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Still Grieving


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On November 21, 2005 we brought Zephyr into the vet to have him put down. He was almost 13-1/2 years old. The year before he had developed a choking problem that caused him fainting spells that were extremely scary to both ourselves and him. The vet though it might be a growth that on occasion blocked the air to his lungs but that an operation would most certainly kill him. He prescribed Theodure to aid in openin his breathing passages and it really helped, so well that he didn't seem to need the medication through the fall and winter.

We were able to celebrate his 13th birthday in July and were optimistic that we'd probably be spending this past July with both our dogs. Late August the choking problem returned and I put Zephyr back on Theodure, but he seemed worn and not feeling well. He was running a low fever and the vet put him on antibiotics. Rather than rebound his appetite decreased and we brought him back for blood work and more antibiotics.

His blood work came back perfectly normal but the antibiotics just didn't seem to help. He seemed to be having trouble chewing and swallowing so I began grinding up his food. For awhile he would eat at least one meal a day then stopped. I started cooking for him ... his appetite still didn't return to normal. During his last weeks with us he was only eating baby food if that. Then the Sunday before he left us we let him enjoy laying on the front lawn under his favorite bush. He didn't eat that night and Monday we knew it was time ... He went peacefully in my arms at the vets. With him he took a peice of my heart.

Being able to explain to Odin our other Aussie where his life long companion had gone was hard. Having Odin there was truly a comfort. But here it is a year later and while we now have a lovely year old pup I can't seem to get over greiving Zephyr. I know he is at peace and no longer suffering. But I cant stop missing him

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Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your furbaby, Zephyr, and sympathy for your continuing grief. But I'd like to let you know that this is normal and isn't anything you should be worried about. You have lost a family member, someone who you shared an important relationship with, and there IS no 'getting over' such losses, only a gradual acceptance and getting used to his physical absence in your life. The fact that Zephyr seemed to be doing better, but then more suddenly declined means that your experience of his passing may feel more like a sudden death, even though he had a preexisting condition, and this may play a factor in how long your grief hangs around in a more intense manner. On the other hand, your grief may just last as long as it's going to last regardless, and that's only an individual thing.

If it helps you, know that with the passing of my Sabin, it took me about 3 years to work through the most intense parts and although it's so very hard to continue feeling so badly, giving myself permission to grieve as long as it took ME ( when those around me were getting impatient with my process ) was the single most helpful thing I ever did for myself. Even after the 3 years, I suffered still with great guilt over certain things and it was another 2 years before I could lay that to rest.

But the missing part?...we ALWAYS miss our loved ones, usually for the rest of our time here. How could we NOT? We loved them and didn't want to see them go out of our lives, even if that isn't 'realistic' or practical thinking. Grief isn't meant to be rational...else it wouldn't be grief! It is what it is, as our feelings are what our feelings are. The missing only gets more manageable and liveable, but everyone's timetable for when this happens is individual. You needn't feel you have to beat yourself up for this. Me, I could still go on for hours talking about my Sabin and our life together, and still shed tears, as I'm sure I'll always do. Right now I'm in the early phases of grief over his sister, Nissa, who we just lost 2 months ago as of yesterday, and I expect nothing much different in the length of time it will take me to get used to her absence...and maybe even longer, as she was with us for close to 20 years, unlike Sabin's 13. But even length of time doesn't necessarily mean anything. It's the LOVE BOND that affects how much we grieve over someone and how much they're missed. Most of us are just waiting for OUR time to cross, so we can be reunited with our beloveds once again and take some comfort from knowing that each day without them is one day closer to that great reunion.

If you need people to talk to about your mourning, you've come to a good place. It's safe here to do so, no matter HOW long it's been.

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Thanks so much Meylissa for your kind words. I guess there are dogs in one's life you never really forget or stop missing. Zephyr will probably be one of those. Having lost a dog before him I thought I would be able to get through this and be healed by now. But there are days when I still cry. I know time heals and maybe this time it's just going to take longer. Having had Nissa for 20 years I would imagine it will take a long while to get through your grieving process. I will always feel blessed that Zephyr was with us for 13 plus years. A good age for most Australian Sheperds ... so many of them don't make it to 13.

What makes it a little easier to bear is I still have my Odin. He's 11 now and thankfully very healthy and active for his age. Then there is the little pup that chose me just before this past Christmas. Three weeks after Zephyr's death I went to see a litter of pups with Odin and Zephyr's breeder. She was looking for a new pup to show and to fill the void of having lost her "heart" dog Odin's half sister a year before

I wasn't ready for a puppy just then... I had planned to wait till this past spring ... but this little blue merle pup with blue eyes broke away from her litter mates and jumped against my leg ... she came home with me a week later.

I will always believe and feel that this pup was a gift from Zephyr (who also had blue eyes and a blue merle coat)... I think he knew how much we would miss him and he must have whispered in her ear and told her to pick me.

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