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Posts: 5
I don't know how I can be 'me' without my baby girl, Nessie, beside me. She died not 48 hours ago in my arms. I rescued her from a shelter I volunteered in whilst living in Spain 10 years ago, at the time she was an abandoned, frightened 6 year old mini pinscher and I have been with her every day since then. I moved back to the UK with her and vowed to give this little dog the happiest life possible. I gave up what people would say was a 'good career' and 'good salary' to work from home so she was never left alone. She was there when I went through a difficult divorce and depression. She was my constant. I would only go places, coffee shops, anywhere - if she could go with me. Last year, as it was obvious she was getting older, I reduced my working hours to part time, despite working from home anyway, so we could spend more time together doing enjoyable things and going to the places she liked. She was my life, and I know that is a cliche, but she was. I don't have any friends, just my mum and dad and my new husband, who I married last year with my little Nessie there - just the 3 of us on the wedding day.
Nessie was everything to me. Literally my daily routine, my every single little thing revolved around her. I am riddled with guilt at having her put to sleep because I think it was too early. I hadn't slept in 2 weeks as she was up all night, showing signs of dementia, and very confused and scared.
She was having strange episodes, perhaps neurological, but the different medication we kept trying from the vet did no good. However she still ate, enjoyed her walks and cuddles and outings to the local coffee shop with me.
That's why I now feel like it was too soon, even though the vet said it was the kindest thing to do and at her age she wasn't going to get better....but she was fine only 4 weeks ago.. and i feel like I've been so selfish and not acting rationally due to my exhaustion from lack of sleep. I don't know how to be without her. I don't know how to function. I cry so much it claws away at me and it feels like I'm choking from the inside out. I have never felt so raw, numb and desperate before. I know I have my husband and my parents, but besides them I feel like I have no reason to live. I know this sounds dramatic and cliched, I can't believe I am writing them but it's true. I don't know how to live. I don't know how to 'be' me. I don't know if this is normal to grieve in such a way, I have lost relatives before and felt the pain of separation, anxiety, depression and other out-of-body feelings associated with mental illness and I have coped...but she was there throughout everything and I wonder if I only coped because of her? I don't know what to do.

Posts: 26
Oh you poor soul.  My heart breaks for you because I have been going through almost the very same thing as you are.  I lost my dear Sabrina 53 days ago and the pain is still raw and fresh.  She was 15, but her health issues really only began not long before I had to do what was best for her.  Let her go.  Love her enough to do what was best for her.  She had had two mini-strokes, the second worse than the first.  What caused them I'll never know because she was in very good health, all her bloodwork was perfect, her heart was fine.  The vets (her regular vet and then a specialist) could not give me a definitive answer.  The only thing that may have contributed was the treatment she had been given for a mild inner ear infection.  It's too long a story, and the not knowing is absolute torture but I am learning to live with it.  I don't have a choice. No one can give me answers and my research has come up empty.

She was left with a bad limp in her right front leg (lost some use of the limb), but would walk and jump.  Nothing could get her down.  She was amazing and such a trooper.  I loved her more than life.  Her brother Buster died not more than a year ago from kidney disease and I was not even close to being over him when Sabrina got sick.

The bottom line is my precious girl was in a lot of discomfort and she just wasn't herself.  She was in fact miserable.  It was so heartbreaking to see her limp around the house, knowing she was miserable.  She had no quality of life and the medications the vet and I tried were not working.  She had had several doses of buprenorphine (like morphine for people) that took some of her pain away, but she was stoned and totally messed up from the drug and that was not a long term solution.  She also had a little bit of age-related arthritis that was starting to get worse.

The worst part though is that according to the specialist she was destined for a third stroke.  Without a doubt.  The first one wasn't so bad, but the second one is what left her with the limp. Her personality was never the same either.  The other problem is that her other little legs were doing twice the work to compensate for the limp.  When a cat has a stroke there are more to follow.  In Sabrina's case, the third one would have been fatal, the blood clot would have gone to her heart and lungs, and she would have suffered agonizing, horrific pain.  That would have been how she spent her last days on earth after having the best life and home and more love than any animal could possibly want for 15 years.  And I would have had to witness that happening to my baby.  I trusted and believed the specialist.  It also happened to her cat when she was still in vet school. She couldn't tell me what to do but told me that if I let her go she would be spared a truly awful ending to a wonderful life.  The third stroke could have happened at any given moment. By the grace of God it didn't.

In spite of all that knowledge, the decision was the most agonizing one I have ever had to make in my whole life.  But I know it was the right thing to do.  For Sabrina.

I am experiencing many of the same things you are.  Please know that you absolutely did do the right thing for your baby.  Sabrina was my whole life too.  Every single day.  This Message Board has helped me tremendously, but reaching out to people, friends, grief counselors, and pet loss hotlines have helped me too.  It's a bittersweet journey my friend and we will make it.  I understand your pain.  I really do.  Please try and be strong.  Your baby would have wanted that.

I wish you strength and grace.  God bless.

Sabrina &  Buster's Mom


Posts: 639
I am so sorry this has happened.


Posts: 5
Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate it and this message board is a great comfort. Yesterday I looked back on my last few years' daily journals. Every day I write 3 things to be grateful for, and 3 things that will spark joy in my life that day. I have done this for years, and it really helps me appreciate the simple things in life and be grateful. Sitting on my bed, in the same spot where my baby Nessie had died in my arms only 48 hours previously, I re-read those journal entries going back over the years. Every day was about her. Every day I wrote about being grateful to spend the time with her, to try to make the most of our time together. I'd write how I was looking forward to our morning walk. I was going to take her out in the car for a drive through the countryside to her favourite coffee shop for breakfast - where all the locals knew her and would give her treats. I would sketch little happy pictures of me in bed all happy with a book, coffee, and Nessie curled up beside me. I'd write how happy I was with very little, just enjoying a quiet, contented life with her. I don't know how to go on writing in my journal as right now I feel I have nothing to live for. No joy. How can I find joy again in those things without her? I don't want to go out, make friends, socialise, go to noisy gyms, bars etc like most people do. I am an introvert, I crave solitude and nature. I miss her so much and don;t know how to live my life without her beside me as I have no distractions - no children or friends. My husband works a lot so I spend all afternoons and evenings alone. I miss my baby more than words can say.

Posts: 580
I feel your pain and heart ache. It's so very hard to move forward in our daily lives when our daily lived revolved around our babies. You will live a new normal but you will miss and grieve for your little Nessie just as I miss and grieve for my Termy. He as just over 16 years old when I made the dreadful decision to let him go. He was suffering with heart failure and dementia and stopped eating for days. I knew in my head it was time to let him go but my heart wasn't ready. I too have guilt that I rushed my decision and I should have waited. I know I made the decision to end his suffering but there will always be doubts. We can never know (not in this life) and there are no answers. We can only believe we did this out of love. I know emptiness you feel when your life revolved around our babies. I still look for Termy and shed tears daily for him. I know he loves me and will be waiting for me at the Bridge. My new normal (life) is sad and lonely too. I don't enjoy the things I used to do but I am hoping this will change over time but if it doesn't I will go on with knowing I will see him again. I cherish the journey we shared and the memories we made. I believe they put so much love into their short lives hoping that we can make it last until we are reunited. I hope you can find comfort and support to help you get through this.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 5
Thank you so much to you all. It's such a big help being on here.

Something strange has happened and I wonder if any of you have experienced something similar?

The first 48 hours following my baby's death were horrendous. Truly horrible. I couldn't eat and crying brought not relief. I had this intense sensation in the middle of my chest that felt so heavy and tight. Then, yesterday, I went to see my parents and their little dog. Seeing their dog actually felt lovely - I smiled. I thought seeing her would make me feel worse, but she kissed and cuddled into me, wagged her tail and gave me her tummy - and it felt so comforting. Little did I know, but at the same time someone had gone into my husband's place of work, a shop, and brought a puppy with them. They asked my husband if he's like to hold the puppy and he told them his dog had just died and they apologised, but he said he'd still like to - he only told me about this later last night when he got home from work. He said it was such a comfort, so little did we both know, but we were both having some doggy affection at the same time yesterday afternoon. 

I drove home from my parents house and was dreading going home to an empty house. But, as soon as I opened the front door something was different. I don't know what - it's hard to describe but it just felt like Nessie was back. The air felt lighter and the energy felt freer - that awful heavy, stagnant feeling had gone. I instinctively went to the kitchen cupboard and got back out her little water dish and bowl and filled the bowl back up with fresh water and put it back on the floor for her. It just felt right. I talked to her as if she was there, just as I always did when she was alive. But although I'd been talking to her ever since she died on Thursday, this time it wasm't desparate and sad - I just talked to her normally. I ran a bath, and left the door slightly open into the bathroom so she could come in like I always had done. I didn't cry. It was then I noticed, lying in the bath, a strange pink rash in the centre of my chest. It didn't hurt, it was just a strange red mark. I realised it was exactly where the awful pain/heavy sensation had been the last 3 days and that it had suddenly gone. 

Last night I ate my first meal in 3 days and really enjoyed it. I ate and drank and felt the energy coming back into me. My husband came home and I told him about what had happened and he told me about the puppy at work. I went to sleep last night instantly, and for the first time in a long time I slept all the way through - more than 8 hours and woke up feeling calm and rested. 

What has happened? Am I in denial? Am I prentending she's still here and that's why I suddenly feel so much lighter? I still feel sadness, but it's more of an acceptance and realisation that she was an old lady (16 years) even though she'll always be my "baby" girl - I suddenly feel like it was right and she is somehow letting me know. I am going to continue to leave her fresh water every day. Leave some bits of food out for her at dinner time. I will continue to talk to her and do what I have done before. I feel like both my husband and I suddenly feel lighter and more peaceful since us both being with other dogs simultaneously yesterday afternoon and the feeling in the house is so, so different - I now feel so much LOVE rather than overwhelming grief.

Can anyone relate to this? I am not religious, but I think of myself as spiritual. I feel very connected to nature, animals and have always been a great believer in things happening at the right time for a reason - but the death of my baby girl destroyed all of this in an instinct - or so I thought for the first 3 days... 

Is she back with us? Or am I doing this to make myself cope? Maybe it's better not to over-anlayse it and just continue to FEEL rather than think?

I would be so grateful if any of you here can let me know what you think and your experiences after your babies have died, thank you. 

Posts: 17
Hi Lally,

We lost our beloved 14 yr old Dooley dog 5 days ago. We also had to have him put to sleep and that has caused me great guilt and regret. He had renal failure, had lost more than 20 pounds and had stopped eating completely. He was unable to stand up from a lying down position unassisted. It was heart wrenching to watch him suffer. But I still question whether it was too soon/too late. I too am not religious, but would love some kind of sign to show that he is still with us. I agree with you that you should not over-analyze the signs too much and be happy that you feel a connection to your fur baby girl. 




Posts: 1
Hi Lolly, my little chihuahua buddy-boy Timmy has passed on this Monday. The pain is unbearable. It was also unbearable when my previous dog - Charlie - had to be put down. I felt, sensed Charlie's presence for months, just like now  I feel Timmy's presence - it is not just  a 'feeling', it is tactile. I can feel softness of his fur under my hand when I close my eyes in bed.
I believe that in spirit he is still here and will be for a couple of days.

I also believe, and in fact completely convinced that my Charlie and Timmy will be with me forever. When my turn will come, we shall be together. You and your baby will be together again. You have been temporarily separated, but Nessie is still your baby, and you are still her mum, and she will meet you on the Rainbow Bridge when the time will come. She is happy and in peace, and her little soul is looked after until you two reunite. 

Posts: 5
Thank you so much to all of your kind and helpful is exactly a week ago to the hour that I lost my baby girl. I have been dreading this moment but being here in this lovely community helps so much...THANK YOU x

Posts: 26
I, too, leave kibble out for Sabrina in her dishes.  I haven't moved them.  Her litter boxes that I kept immaculate are still where they always were.  With fresh litter for when she needs to go. I keep her fresh flowing water fountain running continuously as a living memorial to her.  I clean it just like I used to do and fill it with fresh cold water.  She loved it and would take nice long drinks.  Every once in a while, I hear that fountain gurgle.  She's there.  Having a drink.  I smile a bittersweet smile, my eyes bright with tears.  But mostly it's a wonderful feeling.  Her spirit is here.  Her energy is here.  Everywhere.  I talk to her as if she was here in body.  And I had two 16" x 20" posters made of Sabrina and of Buster (from beautiful photographs I took of each of them).  They are life-sized pictures, and are both here on the wall above my desk where I can always see them.

So I can totally relate to you Lally.  We are not in denial.  Yes, it is probably our way of coping, but I am a spiritual person as well and there is nothing wrong with what we are doing.  It's an expression of love and warmth for precious animals that meant so much to us.  And yes, FEEL, don't think.

Take care Lally.  I wish you peace.

Sabrina & Buster's Mom

Oh my God.  Just as I finished writing this her fountain gurgled again.  If that's not proof I don't know what is.

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