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So Alone In My Heart

Willies mom

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Wow. I can't believe I'm going through this again. Two years ago, my sheltie, Eddie, passed away. He was 11 years young. I stay at home and watch my grandchildren so I am always home. When Eddie passed, I was devastated. I loved him so much and I know he loved me just as much. He was my buddy. Always by my side, giving me kisses, bringing me joy. I didn't think I would get over his loss. I had just brought home a golden (Lady)a year before he passed, and they were best of friends. It was so hard on her to lose her playmate and companion. I vowed to never again bring another dog home. I just couldn't hardly bear the loss or even the thought of another loss.

Then my brother had health problems. He had a black lab-jack russell mix named Willie. I welcomed Willie into our home thinking he would just be here temporarily. My brother ended up moving to Florida and leaving his dog here. He was here for 9 months. I fell in love with him. He kind of took Eddie's place in a way. I mean, I love my golden, and she's a sweetheart, but she's not as affectionate as Eddie and Willie were. Of course she's huge, so she can't sit on my lap, she's afraid of heights, so she can't sleep with me.

So I became extremely attached to Willie. He was my little man. We were together 24-7. He loved walks, playing ball, rough housing with Lady, and living his little life to the fullest. When he came here he was so healthy. It didn't ever cross my mind that he would be gone in less than a year.

After weekly visits to the vet for 2 months, we made the decision for the vet to open him up and try to find the problem. Willie was barely eating and had lost weight and I became concerned, hence the first visit to the vet. Those last two months were so hard on the both of us. He continued to lose an extreme amount of weight, but was still just as loveable and playful as ever. The vet called during the surgery and said he found a tumor the size of a racquetball ball. And that something was going on with his liver but he didn't know what. He recommended that we not wake Willie up from the surgery. I agreed with him. I didn't want Willie to suffer, and to be honest, his declining health had put me into such a depression, and I just couldn't bare to watch him die.

I feel so much guilt. I can't hardly stand it. About 2 months ago, Lady and Willie were in the house and my husband threw the tennis ball for them to fetch. He didn't know any better, I however, did. Lady is huge and Willie was just a little guy. She ran him over often in fetch, so I didn't play it with them together. Just one at a time. Well, of course they both made a mad dash for the ball, and Lady accidentally (with all of her weight) ran Willie into the corner of a large desk. Willie was really hurt. It took him several minutes to recover, and he ended up with a huge knot on his side. But, he began to play, eat, and act normally so I didn't worry too much. Within a week or two he quit eating and we began our visits to the vet. I did tell the vet what had happened but he didn't think that was the problem.

Looking back, I think it was the beginning of the end. I feel so guilty for not taking Willie to the vet immediately after it happened. This is just killing me inside. And, I still have to tell my brother that Willie is gone. I did let him know that Willie was not well, and about our visits to the vet. I am feeling so much sadness over losing Willie. I am overwhelmed with grief. My brother loved his dog every bit as much as I did. He had him for 10 years. My brother also suffers from mental problems, and isn't doing well right now, and I am so afraid this will push him over the edge. My daughter says I have to tell him. My friend says I should not tell him until I have to (if he visits here). I don't know what to do. If I tell him, I'm so afraid of how he'll react. If I don't tell him, I just constantly run through my mind how I will tell him and how he'll react.

I am controlling the crying somewhat (people think I'm crazy for being so upset), but inside I hurt so badly. Sometimes the tears just flow from crying so hard inside. I just don't know what to do. I miss my buddy so badly. I was so used to having him around every second. He never left my side. He was so full of love and expressed that love constantly. I just feel so alone, so alienated.

I have endured so many losses in my life. Lost my father at a young age, then lost my brother, then lost my twin sister the week after we turned 39, and then my mother passed just 5 years ago. I brought Eddie home after I lost my father and sister to help me with my grief. Then I lost Eddie. And although I still have a brother, he is mentally ill and he just isn't the same guy I grew up with, so in a way I've lost him too. I just don't know what I've done in my life to lose everyone I love so dearly. I still have my husband, my children, and of course Lady our golden retriever. But my children are grown, my husband works, and although I love Lady, she just isn't the companion that Eddie and Willie were. So, I feel alone and grief stricken. For a minute I seem to be coping ok and then all of a sudden it's like someone is pulling my heart out. And I am so angry about it all. It should have never happened.


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I am so sorry, he's such a beautiful sweet dog. Please don't wrack yourself with guilt though, you provided him with a lot of love and care and he knew you loved him. I'm sure the tumor had nothing to do with his getting injured, he likely would have died regardless and you spared him from having to go through more suffering. I can't tell you how to handle it but I lean towards telling your brother now rather than later...it will be hard no matter when news like this is delivered, but later on it might be harder for him. (((hugs)))

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Dear mom of Willie, I'm so sorry to learn of the unexpected death of your beloved dog, and you have our deepest sympathy. If you've read any of the other threads in this forum, you already know that you are among kindred spirits, all of whom know firsthand the pain of losing a cherished companion animal.

I appreciate your concern about breaking this sad news to your brother, but I think it's important that you do so as soon as possible. I wrote an article some time ago in response to a situation similar to yours, and I hope you'll take the time to read it, as I think it may speak to you as well: How Do We Tell Our Son That His Dog Has Died?

In the meantime, please know that we're all thinking of you in this challenging time, and sharing in your sorrow at the death of your very special friend.

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The loss of animal can be one of the greatest losses that we experience. They depend on us for everything and there is a very special bond between a loving owner and pet. I can totally relate to your feelings of guilt... I have felt guilty with all three of my animals that I lost over this past year and a half. I seriously didn't think I was going to live thru my first lost... it took months for me to feel "normal" again. The pain was worse than I have ever felt. I look back on all three animals and with each one I feel like I let them down. I should have done this, if only I would have know to do that, etc. The guilt is worse than the grief. Guilt is part of the grieving process, we all feel it to some extent and I think you are feeling it as bad as I was... you did everything you could... as soon as Willie stopped eating you took him to the vet. He had a couple of issues, a ball sized tumor and an issue with his liver... these things were not caused from Willie running into the desk.

This is easier said than done but you have to focus on everything that you did for Willie. You obviously loved him very much and what a lucky boy he was to have such a caring owner. He got to be with you 24/7, took him for walks, played ball with him. As you said he lived life to the fullest and that's all because of you.

I am sorry that you feel so lonely. It can be very lonely because a lot of people don't understand how devastating it can be to lose a pet, but we all know on this website, you are not alone.

I know my words probably don't help much but they do come from the heart. I hope and pray that you find peace soon.

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Hey Willies Mom,

Big love to you at such an horrendous time...I know you feel wretched but you absolutely did the best for Willie, & I'm sure, along with your vet, that the knock he took to his side is incredibly unlikely to have caused any trouble. Terriers are tough that way. I know how incredibly hard it is to be missing your little best friend. I have 2 Patterdale cross terriers, & 1 looks just like Willie, though I can't tell how big he was. If he was Jack Russell size look them up (Patterdale Terriers) & you may get a surprise .If I can find a pic of my ridiculously beloved beasts I'll post one, like you I love my animal whole heartedly & they have helped me through illness, & now the death of my Mum. I'm sure when either of them go I'll turn myself inside out trying to figure out what I could have done better...it's part of loss I think, so much swirled up emotion.

As to telling your brother...so hard, but pets do eventually die, no-matter how we are. You know your brother & how/when will be the 'best' time to tell him.

Again, so sorry for your losses, I don't get why our lives work out the way they do either sometimes.

Big hug



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It is so sad that the one thing we are guarenteed of dealing in life, we are not taught any tools for dealing with.

Just two hours ago, I learned that my best friend came home from work yesterday for find a dog that she had rescued was dead at the gate. She had had her to the vet and obviously he did not catch it either. She is in shock and we are caught up in the grief of a life hardly lived.

I owe my time as a Hospice of the Valley volunteer so much for coming to inderstand that there is so much emotion we wrap up in this thing called grief. There is shock that we didnt catch ___ (whatever) what seems so obvious after, there is guilt that we didnt do more, combined with guilt, or blame or ever shame at what ever we didnt to...

And even too unspoken, unexpressed grief at other events in our lives...we all pile it into a cup reserved for our pets.

Do not let the minutes of this death, cancel the wonderful years of life, thanks to you. Grief the loss of life as long as you need to, but dont forget those wonderful times too. How blessed was that life to find you, when so many go to the pound, die alone. Being with you is a gift to be treasured, especially in these troubled time. I am so gad that you came to give that life the gifts of you.

Love and hugs for the pain you are going through. I hope you find some comfoft in these words.


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Thanks your for your kindness. I am trying to focus on the good times, and there were many, but as soon as a good memory enters my head it is quickly followed by the memory of the look in his eyes, just pleading for me to help him. I know there was no other choice that I could make, but it doesn't ease the pain of his loss. I'm just trying to stay busy with anything and everything, and when I start to have sad thoughts I say to myself, Stop, don't go there. It does seem to help me stay in better control of my emotions. Thanks again for caring.

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Thank you for your thoughts. I will certainly take the time to read your article. Maybe it will help me with the huge task I have at hand. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this site. It has helped me to be able to write down my feelings and know that someone understands. I wish I would have found it when my twin sister died, and although it's been several years since she passed, I still feel grief in my heart and will be reading through the posts and offering my words of sympathy to others that are suffering as well.

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Thank you so much for your kind words. It's so nice to know that there are other people that understand what I am going through. I am trying very hard to focus on the good times. Grief is such a terrible thing. You'll have a minute when you think, things will be ok, and then just that quick you feel the pain hit. And you're right, they are our babies. We do everything for them, sometimes to a silly degree, but we receive so much love that it's all worth it. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

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Thanks for your words of encouragement. I know I need to tell my brother, and I will, but for now I can't because his phone service is off until the 1st of May and I can't just write him a letter. So I am breathing a very small sigh of relief that I don't have to tell him while I'm still so emotional.

I will look up Patterdale Terriers. I'm not positive of his breed, my brother guessed at it. But Willie looked very similar to your dog. He was small and weighed about 30-33 pounds when he was healthy. He had large floppy ears for his size and he was extremely intelligent. I miss him so much. He was always by my side. I used to laugh and say he was velcroed to my leg. He was a great companion.

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Thank you. I do have wonderful memories of him. Actually, all of my memories of him are happy ones, even during his sickness. I just didn't realize how little time we had left. The vet really felt something was stuck in his intestines, and although at first he mentioned cancer, he changed his mind over the 2 month period. So I had really become positive that all would be well. It was just such a shock for me, one I was not really prepared for.

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