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Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #1 
Hi,

I am new to the forum because sadly I lost my best friend doggy Bandit on Sunday 3/1/15.  He was 17 1/2 so I know he had a great, long life but I am overcome with grief and cannot stop crying over him.  I knew deep down he didn't have much longer because of his age but I really felt he was gonna stick around until summer time.  I was looking forward to winter ending and the weather getting better and having him outside more and spoiling him with more treats.  This is one of the many things I feel guilty about - not being able to have him outside in the nice weather.  

As far as his passing away,  he had been peeing in the house for well over a year and it got to the point where doggie diapers didn't work anymore because he would just pee lying down and the pee would get in his fur.  It was a daily routine to place him in the laundry tub up to five times a day to clean his fur for him from all the pee.  He also exhibited other signs of age such as slow movement, of which I gave him pills for joint/arthritis pain.  He also had what the vet thought was congestive heart failure so he was on water retention pills for about 8 months.  He never cried in pain until the weekend of his death and he died at home in my arms.  It was shocking to me that he died over the weekend since besides his peeing issue and slow movement, things seemed on par.

Since his life ended my life has been unbearable with guilt.  I keep thinking that since I knew he was old I should have just quit my job and spent all day holding and petting him or I'll think if I had just stayed home with him instead of going to that movie that would have been more quality time and it goes on and on. I almost feel like I should have just locked myself in my house 24/7 and dedicated every moment to him.  Is it normal to feel that we should have smothered them with love to the point of not doing anything else we normally do everyday?  Has anyone else felt that regret where if we would have just spent that extra amount of time with them before they died we could feel better?  Just one more good day of spending with only our beloved pet.

 My job is primarily working from home so I was in the same home with him but there is guilt that since I was in the house with him I should have been just focused on him and not work or all of life's other daily things.  For example, as I would sit typing I could see him lying down for rest, but if I had just crawled over there and layed with him for a few minutes…this guilt of I wish I would have done this or that…Any help about this would be greatly appreciated.










Fionasmum

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Posts: 730
 #2 
If grief is a normal part of living then guilt is surely the worst part of this grief for many people here.

Guilt is a liar. It tells you things that aren't true because in your vulnerable state you need to conjure up reasons why you feel such despair rather than face the terrible, awful finality of loss. Guilt delays this grief, and you find yourself viewing very single action you ever took with Bandit through a single, consistently punishing lens. Every missed walk, every cross word, every movie you ever watched suddenly becomes a sword stabbing you in the heart because it must've taken time away from him or unsettled him or caused him some distress.

So, if you're looking for evidence of what a terrible person you are you must stop because this guilt is more evil than the suffering his old age and illness caused him. If loving this little dog to the ends of the earth is a crime then you're guilty. If working with the vet to find reasonable support for his symptoms is a crime then you're guilty again. And if allowing Bandit to die, peacefully and wrapped in the arms of the person who loved him more than anyone on this earth is a crime, you're surely guilty as sin.

The truth is not to be found in this dreadful lying guilt. It's to be found in the words you don't write about that are nonetheless so evident in your letter. I can actually FEEL the love you have for Bandit as you tell of how the two of you journeyed through his last few months together, facing increasingly terrible odds against his illnesses and advancing age. You fought for him, you would have done anything to help him, and this, not guilt, is where the beauty is to be found in his life with you.

I know you want him back. Please please just let me have one more moment or one more day to have him by my side and I promise I'll be a perfect parent. And who among us is a perfect parent? You gave him the gift of an authentic life, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. He did too, because there are no perfect dogs who lead an exemplary life where shoes go un-chewed and no one ever snaps at the doggy park. You loved each other, warts and all, and accepted it with laughter, joy and endless love. Bandit knew this love till the last moment of his long life and he'd be horrified to imagine his legacy was one of guilt and recrimination for the person he loved.

Listening to this guilt is to avoid the terrible grief that lies in the shadows. But guilt has a shelf life. It does not endure. Eventually, it grows tired and is pushed back to the ditch by the truth. You committed no crime but you're punishing yourself just the same.

Bandit is gone, and there is nothing in this world that can bring him back to you any more than my little dog Fiona can be restored to me. It's an ugly, black hole of sadness that is frightening and desperate at times. Guilt moves in to fill this hole and we are so easily seduced by it because it keeps the real pain at bay. But you must believe that Bandit does not share this sadness and he most definitely does not blame you or fault you for the wonderful life you so eagerly shared with him. Do not allow the words guilt and Bandit to exist in the same sentence because Bandit does not deserve to be associated with such a terrible feeling. He deserves your tears, your heartache, and your grief. And you deserve to know that a heart that loved him with such devotion cannot ever be found guilty of anything but unconditional love for this dog.

I know how terrible this is, I truly do. And I know you're not ready to believe that you'll ever feel anything but this pain again. It's too soon and too raw. But I promise you with all my heart that this love did not die with him. You'll find the light his life represented when the grief has run its course. Not today or tomorrow, but soon, I promise you. You are not alone and I am sending very bit of care and comfort I can to you as you work to navigate this profound loss in your life. I'm so very sorry you've lost him.

AlisonB

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Posts: 24
 #3 
To you, Bandits Mom and to Fiona's mum....what powerful words you both spoke.  BanditsMom of your grief and guilt, and Fiona's Mum of your insightful and beautiful words of reassurance of getting past that.  Bandits Mom, thank you for posting to me.  I'm still figuring this board out and how it works.  You and I are sharing grief at the same time.  And because my dog drown in my pool....I feel a terrible sense of blame.  But I am looking at it from all angles.  Her death, the manner, and the image, and her absence occupy my mind every waking moment, at bed, and upon awakening.  It's exhausting and punishing.  I've been through loss before and none is ever easy, but those losses that are by accident (me) or filled with guilt (you and me both), they have an added layer of pain.  At least I think that.  Thank you for reaching out to me, and I look forward to pulling myself together to share some more.  To you, Bandit's Mom, please don't beat yourself up any longer!  It's evident that you loved him immensely.  He would not have lived as long as he did had he not received your devoted care.  My dog was incontinent too.  And she could also no longer hold her bowels.  She had to wear diapers inside at all times.  She needed constant bathing and cleaning.  She had an old lady smell.  She needed to be carried up and downstairs.  She barked at my cats because of her eyesight, they became shadowy creatures that frightened her.  But all that work is not done by a guardian that doesn't care.  You CARED!  You LOVED.  You loved immensely.  Bandit is fortunate.  I work in the rescue world of dogs and cats.  There are people who simply put their pets to sleep when they become "too much work".  Had you been one of those people, you should feel guilty....but it's OBVIOUS you are so far opposite that.  You have nothing to feel bad about.  We have lives to live as do our furry companions.  I know you spent many hours with him loving him, cherishing him, walking him, and playing with him.  Forget those hours that you were not there.  Someone wise once told me that dogs have no sense of time.  That when you are gone, they don't know whether you were gone an hour or 8 hours.  They're just as happy to see you when you return.  That's because they don't know.  Think about it.  Could you tell the difference in excitement level upon your return?  I don't think I can.  I think they're equally happy no matter what.  Please be gentle to yourself.  Let's talk more soon.  With compassion...Alison
Roonknit

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Posts: 1
 #4 
I haven't visited this site in quite a while. Sometimes it's just too hard and you want to be alone with your grief and other times all you want to do is share your feelings with someone who understands. Each one of you wrote things that are so close to my heart, brought tears to my eyes. I think what it comes down to is that we love them so deeply, so very deeply and it hurts like hell. When it's we who they looked to for their care we feel responsible for every thing that happens. But things out of our control happen and we can do nothing to change it. I lost my boy, Taylor, on 12/4/13, he was almost 16, a long life as many would say but not long enough to me. I know I always would rather spend time with him than do things without him, I don't regret that and I know what you mean about spending even more time in those last week's and days. I think it's a very normal feeling. To me that time was so hard, so ugly, knowing what the outcome would eventually be, to let him go. All I can say is that we love them so, so, so much and the hurt is as strong as the love. I still cry every day I miss him so but I also thank him for those hours when I feel him around me and find some peace. The empty time without him now makes me aware of how much time we did spend together. I wish you all find peace in time. I never knew how much it would hurt, that one little furry being would change my life completely.
kamc22

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Posts: 1,910
 #5 
I am sorry for the loss of your Bandit, and am so impressed at what a devoted mommy you were to him in his difficult final year.

Yes, it is pretty normal after we lose them to think back on how we *could* have spent more time with them.  And yet, they and we know that we have other things in our lives to deal with... and that is part of why they love us, because we *do* do other things.

The last four of my kitties who are now in heaven had major health problems before they left this world.  In their final year, I spent so much time with them (besides all the vet appointments and extra care) that they purred at least 1 1/2 hours a day.  I don't work, and have read that the average cat whose human has a full time job gets 15 minutes of  attention a day.  My kitties got six times the average... and I can look back and see that I could have given them more, if I'd rearranged things, done less yard work, spent less time online, etc.   And have nonetheless felt guilty about that.

As Fionasmum said, "Guilt is a liar."  You left nothing undone, Bandit was adored and cherished, he knew that right up until, as you held him and loved him, he left this world for the next.  He doesn't feel deprived, he knows he was one of the lucky ones because he had you.  He's likely bragging about you now in heaven, about his wonderfully devoted mommy. 

It hurts so much when we lose them, try not to add to it by thoughts about what you *could* have done differently, when you gave your Bandit a very long life filled with more love than millions of other furred ones without a home could ever even imagine.  Well-- be just as nice to yourself as you were to Bandit, that's only fair, you deserve no less after all.    May your pain soon begin to ease.


Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #6 
Thank you to everyone for your kind words and advice.  Today marks one week since my sweet Bandit passed away.  The pain is still raw and real….I am still living the nightmare of coming home to him in his last moments of life and holding him in my arms for over an hour petting him, kissing him, telling him how grateful I am to have found him and that he was the best dog I could have ever asked for.  Man Bandit you really surprised me!  I thought you had more time left but I am slowly beginning to see that you wanted to go that day.  Your plan was not my plan so I cannot beat myself up for getting there too late.     Your pain is no longer there and I will work really hard to only remember the good times. I still cry everyday but we will get through this together and I am certain that there will come a time when we only share good memories and not the sad ones of your last days and weeks.  Mama misses you but I know you are now able to run free again!  Don't forget to run to me when its that time.
Mondo

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Posts: 994
 #7 
Hello Bandit's Mommy,

  I am truly sorry for your loss.  I have not been around here much the past week. Stages of grief, and at times I feel like I have said all I have to say.  Yet, the sadness isn't gone, and the missing part never ends.  But there are many smiles these days as my wife and I remember the boys. Last night at dinner with her parents we ended up telling a few Tuffy stories.  My Father in Law and Tuffy really had a love affair from the beginning. 

  It is one week for you today.  We lost Toby on January 19, 2015, and his loss was very difficult, and still is. I still miss him every day.  I feel somewhat guilty that his loss hasn't been as bad as Tuffy's on February 19, 2014.  Then again, maybe some greater power smiled on me and figured I couldn't go through that again. 

  With Tuffy I cried daily for a month, probably more like sobbing.  At which time I started anti-depressants, and the sobbing ended.  Losing him was very difficult, and I would guess I cried most every day for 3 or 4 months.  Losing him was also losing "The Boys", while we still had Toby, it had been "The Boys" for 13 years. 

  In time you will mainly remember the good times.  Highly charged emotional events always stay with us forever. I remember the nights my Dad and Mom died very clearly, and while Dad was almost 3 years ago and Mom 2 years ago, it still seems like yesterday when I remember the final moments.  Same with Tuffy, I still remember my wife and I having the candles lit in our living room, as the vet came and put out the light in our home that was Tuffy, but that light lives on in our hearts, and when we look at the night sky, there is a sparkle from our boys.   More than anything we remember the fun times, the happy times, the silly things our boys did, and the love we shared.  Of course there is grief associated with loss, but how lucky we were to have each other for all those years!

 This separation is not forever.  Bandit is pain free and young and healthy again.  And yes, when he see's you again, it is going to be a wonderful reunion.  I absolutely tear up when I think of crossing over, and having my boys spot me and come running with tails wagging and those smiles on their faces.  As much as I am looking forward to seeing my folks and many other loved ones that have crossed over, somehow it is The Boys that I think about first. 

  One week is not time at all.  I hope you find peace and comfort in these coming weeks with sweet memories of Bandit!    Don't worry Bandit will run over mountains through rivers when that time comes to be together again.

 Hugs,
Tuffy and Toby's Dad

 
cinders

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #8 
It's amazing finding this site as everyone is sharing my feelings! I lost Mia on Friday. She was sick on Tuesday night and seemed off her food Wednesday morning but she came out for her walk on Wednesday as usual so I thought she just had a bit of a tummy upset, so I went to work for a little while, then I came back to spend the afternoon with her as I always did as I actually gave up a full time job and went part time when I had her and our other greyhound girls, Evi, so I could spend afternoons with them and walk and play with then. But by the time I got home she was so much more ill and I am wracked with guilt thinking I should have phoned in to stay of work and made sure she was ok on Wednesday morning. If I had realised it was more than normal sickness, I would have, but it's too late now, and when I got home she had gone down so fast, and she had been alone for those three or four hours. I wish I could have known...I wish I could have done it differently. I know she had a condition which couldn't be cured, so at least I don't have the thought that "if only I had got her to the vet quicker she could have survived", but I wish I had spent that morning with her...it will haunt me forever that my sweet baby was without me and my husband that morning
Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #9 
Hi Cinders,

I know exactly how you feel.  I've had 8 days now to process it, but that initial shock of realizing your dog has passed on and you weren't there for it is haunting.  The morning of my dog's death he wasn't really eating and looked tired.  I would have never left the home for a few hours had I known it was his last day.  He was 17 1/2 so it was kind of normal for him to be tired or not want to eat.  Bandit, as well, seemed normal like how your Mia was able to go for a walk.  When I got home it was too late.  He had only about a minute of life in him and all I could do was hold him, kiss him, tell him how much I loved him and say goodbye.  Its horrible how the lives of our dogs can end in an instant after so many years together.  What I'm beginning to learn is that there is no perfect ending or they would still be with us.  Maybe Bandit wanted to go at that time and didn't want me to see it.  Maybe Mia as well.  Bandit was such a fighter when it came to staying alive that I believe he would have waited for me if he really wanted me to see him die.  I hope this can give a little bit of help for your suffering.  Time seems to be helping but you are right it is so haunting to not be there for them.    
cinders

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #10 
Thank you, that has helped a lot, your words are very comforting. But I have even another extra reason to feel guilty, I couldn't confess it until now as I think it makes me the worst person possible... when the vet operated he called and said that she had come round, just about, but her insides were so destroyed that there was no choice but to put her to sleep. He asked if he should do it then, wait until we visited her and then do it, or we could wait while he actually did it. We could hardly face seeing her in agony but we went, we held her and kissed her, but we were so distraught we felt we couldn't watch him do the actual action..... now I feel I let her down, I was selfish, I cuddled her but she wasn't in my arms for those last seconds, I have negated all the good I did for her by leaving her alone at the last, I am selfish and cowardly and she deserved someone so much better ...all of you seem to have been with yours until the last second and I wasn't...I've failed her
Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #11 
Hi Cinders,

It breaks my heart to hear your blame yourself so badly.  Please don't feel like a failure.  One thing I am slowly understanding is that we are so full of grief and guilt because we loved them so darned much.  If you think about it, so many people leave their dogs chained outside barely showing love and so many people give up their dogs when they are old and no good to them anymore.  We stuck it out to the bitter end.  I had people tell me hurtful things such as "your dog is living on borrowed time" or "I feel sorry for your dog". It was almost as if they were suggesting I just put him down like you throw away an old pair of shoes.  But you and I, we gave our pets pure love, and that is why we are sick to our stomachs in pain, agony, grief, and that ugly word guilt.  Yes, I was able to hold Bandit but it truly was at his last seconds of life.  How I wish I would have been there through the whole process.  I feel selfish for leaving the house that morning but how was I to truly know it was his final day?  We cleaned our entire house the day before and he did his usual laying around/walking around the house.  Obviously if I had truly known he was dying I would have stayed home with him.  He just seemed tired, that's all.  But then looking back, he did have a bad nights sleep the night before doing some yelping. But then again, I have heard stories of dogs vomiting, having seizures, and all kinds of things, then rebounding.  So yes, I do beat myself up.  It will eat us alive wondering what could have been done differently.  You can't beat yourself up because you were there.  You held her and kissed her and that is really all she really needed.  I watched my grandmother die almost 2 years ago and I honestly think her last concern was who was in the hospital room.  She was making her transition from life to death, which if you think about it, is such an overwhelming experience for the human or animal that is going through it, that probably the last thing on their mind is who is there.  I hope this makes sense?  If I were to imagine my own death/last moments my guess is that our bodies and brains go into a state where the last thing we think about is who is right next to us.  I hope this helps.  I'm just learning as well how to get through this horrible mess of losing a beloved pet.  
cinders

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Posts: 9
 #12 
Thank you so much Bandits Mommy. It does make such a huge difference that people like you and also Mondo have left such detailed and caring messages. I do feel better for your words of reassurance. Guilt is such a hard thing to bear, but I do think you are right - it's a measure of how much we loved them that we feel so guilty for anything that we might have done differently. I do think it's a measure of our care for them that none of us are ever proudly talking about all the wonderful sacrifices we made - the best medical care, the food and toys we bought, the lovely walks we went on and so on - all of us pick up on the one tiny detail we think we could have done differently. It does help so much, talking to people like you, you have made a huge difference to me. Assuming that the pain does ease, I will definitely keep returning to this site to try to offer words of comfort to others who follow into this horrifically difficult territory as I cannot describe how much this is helping me and I want to do the same for others. I am so sorry that you are going through this as well, but sticking together and sharing helps... a lot. I think that your beloved pets were privileged to share their lives with you - you gave them the best of everything, and pets are totally at the mercy of who takes them home, aren't they, so we need to celebrate their lives and be proud of ourselves instead of beating ourselves up. Thank you xxxx
Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #13 
Hi Cinders,

The guilt is definitely the hardest part.  Its so strange to me because my dog was very old so I thought I was more prepared and I thought after he passed that I would feel enormous sadness but never in a million years did I think I would feel guilt and regret.  Everyone keeps telling me I did a good job and he had a great life but to me I feel like I let him down for some reason.  I've read articles where it is common to replay the last days of our pet's life and wish we could have done things differently.  Had I known it was Bandit's last weekend of life I would have devoted every minute to him, so then there is the guilt of thinking regardless of whether it was his last weekend or not I should have been devoting every minute to him anyhow.  We, as humans, have lives but I feel like I selfishly did not spend enough time with him.  I also can't stop thinking about how his last two months of life were primarily either him peeing on himself and having to place him in the laundry tub to clean him or carrying him outside to try to get him to pee and watching him out in the frigid cold, sometimes peeing, but sometimes just standing there like he didn't know what was going on.  I'm trying to only remember all of his good healthy years and how much fun we had together, but it is hard since he was a senior citizen for so long before he passed on.  It is encouraging to know that everyone on this site that has been on for some time has found a way to have happier days and it also appears that a lot of people were able to leave the site altogether after they found healing, but we are still too early into our grief stage I believe.  
cinders

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #14 
Hi Bandits Mommy, yes, you are absolutely right. Like you, I thought I would feel extremely upset, but because I tried so hard to give Mia a good life I have been amazed at how the predominant emotion seems to be guilt at times. You have absolutely hit the nail on the head when you said that if we had known it was our dog's last weekend of life we would have devoted all our time to them, but then feel guilty that we didn't devote the time to them regardless. You are right that we have our own lives too - we have jobs, commitments, friends, household chores, so of course we have to give time to those as well. We can't live every weekend as though our loved ones are about to pass on, otherwise we would never live at all. You sound like the most wonderful "mommy" to Bandit, and in my eyes you have no need to feel guilt at all. You did all you could for him, caring for him into old age. I do think that, unless a pet is in real agony or distress, surely it is the right thing to try to care for them until the very end, rather than having them put to sleep. If my vet had said that Mia could come home for a bit and I could have nursed her here and helped her outside to the toilet etc, I would have done so, but he said her insides were in a total mess and she would be in agony if we let her go on. I'm sure Bandit was aware that he was getting old and showing all the symptoms that old age brings, and I am positive that he was truly grateful that he had someone who was prepared to nurse and care for him up until the very end of his life. What I think is very telling is that we each feel guilty about our own situation, but when we look at each other's stories, we feel that the other one of us has done our best for our pet. It is true that we are very early in our grief stage, and I am trying hard, whenever I think that I should have cuddled her every second that last weekend, and when I picture her with her sad pained eyes when I went to visit her, to bring another more positive memory to mind, like a fun walk, or a Christmas present I bought her or something, just to try to counteract this feeling of intense guilt and failure. I am so relieved I found this site though - it helps beyond belief. Take care of yourself.... and remember you couldn't have been more devoted to Bandit.
Bandits_mommy

Registered:
Posts: 25
 #15 
It has now been two weeks since Bandit passed away and I wanted to reflect on how things have changed.  My last major cry was day 8, which was the same day I picked up Bandit's ashes.  I cried when I got into the car and put his box of ashes on the passenger seat.  It horrified me that his body was now in a box.  Then that evening I lost it and cried like a baby.  Everyday since I have welled up with tears but have found the strength to "not lose it".  Attending an event on Friday was awful.  The whole time I kept thinking about Bandit and tried not to cry.  Someone at the table asked me if I was alright and I said "just thinking about Bandit…its so hard"  He gave me a look of empathy but I think unless someone truly experiences this kind of loss there's nothing they can really do to help.  I am still having a hard time remembering the good times, probably because Bandit was a senior citizen for so long.  I read someone's post which said that when we are with our pets every single day we don't really notice their slow transition from young to old and as a result I truly can't remember when it was he stopped greeting me at the door, putting his own leash in his mouth when we walekd, wagging his tail, etc.  I knew he was old but to me he was my same Bandit just slower.  I think the hardest part right now on this journey of pain is erasing the painful memories of his last days.  What I would give to have him back.  If I had to choose between millions of dollars and having Bandit back for just one week, I would pick the one week.  I do hope that with more time there will be more clarity and memories of good times, instead of this awful pain of loss, emptiness, loneliness, grief, sadness, guilt, regret, etc. 
Mondo

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 994
 #16 
Hello Bandits Mommy,

  You are stronger than me.  Two weeks is no time at all, to have lost a beloved fur baby.  With Toby it hasn't been as bad, but with Tuffy it was months of deep grief.  I lost it frequently when Tuffy passed away.  I got better for a time, and then worse, and then better and then worse.  And since then it has been a long journey, with Tuffy it was many months before the grief really subsided.  Life went on and Toby was still here, but I would still take Tuffy's dog tag out with me and go for a walk, have my hanky with me and sunglasses.  13 months later and I am tearing up writing this.  And yet, it does get so much better!  In time the smiles slowly overtake the tears.  In time the gratitude for having had Bandit in your life will overpower the feeling of loss.  Your feeling of loss is a natural reaction to losing the physical presence of a loved one who spent pretty well all day every day with you!  For many years.  You did all you could for Bandit, all that could expected, and much much more.  Bandit is forever grateful to you, and you two will be together again.

  I know we don't really see the aging.  It was only after looking at the "last" pictures of Tuffy and Toby, that I saw the weariness in their eyes, and just how gray their muzzles were.  When I read your love of Bandit, you have no reason for regret or guilt.  Grief is enough.  Sadness, emptiness and loneliness are a part of that grief. 

  Bandit is not gone.  He lives on in your heart, and in your memories, and is a part of you as sure as your arm is a part of you.  The physical separation is but temporary.  Until you meet again, a young healthy Bandit will greet you at Rainbow Bridge with his leash in his mouth, and his tail wagging furiously.  And everything will be alright again.

  Until then, be assured that things will get better, however slowly or quickly.  We can't predict, each loss is different.  But Bandit does not want you to be sad for long, and Bandit knows that you two will be together again.   Hang in there!

Hugs,
Tuffy and Toby's Dad.
hyly

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Posts: 12
 #17 

Everyone's words on here have been so comforting. I feel absolutely awful that you've all also lost a pet but I'm glad I'm not alone.

I lost my sweet boy, Jet, a cat, on the 4th. He was 13. Before that, my family was focused on our other cat (with Jet, we had 3) Pika who had a tumor. It was removed in January and she has been doing great since then. Almost the day or the day after we brought her back from surgery, Jet started breathing oddly. It was an overnight thing...For about a month we had been giving him 2 different medications twice a day for what we thought was pneumonia but he kept getting worse and weaker and weaker. One night, he collapsed and just peed laying down. It was so, so hard seeing his health just deteriorate so quickly when we thought the medicine would help. The next morning I had called out of work because even before then I had felt scared of leaving him home alone. I had found him in the closet (that smelled heavily of urine) and gave him some food. Jet ate it and I was surprised he had an appetite or could even take his focus off his breathing to eat. I got really hopeful. Unfortunately that was very short lived (30 minutes, maybe) and his breathing became very, very labored. He would try to stand and walk but he would sort of cry out and wobble and fall over.

I took him to the emergency vet clinic, with him meowing weakly in his crate because he hates car rides and almost unable to see out of the windshield because of snow. My mom had arrived later at the vet (we were both a mess) and we did some things that the vet had suggested to see if they could help him, but we just knew it was delaying it. We had been told by our main vet that there were concerns with how weak he was and if he'd be able to go under anesthesia. But the vet at the emergency clinic made it sound like there was so much we could do. The day just felt like things we happening so fast. We felt like we had to act fast! My mom and I decided that we just didn't want him to suffer anymore and went with euthanasia and was there through the whole procedure. Sometimes I wish I hadn't been but even then I know that I would have felt more guilt than I do now if I hadn't. I am thankful that I had been able to pet him and scratch him on his back and get him to purr one last time. What broke my heart was that when the vet brought him in and set him on the table he sort of stood up and wobbled and I almost wanted to scream "Look! See! He's okay, he wants to live!" But I just couldn't bring home a sick Jet anymore. It hurt so much seeing him the way he was for the last week or so. Jet was the most talkative of all our cats and he was so sweet. And then he just got quieter and weaker. I feel like a monster for sometimes thinking that that wasn't the Jet I wanted to have around...He was just laying around all the time and it wasn't much of a life. I felt guilty for all the appointments and the costs for the appointments and the medicine that my parents were paying for. But with the way Jet was health-wise it felt like it was a risk to try anything. I also felt that if it wasn't the pneumonia or lung cancer that got him, it was going to be something else.

I cried a lot the following 2 days. The emergency clinic sent us little pieces of paper with his paw prints on them and I'm so thankful for them. I was okay for a little and then I had to drive on the same route towards the emergency clinic on my way somewhere this past Thursday and felt so overwhelmed I almost pulled over. Then again tonight I just felt a wave of grief and guilt. Because what if he wasn't too weak for other treatments? What if we could have found the money for them? I could have just picked up some extra hours. I just wanted him to stop suffering, so badly.

Now it's just Pika and Oreo (his sister, who's doing very well considering) but they are also 14 and 13 years old. I'm terrified I'm going to lose one of them again soon. Like I said, Pika was diagnosed with cancer but has been totally normal and energetic but I feel like it'll just turn on me so quick the same way Jet's health did. Oreo is getting old too but I feel like if she lost another buddy it'd be hard on her...It feels like too much all at once and I'm so concerned with the two with them and have been declining invitations to go places just so I could spend some extra time playing with them or petting them. I'm going on a trip this week and I feel very reluctant and hesitant to leave even though they're doing alright. Losing Jet has been hard on us and has made me paranoid about the health of our other cats...If anyone has any advice or anything at all to share it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much

Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #18 
To Mondo:  Thank you for your kind and encouraging words.  To me two weeks is not enough either to grieve a fur baby.  Unfortunately for me, my boyfriend of nearly 10 years who only started living with me last October, seems to think I am being too depressed and need to snap out of it.  He lost his dog nearly four years ago and knows the pain of losing a pet, he just thinks I should practically be back to my normal self by now.  You are lucky you have your wife to grieve with.  I think it makes a tremendous difference when you can grieve with another family member, instead of grieving alone.  My boyfriend also thinks I shouldn't even be on this site, as he thinks it is keeping me in my sadness to have to read stories/share stories.  I keep telling him its my therapy, but he just doesn't get it.  I noticed that you lost both of your babies during the winter months.  Did you feel the same anger that I feel that I had to lose my Bandit on a cold winter day?  Especially now that the weather is getting better I get so mad wishing he could have held in there and been able to enjoy some nice weather outside before his passing.  I know it seems silly to wish that since death is going to come to us on any given day, but for some reason it really bothers me that he had to pass away during our cold, ugly winter.

To hyly:   I am sorry for your loss and that you are finding yourself as a new member of the pet loss family.  I know exactly how you feel about losing your boy Jet in such a quick amount of time.  Although my dog was considered very old, his death came quick and unexpected as well.  For over a year he had incontinence and his last 2-3 months it got to the point where he would pee while laying down.  But other than that and slow movement due to arthritis and age, I would have never known his death was imminent.  It sounds like your Jet's health deteriorated rather quickly as well, but it also sounds like you could do everything you could possibly do to help.  You took off from work and took him to the vet and sadly it was in everyone's best judgment that it was time to say goodbye to Jet.  I know exactly how you feel about guilt and regret.  I also know how you feel about feeling like a monster for not wanting your Jet to be Jet who was just laying around all the time.  Bandit spent a good deal of his last 2-3 months peeing while laying down and although I was willing to clean the pee off of his fur and clean the floors wherever he peed, sometimes I would think to myself this isn't the Bandit that was so good for 15 plus years of never peeing in the house….and yet it would become tedious having to go through this daily routine of continuously checking the house for pee, cleaning his pee off of him, etc.  but that was really his only problem and I could see no reason for putting him to his final rest if that were his only issue.  I loved him so much that I was willing to clean his pee, even though it could get frustrating at times.  So yes, I feel like a monster for wishing he was not peeing all throughout my house.  We had to close all the bedroom doors at all times so the peeing was only limited to the kitchen and living room areas.  Looking back he was probably unhappy with himself as well but we figured out our routine where upon discovering the pee he would get placed in the laundry tub, washed off, wrapped in a towel, and then placed on his doggy bed to lay, until he decided he wanted to get up and walk around again.  But yes, feeling like a monster is one word to describe how our minds can play tricks on us for the feelings we are having towards our pets.  It is so hard to see them get old and lose the vibrant energy they once had, its no wonder this whole experience of having a pet and seeing them go away is such a roller coaster ride of emotions.  You only lost your Jet three days after I lost Bandit so the pain is still very new for us and hopefully with continued support and time we will eventually rid ourselves of the guilt and the what ifs and be able to have better days.  I'm still trying to get used to not seeing my Bandit in the house everyday.  Its awful waking up everyday to a house without him and I'm sure you feel the same way.

Take care,

Teresa, Bandit's mommy 
Karen4321

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Posts: 139
 #19 
Dear Teresa--
I was reading your last post about your boyfriend thinking you are too depressed and need to snap out of it. I have encountered the same thing with my husband. My dog Mugsy was diagnosed with cancer in mid November. I was in such pain at knowing I had very little time left with her. I have a deep appreciation for those who do hospice care because it is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I remember crying every day and one day in mid December, my husband saw me crying again and said angrily "when are you going to stop moping around?" I remember saying something like, "Mugsy is dying. How would you like me to feel?" Mugsy passed away three days before Christmas. I am crying as I am writing this now. It has been over two months since Mugsy passed, and I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't cried or thought about her. I have been on this site since Mugsy's diagnosis and still come here every day.
We all grieve differently. My husband isn't one who shows his emotions easily. I know that Mugsy's death was very difficult for him too but he is not one to want to show his pain, although I did see him grab a tissue and wipe his eyes when she passed. I don't think they know how to comfort us and I think it is just uncomfortable for them to see us grieving so badly and there is nothing they can do. I have told my husband that I need to grieve in my own way and if that includes crying every day, going to this wonderful site, with the support of all these wonderful people, then that is what I will do. Clearly, it is what you need to do and you should continue to do so. You are grieving the loss of your precious Bandit and no one should determine for you when your grief should end. I am glad you found this site. I really don't know how I would have gotten through these last several months without the kindness and compassion I have found here.
As for your thoughts of losing Bandit during the winter, I feel exactly as you do. The sun has finally come out here and I found my other little dog just standing on our deck, soaking it all in, despite the cold day. It was then I began to see the sun and its warmth as a sign of our little Mugsy, sending down those rays of sunshine to make us feel her warmth and love, despite the cold. Please know that I and others are here for you and together we can continue to help each other.
Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #20 
Thank you Karen for your kind words and I am very sorry about the loss of your sweet Mugsy.  Yes, those last weeks are so hard when we are caring for our babies the best we can but they are really no longer the same energetic happy dogs that we were so used to. My mom went through the same thing 11 years ago and it really destroyed her.  I was not able to understand why back then, but having experienced first hand now I see why.  We can feel so helpless at times.  My boyfriend is a former Navy SEAL so I always think that maybe he is not allowed to feel pain, sorrow, and all the other things felt when losing a loved one.  When his dad passed on a couple years ago I never saw him cry throughout the whole funeral proceedings although I could practically read his mind of the pain he was thinking and feeling.  I guess everyone handles grief differently and he will just have to get used to me going through this painful journey the way I feel best, which is to reach out to others in this forum that have gone through and are dealing with the same pain.  Our dogs have only been gone for a short time and for some reason I keep thinking that at about the six month point we will be able to have more smiles and happy memories of our babies and full healing will have set in.  
hyly

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Posts: 12
 #21 
Thank you, Teresa, for your words of comfort. I am also so sorry for the loss of your baby Bandit. Karen, I'm sorry for your Mugsy and I think it's very important not to repress your feelings for they will only come out in maybe unhealthy ways. Sob if you want to and if you can! You should do what you feel is best and makes you feel - even if for a little bit - better. Whether it's receiving it advice or giving it, whatever works! I hope you all find peace in your hearts soon. Reading your stories and sharing my own makes me feel less alone in my feelings - particularly my guilt with both not spending all the time I possibly could with Jet as well as not being able to diagnose him sooner. There is no time that would ever feel like the right time to lose a pet and no amount of time spent with a pet will ever feel like enough. We just have to hope that we gave our furry babies the best possible life we could, regardless of any illness or accidents. I know with how strong my grief is that I love my little buddy so much but I just hope he knows it. I feel so blessed to have taken care of Jet and played with him and have him by my side for 13 years.
rozolaphoebe

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Posts: 6
 #22 
Im so sorry for your loss Teresa. Bandit sounded like a lovely dog and it is so hard to lose someone who has been with you for so many years. The more I read your posts, the more they resonate me and remind me . It might sound silly but I wish we could go out for lunch together and have a great big cry over our beautiful pets.

I, too, got many cruel comments from people who would tell me Phoebe was living on "borrowed time" or ask me, in pseudo-caring voices, "what exactly IS her quality of life?" It's so bizarre to me that there are people who simply don't stick with their pets through the difficult times or help them through any medical problems. If I had put Phoebe down when people said I should, I wold have missed out on so many great times with her. I understand what you mean about feeling like a monster too. My Phoebe would sometimes pee the bed so I'd have to clean her fur in the morning, and I would get frustrated when she'd do it again a few hours later. Some of the last memories I have with her during her final week of life is cleaning poop from her butt, brushing her teeth to get rid of her bad breath, and syringing her medication into her mouth when she refused to swallow it. I was trying everything to make her comfortable because I was under the impression she would get better, yet I now feel horribly guilty for making her do things she hated. Why did I care so much that a bit of poop was stuck to her fur? Or that her breath was stinky? Those things seem so unimportant now.  I should have spent that time hugging her and letting her know that I was there for her. Hell, I even miss her stink breath! She used to drool all over her bed when she slept and I found myself smelling it the other day. My sister said I was being gross, but I just laid there with my eyes closed and pretended Phoebe was there with me. I'm still struggling to cope with the fact that Phoebe's little personality and her strange quirks won't be around any more.

Grief is one of the hardest things to suffer in life. It is so cruel that we continue to live on, while our loved ones are gone.  And it's hard seeing other people move on so quickly, and even harder when people start expecting you to 'get over' the grief as quickly as they did.  I'm glad that we have all found this site and can share our grief together with likeminded people.
Bandits_mommy

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Posts: 25
 #23 
Thank you Rozolaphoebe for your post to me.  Yes, it would be nice if we could meet up for lunch and talk about our dog's lives and what a joy it was to have them for so long!  As you stated about the comments you would get from people, I agree, why would we have put our dogs down if their only crime was peeing?  Bandit still seemed pretty happy.  He just seemed to me like an old dog that enjoyed laying around and was content to just hang around the house.  It seems it had been about two years since his old age really kicked in and there was no way I would have just put him to sleep for being old and losing control of his bladder.  

What I find hard to deal with though, and maybe you do as well, is that they were old for so long that I have a hard time remembering when it was he stopped greeting me at the door, wagging his tail in delight, jumping on my bed, etc.   I can only seem to remember "old Bandit" at this time and it frightens me that I can't recall his first 13 years full of spunk.  

I also know how you feel about things like the stinky breath being so unimportant now.  Bandit was literally pooping on me while I was feeding him treats, and I would be just fine with that today if it meant he could still be with me.  Looking back on his last week of life, I truly wish I would have known it was his last week and I would have hugged him a million times.  How cruel that they can be in our lives for so long and than taken from us in a flash without allowing us the proper time to spend their last days with them!!
Bandits_mommy

Registered:
Posts: 25
 #24 
Today mark's 4 weeks without you Bandit and it still seems so unreal that you are gone.  It has gotten a little easier walking around the house.  For the first few weeks I kept looking for you, imagining you were still around.  Every time I hear a sound in the house I want to believe it is your spirit…that you are still here with me.  Yesterday I attended the funeral of my Aunt Sally and I asked her to give you a good petting if she happened to see you in heaven.  I hope you've already gotten that petting and I look forward to giving you a million pettings when we reunite.  I miss you so much my sweet Bandit.
Jovi74

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Posts: 2
 #25 
Hi bandits mommy,
I stumbled upon your post while searching the internet for pet grief support. I’m a few years late, but I find myself feeling exactly how you did. So much regret, and guilt about not having enough time with my precious Oreo. She passed away on 8/29/20. My heart has been hurting. It felt as if she was taken so suddenly. I hope you found peace in your heart. It’s been a few years but Bandit will live in your thoughts memories and heart forever. I hope you are doing well. I hope that one day I can think about Oreo with only good memories, and not with sorrow over her quick and sudden passing.
Peace be with you all,
- Jonnay
Bandits_mommy

Registered:
Posts: 25
 #26 
Hello Jovi74,

I am truly sorry to hear about the passing of Oreo.  It is one of the most devastating things we can ever go through losing a precious pet.  I am happy you reached out.  I have not been on this forum for years, primarily because, yes, I am happy to report the guilt and grief eventually does go away.  It did take a very, very long time, but I am at a good place and you will get there too.  There is no timeline on grief so take all the time you need, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.  Most importantly, I think we often believe we could have and should have done more for our pets but in reality we did the best we could and gave them a great life.  I still every morning, when I pray, thank God for putting Bandit in my life and pray that I will be reunited with Bandit in Heaven.  I do recall though the overwhelming grief and guilt, and believe it is a normal part of the process of losing our loved one(s).  I pray you will one day find peace and healing and have only good beautiful thoughts of Oreo 😉
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