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Posts: 11
Hershey was not "just a dog;" Hershey was my fur-baby and my best friend. On June 25 2019, at the age of 13 years, Hershey crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

I remember when my family and I first looked at the little chocolate-colored dachshund in the pet-store and she took a nap on my lap. I remember her cuddling with me and kissing me so many times throughout the years, and comforting me whenever I was upset, even if just by her presence. I remember how once she laid on top of my textbook while I was trying to study for a college exam. I remember how she used to jumped up on people in excitement, and did this adorable little wave with her front paws when she wanted something. I remember how she would steal everything and run around with them when she was younger, and how she would chase my remote control car toy. I remember how she always liked my Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer plushie when she was a puppy, and ripped open wrapped presents of any kind even in her final year. I remember how she would jump into suitcases whenever we packed for vacation, and whined whenever we prepared to leave the house. I remember her obsession with food and how she always begged when anyone ate. I remember how she would lead us to the cabinet for a treat. I remember the one time I came home from school to hear her barking, and when I found her she was on my bed barking at my gerbils. I remember how she would snub me whenever I came home from work or volunteering because I smelled like other dogs - but she always forgave me. And so many more memories that used to bring me joy but now only bring me so much sorrow and tears.

I remember her deteriorating health over the year and how she kept trying to live her life the best she could. I remember how even as her health declined, she would still cuddle and beg for food until the very end. I remember her breathing becoming very labored a few days ago, and how she laid her head on my hand for comfort (just like my gerbil Mayflower did on her last day). I remember how pained she looked yesterday morning - I wanted nothing more than to pet her and hug her and tell her that I love her and that everything will be OK, but I was afraid of hurting her so I didn't - so much regret now. Little did I know that when I waved goodbye to her while heading off to work, it would be the last time I saw her alive. I remember while at work yesterday my manager called me to see her, and when I did so I saw my dad there in tears. He told me that what I feared most happened and I bursted into tears in front of everyone, but I also was in a huge state of denial. He took me home and there I saw her - lying completely still on the floor, her eyes dull and lifeless. That's when reality struck like lightning: she was gone. I petted her and kissed her and told her that I love her, but I knew that she was not feeling or hearing any of this. My parents told me that she died in her sleep, loudly puffed out air as the life left her body. While I wasn't there when it happened, I can clearly hear and imagine what that puff sounded like and it is haunting me. I wish I could have been there for her to give her one last pet, one last kiss, one last "I love you" and "goodbye" that she would have felt and heard.

I just want my Hershey back; I would do anything to have her back. I miss Hershey so much. It feels like a piece of my heart was cruelly ripped out of my chest. I know that death is a part of life, but I'm also constantly wondering why this had to happen to this sweet, loving, precious little dachshund, and why now? I can't stop crying, I'm fighting back tears as I type this. I can't focus on pleasure activities, my appetite has all but gone away, and I got less than 3 hours of sleep last night.  I have lived more years of my life with her than without her, and I could never imagine life without my precious little Hershey; I don't know how I am going to live without her. I dread going back to my job - I work at a doggie daycare and reminders of her are just going to be everywhere. This isn't my first time dealing with pet loss grief, but that doesn't lessen the suffering. To help with the grief, I'm currently making a little memorial for her in my room that includes, among other things, her water dish and her favorite toy. But the pain is all too real and intense, and I fear that it will only get worse once the denial is gone and I fully acknowledge that Hershey is gone forever.

Here is a photo of my precious Hershey: (update: I edited the background to make it a tribute to her). Isn't she the most cutest and precious fur-baby? I may also post a photo of the memorial when I finish it.

Hershey, I hope that you are happy and free of suffering on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I'm sure that Mayflower and Amethyst (my other gerbil) greeted you to your new home with open paws and gave you all the ins and outs of "living" there (on Earth a dog would eat a gerbil, but I doubt that the laws of ecology apply in the land of the Rainbow Bridge). I hope that when my time comes, I will be reunited with you all for eternity. But until then, I will miss you very much. I love you Hershey and you will always hold a very very very special place in my heart. Rest in Peace Hershey.

Posts: 523
I know it sounds like a cliche' but I am so very sorry for your loss of Hershey. I looked at her picture and she truly is a sweet little girl. You, like all of here that has experienced this kind of loss always wish we could have them back. As part of grieving you will go through the emotions of regret and a lot of should have and could haves. I could feel the love in every word you wrote. You loved and were loved in return. Hershey knows in her heart that you love her and she doesn't blame you for going on with your daily life. Maybe she picked her time while you were gone to help spare you. I wish my beloved Termy would have left this world in his sleep instead of me having to make that awful decision to let him go. They make a our lives whole and when they leave they take a huge part of our hearts with them. I lost Termy over  months ago and I still miss him every single day and always will just as you will. Remember the journey and all the memories you shared.
Be gentle with yourself and grieve and cry as much and as long as you need to.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 129
Sorry just isn't nearly enough but it's the best we can do. I know how hard this is for you. I had to say goodbye to my beautiful Akita about 2 moths ago. He was only 7...his little heart stopped on the operating table and this the hardest thing I've ever been through.
It sounds like you'r pupper had a great life, full of love and happiness. They are miracles sent to us at just the right times. He went peacefully and I firmly believe they know exactly when it's time to transition into the next life. I know it's hard but try and be grateful...i thought I had many more years to spend with my little man. One minute we were eating dinner together, two hours later he was wheeled in on a table where I had to say my last goodbyes.
One day the pain will ease and the blessings your pupper gave will remain for you to enjoy. And yes, one day we will all meet again and laugh..this is just one stop on our journey. I don't know why they leave when they do but I'm sure that they are blasting through the cosmos as giant balls of love and light. They are still there..watching over us...hoping we can continue on work the next step of our journey.
Know that I feel your pain and I share your grief. Thank you for coming here and sharing. -Katsu's dad

Posts: 11
Thank you to everyone for your compassion and kind thoughts. Right now I don't have time to individually respond to each of you (for the first time since Hershey crossed over the Rainbow Bridge I am actually tired, so after this post I am getting some much-needed sleep) but I promise I will soon. For now, though, I just want to give an update:

My heart is still very heavy, both figuratively and literally. Today was the first day that I was not sobbing uncontrollably on-and-off throughout the day, though I still cried (I think I'm just shedding more tears than my body can produce). I can finally look at photos of Hershey without breaking down immediately, though I can't stare at them for too long or the tears will come. Last night I got 6 hours of sleep, which is much better than the previous night, and as I stated earlier I finally feel tired (the last two nights I slept just because I know I need to). My appetite is still atypical but it is slowing coming back; I'll have short periods of hunger followed by long periods of no appetite. I am not going to force myself to heal faster than I am; I will let the grieving process run its natural course no matter how long that takes.

Today was the first time that I went back to work since Hershey crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. It was a rough day, but it was not nearly as bad as I feared it would be. Everyone was so supportive, and while being around the other dogs made me sad it was also a little comforting. To my own surprise, I actually chose to cover the shift of a coworker tomorrow morning (though only because her fur-baby just crossed over the Rainbow Bridge too, and we grieving pet parents need to help each other as much as we can). I also volunteered (not dog related) after work and went to karate class tonight; keeping busy is probably a good thing for me so that I am not depressed.

One thing I discovered today is that listening to music from the Disney/Pixar movie Coco is helping me deal with the horrible loss of Hershey, so I will be listening to it a lot more (note to self: make something to memorialize Hershey on Día de los Muertos). I'm also going to try listening to a pet loss grief meditation when I go to bed; guided meditations have helped me with my anxiety, so it is worth a shot for coping with the grief.

I finished the memorial that I created for Hershey; here is a photo of it:
The bowl was her water bowl and the stuffed doggie was her favorite toy (of which she ripped the ears off of). I intentionally placed the memorial under a poster that I have of Secretariat and Barbaro (two famous racehorses who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, for those who don't know) cause it has the words "memories of greatness" on it and it just felt right. I find that the lamp doesn't really fit in, but it has to stay there. Maybe I can make it symbolize something (such as the whole "there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel" thing).

After my gerbils crossed over the Rainbow Bridge I found that wearing a locket with their pictures in it helped me cope with their loss, so I want to do the same thing for Hershey. I've started looking at dog-themed lockets, though I haven't chosen one yet. Many of the ones that I have seen either are or come with urn lockets; part of me wants to get one of those to put Hershey's ashes into, but I don't know what the cremation place is doing with them (I will have to ask my dad, he knows). If I can't or decide not to do that, then at least I would want to have a photo locket with Hershey's picture in it.

I think that's just about all I want to say before I go to bed. Once again, I thank everyone for their compassion and kind thoughts as we go through this heart-wrenching time.

Posts: 11
It has been exactly 1 week since my precious Hershey crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I miss her so much and not a day has passed where I do not shed tears. I still can't believe that she is gone and I often find myself about to perform habits from when she was alive (ex. heading straight for the backyard door to let her out when I get home) or otherwise thinking that she is still here (ex. when I step in a water puddle I immediately think that it is a pee puddle - she had a lot of urinary problems in her last months). Over the past week some days have been better than others, though every day is like an emotional roller coaster ride. Now for some quick updates:

I finally found a locket that I like, which I ordered over the weekend. It arrived in the mail today, which feels very symbolic. Now comes the hard part: finding a picture of Hershey to put into the locket (tears roll down my cheeks as I go through my photos to find the right one for it). After much thought, I have decided to put Hershey's fur rather than her ashes into the urn part of the locket, because I want to remember her in life rather than death (and also, I asked my dad about what is going to happen to her body, and was told that she was cremated [that much I knew, since the stupid HOA will not let us bury her in our backyard] and that it was too late to retrieve any of her ashes [apparently the rest of my family discussed post-death plans without me before she died {which is frustrating, but they understandably did it to protect me so I can't be too mad}]). I still need to put the picture and fur into the locket and once I do so I will post a photo of the locket. I plan on wearing this special locket as much as I can.

I also bought a photo frame that I am going to put a picture of Hershey and a lock of her fur into. I specifically got one of those wooden ones from the craft store rather than one that was pre-made for pet memorials, because I want to make it personal for her and I just need to let my creative side out so I don't fall into depression. I will paint and decorate the frame after I finish preparing the locket, and I will also post a photo of it once it is finished.

Recently I have clung onto the pokemon Necrozma to help me cope over the loss of my precious little dachshund, specifically viewing it as a light of hope. Why? Because of its story: originally it was a powerful dragon-like beast, but then humans basically chopped off pieces of its body and the resulting loss of its energy transformed into a deformed crystalline form. In this form it was in a lot of pain and it must have seemed like things will never get better for it, but it never gave up and it found a way to get the energy that it needed to transform back into its original ultra form. Yet it never recovered the parts of its body that were stolen, instead replacing them with the light that it emitted from itself. To me, Necrozma's story is comparable to grief: the death of a loved one rips a piece of your heart away, and the resulting grief is painful and it feels like life will never get better. Over time, the grief lessens enough that you can go back to enjoying your life, yet the hole in your heart is never filled and you must adapt to living a "new normal" without the one you love. It's perhaps a silly analogy, but it has been helping me so I will keep thinking of it as I struggle through the "deformed crystalline form" of the grieving process.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your compassion and kind thoughts. Apologizes for not individually responded to each of you yet, it's just that I have been quite busy recently, but I promise that I will eventually.

Posts: 129
Hi Nucleo...
It's been about 2 months since my Katsu passed on and I still find myself looking around the house for him in his favorite spots. I still look to check his water bowl, it's not there anymore. I expect him to be laying outside the door when I get out of the shower or when I'm done meditating.
Yesterday I was eating dinner and found myself collecting bits of meat on the side of my plate.. those would have been little treats for him. So many habits from all the years I spent with my beautiful little man.
Your locket and memorial sounds great. I have my pups ashes and paw print. I can't go through the pics yet, it's still too raw. But one day I'll have a few framed. I too have an artistic side, I build scale models. I've slowly gotten back into it, but it's hard, he would always lay next to me while I was at my work bench.
I think it's great you've found your own way to cope...i think the analogy is a very positive one. I'm into mysticism and eastern spiritual beliefs that help me to better deal with experiences like this. Whatever works for you is the right path.
Take care and thank you for sharing. -Katsu's dad

Posts: 11
It has been exactly 1 month since my precious Hershey crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I still miss her so much and while I no longer cry everyday, I do tear up more days than not. I still can't believe that she is gone and I still grieve over her loss. At this point I have experienced all of the stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression - except acceptance; I struggle to accept the fact that my Hershey is gone forever and that I will never see her again, and while I know that this is true I do not want to believe it. Over the past month some days have been better than others, though I find myself increasingly depressed and it is intervening with my functioning. Yet the unsympathetic world is expecting me to live life like I did not just lose my best friend and it is punishing me for the mistakes that I make from my grief, and I feel like I can't explain this to anyone at risk of sounding like I am just making up excuses, which just contributes to the depression and the anger (and the anxiety and the perfectionism that I have had since before Hershey died). Thankfully I have a counseling appointment next week so hopefully I will get some advice on healthy coping. I also got a pet loss grief book the other day and plan on reading it once I am actually motivated to read again.

I have not finished the memorial locket, nor have I finished the memorial frame. One part of the reason is technical: I'm having difficulty resizing the photos and printing them; I want to make sure that those photos are perfect cause Hershey would want nothing less (she was like that in life, always wanting the best). Another part of the reason is emotional: the aforementioned depression has drained me of motivation to work on the memorials, and even when I'm not feeling depressed it is sometimes too hard to look at the pictures. But the final part of the reason is more symbolic: I know that finishing the memorials does not mean that I have to let go, but I'm afraid that the rest of the world will expect just that. I'm not ready to let go, I'm scared to let go, I don't ever want to let go. 

Hershey never received a necropsy before being cremated so the cause of her death will never be known for certain, but after my mom had a conversation with someone who also lost their dog recently we now suspect that congestive heart failure took Hershey's life. I'm now left wondering how all of the vet tests never diagnosed the cause of her illness. And speaking of cremation, the thought that my precious little Hershey was burned and is now only a pile of bone ashes is really disturbing me, as is the memory of seeing her dead body and lifeless eyes; any advice on how to deal with these - dare I call it - traumatic thought?

Hershey appeared in my dream the other night. In the dream I was petting her, and I'm sure that this is the result of my craving to do just that again. Since then, I have been sleeping with her favorite toy every night. I don't know why I started doing this, but it is a little comforting for some reason so I'm going to keep doing it. I'm also making a memorial video of Hershey that I plan on posting on Youtube; the plan was to get it posted today, but due to the aforementioned depression I have not even started it. Perhaps I could get it done and posted for the 2 month "Bridge Day" anniversary, or maybe I could even post on what would have been her 14th birthday (which is in September). Which one do you guys think would be better?

Over the past few days I have been organizing my bedroom because I have little to no motivation to do any of the things that I usually enjoy, so I figured that that I might as well put my off-work time into something productive. One of the things that I found was a photo album that my parents made and gave to me in celebration of my high school graduation. On the first page was a photo of Hershey, and I would be lying if I said that I did not immediately burst into tears. I also found two other printed photos of Hershey among my stuff, which I set aside from everything else so that they do not get lost (I currently have one by my side as I type this). They are too big for the locket but one of them might work for the frame, will have to see how they would fit in it. Even If I decide not to use either of them for the frame I can certainly hang them up somewhere; perhaps in the future I can hang one in my bedroom and the other one in my grad school dorm (the though of going to grad school is frankly the only thing that gives me any hope for the future right now).

I want to let everyone know that I have read your comments and I really appreciate them; I hate to think that you guys are going through the same pain as I am, but admittedly it is a little comforting to know that I am not alone in this (I hope that doesn't sound heartless). Once again, apologizes for not individually responded to each of you yet, the aforementioned depression has drained my focus on doing so and I want to give good responses, but I promise that I will do so once I feel a bit better. 

Posts: 129
It's been a little over 2 months since my boy Katsu left this world. I read and felt every word of yours...I'm going through and have experienced everything you said your feeling. The tears, the depression, putting things off and feeling generally uninterested in life. It all sounds natural and very understandable. I'm glad your seeing a counselor, I'm sure they will say something very similar.
I know how hard it is finding people who understand. My pup was the absolute world to me..his loss is absolutely devastating. But I can't talk to anyone else about it. No wife or kids... it was just me and my little man. The few friends I have supported me the best they could for a week or so, but most people who aren't pet lovers just expect you to get over it. I'm sure they wouldn't feel the same way if one of their children passed away.
It sounds like your trying to keep busy and have a few projects lined up. Those are all great ideas but I would suggest you not set timelines or dates to finish them. Just listen to your body, take small steps...start a project then put it away, you'll come back to it when it feels right. I build scale models and I wanted nothing to do with it for the first month or so. But eventually I sat down and did a little at a time. My boy would always lay next to my work table whenever I was building. It's hard not have him there and I've shed so many tears...but I pushed through a little at a time and slowly it's getting better.
Be easy on yourself...your feelings are your business, respect them, cry when you need's part of the process. Make sure to find time to do things that make you feel good...find something to smile's ok to laugh too. You'll move forward when it's right for you. Take care - Katsu's dad

Posts: 11


Hi Termy’s Mom, thank you for your kind words and apologizes for the late response. Don’t worry about sounding cliche; as long as it is not something insensitive (ex. “she was just a dog”) then I don’t care since it is the thought that counts. Yes, Hershey was a sweet loving little dog and I love her so much. You are so right about the regrets and the “should/could haves;” I have a whole list of them, but they can basically be summed up as “I wish I spent more time with Hershey and did not take her presence for granted."

Who knows, perhaps Hershey did wait until I was gone to spare me the pain of seeing her die (either naturally or from being euthanized - she was scheduled for a vet appointment that day), but then she was near the chair that I usually sit in so it also feels like she was looking for me and I feel terrible for not being there during her final moments. And now that I think more about the details of what I saw and have been told, it seems like she just collapsed and died rather than passing in her sleep (she never laid in the spot I saw her dead - she would either sleep with someone or under/against something), which is horrible to think about.

I am so sorry about the loss of your Termy. Making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is heartbreaking, but know in your heart that letting him go was a final act of love and compassion to free him from his pain. I’m sure that he is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge and that once he is reunited with you he will thank you for ending his suffering. If you ever feel the need to talk about your Termy to help with the grief of losing him then know that those of us here on the Pet Loss Message Board are always here to listen and support. Sending lots of love and sympathy.



Posts: 11


Hi Katsu’s Dad, thank you for your kind words and apologizes for the late response. Don’t worry about “sorry” not being enough; it’s the thought that counts and as you said this is the best that we can do. Yes, Hershey had a wonderful life full of love and happiness - I just wish that I could have been with her till the end.

I am so sorry about the loss of your Katsu. The death of a beloved pet is heartbreaking enough, but to lose them so unexpectedly makes it even more painful. 10 years ago I lost my gerbil Amethyst unexpectedly - she was fine the day I took her to the pet-sitter, but a few days later I received the news that she died. To this day I still wish I knew what took her life and what I could have done to prevent it.

It’s so hard to break out of the habits that we had when our pets were alive, and it’s difficult to get back into the activities that we did when our pets were present. Yesterday I went on a walk to the local park and while I did not always take Hershey with me (she was not a fan of walkies), her absence was extremely noticeable and heartbreaking. Hershey sometimes laid with/by me when I studied, drew, or sewed; ever since her death, I’ve had a harder time focusing on studying (especially since I was doing that the night before she died), I’ve only drawn one picture (a memorial of her), and I haven’t even touched my sewing project.

Thank you, I’m happy to know that my memorial ideas are good ones. Your memorials are good ones too. I wish that I could have gotten a paw print of Hershey, but everything just happened so fast (it felt like one moment I was waving to her as I went to work, and the next moment I was saying my final goodbye at the pet cremation place) that I never got around to asking about it, let alone fully comprehend everything that was going on during those few hours. I’m lucky that I even found fur to use for my memorials, cause otherwise I’d have nothing left of her except for memories, photos, and care supplies (which is certainly much better than nothing, but not the same as having something from herself). OK, good to know that my little Necrozma analogy is not completely silly. I’m glad that the mysticism and eastern spiritual beliefs have been helping you cope with your grief.

I’m relieved to know that what I am feeling is completely natural. I had my first appointment with my counselor last week and thankfully she did; she understands the pain of pet loss grief and is going to help me with healthy coping. Thankfully I have also received some support from family and friends but yeah, it sucks that society in general doesn’t understand the pain of pet loss and that we kinda have to conceal our suffering. Our animals mean the world to us, and the pain of losing them does not lessen just because they're not human. If you ever feel the need to talk about your Katsu to help with the grief of losing him then know that those of us here on the Pet Loss Message Board are always here to listen and support.

Thank you for the advice - you’re right, I need to relax and I shouldn’t overwork myself with these projects. Ever since my “depressive episode” ended I have been working on the locket (which I finished) and the frame, but quickly realized that I needed to take a break as I kept bursting into tears throughout the days since. I’m hoping to continue working on the frame after I finish preparing for my grad school advising appointment, but I’ll see how I am feeling first.

You’re welcome, I’m relieved to know that someone is reading and sympathizing with my posts. Sending lots of love and sympathy.


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