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Crushing grief - how long does it last?

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  • Crushing grief - how long does it last?

    We had to let the love of my life, the first dog my husband and I owned, go on Friday after a shortened battle with cancer. I can't even bring myself to write the details here, but can someone give me any idea how long this debilitating grief continues?

    I can't look anywhere in the house, because I see him everywhere - I expect him to bark when I come home, to be laying on the tile floor in the bathroom when I take a shower, to be drinking too much water and me have to tell him to stop. I literally want to crawl in a hole and never come out.

    I've lost dogs before, but they were always my parents' dogs, this is the first that was truly mine, and I didn't realize it would hurt this bad. I miss him so badly, and would give anything in the world to have him back

    Can anyone tell me how long this lasts? Right now, it feels like forever.....I've never felt so miserable in my entire life. Sorry for the downer post....I just don't feel like I will be able to function again.

  • #2
    It is forever but it hurts less as time goes by. There are no rules. Godspeed. I found a lot of comfort in www.petloss.com when I was in a similar situation.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      I am so sorry for your loss. I find that the worse my grief is the shorter it lasts. When I had to put down my kitty "Mo" I was actually dizzy with grief, I could not stand or drive. My friend had to drive us to the vet. I held him and cried and said goodbye. He was the best cat ever, used to ride on trails with me in my coat as a kitten. Loved to ride in the car too, go figure, but wasn't too keen on waiting while I went in the store lol.
      I say let your grief flow, remember him, talk to him, talk to others who are supportive. Honor his memory in some way if you can. Intense grief sucks but it helps us heal. Great big hug to you.
      My mom didn't raise no jellybean salesman!


      • #4
        I have learned over the years that it's easier if you have dogs in pairs, one older than the other. The younger one will be a great comfort in this situation, until you are ready to find him a new companion to raise. You tend not to invest ALL your emotions in ONE dog and he is also not so reliant on you, if there's two. However that does not address your problem. The grief goes deeper after a time and you are able to examine it when you choose to, and eventually enjoy thinking and talking about your lost companion.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          It takes as long as it will take. You cannot put a time frame on it. When I lost my first dog as an adult I spend 3 months sleeping, followed by 5 months of therapy. Everyone grieves and handles loss differently, but the best thing is.....is that you have us; a bunch of animal crazy people that have been through what you have been through.

          So please, allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to miss your buddy, and most importantly, allow yourself to love another dog again, because nothing heals a broken heard quicker than puppy breath.

          Jingles for you heart.


          • #6
            Have a listen to this; Eyes in the Dark
            ... _. ._ .._. .._


            • #7
              No advice to give. I just wanted to pass on my condolences and let you know that I will be thinking of you, your husband, and your beloved dog.


              • #8
                I have been fairly lucky in having my dogs live to a good old age. When I lost my 5 year old to cancer, it was much more difficult. I looked for and found a dog at a shelter that i thought had very little chance of being adopted. She is a freakin' nut job, everybody loves her.
                Maybe you can find a shelter dog that speaks to you.
                i am so sorry for your loss.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the responses - it helps to know I'm not crazy. We have two other dogs, and I would have told you we love them equally, until now. Now they seem to pale in comparison. Thankfully, they don't seem terribly affected by his absence, not like my husband and I are.

                  I just feel like a shell of myself, like nothing will ever make me happy again. I just don't know how to cope with such overwhelming sadness...


                  • #10
                    I'm so sorry for your loss. I went through the same thing about 2 and a half years ago. It takes time, but it does get better. My other dogs and my horse were of great comfort. It took a long time before I was able to think of her without tears in my eyes, and I am tearing up now writing this. Unfortunately our dogs are with us for far too short a time. I agree with everyone that another dog, while never replacing the first one, will be a help when you are ready.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
                      Thanks for the responses - it helps to know I'm not crazy. We have two other dogs, and I would have told you we love them equally, until now. Now they seem to pale in comparison. Thankfully, they don't seem terribly affected by his absence, not like my husband and I are.

                      I just feel like a shell of myself, like nothing will ever make me happy again. I just don't know how to cope with such overwhelming sadness...
                      Put it into perspective, get closer with your other dogs, or, go to the shelter and lavish love on a dog that has no one. Expand yourself, do not go into yourself and wallow in the grief. That is not healthy.
                      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                      • #12
                        You wade through it-sometimes you fight to stay upright and sometimes you let it throw you around but you just wade through it. The more you express the grief the better you will feel sooner but as was said above, it takes as long as it takes. Let yourself feel it but let yourself stay open to what you loved about him and having him. Every time I lose an animal I throw myself into caring for the ones I still have even more. There is a lot of comfort in the ones you still have, let yourself see it. Just sit on the floor with them. Sitting on the floor with dogs is some of the most powerful therapy in the world.
                        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingoftheRoad View Post
                          Thanks for the responses - it helps to know I'm not crazy. We have two other dogs, and I would have told you we love them equally, until now. Now they seem to pale in comparison. Thankfully, they don't seem terribly affected by his absence, not like my husband and I are.

                          I just feel like a shell of myself, like nothing will ever make me happy again. I just don't know how to cope with such overwhelming sadness...
                          It is soooo hard, but it will get better. And you will get closer to your other dogs. I didn't realize how awesome my current dog was until he became my only dog after the others had passed. Now I am so attached to him that I can't believe it. Which doesn't diminish the affection I had for the ones I lost.


                          • #14
                            I find it doesn't stop hurting any less, but you become better able to cope with the pain, little by little. Hang in there & take it one day at a time (or one hour at a time), and have faith it will eventually become more bearable.

                            Many (((hugs))) & caring thoughts your way.


                            • #15
                              it will slowly go away. Allow yourself to grieve- it's normal, and healthy. After awhile you'll find yourself thinking less and less often about the loss, except every now and again something will trigger a memory and you'll be hit with a surge of grief yet again. This may continue to happen for years and years.


                              • #16
                                OP, I was in your place just over one month ago. I lost my Australian Shepherd who was my best friend and even the ring bearer at mine and DH's wedding in a terrible accident that came out of the blue. I cried for weeks and now I've gotten to the point where I can talk about the happy times I had with him without crying. I agree with Arcadien... You just get better at coping, but the pain remains.

                                I know the crazy feeling as well. I cannot count the number of times I have thought I've seen him in the past month. I keep expecting him to come around the corner. Last Saturday I was even joking with DH that if I died I would leave all my earthly possessions to Bocephus, but as soon as his name came out of my mouth I realized he had died. It hurts when you briefly forget they're gone and then reality comes crashing down.

                                If you want to reach out OP, I'll be here and can completely commiserate with you
                                Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                                An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia


                                • #17
                                  From my own experience and from what I've seen of others, I think the crushing grief, where it's difficult to think of anything else or care about anything else, where even forgetting for a moment ends up hurting because then you remember and start crying again, lasts about 3 months. It's not that after that you've recovered or feel fine about the death, it's just that you've grown more accustomed to the situation and the implications. You've experienced the not-thereness repeatedly, considered every possible never-again scenario, and you've cried yourself out over all of them. I recommend writing down memories of your pet, as you can, during this time. It hurts, but it helps knowing you'll remember, and your memories are very sharp at this time.

                                  My sympathies. Grief lasts forever, and the first pet is very hard. You'll feel better eventually, but you won't forget.


                                  • #18
                                    crushing grief-how long does it last?

                                    Just lost my cat, of 15yrs. Gateway was a part of the family, opinions of his were not up for discussion. He'd lost teeth, but was still eating regular cat food-and Pounce. We thought we had turned the tide, with, giving him salmon, tuna, ya know, the really 'smelly stuff' since he was eating again. We thought he had 'turned the tide' but he was walking around the house. He was, what, we thought, checking back in with everyone. He made the long trek, up the stairs, layed on my side of the bed, and passed away. He had a bit of a cold, and really we where on it-but, yes, you will see that shadow--
                                    Don't blame yourself!


                                    • #19
                                      So sorry for your loss. This cancer stuff sucks!! I don't have any words of wisdom, just sending sincerest sympathies.


                                      • #20
                                        I am so sorry ...I lost my *heart* dog almost two years ago to cancer as well and some days it is still very difficult. You will always miss him, you will always think of him, but the pain will not last forever and in time it will be replaced by beautiful memories of the time you had with him. Time truly does heal, as hard as it is to believe right now. There is no doubt in my mind though that it is one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through in my life, to say it is hard is the world's biggest understatement. It is extremely traumatic. But this is the price we pay to have these special souls in our lives as hard as it is to understand. My thoughts are with you and your family.

                                        "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.