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Posts: 13
Hello everyone, 

I posted in here a few days ago with the title, "I am in pain." I have since made some decisions on what to do. 

Long story short is that we had to put our 11 year old dog, Patches, to sleep on March 30, 2019. Our vet suggested waiting at least 1 full year before thinking about getting another dog. My therapist suggested getting one asap to help us through the grieving process. I listened to my therapist and we adopted a terrier mix puppy on Saturday, April 27th. His name is Jackson. 

As soon as we brought Jackson home, I cried. The reality set in and I felt like I had made a huge mistake. I talked to my parents and boyfriend about it and my mom said that she still needed time to grieve the loss of Patches, but since I wanted a dog so badly she gave in. I tried to feel excited about the new puppy, but I just couldn't do it. Patches was in our lives from puppyhood right up until we had to say goodbye. I tried to be excited while thinking about going to the park or the beach with Jackson, but as soon as I saw him, it hit me like a truck that Patches is never coming back. 

I tried to rush the grieving process and it backfired. I don't feel anything towards Jackson whatsoever. With Patches, our connection was immediate. I understand that sometimes it takes time to bond and work up to that point, but I don't have the energy or will to do that. I'm physically and mentally exhausted. I thought that having another dog would force me to get out of the house more, but it's just making me feel worse. Whenever I think about taking him for a walk or to the park, I get upset. The only dog I want to take care of and love is Patches, but he's gone. I feel angry and frustrated and I just want my boy back. 

We took Jackson to the vet on Monday night for a checkup. We were very open and honest with our vet and told him that we wish we listened to his advice. He comforted us and told us that there was nothing to worry about. He told us to get in contact with the rescue group to see what can be done. Then he told us that whenever we're ready, he'd love to help us through the process of getting another dog whether it's a year from now or whenever. He told us that he'd walk us through everything and help us with every step of the way. His tech actually fell in love with Jackson from the moment she saw him. He seemed to really connect with her as well. When she was taking down our info, he was standing on the exam table next to her. He walked up to her and put his front paws on her shoulders and rested his head on her chest while she wrote everything down. That night, I sent a very honest email to the rescue group where I explained everything. They texted me the next morning and were very understanding of the situation. They've been trying to get in contact with the vet tech, but they called on her day off. I'm really hoping that she's willing and able to take Jackson because I know that she'd make a wonderful owner to an amazing little dog. 

We just need more time. There are so many different ideas that I have to memorialise Patches and once we got Jackson I felt like I ran out of time. It's going to take me a long time to be at peace and accept that he's gone. I read that it's recommended you get another dog once the memories make you smile instead of cry. I'm nowhere near that point yet and it's so difficult to see any light at the end of this. All I can see is darkness. I miss my buddy so much. We were best friends and I feel so lost. It's too difficult going through life without him and I don't know if I'll ever be okay again. 

If we were ready to welcome that little guy into our lives, he would be our perfect match. I knew deep down that I wasn't ready, but I wanted to be. I kept trying to convince myself that getting another dog was the right thing to do, but it just wasn't. Jackson deserves a family that can give him everything. We're not emotionally available to do that right now and it's not fair to him. We keep accidentally calling him Patches. I'm trying to be very careful to not do it, but I can feel myself starting to say it especially when I'm leaving the house or saying goodnight. "Patches" is a name that I will be wanting to say forever. 

I read a book about signs from the afterlife, and I have one titled, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates." Are there any other books on grief and pet loss that you can recommend? Thank you in advance. 

Posts: 25
Reading this update reveals you are healing slowly as you recognized what was in the best interest of Jackson and not yourself. That was very selfless decisions, and you can"t ask for anymore. I’m lost my buddy back in Dec and I felt like you, as I was so lost and in pain of missing him. For the first few days I cried, and talked about him. When no one was around I looked at the photo of him and I would talk to him. In my talks, I would focus, cry and laugh at the great times we shared.

The talking was very therapeutic as I realized my buddy lived a full live. Unfortunately, age catches up with everyone. Go with your emotions.There will be times, you have this great feeling of being at peace, then out of nowhere you be hit with a powerful memory, causing you to cry all over again. Your journey toward peace will be a road of ups and downs. Just keep moving forward and process the feelings and not fight it.

Just as you wanted the best for your buddy, he was just as selfless as you, and would want you to have a great life. When you are ready to share your life with another lucky dog, sit with him, walk him and talk to him about the great memories you have. This way you won"t put pressure on your new dog to have the personality as your buddy. Your new dog will not understand a word you are saying but will enjoy the time you are spending to together. Hopefully, you sharing your experiences will help create a strong mutual bond.

Posts: 13

Thank you for the kind words & I am very sorry about your buddy. 

I do that too! We have pictures of Patches all over our house and I'll always stop to look at them and talk to him. Every night, I sit in bed and look at his collar and picture on my nightstand. I'll sit and talk to him about my day, our memories, as well as my hopes and dreams. It helps to talk to him, even though he isn't physically with us anymore. 

That happens to me with my emotions. I'll go from feeling at peace with it then a few minutes later I'll be crying my eyes out feeling like I could have done more. Our vet told us that we need to take things one day at a time and eventually the hurt will turn into wonderful memories. 

When we got Jackson, I spent the first two nights trying to bond with him but I just couldn't do it. I sat with him and cuddled and told him all about Patches and our lives together. I read that it was supposed to help develop a connection and make a deeper bond, but it just made me upset and missing my boy even more. 

I just needed more time. My cousin and her family are coming to pick up Jackson from us tonight at 6pm. I feel sad thinking about having to let him go, but I also need some time to myself to focus on my own emotions. I can barely take care of myself right now, never mind having to care for another little creature. I cleaned my room for the first time yesterday in about 2 months. I had to dig through a mess to get to my laptop and it got to a point where it was very overwhelming and making me very anxious so I finally cleaned. I feel a little bit better. I also struggle with career choices and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'm graduating community college in 2 weeks and I have no idea what I want to do with life. I need to focus on myself for right now. If Patches was still alive I wouldn't be feeling so terrible, but having to take care of a brand new puppy is exhausting and I don't have it in me to care for him the way he needs. 

Posts: 13
UPDATE 5/9/2019 

Okay everyone, I have another update. 

Today at 6:15pm, my cousin's fiance came to my house with her mom and grandma to adopt Jackson from us. They renamed him Jax. We have never seen him so excited before. The daughter (my cousin's fiance) walked in first, then her mom, then her grandma. I had jackson on the leash and he was wagging his tail like crazy. When the grandma walked through the door, he ran as fast as he could towards her and jumped up onto her and kissed her everywhere. It was nice to see him so excited. 

Here's the thing though... He was acting so completely off all day. He was so out of his element. He has been very very good with the potty training these past 2 weeks and I've been taking him out of his playpen to run around and play with all of his toys. Today was a whole other story. Last night, my boyfriend and I hung out with Jackson but he was kind of off the wall and ran around everywhere and was nipping at us a lot more than usual. Then today, he was even worse. I took him outside and he peed and pooped. I sat down on the couch and he stayed by me for a bit and then ran off. I went to go find him and checked upstairs first but he wasn't there. I went downstairs and saw a nice little pile of poop on the carpet. I put him back into his playpen and cleaned it up. I took him back outside a few minutes later and he peed. Then I let him off the leash once we got inside and I went to the kitchen to grab some food. I sat down on the couch with a roll and Jackson came running over. He's too small to jump onto the couch, but he dug his nails into my sweatpants and pulled himself up. He jumped onto my face and tried to take the food right out of my hands. I have never ever fed him table food in the 2 weeks we've had him. I got up and walked away to finish my food in peace. I played with him for a bit then went to get a yogurt. He did the same thing and kept barking and screaming at me for him to give him some food, but I ignored him. Not even 5 seconds later, he ran over to the carpet and peed. I put him back into the playpen and cleaned it up. I took him outside to pee a few minutes later then played with him outside the pen for a bit. I was throwing the rope around and we played tug of war. He went over to the crate filled with toys, but decided to pee on the rug instead. He kept eye contact with me while he did it too. I put him back into the playpen and didn't let him back out until he ate dinner at 5:45pm.

Something got into him and I'm not sure what it was. We've been transitioning him to a new food, but I strongly believe that it was the work of our beloved Patches. One of the many lessons Patches taught me is patience. We rushed into getting another dog, barely a month after his passing, and he was probably thinking "what the heck are they doing?!" I believe that he has a plan for us and is trying to tell me, "hey buddy, be patient. I have the perfect friend for you, but Jackson isn't the right one." I think that Patches knew how upset I was going to be to have to let another dog go, so that's why he had Jackson act out like that. It got me so annoyed and frustrated and I felt kind of relieved to send him to his forever home. I don't believe that Jackson was meant for us. 

When my boyfriend and I were shopping for puppy supplies a few days before picking up Jackson, I cried. I cried in the middle of the store because I was so sad and overwhelmed. He asked me if I felt like I was making a mistake, but I said no. Deep down I knew that I had messed up, but I didn't want to admit it because I had already made a commitment and didn't want to break my promise to myself, Jackson, and the rescue group. Once Jackson and his new family drove off, I felt very sad. I went inside and helped my dad take the playpen apart and clean everything else up. When I looked at the empty living room, even though I was upset, it felt right. It felt right for there to be an open space and it felt right for the toys to be put away and the playpen to be gone. I was also able to bring Patches' little blue music box back up to my room and put it where it belongs. I feel only a little bit more whole now that I have that piece of him back. Jackson loved the music on the memory card, but I couldn't possibly give it up. It helped Patches calm down at night and be less anxious. Since he went blind, it helped him orient himself in the house and figure out what room he was in. The playpen and new dog were a reminder that my best friend is gone. Whenever I saw the playpen, it was like this jarring presence that really messed me up. It was a giant sign that was saying, "HEY. HEY BUDDY. YOUR DOG IS DEAD." But now that it has been packed away, I feel kind of peaceful. The house is quiet, but I feel like it should be. We're still grieving and mourning the lost of our beloved Patches, and having a lot of commotion felt wrong. 

I miss Jackson, but it's only a faint pain. The pain I feel whenever I think about Patches is so strong and so fresh that it feels like we put him to sleep just yesterday. I keep getting flashbacks from that dreaded day and it sends me into a panic. We have pictures of him all over the house and I always stop to talk to him. I framed 2 small pictures to take with me to work, and now I can see him throughout the day as well. It helps me a lot. 

Having to give Jackson up was difficult, but I need to focus on myself for right now. I'm emotionally unavailable and I feel terrible about it. Jackson bonded and formed a connection with us, but it was one-sided. I love him, but I love dogs in general. It was more like the love I feel towards a friend's dog and not my own. I love that they exist and they're cute and funny and playful, but I'm not currently able to care for him. I feel terrible, but our vet kept telling us that we aren't bad people or bad pet owners. I picked up a copy of Jackson's med records from the vet and I saw it in writing. He wrote it down in the charts and it was nice to read and see it in writing that we aren't bad people for our decision regarding Jackson. 

Please don't be mean to me in the replies. I'm having a very hard time right now and I don't know what to do. I want honesty, but please be nice about it. I can't handle people being mean to me right now.

Posts: 25
Hi Patches0330,

I’ve had a rough 36 hours where I was so numb, I felt little to no emotions. Only now I’m slowly feeling again. The first words that come to mind from your story is the lyrics from the song "human." I’m only human. You’re only human and before you can care for someone else you first have to care for yourself. One chapter is closing in your life and part of that chapter consisted of Patches. You are about to start a new chapter that is both exciting and terrifying at times.

This new chapter will require you be selfish at times. I mean selfish in a healthy form as in putting yourself first. You will need to do so as you are graduating and will venture into a new career. This will be a trying period with additional responsibilities, including for your own physical and financial welfare. I wish you the best in your future endeavours. Most likely, this will consist of a period of adjusting including trail and error, or we can reframe that as a learning opportunity and experience. This may not be the best time to adopt another dog, which you are starting to realize. You were in so much pain, that it is no surprise adopting a new dog seemed like the right choice. In some cases it works out fine and at times it doesn’t. I would not classify this as a mistake as you put a great effort in finding Jackson not just any home, but rather a loving home. Patches would be so proud of you as you knew what was best for yourself and now Jax.

With respect to Jax, reframe your experience to something more healthy such as you were his foster parent until he could be permanently adopted into a home that will provide him an opportunity to bond with his new family and feel the unconditional love, that Patches was lucky to experience. Since, he is still a young pup, he will adapt quickly to his new home. Don’t be so hard on yourself as you did what was best for Jackson.

Posts: 13

I don't feel like I'm ready to go onto the next chapter. I keep looking for him and expecting him to be right around the corner or lying by my bed in the morning... but he isn't. It breaks me every time. 

I decided on taking more classes in the fall, and possibly trying to get into the sonography program at my school. It will take a lot of work, but now I have the time to dedicate to that. I hope that it works out, otherwise I don't know what I will do. 

I'm trying to see it that way... In the way that we fostered him. I still feel bad though, especially if the new family can't handle his craziness. I don't want him to have any behavioural issues as he gets older, and I don't want him to become a very anxious dog with separation anxiety. I might get to see him tomorrow at the Mother's Day party. That will be bittersweet. 

Posts: 101
No replies on this forum should ever be harsh.  You gave Jackson a good intermediate home and then found him a loving home.  You weren't ready and that's okay.  Maybe you were mean't to help this puppy not go to the wrong home (if he'd been adopted by someone else) but be the one helped Jackson find the right one.  

Good for you to take classes, it will be a lot of work but it'll be worth it.  You can do it😉


Posts: 9
Im sorry for your loss. Your sharing helped. I wasn't sure when would be the right time to open my heart again after losing my heart and soul Roxy (11 years she passed a couple days ago). I think ill take the time to grieve go through all the emotion cause it hurts so bad right now.
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