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Unexpected Grief


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I guess I'm the first one to post a message in this category. I never thought in a million years, that I would feel such tremendous pain from losing a pet. It's been over a year now and I still remember the way I felt the day I put my dog down. He was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and we kept him on medication for 8 months, before he got to the point where I knew what had to be done for him. I remember telling people that I was prepared for the sadness and remembering the times I lost pets before him, I knew it would only take a few days to get over. Boy was I wrong. I think I may have just brushed aside the feelings while I cared for him and never dealt with any of it until after he was gone. I was with him when he took his last breath, but just couldn't look. I was afraid I would see something that would leave a lasting impression in my memory for the rest of my life. So I looked the other way and just held his head and when reality struck and he was gone, the emotion just poured out of me. It was actually scary, the way I found myself reacting. I think the vet was even a little shocked.

On the ride home, I cried harder than I have ever cried in my life. Never even knew I could sound that way. I was afraid to walk into my empty house and face life without him. He was such a big part of my life and it never dawned on me what things would be like there alone. It was such a horrible feeling, I just knew I had so much pain to deal with in the days or weeks or months to follow. I couldn't do anything but cry.

Well things got a little better, then they got worse, then better, then worse and eventually after making a lot of new friends on line who shared my pain, I started seeing more positive days, than negative ones. I finally got myself in the frame of mind where I could consider getting another dog, which to me, was the only way I could fill that big empty space in my heart.

Now, a year later, I have my new dog and I had to get another one too! I guess the empty space he left was too big for just one dog, I don't know.

But they are definitely helping in that respect. They have their own personalities, which I am already in love with and naturally, I dread the day I lose them as well, but for me, it's worth it just to have them.

I still miss my first dog and I think he will always be that one special soul mate everyone talks about. There are so many things I wish I could do over again with him. It's such a shame that we can't appreciate things near as much as we do when they are gone.


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I can relate to the feelings of grief you experienced when you lost your dog. I lost my horse, Domingo, very suddenly to a heart attack 11 months ago. He was only 10 years old and so his death shocked the hell out of me. He was my baby, a planned baby, born in our barn in April 2002. How could he be dead? The grief I felt left me stunned. My whole world stopped. The passing of time is healing, though, and so is finding people online who truly understand. Just to fast-forward to now.........its a long story but we have a pregnant mare in our corral now, due to give birth in May 2004. The thought of a new youngster to raise has given me a reason to smile again.

Jenn, I'm glad you got two new dogs to fill your life. Its a real tribute to your other dog, how wonderful he was, that you would want to fill your life with more dogs.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi Patty and Mini Doxie Mom,

What great news to hear about your new babies!

When I was a teenager, getting into all sorts of trouble,

I got drunk one night with my friends and woke up the

next day with a terrible hangover. My dad thought it was

funny and offered me a beer, just to see me turn green!

It was the first time I heard the expression "Hair of the

dog that bit you". He was kidding of course, but I never

forgot the expression.

Although not applicable in any way to our grief, it always

comes to mind when I hear about people who get new pets

after losing one. When you think about it, the expression

is quite fitting. With a positive attitude and courage, you

can get over the hurdle and learn to love another pet, not

in place of, but in addition to the one you lost. The happy

times with any pet will always outweigh the sad.

Patty, I never realized a horse was pregnant for a whole

9 months! What an amazing thing to look forward to.

It's gotta be pretty darn close to having your own. How

exciting, my goodness, I'm just trying to picture a horse

in her ninth month of pregnancy. Don't forget about us

with all the updates.

When I walk my dogs, we see some horses in their stables

and I think I've mentioned this to you before, but what

does it mean when they stand there looking at you, then

bob their head up and down? Does it bother them to have

someone standing there, staring at them from a distance?

One in particular, seems to have such charm. I can imagine

how much a person could fall in love with one of these beautiful

creatures. I guess I am a bit partial to large pets.

Of course, those mini doxies are pretty darn cute too. smile.gif


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  • 6 years later...

I can really relate to what Jenn said here in that She was surprised at her outpouring of grief. On this same day of her post I lost my dearest friend in the world, my cat Sissy, in the early hours of the morning and that is what brought me here to this forum. I am really, really sorry Jenn--and I think that, though we have many pets in our lives, some of them just 'get to us' more than others. Sissy was just like a sister to me. She knew me and could read my moods, she knew when I was troubled, she knew how to get me out of my sadness....and the love we had was very, very tender. She was so beautiful. I thought that she would live a long life as many of my cats have. I was astonished when she died suddenly at only thirteen years of age. I didn't even know that she was sick. She showed no signs and the vet found no concerns in the last year. Sometimes animals just like people have complications out of nowhere. And I am stunned...and when she died, like Jenn, I cried a primal wailing cry holding her in my arms and rocking back and forth with her and calling out her name and calling out to God. She was so still..and still beautiful in her stillness...and I knew that she was not there any more....and I cried like a child. It was pouring raind outside and had not stopped for days. It let up a moment about dawn, and I went out and made her a grave and burried her there. I wrapped her in a beautiful scarf my parnter gave her and put a beautiful Italian cut glass cross about her neck, and I tucked my favourite earings in the grave next to her because they were her favourite too. She liked to bat at them when sitting on my chest -_- and I never want to wear them again without her. I am wearing her tag on a chain next to my heart. I cannot stop looking for her. I think she will come out of one of her hiding places at any moment---and it is so strange, and I remember that she will not come again. I cannot get my head around this...and I don't know if I ever will. Thank you Jenn for your post, and for letting me share also.

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Sissy's Mom,

I hear and feel your grief and want to tell you I am so sorry you lost your best friend. That is how I felt about my Chappy, and now I have a dog Arlie that means the world to me...when the time comes that his life is over, it's going to kill me, I literally do not know how I'll be able to take it. I thank God for the privilege of having these special creatures in our lives, it's amazing the bonds we can share. I wish for sunny days to come again for you soon.

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