie, Sasha and Snoopy.

Louise.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Louise,

I was so touched by what you wrote. Your love for Sasha radiates off the page. You wrote so beautifully, I feel like I almost know her. She sounds like my kind of dog, adventurous and active, quirky and unique. You took a chance on her when you rescued her, and she paid you back in a thousand wonderful ways. Your lives have been intwined for over a decade, so of course you miss her beyond belief.

It must have been both excruciating and comforting to be the one who ended her pain. It sounds overwhelming to me, but I also think it was so great that Sasha was in loving hands at the end. That was a tremendously brave thing you did.

There is no comfort that I know of for what you are going through right now. In those first awful days, weeks, EVERYTHING hurts. The wonderful things you remember about Sasha are the very things that are tearing you apart. Her loss feels almost insurmountable. I know.

When Homer died, losing him was overwhelming-- there wasn't a second, a moment, that I was not acutely aware that he was gone. My first thoughts upon waking up were "He's gone", and my days were empty and hollow, full of places he should have been but he wasn't and never would be again. My last thought before sleep was that tomorrow would be another day without him.

But after awhile I realized that the wonder of having Homer was being overshadowed by his loss. He had brought amost never-ending joy to me in the 10 years I had him, and the constant pain I felt whenever I thought about him was a betrayal of the over-the-top, unique, odd and tremendous dog that he was. He had spent his life making me happy, and no one would have been more upset by my sadness than him. As you and so many others have pointed out, when we find a 'soul dog', it is one of the most tremendous experiences of our lives, and we should do our best to not let grief take it away.

You will get there. In the meantime you will feel terrible and cry and miss and mourn Sasha in ways you never dreamed you could and there is no easy way to get through it. Be good to yourself, remember that Sasha would above all else want you to be happy, and know that you will never forget or replace her. Rejoice in your baby girl and know that the comfort and love Sasha gave you during those difficult times before Sophie was born is a gift you will always treasure.

Sasha will always be with you.

All my best,

Kate


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Thanks so much Kate. I think you are brilliant for starting this thread, it really helps. I have had an awful day today, I've literally done nothing other than sit on the sofa with Sophie. My mum came over and walked Snoopy as I couldn't face going to the park again - I went yesterday and cried all the way round. It all just broke my heart - the spots where Sasha always jumped up and down and barked for me to throw her frisbee, the leaves I used to kick up for her to catch, the bench I sat on last year crying over my miscarriage with her by my side. She was chasing her frizbee there a couple of weeks ago and now shes gone, it doesnt feel real. I sometimes find myself thinking that it can't actually be my Sasha that's gone, like she might come back or I might see her again, I can't believe I won't. I sound totally crazy. It's all so unfair on Sophie, Snoopy and the cats, I'm not giving any of hem what they need, I feel like half a person.


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Dear Louise,

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your precious Sasha. :-( I can well understand your grief, you sadness, and your feeling of being "half a person" (to borrow your words).

I was amazed at the amount of grief I felt when I lost my dog, and I still get tears in my eyes when I talk about him, so I empathize with your feelings as you cope with your loss. I truly do. I know how hard it is to see the places she liked to be, or to miss her being at your side. I do not at all think you sound crazy -- not by any means. Please do not think that of yourself. You simply sound like someone who has suffered a very, very great loss.

I know letting your Sasha go was the hardest thing in the world to do, but I hope it helps you to know that you loved her enough to keep her from suffering. I still wake up at night and replay the moment that I held my dog for the last time, as the vet eased his suffering, and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think of that moment. However, I tell myself over and over again that I loved him enough to let him go. This helps somewhat, but of course, it doesn't stop me from missing my smallest loved one, any more than you will stop missing Sasha.

Cry when you need to do so, and seek friends either here at this website, or in your life, who understand and will let you express your thoughts. I have a dear friend who loved her cat the way I loved my dog. She is very understanding when I tell her how much I miss my dog, and I hope I am just as understanding when she talks of her cat.

I am from my heart sorry for your loss, and I offer understanding, concern and sympathy for you as you sort through all your grief.

Patti


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Thank you so much for this thread. My dog was hit by a car a week ago - I am coming out of the shock of it but I feel so very sad and empty. A lot of positive things are going on in my life right now but now seem meaningless. I am trying to keep things in perspective but it's not really working which makes me feels self-indulgent.

I think his has also reawakened my sadness over my dad's passing about a year ago and the loss of my other 16 yr old dog a few years ago. All of this on top of relocating to be closer to my dad at the end and not yet feeling completely settled or with a network of support and living alone in a rural area.

I only found Artie at the pound last year -he was a small terrier mix. Although it wasn't very long we formed an intense bond. At the humane society He was bouncing off the walls with energy. Then I sat down in the visiting room and he leaped up, pivoted in midair and landed on my lap - that was it. We were basically together 24/7 since then. He supposedly had lots of behavioral problems - but almost all resolved as we got to know each other. Right now everything in my house reminds me of him. He loved to curl up on my lap or next to me on the couch near the computer or the chair upstairs near the tv. He slept at my feet - then when I woke up he would come up and lick my hands and curl up next to me until I got up. He would investigate the rockwall or brushpiles while I was gardening. He loved running through the field chasing squirrels and rodents. He loved going on car rides. When I took him to the farmer's market he would get excited for a minute and then settle calmly.

Sorry I am wandering - it's just I feel so sad and lonely without him. I miss his presence everywhere. Given that I live alone I think I should have another dog to share my life with but I just want him.


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I am sorry you lost your Artie. You aren't wandering, you are letting the world know you lost someone dear to you, and that in your brief time together you had a great connection.

I think in time it will be good for you to share your life with another dog. But you are still wanting Artie, and I think you need to come to terms with your loss before you expect another dog to be what he was to you. Artie's paws might have been little, but emotionally they will be hard to fill.

Kate


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I don't feel guilty, but today my dh and I had to have our 11 year old mix breed Lucy put to sleep. She was so sick, blind and couldn't keep water down. She hadn't eaten well in about 5 days. As bad as I wanted her to be well, she wasn't. As much as I wanted her to stay here, I couldn't stand to look at her bony little body and know that she was not happy, she was not well, she was not the dog we rescued from the pound 11 years ago and saved her from sure death...She begged for her life, scratching at the crate, so convincing that my dh made us go back the next day and adopt her.
I will not have anymore dogs after the two I have left die. I put a dog down 11 years ago after he had a stroke and said I would have no more. My dh missed the celebration when we got home so we rescued our sweet Lucy. Our son died last July, it's the hardest thing I've ever done, bury my child. The second hardest things were burying our beloved dogs.
I will not have anymore dogs after Buddy and Chandler have to be put to sleep. I want them to die in their sleep so that will be easier on me, today was horrible. I relived putting Chester down, and then burying my son came back like it was yesterday.


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Finding this forum has given me a place to go and not feel so alone. I had to say goodbye to my 14&1/2 year old Shih Tzu Chewie this past Sunday and I think deciding to have him put to sleep was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Chewie was losing so much weight and barely eating. The vet said that it wasn't just one problem but multiple spots on the MRI that was likely cancer. He said Chewie was too weak to have exploratory surgery and since he was already 14&1/2 he didn't think we should go that route. Did I make the right choice listening to the vet? He had bladder stones removed in 2009 and was okay after that procedure. I'm questioning all these choices I made and I don't know if I made the right ones. Chewie was a wonderful and loving companion. He entered my life Valentines Day 1998. My husband and I had been married a little over a year. He was born around our 1 year anniversary. He was so smart and knew all of his toys by name. I bought him so many toys since he was put on a strict diet a few months after we got him and I couldn't give him any treats. The vet said his test showed he had an elevated liver enzyme and to only give him the food that they prescribed. This was only a few months after we got him so instead of doggie treats Chewie got a lot doggie toys. Chewie was great with our 2 boys even though he had to now share some of the attention after having us all to himself for over 4 years he never was jealous or mean. I know I should be thankful for all the amazing years I had with him but right now all I feel is this horrible sadness that he's gone. I can't stop replaying Sunday night from my mom and 2 sons saying goodbye to him followed by my husband and I driving to the emergency vet. He died in my arms Sunday night and I just don't seem to really believe that he's gone. I look around the house and everything reminds me of him. I can see him so clear in my mind sitting in all his favorite spots or outside in the backyard. The emptiness I feel seems overwhelming at times. My 2 sons keep me busy and my husband keeps telling me we did the right thing in not letting Chewie suffer anymore but I miss him so much. Reading what everyone has posted somehow helps. Thank you Kate for your original post about your Homer. When I came across it Monday it somehow gave me some peace after reading it.


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Dear Lisa,
I am so sorry that you lost Chewie. I know how hard it is right now as you relive those moments leading up to his death, the goodbyes and the unbelievability of his death. Oh, sweetie, I have been there.
When we know our dog's days are numbered, we focus on the end, the arrangements, the farewells, and then there is the final, awful event. Getting through it is almost too much to bear, but we do. What we have dreaded the most has come to pass, but the truth is that the worst is still to come, and that is the loneliness of life without them, the huge, continuous loss of missing them. There are holes everywhere, the places they played, where they slept, their empty bowls, and in your case, all of those toys you spoiled Chewie with. You only think you know what a dog means to you when you have them, but when they are gone the loss hits you like a falling brick wall. When the pain is that great, you start to wonder if somehow it could have been avoided, so you go back, over and over, and question the decision you made to end your dog's suffering. Should you have gotten a second opinion, should you have waited a day or two and seen if your dog would rally, what if it was something treatable. We torture ourselves with what-ifs, I think, because it is easier than accepting that our dog is gone.
Your Chewie had a long life--not long enough, I know, but you were such a good Mom to him, indulging him with toys and not treats that may have endangered his health. I am glad you have a vet who was honest about his age and his chances for surgery, and I am glad you were brave enough to not put Chewie though that. None of us have a crystal ball, but I think without a doubt that you made the best choice for him, and for you too, though you don't know it yet.
My Homer will have been gone 4 years this month. I miss him, but I celebrate him too, and there is more joy in my thoughts than there is pain. When I posted this, I was where you are now, and I know how that pain feels. But I hope, as you took comfort from this site, that you will come back and let us know how you are doing, and, when you are ready, that you will be a shoulder and a sounding board for someone who is where you are because of the loss of their beloved pet.
All my best wishes,
Kate


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I've been reading this long thread for a couple of weeks and finally got to the end today. It's been helpful to know that there are other people out there who understand that losing a beloved dog is a lot like losing a family member, and not something that is gotten over quickly.

One month ago today, my Miniature Schnauzer, Calyxa (Caly) passed away. She had turned 14 back at the beginning of May. As an unmarried guy living alone without any other pets, her passing has left a huge hole in my life. I had her for most of my adult life. She was my best friend. She was the one constant in my life, as friends, places of residence, jobs and relationships all came and went she was always there, until one day she wasn't.

Caly was a seasoned traveler; we explored the western United States until she was 3 1/2 years old, then moved east, and have explored all over the eastern part of the U.S. since. We visited 41 states together and logged well over 100,000 miles (many of them with her on my lap). So many adventures! So many wonderful memories. There was nothing she loved more than going "bye byes". We must have spent 100 nights together camping in tents and at least that many nights in motels and hotels.

Unfortunately, I was not there for her when she died. Rather, I was off traveling for a week on my own and she was being watched by my parents in my house. I feel like I let her down, even though she did not die alone. The morning I left, she refused to eat. Maybe I should have cancelled my long-planned trip, maybe I should have found a way to get her to the vet, but I didn't. She didn't improve the next day (if I was there maybe I could have saved her by taking her to the vet). In the morning of the third day (Friday the 13th) she took her last breath in the back of my parents' van as they were preparing to take her to the vet. I believe she went as peacefully as can be hoped for, and I am thankful that I did not have to make the decision to euthanize her, especially because I was not there to judge her condition.

She died in my driveway, but my parents took her to the vet anyways, just in case. But she was dead. The vet found a massive lump in her abdomen that was probably cancer, possibly a ruptured splenic tumor that caused her to bleed to death internally. I am haunted by my mother's description of her pale, almost white tongue just before her death. And cancer was a total surprise because I had taken her to the vet in May and it was not detected then. Last autumn she was diagnosed with a bad heart murmur due to a leaky mitral valve that required daily medication. I fully expected her heart would fail and that would kill her, but I expected some warning signs near to the end such as fainting spells and coughing, and she didn't have either.

She rode out to the airport with me and my parents' the day I left, two day before she died. That would turn out to be her last chance to go bye bye. At the airport, I made a point of kissing her on the forehead to say goodbye, meaning "see you in two weeks". Then the van door closed, and I never will see my dog again.

She's in my backyard now, buried in the shade of a large pine tree and under the ever watchful eye of my garden gargoyle. A scraggly rose bush a few feet away from her grave that never had grown at all has since grown a long branch directly toward her grave and it currently hovers almost directly above where she is buried. I had to purchase an arbor so that it wouldn't get too heavy and fall under its own weight.


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Dear ataraxylost,

I think the majority of people who have posted to this thread have, like you, expressed feelings of guilt over the deaths of their dog. It is such an earth-shattering thing and we add even more pain to what we are feeling by blaming ourselves. We should have seen the signs, we should have been there, somehow we should have known something was wrong or that death was near. It is as if we believe that if we had acted differently, our pet would not have died, or that when they did, it would somehow hurt less. But no matter how you spin it, what you do or don't do, the loss is still there.

We know we are not perfect but when it comes to our dogs we think we should be, maybe because the way we love them and they love us is pretty darn near perfect. You describe a life with Caly that sounds amazingly wonderful to me, one of closeness and adventure and caring. You shared your life with her in ways most people and dogs never get to experience. How great is that?

You had 14 years with Caly during which time you cared for her, met her needs, and loved her. Whatever you think you should've done, no matter how badly you may think you let her down, I think she would be the first to want you to know that her death was a blink, that in the big scheme of things, you were her big, wide, loving world, and it was a darn fine place. You said she loved going "bye-byes" but what she really loved was being with you. The end, no matter how painful, does not change the wonder of the life she lived with you.

Most of us have, or will, outlive our dogs, and no matter what we do, how 'perfect' we are, our love cannot keep death at bay. Something will take them, be it an accident, disease, old age, all things we have little or no control over. All we can control is what we give them, how we treat them, and you have nothing to apologize or feel guilty for. I know she felt loved and cherished, and when all is said and done, nothing matters more than that.

Please be good to yourself. All my best,

Kate


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Well put Kate!

I lost my German Shepherd a year and a half ago to hemangiosarcoma. I can't say that the pain is gone, but life gets in the way and time seems to bring more good thoughts rather than the painful ones when finding out his diagnosis and watching him breath his last breath. I know I feel guilt at times - what if I had done this? Why didn't we see this? Maybe if I had done x,y,z he would still be here. We tried and cancer took him from us. He was strong and loving until the very end, so I believe he would, if given the chance, tell me that his life was wonderful and he enjoyed the 9 years he spent with us.

Gentle hugs ataraxylost. Your dog led a great life and she would tell you the same.


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Kate, thanks for your sage words. Caly was the first loss in my lifetime that really has impacted me, but hearing about the ways forward that others who have gone before me on this sad pathway, and how things don't always remain so bleak, provides me with some comfort. I'm really glad you started this thread and that you continue to post to it.

Hellokitty525, your German Shepherd was a cutie! I'm very sorry that you lost him. My veterinarian thought it possible that it was a fast growing hemangiosarcoma that took Caly too.

I attended a pet bereavement session at my local animal shelter last Wednesday, and am going to go to some one-on-one sessions with a grief counselor. I feel a little guilty about the latter, because I was going to make a donation in Caly's memory to an animal rescue organization, and this will cut the amount I can afford to donate, but it is something I need to do for me.

My parents have Schnauzers also and have bred them from time to time. By coincidence, their youngest came into heat a week after Caly passed and they had been contacted by a few people already looking for Schnauzers so were going to breed her this time anyways. I would like another girl pup, so if their dog has a girl, she could come home with me by November. Not to replace Caly, but a tribute to her legacy and that ultimately the good outweighs the bad and I will risk opening my heart again.

And here Caly was last year as a spry almost-thirteen year old:


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Oh my what a lovely girl!

It is good to hear you are focusing on things that will help you. Ultimately, rescue organizations will be there in the future and in need, so you could donate then as well.

I do think other pets helps. When Kai died, we had two other dogs that tried to fill the void as best they could. They certainly do not replace him, but they have helped to comfort us as well as put smiles on our faces. The good does outweigh the bad. :)


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She is beautiful! I think it's wonderful that you are going to be a grief counselor and the help that you will give others will in turn help your heart. I agree tenfold with getting another puppy. It is never to replace the one that you had as you simply can't. But loving another animal is always good for the soul.


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I came across this forum after searching "I miss my dog". Reading the stories have helped me realize that I am not alone in feeling this way. Two days ago I lost my best little friend in a tragic accident. Jack was a six and a half year old black pomeranian, and he was literraly my shadow.

The details of the accident are so horific, I can't bare to share them. All I know is that I miss him terribly, I feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest, words can hardly describe the way I feel. Jack went almost everywhere with me, he was never more than two steps behind. If I was working, he was sitting behind me in my chair, if I was in the shower, he was sitting in the bathroom on my clothes waiting for me, he drove with me everywhere. If I had a bad day, he was there to give me a kiss on the cheek and cheer me up, or anytime for that matter. I don't want to picture my future without him, I feel like I was robbed years of his companionship. I know time can heal the pain, but it hurts so bad right now, I just want to see his sweet little face again and tell him how much I love him.

I have both his parents which helps, but they just don't share the bond that Jack and I did. The hardest part for me right now is trying to keep it together for my son who is 16 months. He doesn't understand why I keep getting upset, I'm trying to keep a smile on my face for him. Thank god I have my son and husband to love, and who love me. I feel blessed to have my family support and I keep reminding myself to be thankful that I got to have Jack in my life, even if it wasn't long enough.

Thank you to all the people who shared there stories and words of encouragment. It helps.

Jack, I love and miss you little buddy, I hope to see you again someday.

Nicole


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Dear Nicole,

I am so sorry for the loss of your shadow, Jack. To lose him when he was so young and in such a horrible way must weigh heavily on your heart, and I know how hard this time is for you.

Though it's hard to keep it together, as you say, it is really a blessing. There is nothing wrong with having some distraction from your pain, and a child and loving husband are worth their weight in gold as they help keep you from sinking too far into your sadness. But there is nothing wrong with admitting how much Jack's death hurt either. The loss of a relationship so deep needs to be mourned.

Of course you feel robbed--six years is just so young. I had 10 years with Homer, and that was not even close to enough. No matter how and when we lose our dogs, we always feel we never had enough time. We would keep them with us forever if we could.

You can still tell Jack you love him. I do not have strong beliefs about religion and an afterlife, but I tell the whole darn cosmos, every day, that I love Homer. No matter what, I DO believe that love never dies, neither mine for him, or his for me, or yours for Jack or his for you. The happiness that you and Jack found together has contributed to who you are and you will never lose that. I know right now while you are so missing the physical part of Jack, his energy and companionship, this might not sound like much, but someday when you find yourself beyond the worst of the pain, it will make sense.

Until then, know that you are not alone and that all of us who have lost a dog grieve a bit with you. I have been reading posts like yours for over four years now, and every loss I read about hurts, but it lifts me up too as I realize once again how magical loving and being loved by a dog really is.

Take care, come back and tell us how you are doing. Until then, all my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Hi Kate,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. It has been a week today since Jack's accident and I am missing him more than ever, some moments it hurts so much it feels like my heart should just stop. Not everyone gets to experience that special bond with an animal, so not many people understand the pain I am feeling right now. Four years is a long time to be reading and responding to complete strangers emails. But I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart that you took the time, because your words of encouragement really help me feel not so alone.

Nicole

Jack, I miss you my little buddy. My heart breaks for you.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Kate,

I would like to start off by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart for starting this thread. And being so kind to others, and giving them comfort and strength, in their time of need. Your kindness towards others, especially people you have never even met, warms my heart.

November 3, 2012 I had to say goodbye to my best friend of 15 years. He was my everything. And if anything in this world was meant to be, it was for Hershey and I to be together.

1997 My brother, and his whole varisty basketball team thought it would be a good idea to climb the local water tower one night for fun, and thankfully they were interrupted and stopped by the police, and got in trouble. My brother was sentenced to 30 community service hours at the local animal shelter. Thats when he saw, and fell in Love with Hershey. He was a 1yr old rott/lab mix of pure sweetness. My brother was drawn to him, and really enjoyed his company. And soon found out that since he had been there a while, without being adopted, they were scheduling to put him to sleep. So we begged and pleaded our parents to let us adopt him. They thankfully gave in. My brother and I had always wanted a dog, and couldn't bear the fact that this sweet innocent boy, was going to be put to sleep for no reason. So the next day My mom called the shelter to let them know we were going to adopt him, and they said they were JUST about to pull his papers to put him down. We saved his life that day, but in the end, it turns out that he saved ours.

We couldn't have asked for a better Dog. So Smart and gentle, well behaved, and completely loving. Him and I were inseparable. Over the years we grew up together...and like many others have said, he was my rock. He was there for me through thick and thin. He always knew when I was sad, and he would grieve with me, and lick my tears. Just his presence gave me so much comfort. I never felt alone when he was around, and he always knew how to make me smile.

Years went by, and arthritis and hip dysplasia took Hershey's ability to walk, so he depended on us to be his legs. Our lives, and schedules revolved around him.I even got engaged 2 yrs ago, and my fiance accepted the fact that I couldn't leave my baby's side. He knew how much he meant to me. In fact, I broke my ankle a yr ago and he stayed here to help my parents care for Hershey, while I could not.

My Boy never seemed unhappy that he couldn't walk, the last 2 yrs of his life. He was always so happy to see us and still gave us great joy. But the day came, that I had so been dreading. He fell ill due to a tooth infection, and was so sick that he could barley even lift his head. That night, I had to make the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I had to end his suffering, he had been such a great friend and companion to me, that I knew what I had to do. I held my boy as he took his last breath, and as I cradled him, I told him that he would always be my baby boy. The loss of him is so great, that I feel like a piece of me died along with him that night, and I will never be the same. The void in my heart and soul is unimaginable. I have never had a love so grand, and unconditional in all my days. I treasure every single moment we had together. I always said that Hershey and I were like Peas and carrots, and that; we were. It sounds crazy, but I would have given up my own life for his, that is how much he meant to me. The wound and heartache from his loss is still very fresh, and I hope with time, I will be able to think of all the good times we had together, without the tears.

I was made a better person by having him. And there is not a minute that goes by, that I don't think of him, and miss him dearly. Its hard to fathom life without him. But I have no other choice but to try to go on, as hard as that is. A huge part of my heart will ALWAYS wear the pawprints left by him, and will wear them for ETERNITY. Rest in Peace, my sweet Hershey, and I hope and pray to see you again someday.

-Jill-


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

December 8, 2012, I thought it was just a simple day. It was my two shih tzu's (JIGO and BASTI) schedule for grooming. I dropped them to a pet grooming shop then went directly to our business.
Then mid-afternoon, I received a call from the shop informing me that JIGO had collapsed when he was being bathe. I panicked and decided to drive the car as fast as I can to see what his condition. On my way, I received another call that he could hardly breathe. In the car, I was already crying. When I reached the shop, the Vet came to me and declared that JIGO was gone.

That moment, I didn't know what and how to react. I was deeply shocked. Then I cried. I didn't care if people would see and hear how loud my cry was.

JIGO, when he came to my life, it was my birthday. He was a birthday present from my partner. He was so tiny looking and seemed fragile to me. The moment I saw him, I know I liked him but was confused whether I could really takes care of him.

He taught me how to become responsible. Everyday, I was so excited to go home just to see him. He was just excited to see me too. Though I always had a long drive home from work, all the tired muscles would perished every time he licked and kissed me. I seldom go out because I don't want him left at home. For 3.5 years, I was so attached to him.

When we make decisions, he was always to be considered. When we bought him, we decided to buy a car because we always wanted him to come with us during travels. When we bought a condo, we made sure that dogs are allowed. It was just so painful that we are moving this January 2013, and we was no longer there.

He always mediates whenever my partner and I had misunderstandings. He can sensed that. Whenever I see JIGO's face, all my angers were gone. I can't resist his charm.

And now he's gone. I know there is still BASTI. Don't get me wrong, I also love BASTI very much. But JIGO has something that BASTI could not give.

I was so hard to get over. Even at work, I was caught staring at blank walls.

People surrounds us would want to give us another dog but I know that will not solve the problem, so I beg off.

Right now, I still cry whenever I think of him. I always cry inside the car because he was always beside me when I drive. I know it's a process that I have to undergo before I could move on. We decided to cremate him so we could still bring him home.

JIGO will always be a member of our family. We brought joy to all the people who saw him. He will always be our lucky charm. When he arrived, things went well in our lives. We were able to establish a business, bought a car, and bought a new home.

Happy thoughts with him had been helping me to move on. I know he was also happy to live with us even for a short time. I'm just thinking that maybe he has reached his purpose with us that is why he had to go.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear lebart,

As I was reading your account of getting that first phone call that JIGO had collapsed, I felt my heart constrict. There is no good way to learn that your dog's health is failing, but to have an innocent trip to the groomer's take such a horrible turn must have been unimaginable. My heart goes out to you and your partner too. I am so sorry for your loss.

Three and a half years is too short to have such a great love, but it is better than a lifetime without your JIGO.

I relate to everyone who has posted here--we all share the deep grief of the loss of our pets. So much of what you wrote is close to my own experiences, about taking your dogs everywhere, about JIGO mediating disagreements, about how his charm took you out of your bad moods. I am glad you cried out loud and didn't care--the world needed to hear that such a wonderful little spirit as your JIGO was gone.

There is nothing more I can say--you seem to have such a good understanding of how to cope with your grief despite your intense pain. You leave me pondering your words, "...maybe he has reached his purpose with us that is why he had to go."

All my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Sympathy to everyone on this thread.

I can't believe how horribly and guilty I feel after having to say goodbye to my dog on Thanksgiving. I miss him so bad. I feel him with me all the time, but I can't reach out and hold him. I haven't been sleeping. I blame myself. I don't know who to talk to.

I lost my father in April. I did not cry. I have cried everyday for the last four weeks since saying goodbye to my friend.

He wasn't a son, or a brother, or a parent. He was my dog...and I'm coming to realize that relationship is stronger in its own way than other familiar ones.

Thanks for this forum.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear MissingMyPal,

I am so sorry for your loss. As you have discovered, loving a dog is special in ways we don't always appreciate until we lose them.

It almost seems inevitable that we feel guilt over the loss. I think it is part of the denial--we keep thinking that if we'd only done something differently our beloved dog would still be with us. It was those same feelings of blame and sadness, my inability to sleep, that drove me to start this thread on the Grief forum.

I was also hoping that somehow someone could say or do something that would make the pain stop. I wish I could say that happened, but it didn't. What I did find was that there was nothing weird or wrong with me because the death of my dog had brought me to my knees, that others knew what it was like, and that above all else, the grief had to be faced and accepted. That's hard to do when it seems that the people closest to you don't want to hear that you are still hurting.

Please, please, please, post here again. Tell us about your dog, his or her name, the things both big and small that made your dog so special. No one here is going to judge you. We've all been there.

Be kind to yourself. All my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Thank you Kate. My Dog's name was Deano and he was special in so many ways. He always knew when I, or anyone else, wasn't feeling well and would stay close and cuddle. He was funny and sweet and patient and loving. He was very vocal, whether it be joyous grunts, playful growls, or impatient barks. He loved his schedule, his naps, and most of all...his people. His family.

We almost lost him to cancer, but emergency surgery on a bleeding tumor gave us an extra year and a half. During that time, we became increasingly sure via regular ultrasounds that he had beaten the cancer. We focused on the usual issues that concern a nine year old dog, making sure his hips and joints were as free from pain and healthy as possible as he had begun to have some very bad days walking. But, so so so suddenly, another small tumor ruptured and he began bleeding out. We could not put him through another surgery. We could not bear the thought of his last hours being spent on an operating table. We worried that even if he made it through, cancer would be left behind...leading us to another day just like this, and how much longer could his hips have more good than bad days.....We took him home and said goodbye in our own way for almost a day, we did not want to wait to the point where he was suffering or out of it. I'm glad his last hours were not awful, but it makes it harder to accept the final decision. We then returned to the vet where I held him as he passed on.

I still miss him every day. Still think I'm going to see him around the corner or at the door when I come home. The good news is I'm slightly more likely to think of him and smile rather than think of him and feel guilty or try to rethink his last days and hours. I hope that continues.

All the best...


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I've had and lost so many pets I can't even list them all. The hardest was my kitten Boots, a six month old tiny puff ball who died during her spay operation. The only thing that helps is taking in another pet, not as a replacement or diversion, but because there are so many animals available at Pet Rescues. And when you adopt a pet from a rescue, you save 2 lives-the one you take home and the one the shelter puts in its' place.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I sympathize with all of those who have suffered loss. I happen to come across this forum like many of you. It's been a struggle for me to continue my life now that my 13 year old dog, Pookie, passed away. I feel so much guilt, anger, sadness, and I don't know how to deal with him being gone. It has been 39 days since Pookie passed away and I feel so empty and lost without him. All I have left are his ashes and his paw prints in cement. I feel angry at the world. I cant get the image of his lifeless body out of my mind. My life is not the same since he has left. Im in graduate school right now studying psychology. I can barely muster enough motivation to get up and go to class. I dont seen the point anymore without my boy. I want my dog back with me. I know its not possible. But I do.
I knew when Pookie would pass away that it would be hard for me. But I never imagined just how hard it has been. My heart aches, I cry almost every day for my boy. I really miss him and I don't know how to cope with this pain.
13 years ago my lil brother brought home a stray dog, a puppy. I had dogs in the past and I didn't want to bond with this one because I thought our dad wouldn't let us keep him.Plus a year earlier we had just put down our Akita, Cosmo. So I was still grieving him. But after a few hours, Pookie attached to me and I to him. We were instantly pals and inseparable. I look at Pookie's pictures and videos and miss him more. I know he wouldnt want me to quit living. He was so full of life. On his last day he was still being my bodyguard and barked at people who got too close. He was so brave for such a small dog. I love you Pookie bear. I wish we were still together.
I have suffered the loss of grand parents, friends, my god father. But this feels so much harder to deal with. Even with the support of my family and friends it's difficult. I am at a loss for what to do next. He was there for me when I lost those important people in my life. He made me get out of bed. He dragged the covers off of me. He kissed my tears. He made me laugh and smile again. Now that he is gone who can do that for me? I just wish he was here.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I am thankful to have stumbled upon this thread. I sat up all night reading the original post and finished up this one today, So many people here who understand what its like to lose your best friend and and going through similar emotions. I put my beloved bichon Riley down last Monday and having a hard time dealing with him not being here :( I could use a shoulder to cry on. People say that they will be there for me but they are uncomfortable with my grief and tell me I will get over it. My husband and daughter do not want to talk about him at all, like he never existed and its breaking my heart all over again. Riley was truly MY dog, long before husband and my child came along and I am struggling with this tremendous loss. I would like to come back and tell our love story next time ,Riley was 17.5 years old I am trying to clebrate all those years together and not let the guilt or despair take over . So hard.... thank you for listening and special thanks to Kate for sharing your story and encouragement and keeping up with the thread.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Thank you also to all the posters, there may be no magic pill for our grief but it sure helps to know we are not alone in this journey..


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear MissingMyLilBoy,

It is impossible, when you form such a close bond with an animal, to really have a clue as to what facing their loss and their absence will actually be like. We may think we know, we may think, as they get up in age, that we are prepared--and then, when they are really gone, we are crushed, we are haunted, we are plagued by guilt, we are tormented. We completely ignore the fact that, as dogs, their lives are short compared to ours, and we damn ourselves because we 'let' them die.

Living with a pet is a paradox. On one hand, they are dependent and we always think of them as children; but as they age, we are faced with the fact that, in their timeline, they are old; hard as it is, something WILL take the lives of our dogs and most of us will outlive them. Homer was 10 1/2 when he died, and I focused on the fact that with his breed and size he 'could have' lived to be 17, but the truth is that he got sick, and I did all I could, I loved him, and despite all that, he died. Like you, I felt so guilty, but the truth is, sweetie, that 13 is a pretty good age to have lived to if you are a dog, and if your life was filled with love, as Pookie's was, if your life has a reason, and his reason was to love you, then it was a really fine life.

You are right in thinking that your life will not be the same--how could it be? But you are wrong when you say that all you have left are Pookie's ashes and his paw prints. He has changed you for the good, he has brought you joy that the human world cannot, and you have been blessed in connecting with another species in a way that is beyond special. You have seen him from a young dog to an old one, you have been there for him, and I know that someday you will thnk of him and it will not be of his lifeless body, but rather it will be of the Pookie who ran and played and who lit up whenever he saw you. That is something that in time, when the initial horror of his death is gone, that you will reclaim.

I think in our modern world, grief is seen as an inconvenience, and we are made to feel that we should 'get on' with things. If we lose our way for a while over the loss of an animal, we are somehow afraid that it is pathological, that a healthy, well-adjusted person would not feel as badly as we do. While I cannot give you a magic charm to lessen your grief, or look into a crystal ball to tell you when it will stop hurting so much, I can tell you that I, as well as everyone who has posted here, has experienced the same type of grief, and you are not alone.

It is o.k. to be mad, to be sad, to be angry, but please, try to let the guilt go. Your sadness is enough without beating up on yourself as well. You gave Pookie love, and he gave you the magic that was him, and what a great bargain you got there! What a great bargain we all did.

There is a part of me that will mourn and miss my little Homer until the day I die. He took a piece of me when he died, but he left so much more. It took a long time to realize how much of my life with him was actually magical, adding a little dog to my life and getting the biggest jackpot payout imagineable. Homer loved me, I got to love him, and there is nothing more priceless than that.

Just like with you and Pookie.

Please take care, come back and tell us how you are doing. Be good to yourself.

All my best,

Kate

PS: He was adorable.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Deb,

All of the posts on this forum touch me deeply. Others, like yours, mirror all too well my own experience when Homer died.

I am so sorry you lost Riley.

Like you, I stayed up late, hoping to find some word of wisdom, some help from anywhere to lessen my grief, and the result was, on a night I thought I must be crazy and abnormal, that I started what would become this forum. I knew my family loved me, that they had loved Homer, but when they avoided even saying his name, I had never felt so alone. I would run into friends and they would ask me how I was doing and I would, most of the time, say with a brave, stone face that I was fine. But sometimes I would blurt out "Homie died" and I would break down and ball like a baby, and be amazed how quickly they would pat my shoulder and hastily back away.

I had a family and children when Homer came into my life, but like Riley was YOURS, he was MINE. He loved me first, and he loved me best. Part of me was ashamed to admit how special that made me feel, but when he died, I realized that was a big part of what had been ripped away. Even with the best human relationships, we are often left guessing about how others really feel, but with Homer I KNEW. I never, ever, for even a second, ever felt that he didn't love me, that he didn't think I'd hung the moon. And I felt the same way about him.

If love could keep someone alive, our dogs would probably outlive us. But they are born with a short life expectancy, and despite the intensity of our feelings, we cannot overcome genetics and disease, accidents and old age. We love them so much that we think, somehow, someway, our feelings should be able to overcome reality. I know that you realize 17+ years is a pretty ripe-old age for a dog, but you remember how Riley was always there, and how much that meant, and like all of us, you would give anything to have more time.

There is nothing wrong or pathological about loving an animal, about acknowleding what that love meant, and still means, and mourning the active loss of that love. But love doesn't die--I know that because I still love Homer, and that love I have fills me at times when nothing else will, and the memory of how much I meant to him can never be taken away. He was special and I was special, just like you and Riley were and will always be. And if, at your lowest points, you will cling to and remember that, you will be o.k. You will never be the same, but you will always be better because Riley and you were, well, RILEY AND YOU.

Please, come back, vent anger, cry, whatever. But although I cannot provide an actual shoulder to cry on, I want you to know you are not alone.

Riley was cute as a button.

All my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Thank you Kate, It helps knowing I am not the only one who felt alone with grief in their own home.
Here is our story:

Riley came to me when he was 5yrs old and I was a single woman. I was lonely after a failed relationship and wanted a dog for company. By some fate my sister saw and called me about an ad in the newspaper that read "free to a good home yr old bichon male" I called and took my mom on the interiew to meet him and talk with his owner. He was living with a family of 4 who had very busy lives and they had no time for him and were looking for someone who could give him a good life. I was lucky enough to be chosen as Rileys new owner and went backv the next day to pick him up.

He was quite the character even then. He soon became my consant companion, we went for lots of walks, family visits, played in my fenced yard and snuggled up for tv time every night. My mom became rileys "grandma" and he was spoiled rotten. A few years later i met my husband who was an airforce man and I quit my job, sold my home and we left my hometown with Riley in tow and moved 16 hrs away to Yorktown VA. Riley was there for me and helped me adjust to my new life. I was blessed with a child 2 yrs later and though Riley had to now share me, he was always close by my side at home. We moved every 3 years and Riley was a constant I could count on in my life who made it easier to reinvent myself in each new place we ended up.
I stayed home to raise my daughter so was lucky enough to have all those years with my fur baby also.

Once Katie started school it was back to being just Riley & I and we kept eachother company,enjoyed walks, mid afternoon naps etc etc. He was my best buddy. I knew he was approaching his life expenctancy,but never really thought to a day he would not be here. We bought books to prepare for the loss and hoped he would be coming with us on our next and final move.

We moved to our forever home back in my hometown last summer (2012) and was grateful Riley had made it this long, he was now 17.5 . We spent a great summer/fall with him and then he started deteriorating quickly. First he started having accidents, then a small growth on his head started getting bigger and bothersome, making him scratch/rub it till it would bleed. I had him to the vet but because of his age surgery to remove it was not a good option. They gave me a lotion to deal with it didn;t seem to help him much . He was almost deaf by this time and then his eyesite got worse and he started using scent to track me down in the house. The accidents got worse, and he was sleeping more and more. I would sometimes find him in his bed soaked, having slept right through and unaware he'd had an accident. He had trouble chewing his kibble , was losing weight and soI ended up cooking for him and feeding him soft foods and things he liked, whatever he would eat . Then after a short whilehe seemed to lose interest in food altogether and was eating very little.
It wasnt till the night he was wheezing really badly during his sleep that I had to force myself to take a long hard look at my sweet Riley. To notice that he was not really enjoying himself anymore. Sure he still liked to be with me , kept me company late at night and would wait for me at the door and wag his little tail and liked to be walked now and then. But he was spending more and more time sleepingthan with us and wouldn't notice what was goign onand he couldn't run or play anymore like we used to.

With a heavy heart I made the decision that he deserved to leave this world with what dignity he had left. I realized he was here more for me than for himself. I made arrangements with a mobile vet to come Monday morning and then spent 3 days hanging out on my bed with Riley sleeping beside me. We took him for a family walk and I took him in the van with his head hanging out the window for a last drive. I gave him cheese his favorite and lots of pets.He drank but wouldn't eat at all. My husband gave up his side of the bed so I could have one last night with Riley by my side and I stayed up late watching him sleep. After my daughter said good bye to him and got on the bus and went to school I waited. Half hour before the vet arrived Riley and i had one last walk together , It was bittersweet. The vet was very kind and compassionate and gave me the time I needed each step of the way. When I was ready, Riley left this world sleeping in the sunshine, comfortably in his little bed with me beside him whispering hat a good boy he was, how much I loved him and always would. and that I would see him one day at the Rainbow bridge , after a poem a friend had sent me. We buried him out in our yard underneath a beautiful maple tree, we put in his fav toys, a family photo, a picture Katie had drawn of her and Riley and a photo/letter from me. We layed white/pink roses over his blanket and said our goodbyes, each of us very sad .

That was That was 9 days ago. I was off work for a week and I think I spend most of the first 4 days crying, numb and in shock. I put away his beds, dishes etc.

My 7 yr old daugher will talk about Riley with me if I tear up or mention him but otherwise says it makes her sad to think about him, so she doesn't want to. My husband was upset the day we put him down and buried him but nothing from him since. My style of dealing with it is to talk about him, how much he meant to me and come to terms with my loss.

I have moments when I feel so very very,sad and miss Riley and little things will trigger me. I can't sit in my living room in my fav spot as the ache of missing Riley is too intense. When i sweep where his bed was in the kitchen I tear up. I have other moments in my days where i think I am doing ok. There is a heavyness in my heart, like an ache and its constant though.
I think I would still be just as sad if Riley had passed in his sleep but its the added guilt of making the choice to put him down that makes it worse. I just keep telling myself that he is in a better place (and try and picture him healthy and happy) and reassuring myself that I loved him enough not to make him suffer to spare my own feelings because lets face it- there never would've been a good time for him to leave me, thats the thing, i never imagined my life without him and now I know why :(

Last night i made a collage of his pictures, I have so many beautiful photos of him with my child, in costumes etc et I look at his photos everyday, I talk to him, visit his gravesite sometimes and just sit with my feelings at diff times throughout the day, I find it harder as night approaches as that was our time, when the rest of the house was quiet and we stayed up late together and the last thing of the night was putting him out to pee. Now I just give his picture a kiss and tell him "goodnight sweetie" . Thanks for listening.

Debbie


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I posted earlier today, just to tell my story about my life with my special dog, Riley. I wanted to share something else that happened on the weekend that was pretty special

Sunday afternoon I was sitting watching a movie all by myself feeling uncomfortable after noticing Rileys pillow was no longer in the corner of the sectional where it used to be. It was bright outside so I had the blinds closed against the sun.

When I looked up a pretty rainbow was shinging in the exact spot Rileys pillow used to be. It lasted maybe 5 minutes and my daughter also saw it when she walked by. When I got up to go back upstairs I also found a small white curl of fur on the carpet not far from my

I would like to think he sent me a sign he made it to Rainbow bridge and will be waiting for me. Though it made me cry , it touched my heart. Debbie


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

My Riley has been gone to the bridge almost 2 weeks. Ysterday I woke up with a start, jumped out of bed thinking I had slept through my alarm and said
"Let's GO Riley!" to get him out before he peed on the rug.
I froze the moment the words were out of my mouth :(

It really threw me for a loop, not once in 2 weeks have I woke up and NOT remembered Riley is no longer with me :(
I spent alot of yesterday crying. I was just missing him being here at home with me so much. The house feels so lonely without him. No one talks about him and it feels like I am the only one who misses him.

Last night I got into a big argument with my husband.
I then realized how much comfort Riley had given me in times of stress, all I had to do was sit with him and pet him and feel the special love he had for me,- now there is such a void. He made the bad times tolerable.

I went to his grave and talked to him yesterday, told him how much I missed his sweet face and that I was trying to be strong and how much he meant to me.
I thought I was doing ok the last week but I guess grief will come in waves for awhile yet.

Debbie


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Here is a link I found of the Rinbow Bridge poem , animated and set to music. It helps get the feelings up and out, and gives hope I may someday see my friend again

www.indigo.org/rainbowbridge_ver2.html


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I came upon this thread when I typed in "I miss my dog" because I was feeling so sad and wasn't sure where to turn. I am so happy I found this, although it doesn't take my pain away, it helps to know that I am not the only one who has gone through this.

My dog Bandit passed away a week ago on January 29, 2013. She was 7 years old. Cancer took her from us very quickly. By the time I found out it was Cancer (3 weeks from the first sign of any type of illness...)it was too late to even try to save her. She would not have survived surgery or chemotherapy.

Bandit brought so much joy and comfort to my familys life. She was faithful, loving, a constant companion, a friend, happy, crazy at times, and just all together a very important part of our family. (She was included in every single picture of 'our family' that my kids every brought home from school) She was quirky in her own ways and I can't imagine my life without her in it. I am feeling an overwhelming saddness and for some reason a need to make sure she is remembered. I never want to forget what light she brought to our lives. I actually listed out all the memorable times and traits about her so I can always look at it...I don't want time to fade my memories!! I wrote a little poem about this last week that I would like to share. Its certainly nothing professional but I hope anyone reading this feels some comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Missing My Bandit!! (aka...bandito or pumpkin butter)

I wake in the night and reach to the end of the bed
Trying to feel for your furry little head
But all I find is an empty spot
For you are gone, I somehow forgot

When I�m in the shower, I hear a sound
And I wonder if it�s you running around
Or barking at that new toy you got
But you are gone, I somehow forgot

I glance down the hall, could that be you?
Walking by, carrying a shoe?
Then I remember, possible it�s not
For you are gone, I somehow forgot

I come home from work and pull in the drive
Expecting to see you in the window waiting for me to arrive
You use to be there, ears perked up to the top
But you are gone, I somehow forgot

Your love was so strong and our bond was so tight
And the light you brought into our lives was so bright.
I miss you every day and in my stomach there�s a pit
But I need you to know I will never forget

You were sick and in too much pain
Seven years was so short but how can I complain?
You gave so much in your short time here
And that time we had was worth every tear


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I don't even know how I ended up on this forum. I just joined gardenweb for entirely different reasons, yet here I am. And I realize how fortunate I am for finding all of you.
I thought it was just me, and that if I told anybody what I was feeling, they would judge me and start to look at me in a different way. What I found is that I have isolated myself from everybody because I knew they couldn't/wouldn't understand. And the chasm created by this was so great that the isolation from friends and family took on a life of its own. It is such a terrible feeling to emotionally hurt and to feel no one would understand, so instead of sharing what I feel, I put on a 'happy' face act. That is so draining.

I've lost other dogs, and every time it has hurt a lot. This time my dog 'Cutie' died, and I'm a wreck. I know one of the reasons is that she was originally my mother's puppy. But my mother got lung cancer and soon passed away. She never got to enjoy her puppy, which she had named Cutie. And I inherited her. She went with me EVERYWHERE. I was charged $200.00 at a hotel that found out I had brought her in, and I didn't care because I would (and did) do it again and again. What did they think she was, and animal?

And so listening to all of our words brings me comfort and validates my feelings. That I'm not going off the deep end and am just mourning the loss of a friend like no other friend I ever had. I look back and feel pain at the times I scolded her. And at the end, it was horrible. She had been sick, and I had to give her medicines every day. One night she went into pain, which for me spelled the end because that was something I was not going to allow. For Cutie to be in pain.
Since it was night time, all I could do was give her a pain pill (hydrocodone) I had from the doctor. I knew it would be the end of her, and I can't get away from the guilt I feel because I feel like I killed her. In the morning she went to the vet, where they said she was in a coma and put her to sleep. So I put her in a coma.

And writing that makes me hurt so much, I don't want to write anymore. I hope someone can understand, and that I am not judged, because I've done plenty of that to myself over the past year.

To all of you, I understand your pain.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Melissa.

I am so sorry about Bandit. Seven is just too young to lose any dog, especially one as loved as your Bandit, and it brings a special kind of pain. You feel cheated--a dog's normal life expectancy is short enough without losing years of their life to cancer.

Though I could tell you that you were spared anguish because the end did come so quickly and you were spared the pain of deciding how much you could put Bandit through--it is hellish to try to determine what lengths to go to when we make decisions, as we do for our dogs, about treating their cancer-- the abruptness of knowing their death is imminent and there is nothing we can even try carries its own hell. Whether we have the time to agonize over treatment, or we are blind-sided because there are no options but to let their lives end, the results are the same. We miss and we mourn.

When a person we love dies, we are comforted by the thought of those whose lives they touched, who will think of and remember them, who will celebrate the fact that they were here and will miss them. When our dogs die, we realize that is not so true. I was floored by the fact that while my loss seemed almost insurmountable, no one else missed or grieved for Homer the way I did. I was shaken because there was no one finer, funnier, crazier, smarter, happier, cuter, than he was, and it seemed unreal that all of that might be forgotten.

I felt so alone until I accepted that it was the fact that my relationship with Homer was so special and so much just between us and that is what made it so unique. Recently I realized I couldn't remember which side of his face had this little unique constellation of spots, the right or left one, and I kind of panicked thinking how could I no longer remember? But those kinds of things can be checked out with a simple look at his photos--what is most important for me to carry is the joy he brought me, the love, and to remember the weird little things like slow-dancing with him, the way he would leap into my arms, the feel of his head on my knee, and all of the other sweetnesses that no one else was lucky enough to experience. Those are things I won't ever forget, just like you won't ever forget the sweetnesses you shared with Bandit.

Your poem is lovely and sweet and rings so true. I hope you use it in a collage of photos of your Bandit--it is a wonderful tribute.

All my best,

Kate, always Homer's Mom.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear leavesandpetals,

In a world where almost everything is publicly discussed and debated, where there is nothing off limits or too personal to be presented, there is still a topic that for the most part is shunned, and that is grief. Once-upon-a-time we were expected to mourn our losses, but now we are supposed to be considerate of others and swallow our feelings lest we make someone uncomfortable. We claim to value honesty, but as you have experienced, we end up putting on a �happy face�, or as I would say, a �brave face�, because nowadays anything is better than admitting that you are sad and mad and missing someone who meant the world to you, especially if that someone is a dog. A pet lends another awkward aspect to grief, what kind of a crazy person is brought to their emotional knees by the death of an animal?

The answer? LOTS of us are. But in a society that values strength above all else, it seems too shameful to say, yes, I am lost, I am hurting, I feel alone, I can�t seem to get beyond my pain, and it is because MY DOG DIED. It ignores the fact that our dogs brought us love and joy and connected us to something outside of our human selves and opened us up to a world where our communications are not only words but included sniffs and paws and longing looks, scratching at the door, wagging tails, moving ears, sighs and barks, and all the other ways they knew us and we knew them.

Dear leavesandpetals, you are only human, and we sometimes get cross and lose our tempers, and it is only when something really bad happens, like the loss of our pets, that we think how could we have been so horrible? We ignore the fact that for the most part we have been loving to our pets, and their love and the majority of our experiences have been good beyond belief. So I hope you know that the few times you scolded Cutie she got over long before you did. Cutie knew what was important, and it was your love and care, not the few times you got mad.

Which brings me to you giving a sick dog, who was in pain and closing in on death, a drug that ended her pain and might have hastened her death. There was a reason you chose what you did, and it was because you knew that to let her suffer further would not have been beneficial to either of you. I know that you would give the world to have her with you still, but that was not an option.

YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. Because you loved Cutie. We should all be so lucky.

All my best,
Kate and Homer.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Removed

This post was edited by Eugenee on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 21:12


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I cannot believe that this posting started back in 2008 and there are still people adding to it. I lost my little black poodle almost 3 weeks ago. I rescued her when she was about 5 yrs old and had her for over 9 years - from day 1 she was the perfect pet. She came house trained, obedience trained, and was easily trick trained. She never chewed a single thing, and was so calm and well-behaved that I could sneak her into movies, outdoor plays, board meetings, etc, and she would just sleep on my lap the whole time. I knew I would some day lose her (I lost a beloved soul mate cat 12 years ago and knew how bad it could be), but I still just couldn't imagine it. In the end, it happened suddenly and unexpected - I lost her in a matter of hours. Luckily, my friends, family, and even my boss at work understand how devastating this is for me. Everyone who knew me and my dog understood that we had a very special and very deep bond. My mother died just a little over 4 mos ago (also sudden and unexpected), and it was very hard, but not as hard as losing my dog. (In the last year I also lost my grandmother and several friends, and my father died over 16 years ago - so I know what it is like to experience the death of a loved one.) And yet, my dog is the worst. As Kate said in one of her posts - it feels like the brightest thing in my life - the thing that gave me the most joy and happiness - is gone. I don't really care about anything - the only thing I want is my little dog back. Still, I told her every single day that I loved her (multiple times a day). She was a very happy dog and we loved being together. Although I wish I had taken her to the vet a day or two sooner, I believe she was ready to go when she did. I also sense that she is okay with this transition, and is, in fact, looking forward to her next incarnation. Indeed, she seems to be dealing with this much better than I am, and I think part of the reason why her spirit feels so strong is because she was so loved and protected by me in her lifetime. The truth is, I will die some day, too -- we all will -- but we won't all be loved and cared for as much and as well as I cared for my little dog. So many people have said that its hard to lose a pet because they love us so unconditionally -- and I agree, but I think the hardest thing is that WE love them so unconditionally. As wonderful as it feels to be loved, it's even better to love something else with utter devotion. There's really nothing that I love more than my little dog, and nothing that I could miss more than her.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

My heart is hurting.

I lost my Yorkie "Black Jack" today. I didn't expect it to impact me so hard. I've had him for fifteen years, and I new it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just wasn't expecting it to be accidental. A friend was caring for him, and he got hit by a car. He was the best....so disciplined. When I took him to the groomer and let him down, he would start barking hello at the groomer and run and get into the crate where he new he was supposed to go. So smart. He had one toy that was his favorite...a camo bone. That bone had seen better days from all the fetching! I am truly going to miss you Jack.

I feel for all of you that have posted


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

My heart is hurting.

I lost my Yorkie "Black Jack" today. I didn't expect it to impact me so hard. I've had him for fifteen years, and I new it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just wasn't expecting it to be accidental. A friend was caring for him, and he got hit by a car. He was the best....so disciplined. When I took him to the groomer and let him down, he would start barking hello at the groomer and run and get into the crate where he new he was supposed to go. So smart. He had one toy that was his favorite...a camo bone. That bone had seen better days from all the fetching! I am truly going to miss you Jack.

I feel for all of you that have posted


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

On March 10 It will be 3 months since my boy passed away. I have my good and bad days. Like JLM188 said I really don't care about anything still. I try to keep busy, watch TV. But all that does is make me stay awake later and later. When I used to do that with Pookie, he would give me a look and that always made me turn off the TV and sleep. But now he isn't here to do that. I would give anything to have him back with me.
Last night I had a dream. I was camping with my family and of course Pookie was there with me. I was happy. Then I woke up and he was gone.
A few weeks ago while I was cleaning dishes I heard Pookie growling. Usually when I am in the kitchen my younger brother would play with Pookie and he would growl. I heard him and for a split second I thought he was here with me. I dropped a dish because it shocked me. I just miss him so much. I still haven't forgiven myself. I don't think I ever will.

I can relate to those who feel like they have isolated themselves. I have done that too. I have felt very irritable due to the lack of sleep. I no longer have patience. I feel like I'm pushing away everyone in my life. When Pookie died, so did I in a way. I feel like a shell of my former self.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Lost2,

I know how much you are missing Black Jack right now, and you have my empathy. Fifteen years is a long time to love and be loved by a dog, and I wish you would have had even more. He sounds like he was wonderful.

Whether we know the time is coming or, as in your case, the death is sudden and unexpected, there is no easy way to lose a dog. My heart goes out to you.

All my best,
Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear MissingMyLilBoy,

Over the years of this forum, I have received many private emails from people who have lost their dogs, people who did not want to post on a public forum. In many instances it was because they felt the loss of their dog was their fault. The list of causes included drowning, car deaths including two incidents of people running over their dogs and another where the dog fell out of the back of a pick-up truck, a medication overdose, accidental ingestion of antifreeze, shooting, overheating, poisoning, and a case where the owner didn't realize he'd accidentally locked his dog in an empty shed until he found him frozen to death. I think the people didn't post on the forum because they were afraid of being judged by others, but the truth is, no one could judge them more harshly than they were judging themselves.

When our dogs die, often it is easier to deal with guilt and blame and anger at ourselves than it is to feel the simple but overwhelming grief and loss that they are gone. We mentally punish ourselves and think we don't deserve to be happy, that because we let them down in the end we should suffer even more. We forge a connection between their deaths and the guilt we feel, and it often seens like letting go of the guilt is letting go of one of the last links we have to them.

But letting go of the guilt is what you need to do. Nothing can change what happened, but guilt can change the experience of loving a wonderful, adorable little dog into a nightmare of pain and blame to the point where you let the awfulness of the way he died overshadow the wonderfulness of the way he lived. I know right now you are so sad and lost, but I think the one thing that will help you get over this is to know that you gave him lots of love and care and that whatever happened at the end is not worth losing sight of that.

It IS okay to do something that makes you happy, to take your mind off of his death for a while. You can still be sad and grieve, but please try to let the guilt go. Pookie deserves to be remembered with love and joy, not with guilt and recriminations. You deserve that too.

Be kind to yourself. Pookie would want you to think of him always with happiness.

Take care,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I have read a lot of the messages posted on here and I can honestly say I relate to every single one of them. I am lucky enough to be able to say that I have never lost a person that was close to me but I lost my best friend 5 years ago and I still can't put into words just how much it hurts to think about her.

She was so beautiful inside and out and I don't know if I can ever get over her.
We got her when I was 4 years old and I can't remember a time when she wasn't there. We had to put her to sleep exactly 5 years ago today and I hate myself so much for not being there with her. My parents wouldn't let me and convinced me that I shouldn't see her like that cause I would remember her like that. But ever since she's left, I feel like I should have done everything to be there for her because she's been there for me too. Through everything. Everyone will tell you that I was her favorite person and I can honestly say that she was my soulmate and still is.

And all I can think about is how much I regret not being there when she closed her eyes for the last time. It is the only thing I would change in my entire life.
I can't stop feeling like she was disappointed in me for not being there.

It's been 5 years and I still cry like a baby whenever I let myself go to that place in my head / heart.

I did say goodbye to her, hugged her about a hundred times, cried with her, took one last picture with her. But I wasn't there in her final moments. And I hate myself for it more than words can say.

Two nights after she was released of her suffering, which was the first night I spent in our house without her, I had a dream about her which didn't really feel like a dream. She was in it and in the dream I was the only one who could see her, I could even touch her and hug her and say goodbye to her. But only me and no one else.
I like to think that it was in fact her giving me a chance to say goodbye again, maybe her way of telling me it's okay I wasn't there, I don't know.

I have had similar dreams a couple of times, I think about 4-5 times. They always feel very different from my other dreams, as if her soul was actually present in that moment. And every time it is the same dream, me being the only one who can see her and touch her, even though she's not alive. The other night I had a dream where I could make her come back from the other side. I woke up and felt horrible.

People say time heals all wounds. But for me it just seems to get worse.
I know that 5 years from now, I will still cry my eyes out when I think about her. Because nothing can change the fact that I wasn't there when she left. And she will never come back.

I miss her.

Sorry for the rambling.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

I'm so sorry.

My own feeling is that your continued grief has a hefty dose of anger at your parents in it, &, in my opinion, rightly so.

It's been shown again & again that people & animals accept death when they see it;
it's when they *don't* see it that they are tortured.

What counted was your relationship with your pet, & she did know you loved her.

As for that anger, throw some china & scream, & as for the guilt, realize that she did know you loved her:

'her giving me a chance to say goodbye again, maybe her way of telling me it's okay I wasn't there, I don't know.'

It was a gift.
Take it.


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Blair, one thing that comes to mind is that a lot of times when animals - and people - are able to choose the time of their death they will choose times when their closest people are not present. Animals instinctively often go away and hide.when they are too sick to go on and getting ready to die. My cousin recently died and interestingly, she waited until my uncle (her father) was out of the room before she let go of life. My old 16 yr old cat went and hid somehwere in the house and we couldnt find him till the next day - he hid very well.

There is no way of knowing for sure, but please consider that possibly your not being there was OK for your pet, that maybe she wasnt disappointed with you (as you feared she mightve been) and it may in fact have been her preference. Like I say, you'll never know for sure but just hold that as a possibility.

Also consider that where they are - there is no time, time and space as we know it stops existing - I do think she was with you and knew and felt your love whether you were physically present at that moment or not. There is no one right way to die I think, and yet I can understand why your being their would have helped you in your grief process and was important to you.

One thing that helped me in the past and I will do so again (I have a 22 yr old cat right now who is starting to let go of life) - write their biography, every little thing you remember about them, stories, pictures and then post on one of the pet grief sites and/;or share with family and friends. I think it helped because it was a way to make sure I never forgot - holding on to the grief was a way of holding on to my kitty. Also the pet loss grief groups offered through some humane societies can be good - I found those SO helpful - internet is good, but face to face with others going through the same grief and regrets is just so powerful.

Take care, Cathy

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 11:05


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Blair411,

I am so sorry for your loss. The anniversary of a death brings things back like they happened yesterday.

At 2:10 tomorrow morning, July 23rd, it will be exactly 5 years ago that my Homer died. Like you were to your dog, I was Homer's favorite person in the world, so I know how much losing that love hurts. I also know too well how much grief, remorse, and second-guessing accompanies the death of an animal who gave you her heart, her soul, and her love without reservation.

You wrote that you've read a lot of the postings here, so you no doubt know how many of us have felt guilt, like you feel, that we didn't do the right thing or that we somehow let our dog down during their final moments. For every person who has not been there during their dog's passing and regretted it, there is someone who has been there and has been haunted by it. It seems that when we are hurt so deeply, we try to convince ourselves that if something had been different we would not hurt quite as much as we do. But in a situation so sad and awful, there is no way to do the 'right thing', because the death of a dog is just so wrong.

I understand why you regret not being with your dog when she passed, and I also understand why your parents thought you shouldn't be there. Not only were they worried about you, they may have also feared that your pain and grief would make your dog anxious and the last moments more difficult for her. I am not saying they were right, but as a parent, I can empathize with their wish to protect you from watching your dog die. Your parents were dealing with their own grief at her loss and worrying about what a blow it would be to you. I bet their hearts were breaking too.

Maybe now, with the five year anniversary of your dog's death, would be a good time to talk to them about their decision and how it affected you, if you haven't already done so. It might be good for them too.

All my best,

Kate


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RE: Feeling guilty because I miss my dog-Part 2

Dear Blair411,

I am so sorry for your loss. The anniversary of a death brings things back like they happened yesterday.

At 2:10 tomorrow morning, July 23rd, it will be exactly 5 years ago that my Homer died. Like you were to your dog, I was Homer's favorite person in the world, so I know how much losing that love hurts. I also know too well how much grief, remorse, and second-guessing accompanies the death of an animal who gave you her heart, her soul, and her love without reservation.

You wrote that you've read a lot of the postings here, so you no doubt know how many of us have felt guilt, like you feel, that we didn't do the right thing or that we somehow let our dog down during their final moments. For every person who has not been there during their dog's passing and regretted it, there is someone who has been there and has been haunted by it. It seems that when we are hurt so deeply, we try to convince ourselves that if something had been different we would not hurt quite as much as we do. But in a situation so sad and awful, there is no way to do the 'right thing', because the death of a dog is just so wrong.

I understand why you regret not being with your dog when she passed, and I also understand why your parents thought you shouldn't be there. Not only were they worried about you, they may have also feared that your pain and grief would make your dog anxious and the last moments more difficult for her. I am not saying they were right, but as a parent, I can empathize with their wish to protect you from watching your dog die. Your parents were dealing with their own grief at her loss and worrying about what a blow it would be to you. I bet their hearts were breaking too.

Maybe now, with the five year anniversary of your dog's death, would be a good time to talk to them about their decision and how it affected you, if you haven't already done so. It might be good for them too.

All my best,

Kate


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