Registered: 1563046966 Posts: 8
Hello... I don’t know what else to do or who to talk to. I think a lot of people think “it’s just a dog” but as tragic as it is, he seemed like my whole life.
I made the decision to get my 13YO boy put to sleep yesterday and I feel like the life has drained from me. I cannot - and I mean cannot - stop crying. My tears are a mixture of guilt (from making the decision to have him euthanised) and the sheer devastation of losing him from my life. To put my devastation into context, I have a long history of depression and once attempted suicide when I was younger. I know I have negative “tendencies”. I finally felt strong enough to give up my antidepressants weeks ago and then “this” happens. The timing could not be worse. Anyway, I won’t go into detail about my baby’s illness but he was elderly and had a few major things wrong with him. He was in slow decline and getting by but yesterday we noticed that his third-eyelids were not closing. An immediate trip to vet later and I made the decision to let him go. I was with him and so grateful for his peaceful death. But now I’m plagued with thoughts of “was this too soon?” and “did I let him down?”. I would give a billion pounds, if I had it, just to have him back. This little dog wasn’t just the centre of my world: he was my heart. A piece of me died with him. I no longer feel like my house is my home. I feel like a foreigner here. So alone. Empty. I have a good family but they don’t understand why I’m coping so badly. No one understands. I think a lot of it is to do with me not having much of a life, if I’m brutally honest with myself. I shut myself off from the world as much as possible. I spent all my time with him at home. He was my comfort. I felt loved and was able to give love. This is something I struggle with in real life. What am I going to do now?
Registered: 1178588167 Posts: 1,347
My heart hurts for you and you have come to a place where we all share our grief. He was not "just a dog". He was your family and will forever be your family. I can relate about the depression and not feeling any comfort in being home as that is how I feel after a loss of a loved animal companion. It takes time, sometimes a long time to start feeling "normal" again. Come here and read other people's comments and you will see you are not alone in how you feel. You gave your boy your love and that includes loving him enough to let his body go but his spirit, his love for you, his true being remains with you forever.
JoAnn - mom to many, many Bridge babies
Registered: 1562908146 Posts: 6
Hi Steph. You posted on my thread, so I came here to read your story. I'm not completely sure what we are looking for by posting here, but I realized that I get some comfort from knowing there are other people who feel the same way that I do. Grief over an animal companion is complicated because not everyone understands or even tries to understand in the same way that they might when we've lost a human. It can be good to know that you aren't alone in your suffering, and there's absolutely nothing "foreign" about how you are feeling. I have been reading some research about how losing an animal companion can even sometimes feel more devastating than losing a human. We share an intimacy with our animals that we don't share with many (if any) humans. My baby followed me every time I went to the bathroom, took naps with me, and sat with my while I cried...just a few examples of how intimately we can be connected to them. It sounds to me like you definitely felt that closeness.
You must've been in a good place to lower your antidepressants, and I'm sorry this happened now. I suppose it's never a good time to lose a loved one, but I know that emotions can sometimes feel more out of control when your brain is still adjusting to the changes in medication. Taking medication is a very personal decision, but it's okay to need the additional support. It sounds like you made the best decision you could with his declining health, and it takes tremendous strength and selflessness to make the decision to euthanize. You put him first because it's the last thing you wanted to do. It seems to me that you know that it was what was best for him because it certainly didn't feel like it was the best for you. I think this would hit hard whether or not you had more going on outside of your home, but I can really identify with how animals help with depression and anxiety. They really help us and love us, and it's so hard to lose that. I know there's nothing I can say to make you feel better, but I hear you. Our stories are so similar that my heart goes out to you. I also wanted to say that your grief and emotions are totally appropriate for the loss you've experienced, even though your family doesn't get that. Of course you are coping badly...you loved him. You're not alone in that.
Registered: 1563046966 Posts: 8
Thank you so much for your words. Although it’s taken me a while to respond, please know I appreciate your thoughtfulness amidst your own deep pain. How are you doing? I have been keeping up with your posts. You clearly had so much love for your boy, and he for you. For me, the crying has lessened. I still can’t look at his photos without crying, however. Thankfully, the rational part of my brain usually kicks in when I get upset now. Of course, the pain of missing him is there every moment of every day. But somehow, by telling myself that he was a lucky boy in this sometimes-awful and -cruel world, I can stop myself from sinking too deep. One thing that struck me about your post is that you carry guilt around for not taking your boy to the vet sooner. Please, let go of these thoughts. The way I see it, you probably didn’t do anything too different to what you would’ve done if you thought you should get a medical check up. The chances are, you’d have put it off, would you not have? He was an extension of you, and you of him. Your love was perfect because you seen your little fox as your equal. I promise you, if he could speak, your boy would have thanked you for being the best dad in the world. But please, stop breaking your heart. From what you’ve told us about your boy, that’s what he’d want more than anything.
Registered: 1563046966 Posts: 8
Thank you so much for your kind words. I cried (but in a good, healing way!). So thank you so much. I know you’ve lost so many fur babies but it takes so much strength and courage to love again. I hope, like you, that I can honour my boy’s memory by adopting someday. Steph x