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Pet Loss


daffodil24

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I HAD TO PUT TO SLEEP MY 13YR OLD FEMALE POODLE AND MY 18YR OLD MALE POODLE YESTERDAY. I FEEL SO EMOTIONAL I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. MY 13YR OLD HAD KIDNEY FAILURE AND WAS REALLY GOING DOWN FAST AND MY MALE HAS BEEN WITH HER THROUGH A LOT HE HAD CATARACTS AND COULD NOT HEAR AND SEVERE ARTHRITIS IT TOOK 5 MINUTES JUST TO LAY DOWN. I FEEL THE BEST PART OF MY LIFE IS GONE. I AM 37 YR OLD AND CAN NOT HAVE CHILDREN AND THESE WERE MY KIDS WE DID EVERYTHING TOGETHER AND NOW I AM JUST WANDERING AROUND LOST ANY SUGGESTIONS TO HELP ME GET THROUGH THIS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. MY MOTHER CALLED AND SAID WE HAVE AN APPT. TO GO LOOK AT NEW BABIES AT 11:00 SAT. I WENT OFF ON HER I DO NOT THINK I COULD. I WOULD SMOTHER IF I HAD TO LOOK AT NEW BABY PUPS RIGHT NOW. SHE THINKS I AM REDICULOUS. THANKS DAFFODIL24

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How awful for you to have lost both your precious poodles at once; I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling, and how empty your home and heart must feel without those cherished fur babies beside you.

Although there is nothing I can say to make this any easier for you, I would like to share some thoughts with you.

First, what you are feeling is normal. Grief is not a pathological condition; rather it is a normal response to the loss of someone we love. How you're reacting to the loss of these two darling poodles depends on how attached you were to them, on your relationship with them, and on the role that they played in your life. Notice how you say that since you cannot have children these little ones were like your kids and you did everything together; that right now it feels as if the best part of your life is gone. It's only natural that, when we lose that which we love the most, we feel the overwhelming pain of loss. No matter who or what we love, the greater the love, the worse the pain feels when we lose the object of our love. Grief is indifferent to the species lost, and your loss of these two poodles is worthy of the grief you are experiencing now.

I’m not at all surprised to learn that you “went off”on your mother for arranging for you to go look at poodle puppies right away, even as you are in the very midst of grief. You might want to explain to your mother that you haven’t yet had an opportunity to grieve the ones you’ve so recently lost. You can tell her that grief takes an enormous amount of energy, and you don’t have a lot of emotional energy left over right now to place onto another puppy. It wouldn’t be fair to you and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to the new puppy.

There are very good reasons why you may be reluctant to go out and obtain another puppy right away. For one thing, you know that if you allow yourself to love another dog, you certainly don’t want to have to go through all this pain again at some future point when that dog dies, too. I can tell you that the one sure way to avoid repeating the pain you're feeling now is to decide never to love like that again. Yet you know (in your head, if not your heart) that whenever we take a companion animal into our lives, sooner or later we are going to lose that animal, simply because the life span of a dog is so much shorter than our own. We like to think our animals will be with us forever, but deep down we know that cannot be. This reality is very hard for us to accept when we are confronted with the death of our cherished animals. Far better that we acknowledge that harsh reality when we opt to bring an animal into our lives in the first place. Grief is the price we pay for loving our animals so much. You cannot grieve deeply unless you’ve loved just as deeply.

What also often stands in the way of our loving another pet is our sense of loyalty to the ones who just died. We confuse loving another animal with "replacing" the ones we've lost, and you may think no one could replace the precious poodles that you lost. It feels like an act of disloyalty, a violation of your dogs’ memory, an intrusion. After all, no other poodles could be like the ones you’ve just lost. No other dogs will have their unique qualities, nor should you expect them to. Instead of viewing your next puppy as a "replacement", try to think of him or her as making a new friend, one that you will learn about and come to love over time. Remember, too, that we humans have an infinite capacity to love.

Think about what your poodles wanted from life, and what they would want for you now. One of the most endearing things about our animals is that they just want us to be happy. If death takes them away from us, once we've expressed and worked through our sorrow over losing them, wouldn't they want us to be happy once again, and to open our hearts to other animals in need of all our love? Some folks are so full of love that they can always find another chamber in their hearts to accommodate another precious animal -- others could never do that -- and still others discover that it's not so much that they go looking for another animal, but another animal just seems to find them when the time is right. Let your own heart be your guide. No one knows you better than you do.

But if the day ever comes that you decide you’re ready to get another poodle, go ahead and do it. If you want to try a totally different breed of dog, that’s okay, too. I happen to believe that there is nothing wrong with wanting another dog to have characteristics as similar as possible to those of the ones we've loved and lost. Good heavens, that's why breeders work so hard to preserve the best qualities that distinguish their dogs from everyone else's! There is nothing wrong with being partial to a particular type of dog! That's why some people like Chihuahuas and others like Great Danes! (I happen to have a Tibetan terrier now, and I know that when Beringer joins all my other fur babies at the Rainbow Bridge some day, eventually I will want another Tibetan, simply because before I got him I researched the breed and he turned out to be exactly what I wanted him to be, based on what I had read about Tibetan terriers. To me, his breed is the best in the entire universe, and I would never settle for anything else. If I cannot have another Beringer, at the very least I can have another Tibetan terrier!)

I hope this information is helpful to you, my friend, and I hope that others will offer suggestions of their own. Animal people are very special folks, and I’m so glad you found your way to this forum where I know you will find the comfort and understanding you deserve. Grief is very hard work, but you need not do it all alone.

Wishing you peace and healing,

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