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Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board
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Posts: 17
I haven't posted here on the msg board in a long time and I'm very rarely in chat which I was a few weeks ago. ALL of my dogs "kids" & I think my mom's dog too is listed in the Bridge list after they've died.

I grew up that when the family dog dies, my dad would take it out in the back yard and bury it somewhere without marking the grave...usually down by the burn barrel. Fast-forward to my adult years and Patches came along. He eventually dies and I chose to bury him somewhere in our mom & dad's back yard...own a whole city block in a small town. My dad just thought I'd bury him & that was it. I said that I was going to MARK his grave and I did with a rock from their rock garden & fake flowers. My dad KNOWS other animals well enough and made sure the grave was dug deep enough & packed down real well too and, the med sized rock was put on top.

I can't believe that Patches has been gone 20 yrs. next month! I do miss him a little and I have many great memories of him but I cry a LOT less over him and I get an occasional tear thinking of him. Jack comes along 6 months later. Then Lara and finally Blacky. Old age & health problems was why we had to put Jack & Lara asleep...2012 & 2013. When Patches was buried, I didn't know at that time that I had started the family pet cemetery. Jack & Lara were buried there. Then Blacky's health got to him and we buried him in 2015...11 months before my dad died. With my dad being gone, my older sister, Ruby, decided that it was time to clean up the back yard which included the pet cemetery area...our dad's stuff but also over grown with weeds & etc. plant crap. The pet cemetery was once kept decent looking but things changed as time went along and weeds grew up among it. What little did I know at that time of cleaning up the back yard last fall, the pet cemetery stones, flowers, & etc were being removed to clear the top of the ground. When I saw the area the next day, I bawled at home. Since we didn't know the exact area of the graves, we would have had to guess where the graves were and Ruby didn't want little things to mow around & trim. She agreed to a plant though. We thought of a Dogwood tree but one of our mom's neighbors said that a Dogwood Twig Bush would be best. There is red and yellow. We just found them on Wed in Wal-Mart. I chose the red one which looks so neat, especially in the wintertime. Ruby planted it last night and I cried. I didn't want the pet cemetery to be just a piece of ground with grass on top. I wanted a remembrance of were my kids & Gretchen are buried. I also would like to bury Bambi there too one of these days. She came along when Lara & Blacky was alive which was 7 yrs ago next month. I get to visit the pet cemetery anytime I want since we live a few blocks from our mom. Within the next few months, we will be living at our mom's. I'll be able to walk Bambi through the yard & the pet cemetery to get our exercise. The house & yard will eventually be ours one of these days.

I understand how it is when a furkid dies. I understand how it is when you have to put a pet to sleep. Patches died overnight at the vet's office and I didn't have a chance to say "goodbye" to him before he died. I just told him that I'd come to visit him the next day but that next morning was a phone call from the vet to say that he died. My older sister, Ruby, & I was with Jack, Lara, & Blacky when they all were put to sleep. I took my mom & Gretchen to the vet to put Gretchen to sleep. I KNOW the pain of whether or not you think you've done the right thing when you put your pet to sleep. I KNOW the guilty feelings you have about doing so. I KNOW the various emotions you go through before & after your pet dies. I think I've cried more for my dogs over the years than I have of my family & friends who have passed on. The dogs I have listed are the ones of my adult years. The ones of my childhood are just little memories and that was it. My dogs of my adulthood are the ones I remember the most and have cared for the longest.

When Patches died, I started a diary to him in a notebook and I wrote to him many times. It felt good to get my feelings out to him. When Jack died, I started one for him but added Lara & Blacky to it. I sometimes write to all three when I call them "kids" which is what we did when I called when they were alive. Writing my feelings down helps me. I try to remember their birthdays (approx., except Blacky which we know). All are rescue dogs. Christmas is my main time for writing, especially to Jack 'cause Ruby gave him to me on Christmas Eve 1999 and we considered it his birthday & anniversary. Christmas is so very hard on me 'cause of Jack but also my dad died before the holiday. I try to remember the days they've died too. I may not be exact on the dates of anything 'cause it depends on what I've got going on. I know my kids understand.

As much as I miss my "kids", I also gotta remember that I've got Bambi who needs me. She just had surgery to remove her left eye in March 'cause of Melanoma. She's doing quite well seeing out of her right eye. She's back to her old self after the surgery. She'll be approx. 9 yrs. old next month. She's our little wild child. She LOVES Grandma! I can cry all I want for the others but it's so depressing if I think of them so much. Bambi keeps me going. The others "visit" me in their own ways...a familiar bark, a picture that looks like them, in my dreams, & etc. Sometimes I get to pet or hug a little dog who reminds me of one of mine and get tears in my eyes. I have many fond memories of the past in my mind, heart, & pictures and I will cherish them till the day I die. Things have gotten easier for me over time but some days are harder than others 'cause it depends on that moment of what I'm doing. The pet cemetery is my special place for my kids and that memorial bush has made me so happy to have it on top of their graves.

Please know that things will eventually get easier as time goes along but it must happen in YOUR time, NOT others. Mourn all you want but don't let it take over your life. Your pet wouldn't want you to mourn all of your life. If it means sharing your life with another pet, then do so. If you need to talk, come to the chat room to talk or post on the msg board to let your feelings out. There are other places online that can help you with grieving. Don't feel bad if you mourn the loss of your pet more than a family or friend. It just shows how much you LOVE your pet. Prayers to all for comfort for the loss of your pet or for those who are hurt or lost.



Posts: 171
Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  Your words are helpful at this time and truly appreciated.  Growing up our pets were buried underneath a lilac bush we had in the back yard and a rock was placed on top of their grave to mark their special spot.  A variety of pets were laid to rest under the lilac bush.  Every spring the lilac bush exploded with color and the fragrance was amazing.  To this day lilacs are one of my favorite flowers.

Posts: 42

I'm sorry to hear about your family pet cemetary, but it seems like the memorial bush was a great way to honour your lost family members. 

I also had a dog named Patches. We had to put him to sleep on his 11th birthday (March 30, 2019). He's the first dog that I've lost and I'm having such a difficult time dealing with the pain. We got him cremated and keep his paw print and ashes in our living room on top of the TV stand. I also have his collar and pictures in my room. I also write letters to him. I felt like I was crazy for doing it, but it helps a lot. I write one every night. When he was alive, he'd sleep in my room with me and I'd kiss him and say, "Goodnight Patches. I love you." Now that I can't do that, I'm devastated. Instead, I take out my laptop, and write him a letter telling him about my day and what's on my mind. Then I'll sit down on my bed with his favourite blanket, look at his pictures and collar, and read the letter to him. Then I'll say, "Goodnight Patches. I love you" and then I'll blow him a kiss. Then I'll say goodnight and I love you to my grandma as well. 

Sometimes I'll feel okay and can smile and laugh at some memories, but more often than not, I'm a complete wreck. It has been about 2 months since Patches passed on and I'm not doing well at all. I've written 3 posts on here regarding our situation, the most recent being how I decorated my graduation cap in honour of him and my grandma. 

I feel like things will never get better. I do agree though, that it has to be on my terms and not someone else's. I know a lot of people who have gotten another dog within a week of losing their last, but I also know people who waited months, years, or maybe they never want another dog/pet again. We adopted a puppy after about a month, but then fostered him until my cousin adopted him from us. It was too soon and too much for us to handle. Our vet recommended waiting at least a year, but my therapist suggested getting one asap to help us through the grieving process. I wish I listened to the doctor and to myself as well. I should have taken the hint that if I kept questioning whether or not I was ready, I probably wasn't. 

I don't necessarily feel bad for mourning him, but I feel impatient. I want to feel better because I can feel myself getting worse instead. Everyday seems to be harder than the next and I'm scared. I wanted to feel better so badly and I thought that getting another dog would help, but it just made things worse. I guess in a way it helped because it helped me to realise that I wasn't ready yet... but it has been a rollercoaster. I've been grieving Patches for about a year. He had a lot of health issues and there were some cases where we weren't sure if he was going to make it. Luckily, we were able to spend his last days with him and make them as comfortable and as special as possible. 

I kept getting asked if I was ready to say goodbye. I was never going to be ready. I'm still not. I can't accept the fact that he's gone and never coming back. I'm struggling a lot, but your post helped because it's a success story and it's inspirational. You were able to work through all of your losses and made it clear that it's okay to take as long as it's needed to work through the grief. 

Sometimes I still refer to Patches in the present tense. I guess I just don't think he's really gone. 

Thank you for listening
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