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bubbe

Lost dog of 16+ years

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I had to put my Jack Russell/Beagle, Chaya, to sleep on Thursday. She was 16 years, 8 months old and I had her since she was 5 1/2 months old. She was blind, deaf, and had severe arthritis. We tried everything my vet recommended. Wednesday night she was in terrible pain. My vet said I could wait until over the weekend to spend some time with her, but we didn't want a repeat of the pain she had been in the previous night. I am widowed and live alone. My boyfriend for the last six years is with me most nights. He was with me when I took her to the vet and afterwards. He built her a box and buried her on a hill on my property. She is wrapped in her favorite blanket.

My house is empty. There are no little paw clicks in the kitchen. No one is sleeping on her chair. No one is in her backyard fence or her dog house. She was the only dog I have ever had. I can't believe how sad I am or how much I miss her. Sometimes I don't think I can stand it. I am retired and spend a lot of time at home. I do some volunteer work and take a few hours each day working out at the Y. I have friends I see for lunch or other things. I just don't know how to get through the day when I have to be home. My house has always been my safe place. Now it's my alone place. I know it has only been a few days, but how can I get through this? I feel as though I am slogging around under water.

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I'm so sorry for your loss of your beloved Chaya, my dear, and I hope you allow yourself the time and patience required to "get through this." If you acknowledge how much this little fur person meant to you, how much of your life was intertwined with hers, how she was with you every moment you were at home ~ then you begin to understand the enormity of what you have lost. Grief is not like a light switch on the wall that we can turn on and off in an instant. It's a process that takes place over time, as we learn how to carry it and eventually how to live with it. We get through it one moment, one hour, one day at a time. We surround ourselves with others whose losses are similar to our own, so that we don't feel so alone. We listen to their stories and realize the similarities, so that we don't feel so "crazy" and so lost. We notice some things they've tried that seem to help them cope, which gives us hope that some of those things may work for us too, as we learn what is normal in grief and discover ways we can manage our own reactions. Read through some of the threads in this forum, and see, for example, some of the articles listed here: Pet Loss

You are not alone in your pain, my dear. You are among fellow animal lovers here, and we know how much this hurts. ❤️

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Thank you for your reply. Knowing someone understands helps. I will read some of the posts. Right now I just need to get through the day.

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I am so sorry for your loss.  Losing your beloved dog can be one of the hardest losses there is.  I want to assure you that your grief will not stay in the same intensity as it is right now, although I can't tell you when it will lessen as that is different for all of us, our journeys are individual.  Our bodies are built in for survival, but I won't kid you, the pain of early grief can be tremendous, it seems to equal the love we shared.  You say you are widowed, do you remember the early grief you went through?  Yet somehow you've made it to today.  This is what you have to do all over again.  Take one day at a time, maybe even less if that feels too much.  Hearing that quiet is really hard.  All of the routines you shared, feeding her, walking her, etc.  It may help to talk about her, maybe share a picture...when you're ready.

I'm glad you had someone with you, someone to help you through this, to bury her, etc.  The link Marty shared with you is a good one and has a LOT of links to good articles about pet loss.  Maybe read one a day?

 

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Thanks for your reply. it is so good to "talk" to someone who understands. I think the upset in my routine is one of the hardest things. I don't get up and take Chaya out,  then feed her. I don't hear her walking around in the kitchen while I have coffee. I am so used to having to run errands in spurts so I can come home to take her out. I miss seeing her in the living room on her chair while I am watching TV.  The blanket I had on her chair is gone. It is wrapped around her in her casket and buried with her. I used to close my bedroom door when I was out so she didn't have an accident in there as she got older. I don't close it now and it feels so wrong. The house is so quiet and there is no one to talk to. I try to keep music on, but it's not the same.

I know I will get though this. If I made it through 2011 when I lost my father and husband within three months of each other, I can get through anything. But I feel so empty. I am so tired of people telling me to just get another dog. I don't want another dog. I want Chaya. I will never get another dog so I don't have to go through this again.

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It's amazing how they can become such a huge part of our lives.  I feel differently about getting another dog someday...no one will ever be like Arlie, I know that, but I have to have someone to love, share life with.  I don't want to let fear of grief stop me from living in the present.  Grief is a part of my life, I've accepted that, there is always someone I miss and it seems the older I get the MORE someones I am missing.  But I'll be with them again and that brings me comfort.  I pray the pain you are feeling right now diminishes into something more manageable...soon.  It's hard getting used to those routines being changed so abruptly, they become a huge trigger, for sure.

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On 5/16/2018 at 4:14 PM, bubbe said:

I will never get another dog so I don't have to go through this again.

That is one sure way to avoid the pain of loss, and it's completely understandable that you're feeling this way now. But the price you pay for taking that position forevermore is to deprive yourself of all the unconditional love and companionship that another animal companion can give to you. Give yourself time ~ all the time you need ~ to come to terms with this loss. The pain will diminish over time, and one day you'll find yourself remembering the love more than the pain, and the love is what you'll miss the most. It's then that you may decide differently about letting another dog into your heart and home. ❤️

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