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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2007

    Default Can't shake my dog's passing...advice??

    In January we lost our 13 year old Golden to cancer. We tried hard to save her - even did chemo, but in the end she got very ill from the chemo, developed a high fever and low blood count. I got to say goodbye - my kids got to say goodbye but the problem now is I am haunted by her being euthanized I chose to stay with her until she passed as I didn't want her to be alone. I relive it over and over, and still cry every few days. She was a "heart dog" to me - I know they all are, but we did years of therapy dog work, she carried my engagement ring to me when my hubby proposed, and she had such a vibrant personality. I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake being with her when they euthanized her because that is what keeps entering my mind, but either way I am sure I would still be haunted by our last goodbye. I am glad I was with her but the image is now imprinted in my mind and enters my mind a few days a week, still.

    It's been years since we lost a dog - many years, and now it's been almost 5 months and I still get SO sad. Is this normal??How can I better deal with it?? Plant a tree? (we have her ashes) Life goes on normally otherwise - I am a busy Mom, have friends, activities, sports, ride my horse, lessons and we have 3 other dogs that I embrace wholeheartedly - another who is getting old but it doesn't feel the same as THIS dog.

    Has anyone else been through this and felt the same? I'm embarassed to ask as I feel like a sap, but I still feel so sad sometimes and wondering if I need to seek professional help in all seriousness! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2003


    I lost my best buddy 6 years ago to a misdiagnosis. I found out a few hours after I had him euthanized that it was not necessary. He too was 13 and starting to show his age but Ivery well could have had him a few more years.

    He was my best buddy when I had nothing else. He came to work with me and traveled with me. He went everywhere with me and when he was gone it was very difficult.

    I had him cremated and could not bring myself to pick up his ashes from the animal hospital for over a year - and even then, had a friend run over to the small animal side to get his ashes one day when we were at the large animal hospital having a stallion gelded. I couldn't do it myself.

    To this day I still have the occasional dream about him and miss him terribly when I think of him. Typing now brings tears.

    I think sometimes there is one who is more special, maybe because of the time in your life when they were around. And those take a little longer to get over.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World


    You are not alone, every dog that has passed in my life (and horses too) have taken a piece of my heart with them. But I must have a big heart, because as time passes, I find the ability to love the dogs that are still with me, and the new ones that join our lives.

    As to the reliving of the experience, you will always remember, but as time passes, it will be with less sadness.

    Try to think of the kindness that you gave to her by being with her at the end, and the love that you shared, and that she will always be in your thoughts, and you seem to have many fond memories that can help replace the sad ones.

    I think planting a tree or shrub would help, I have done that.

    I did just want to say that my very first dog that I owned as an adult that had to be put down, I was not with her, and that haunted me much worse than the memories of the dogs that I was with. That was my personal experience, and I will never let another animal pass without being able to feel my touch at the end.

    I don't think that 5 months is abnormal to continue to miss your beloved dog. However, if you find the sadness is overwhelming, or interfering with your daily activities, it might help to talk to someone.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003


    I'm so sorry for your loss and empathize with your grief. It sounds like your girl had such a terrific long life with you. It was a wonderful thing you did, being with her while she passed.

    I never really stop feeling sad over the loss of a loved one. In time, though, by staying "in the present" the feelings of grief don't take over my life.

    For a while, though, the sorrow is intense.

    One thing I do whenever I've lost a pet is to write down as many moments together as I can remember --a eulogy of sorts, I suppose-- or I put together a special photo album just about that pet's life.

    In remembering all the good times, and even the hard times too, I don't focus so much on the final passing moments.

    Sometimes too I'll plant something or make a donation to an appropriate charity in honor of that animal.

    After a while, I consciously try to fill the void by concentrating on the present, spending quality time with friends and my other animals.

    It's a process, and you have to find your own way. It's okay to be sad and cry or be cranky or just not want to do things for a while. But if you feel like you're stuck in the emotion, you're right to ask for support or help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005


    It's been a year since I put my boy down, and I'll always miss him. Right now I'm typing through the tears. Some animals live in your heart forever, and it's not wrong to miss them. As someone else said you have a right to mourn your dog, and unless it interferes with your life that's still okay. If however you find yourself unable to cope then talking to someone is certainly appropriate. It only hurts because you loved you dog so much, and saying goodbye is always hard. There are books on the grieving process for companion animals, and maybe that or an online support group would be helpful also.

    What helps me is that I believe we will be together again someday, and that gives me comfort. There is always guilt about timing, and I truly think I waited too long for him. I spared myself pain in waiting, but I think it was from my selfishness that I waited as long as I did. There's always guilt and self-doubt after you put an animal down, but the question has to be if it was the right time to put them down. You spared your animal more pain and gave him one last gift.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009

    Unhappy Hugs and Jingles for you ` Grief Has NO TIME-LINE ~

    Hugs and Jingles for you

    Grief has no TIME-LINE ~

    Your heart will mend around the hole of sorrow eventually ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2007


    I know exactly how you feel; I lost my "soul" mate of a dog on Christmas eve. She only lived 5 days after she first got sick and the vet gave us a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy. I had some time to prepare, but it was still so sudden. One day your dog is chasing rabbits for hours and next day she is in congestive heart failure. I think about her every day and still cry when I see her picture. My dog died of a heart attack in my arms and as she was passing, I told her it was okay to go, that I loved her and would see her again. I tried to concentrate on sending her positive energy as she was very distressed in those last moments. Even though it was terribly traumatic for me, it gave me incredible peace and closure to have helped her pass. However, I do see her face over and over again and "relive" that last hour. I'm pretty sure it's a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but I am coping the best I can. I have other dogs and animals that I am devoted too, but I still miss her so very much. My husband and I buried her on our farm with all of her things and I am comforted knowing I can "visit" her whenever I want.

    I can't offer much advice for coping because I don't think I do a very good job of it myself. I try to bury my feelings and hope time will lessen the intensity. It comforts me to hear my friends and family recall their memories of her or praise how wonderful she was. I like to know that she will be remembered by many who knew her because she was just that special type of dog. Maybe you could make a journal to celebrate your dog's life and have all of your friends and family contribute? I think I might like something like that if it wouldn't make me burst into tears every time I saw it.

    At the end of the day, what gives me most comfort is knowing my dog had a happy, full life. It was short, but every day was an awesome day for her. She loved life, loved going to the farm, loved chasing rabbits and hunting mice, loved going on trails rides with me, loved her special homemade meals, loved her babysitter on the few occasions I went out of town, and loved that I let her be the independent dog she was. People live a lifetime to have as many happy days that amount to the 6 short years of my dog's life. I have no regrets other than I miss her so much and wish she didn't have to leave me soon.
    Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006


    All of these posts just break my heart. I have 3 shelties right now sleeping underfoot, as they always are when Im at the computer, all 3 of them as close to me as they can be. I can't imagine life without them, tho Im sure one day I will have to. All of your puppies were very blessed to have you for their mommies, as you were in having them in your lives.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2009


    You're perfectly normal.

    I lost my first boxer when he was five. He ran and did very well in an agilty trial the first of the month, and had to be euthanized on the 12th of the month because of an infection on his heart valve. By the time it was diagnosed (within a week of the first symptom he showed), the infection had taken his kidneys. I knew there was no hope of saving him, and I had him put down that night. That dog was my "heart" dog and I still miss him. It's been 7 years now. I've lost others that I loved since then, but for some reason losing Corey was much more intense.

    It will take as long as it takes before one day you notice you haven't cried in a week, two weeks, whatever. You'll notice when you think about him, you smile to remember all the good things you and he did. It gets better. I can now smile to remember Corey at his first agility trial, rolling his cloth crate across the grounds to follow me, kind of like a gerbil ball. Goofy dog. Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't mourn, or that you should only mourn for a set length of time. I'll repeat what one other poster said though, if you feel it's interrupting your daily life, find a good grief counseler to talk to.

    Planting a tree isn't a bad idea either.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Tampa Fl.


    Like Zu Zu said, there is not time line. After I had to put my dog down due to Cushings I fell in to a massive depression and I did not know I was depressed. I slept all day, really, I would get up do my barn work,, (only 4-6hr a day)come home shower and sleep till dinner, eat, and then sleep some more. It went on like this for 5 months. I gained 30 pounds and my lust for life.

    I went to therapy.

    It helped me understand my grief for my dog, and I learned a lot about myself.

    I still miss him and I yearn for that relationship that I had with him with my new dog. Its hard not to project your feelings on to the new dog, they are not the same. I have to keep telling myself that.

    I gathered all my photos of him, made videos for me only to watch on the computer. I have his tags on my key chain so he is always with me. It helps.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2010


    I am sorry your still in pain and understand completly. One of my dogs passed Wednesday morning, complications from diabetes. It is so sad, and such a void here now. Time will ease the grief, but there will always be some. There is not set amount of time either. I was told that sometimes the smallest souls leave the biggest holes, so true.

    Don't question your grieving, know in time it will ease. I am sure it was hard to be with her in the end, but a huge comfort for her. We always have questions, doubts. But all your choices were made for her, and you did what was best for her, take comfort in that, she will always live in your heart.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2010


    Well, I have put down a number of animals and it is hard. I am so sorry for your pain. I also had one death that I could not resolve in my mind-even to this day-and it was because I was not there to hold my dog when he died. He was waiting for surgery at the clinic on a Saturday for a Monday surgery. I knew he died Saturday night and when I called Sunday morning the vet confirmed that he had passed away that night. I just cannot accept that he died alone.

    Since that time, I always feel better holding my animals when they are put down. I've even offered to be there for others who can't bare the process with their pets. I still get upset thinking of my dog being alone when dying. I hope you can resolve your feelings.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2002
    Ontario, Canada


    You loved her and let her know she was loved. In time acceptance will come

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2010
    North AL


    When I was a teen, we had to euthanize Star , our beloved lab that we had had since I was 4. My mom had to do it while we were in school. Unfortunately she came home and told us that she couldn't bare to be with her while they put her to sleep, so she just left her at the vets office.
    I think there is a little part of me that will never really forgive my mom for letting Star die without one us there.
    You did the right thing by being there for your Golden.
    My hubby and I had to put our Chow, Bravo down about 4 years ago. We both cried and cried. We went to sleep crying and we woke up crying for at least a week , and then we cried less often for months. He was a very special dog. We both still get teary, as I am now, from time to time, but it's ok, we just miss him and that's normal.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2007


    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate hearing your stories and sharing your feelings. I'm sorry for all of your losses too. I have to believe they are all in a happier place. Doesn't help that I was in Sea World today and they play songs like "Somewhere Out There" after the shows and pipe it through the park and there are animals everywhere and "I Have A Dream" type "stuff" everywhere you turn. It's very emotional to begin with when you are there with your kids. I am so grateful to be here but alot of it just makes me sad and today I realized this is the first vacation we will come home from and she won't be one of our pups greeting us at the door I so miss my pets when I am away.

    I know she is still with me. I swear I saw her shape in the clouds the morning of my first ever dressage test, and that she was with me and gave me strength. I was so ridiculously nervous, and we ended up getting 4th place. I just know in my heart she watches over me. She was the type of dog that ran to your side (or my children's) if she even sensed your were sad or heard a sniffle or cry....and she gave you her paw, every single time....hence why she was such a fantastic therapy dog. She was also the one to steal food off of patient's trays, LOL...I try to remember that and it makes me smile.

    Thank you all again. If it doesn't get better I may seek some help as I am feeling alot of up and down sadness which isn't me. And it has gotten a bit better but at times I just feel down. Greatly appreciate all of your posts!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2003


    I am so sorry for your loss. And I'm glad you posted as I've been thinking about posting a similar topic. I lost my heart dog in October and still cry when I think about him. I still feel physical pain in my chest when I think about him.

    I've lost other dogs and grieved but this one was different. I won't let myself be forced to have a set time to be better. It will come when it comes. And those days that I need to cry, I let it happen.

    I hope you find the peace in your heart sooner than later, but please know that your feelings are not right or wrong. They are what they are. Embrace it. ((hugs))
    "Crazy is just another point of view" Sonia Dada

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 8, 2004


    tpup, I am very sorry for your loss. I think the fact that the thought of her still moves you deeply is a good thing. We are lucky to be able to know love that strong, even though it is way too short with our pets.

    We lost our Kuvasz in a similar manner two years ago. Last Thursday, I was driving home from teaching therapeutic horseback riding, something that always leaves me feeling great. In front of me, a dog stuck its head out the window of a car. The dog looked so much like our dear one, it was uncanny. Before I knew it, I was having such a weepfest, I had to pull over.

    I just accept it as part of the double edged sword that comes with loving them so much. Even though it is unbearably painful to say goodbye, it is still so worth having them in our lives. I hope that in time, the pain will recede for you and the good memories will stay strong.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2001


    Very timely thread for me as well. Im having trouble, I lost Trudy (my 12 year old corgi) in august and while crying isn't daily as it was a few months ago, it's more often than I'd like! I'm not a cryer, it's gettig better but still tremendously hard. I saw her favorite toy (that she was buried with)in target a month or two ago and almost started bawling! We lost my husbands Aussie in June and trudy's death was very sudden so it was hard! We have two new dogs (that we got fairly quickly adter losing Trudy) and while I like them both i'm not totally in love/smitten with them.

    My deepest condolences to all, and know you're not alone!! Hugs to all!!!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2008
    SW Ohio


    I feel your pain. In my case, it has been cat(s). One very special one just one year ago, almost to this day (making reading and writing this all the more emotional).

    In any case, I highly recommend this book. It has helped me a lot. Lots of yellow highlighting in my copy:

    Lots of sympathy to you.
    Founder & Donor/Account Advisor
    Brennan Equine Welfare Fund

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 13, 2005


    Trying to read this thread though tears. So sorry for your loss..wish I knew the "right" thing to say. My dog is getting older and just thinking about her passing is overwhelming...wonder if I'll ever get over it....

    Hang in....when we lose a companion--part of us leaves as well...wondering if we will ever get it back???

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