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SaraW946

Lost my dog two days ago

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Two days ago, my beloved Aussie of 11 years died at age 13+. Devastated doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I feel terrible, and the irrational guilt is even greater. There was nothing I could have done, and I offered him every chance to treatment I could. He was suffering, so I consented to euthanasia. What is killing me inside is the knowledge I will never see him again because I cannot believe in anything or any afterlife. The pain of losing him was so unbearable that it physically hurt. Indeed, I have been crying for him more than I cried for any other person, including my parents and my best friend. He marked the beginning of a great change in my life, for the better but under a lot of stress, and now his death marks the end of an era and the beginning of another. The void he left in my heart is enormous, as  matter of fact, part of me died with him. I don't know how to go on and have to learn again.

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My dear, there isn't a person among us ~ in this particular forum, at least ~ who doesn't understand the depth and breadth of your pain. The relationships we have with our animals is different from those that we have with people, and so is the grief we feel when we lose them.

If you are willing and able to concentrate enough to do so, I encourage you to do a bit of reading about the grief that accompanies the loss of a cherished animal companion. It will serve to explain what you are feeling and why. It will reassure you that you are normal and help you to feel less "crazy" in your reactions. It will offer some suggestions for how you might better cope with your grief. And it will help you to feel less alone in your pain. See, for example, these articles ~ and note that many additional resources are listed at the base of each:

Pet Loss: Is It a Different Kind of Grief?

Pet Loss: Why Does It Hurt So Much?

Common Myths, Misconceptions about Pet Loss

Is Pet Loss Comparable to Loss of a Loved One?

Guilt In The Wake of A Euthanasia Decision

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I am very sorry for your loss, such wonderful dogs, I know of nothing harder to go through.

I won't try to tell you what to believe, but it helps sometimes to consider the possibilities of just "what if"...there's a whole lot we don't know about what happens after one dies, but as someone who has literally died twice and been brought back by medical personnel, I can only share my experiences.  The first time my kids were young, I was donating blood, my blood pressure was borderline high they said but they went ahead and took it anyway.  They lost me.  I remember looking down on my body while they were working on me.  Everyone was frantic but me.  I remember seeing a tunnel of light, it was peaceful and alluring.  But I saw my kids, they were white with fear, I couldn't leave them, I still had work to do.  When I decided that, I went back into my body.  The second time was just 4 1/2 years ago, I was undergoing an operation.  They'd over-anesthetized me and my heart stopped on the operating table.  They gave me chest compressions to restart my heart...later in recovery, my heart kept stopping over and over again for two hours.  Again the light and the tunnel, and it felt so peaceful and alluring to just let go and go towards it.  The nurses kept yelling at me to breathe, over and over, I'd try but it was so hard, but then I thought of my special needs dog and then 20 year old cat, and I fought hard to stay with all of my strength.  I made it through once more so I could be here for them.  

I realize hearing someone else's account doesn't change how you feel, just relaying what I experienced and why I have hope of being with my dearly departed husband and the pets and others I have lost.

Marty gave you some very good articles and I hope what you get out of them are that you are not alone in what you are feeling.  You're not crazy, this is normal in grief.  The pain will lessen in intensity so gradually as to seem imperceptible, but eventually you'll look back on this day and realize you've come a ways in adjusting, it won't always stay in this intensity, thankfully, I don't think we could handle it if it did.  When that will happen I can't say, for we're all individual in our timeline and journey, just that it will.

Sending your thoughts of comfort and peace.  (((hugs)))

 

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Thank you very much for your replies, they really make me feel a little better. One of the problems I am having right now is with some well-meaning friends, who don't get what it means to live with a dog, then lose him, and they try to console me by strongly suggesting I never, ever again get close to an animal. They just don't get it. I have had some issues in my life, and when I got this dog, my life entered a period of normalcy which has lasted until now, for over 10 years. He marked the beginning of that era, and now he is gone, so I sort of see myself as I was back then, only I have grown since then. The feeling is very strange. It's like a chapter in my life has closed, and I need to change radically, moving on to the next one. At this point, I am on meds to help me cope, and I am wearing black clothes. I come from a culture where we used to do it for close relatives, and even that custom is less in use nowadays. Yet, I feel, I must wear mourning for longer than I did for my parents. I don't know what to think. I guess I am totally incoherent.

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Sara,

I understand, I dread the day my current dog goes...I've always had one, but they aren't all the same, the one I have now is my soulmate in a dog.  I know your heart is broken and there's nothing appeasing it.  It takes time to even process it, let alone begin to adjust, meanwhile it hurts so much and nothing to fill that gap.  I wish only some peace and comfort come your way.

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Thanks. I do have another dog, whom I got three years ago because my original dog was already getting old, and I knew that I would go crazy if he died and I had no dog. I think I have wronged the second dog. Although I take care of him, I feel like I don’t even know him because I was so focused on the other one. And yes, I understand what you mean by soulmate of a dog. He was that. 

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Maybe your relationship will improve with your remaining dog.  I also felt that way with my Lucky because I was going through a horrid marriage/breakup when she died.  I feel I didn't properly grieve her with everything going on in my life then.  I hope she knows how much I love and appreciate her, she was such a good girl.

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