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Posts: 4

This is very painful to write, so I'm not going to proofread it. I apologize if it's random and not coherent.

I lost my dog of 15 years last week. I had him since I was 19. I'm 34 now, and he lived with me through many transitions and difficult times in my life. He was such a huge part of my development, and I don't really remember a time without him. His death happened over a period of 2 weeks, and it was very unexpected. I spent $8000 trying to save him and seeing various specialists, and the vets still do not know what was wrong with him. I feel like it could have been prevented because he was so healthy, and the problem made no sense. So now I am in all this debt, and it didn't even help. I don't regret it, though.

I just don't know what to do. I don't care about anything anymore. For the past 5 years, I knew he was getting older, and I would sometimes hold him and cry thinking about how horrible it would be when he might pass. It's like my worst nightmare has come true. He was so healthy and active in every other way, and I had no idea this was coming. I wish I could just go back in time and spend one more moment with him. I have finally stopped crying all day and now just feel numb and detached. I still cry, just less. It's also very hard to work, and I don't understand how people can concentrate and just continue on with their lives. He's all I think about. I can't even type his name here.

He was truly my soul mate. I got him at a time when I really shouldn't have got a dog, but when our eyes met, I knew he was my baby instantly. He was so emotional, sensitive, and intuitive, and part of my grief is that I know I'll never find that sort of connection again. Our birthdays were 3 days apart.

I feel like I've lost a part of my identity. I'm no longer his dad. Everyone I have told has cried, even random people. It shows me that he truly touched so many people, and he was such a beautiful and sensitive soul. I haven't told many people yet because everyone gets so upset.

I don't know if I believe he went to heaven and that I'll be reunited with him one day. I worry those thoughts are just what I am telling myself to feel better.

One of the worst parts is waking up in the morning and not remembering he's dead. I hear him and immediately think he wants to be let out of the crate, and then I remember that he's gone. This re-remembering happens over and over, and it's like a shock goes through my body every time. It sometimes happens in the day because it seems so unreal.

My mom and I drove his body 11 hours so that I could bury him at my parents' house, his favorite place and my childhood home. I am building a memorial garden around his grave. I am angry that he doesn't get a funeral, flowers, and his name in the paper like humans do. Only what I got him. 

His memories are everywhere. I can't even think about packing up his stuff. I once changed out his water to make sure it was clean even though he's not here anymore. His food is still in the bowl. I want to move.

I struggle with social anxiety and depression, and I think that made my bond to him stronger. He saved my life. He was my hero. He was so strongly bonded to me that we were almost constantly touching. I feel like a body part has been cut off.

I'm scared that I am going to forget he smells and how he felt in my arms. As time goes on, I don't want to continue to be in pain forever, but I also don't want him to just be a memory. 

I know grief doesn't go away...that it only transforms. But this is the hardest and most painful things I've been through in my life. I've lost family members, and it didn't even come close to this. He was the love of my life. I don't feel like anyone truly understands what I am going through. I love animals and have lost other pets in my life. It always hurts a lot but never came close to this.

Thank you for reading. Again, I'm sorry if this is a mess, but it's the only way I'm going to get it out. 


Posts: 2

Our stories are so similar... I have just posted my own experience (pending mods’ approval) about losing my almost-14-year-old angel yesterday. Like you, I had him since I was 19 (except I’m 32 now but I got him as a two year old).

I have no answers, solutions or help to offer you. I know platitudes won’t help. You know you done everything out of pure love for your baby - you don’t need me to tell you this either. I’m a believer but I don’t know if our babies have gone to heaven.

I don’t know why we posted here - what are we looking for? We both know nothing will help. The only thing I can do for you is pray.

God help us.

Posts: 1,007
Dear Ryan:

I am so sorry about the loss of your precious boy.  It sounds like he had a wonderful life with you and was truly loved...and he knew that.  That is what makes all this so hard.  The closeness we have with these wonderful creatures is something that can't even be described.  And those that have never had that with a pet can never understand.

Six years ago today we had to say goodbye to our little Brandy.  We had her for 17 wonderful years but it wasn't long enough.  To say we were devastated at her loss was an understatement.  I didn't think I would ever be able to get through it....but I did with the help of this website.  Everyone here understands and will never judge you. 

Please come back and tell us more about your baby.  It truly will help you to heal.

Sending prayers of comfort and peace to you,

Barb (Angel Brandy's and Angel Miriam's mom and now mom to Bree)

Posts: 58
Ryan, I am so sorry for your loss of your long time companion. I do not have answers about getting through the heartache and pain. I recently lost my joy and I still can not talk about it. I do not know if there is an after life for our furbabies, but I can not believe such beautiful creatures who bring us such joy and love will not pass on to an afterlife as they so deserve. I pray that God has a paradise for his loving creatures he has created. I would so love to see a picture of your love. Prayers.

Posts: 4
Thank you for not judging me. I was scared to check these replies because I was afraid I'd written too much or that I seemed incoherent or strange. It's also just hard to face it.

Steph, thank you for your reply. I'm so sorry to hear you lost your baby too. It is comforting to know that our stories are similar, though. I've gone through so many changes from 19 to now that I don't even feel like the same person. It's insane to think that my dog was there the entire time. He was there through so many homes, multiple cities, multiple partners, college, grad name it. He was the one constant. You're right that I did everything for him out of pure love. I think there are still just so many what-ifs, and while I know that's a normal part of grieving, maybe there was legitimately something that could've saved him. I'll never know. I wish I could go back in time and make different choices. He was late for his vet check-up, and maybe they would've seen the problem if I had taken him on time. I can't believe that I would worry so much about him dying and then not take him for a simple check-up on time.

I also about, if maybe I had waited for another hour until the specialist came in to euthanize him, he could've lived. He was just in so much pain...he was crying as he exhaled, and I just did what I thought was best. He couldn't breathe. Also, maybe I should've taken him to the vet earlier when this all started because it took him a couple of weeks to get worse. I knew he was having trouble breathing at first, and it took me about a week or so to take him in. He was acting fine, and it was barely I thought he'd be okay. It was so stupid of me to think that trouble breathing of any kind was not a very serious issue.

Barb, thanks for your reply. It really helped. When you say you got through it, it gives me hope. I feel like I'm never going to feel better, and it seems to only be feeling worse. I did love him, and he did know that. My best friend said yesterday that he was truly "me." We were just alike, and we were extensions of one another. It's so strange that he died of a breathing problem because I have pretty bad asthma. I know what it's like to not be able to breathe, and it's horrible.

I don't really know what to say about him. I literally see him in everything, and it's so strange because I never would've thought that I could make some sort of a connection between him to everything that I encounter. I knew what he was thinking and how he felt pretty much at all times, so now in everything I see, I think about how he would feel about it. He was a long-haired chihuahua. Everyone said he looked like a fox. Over the course of his lifetime, I probably heard that at least a thousand times. "Is that a fox?" or "Wow, he looks like a fox." When he was a baby, he was so small that someone thought he was a kitten. He loved frozen green beans. He loved the theme song to the "Golden Girls." He would tilt his head, listen, and watch every time. After he died, I sang it to him when I was alone with him. "Thank you for being a friend."

He loved blankets. He had to fluff them to his liking, which sometimes took quite a while, and then he'd lay down. I had about 6 blankets in his crate because he could never have enough. He played with his food. He'd throw each kernel of food into the air, chase it down, and eat it individually. There were always pieces of kibble in random places where he had thrown it somewhere and lost it. I am probably going to be finding those for years to come. His eyes were incredibly expressive. He'd always shoot me a look if he needed something or felt uncomfortable. As he got older, he also got really demanding. He would grunt at me if he wanted food, to be picked up, to go out, or to play. He would not take no for an answer. It was funny to see that change in his personality to a grumpy old man.

I just watched a video of him from May, and he was running around so fast like he was a young puppy. When I told strangers how old he was, they were always completely shocked. His health was not declining. He had cataracts and some arthritis, but other than that, he was fine. Except apparently for an unknown breathing issue. I don't understand how this could've happened.


Posts: 3
Nothing about what you said was strange. I lost my baby on saturday night suddenly and unexpectedly due to an undetectable heart murmur that caused a blood clot.. I didn't even get the chance to save her.. it took her within 20 minutes of her symptoms starting. I felt everything you said, and can relate wholeheartedly. I hope our pain eases in time and we can celebrate their lives rather than dwell on their deaths. 

As I am sitting here typing, hugging my beloved Hermione's urn... I will be thinking of you all who are feeling the same pain. You are not alone.
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