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Posts: 8
Hi, I am new to this board. Quite honestly i avoided checking it out for awhile because i thought it would be too painful to read about other people losing their pets when I still couldn't accept the loss of my own.
It's been about 3 months since we had to MAKE THE MOST HORRIBLE DECISION OF OUR LIFE and let go of our sweet 16 y.o. German shepherd dog. My emotions are all over the place. I have good days and bad days, and i really was starting to feel better until a few weeks ago. I believe that has to do with the fact that we originally fostered and then adopted her in early NOV 1996. And of course we spoiled her for our first Thanksgiving and Christmas together!
Also weighing very heavily on me is that I feel trapped in a house of memories because I cannot bring myself to clean the house properly....i don't want to vacuum or dust up her fur, Windex her paw and nose prints off the windows, wash her towels and blankets, put away or give away things that were hers or remind me of her. I feel like doing these things is permanently "cleaning" the house of her she was never there, when in fact, she was ALWAYS there for me! That breaks my heart! I don't know what to do. I feel stuck and unable to make a decision. I need to move forward and I was hoping someone here can give me some advice. Thank you.

Posts: 11,059
I am very sorry for the loss of your sweet dog.  I am glad you decided to share your story with your petloss family.  Making the decision to send your pet to the rainbow bridge is heartbreaking.  No one likes to see their pet suffer and steps need to be taken to give them the rest they deserve.  In time, you will come to accept that it was time for your dog to begin her new life.  Coming here and talking with others will help.  It is hard to put away all the belongings of our pets and do that final clean up.  I have my bunny's food and water dish sitting out yet.  They bring me comfort somehow.  Maybe you can collect some of your dog's fur and put it into a necklace...others here have done that and it makes them feel close to their fur baby yet.

I hope you will tell us more about your sweet dog and post a picture or two!

precious Christoph ~ 2 years now ~


Posts: 50

I think the thing to think about is -- when you are ready you will move forward, you will clean, and so forth.  Right now isn't the best time.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  It's a part of the grieving process.  I feel the same way about Muffin.  It's been almost 2 weeks since she passed and I don't vacuum, and I haven't even washed my sheets because my last memory of her is curling up to me in bed at night.  I haven't even moved her food bowl from where she last used it.  It's like I am frozen in time, too.  I want to keep her here as long as I can, but there will come a time when I will have to let go and move forward, but not yet.  It will take me awhile, too.  Her death hit me hard -- it was like I knew she was sick, but the vet she was VERY sick, then she had cancer, then it was time to put her to sleep all within 4 days.  I wasn't prepared -- she was supposed to be around 10 more years at least (she was only 10), I expected it.  I never expected my world without her.  Now, I can't let go of my world without her.  I know you feel trapped, but be patient with yourself.  You'll know when the time is right.  Hugs to you, Jen ~


Posts: 2,123
My heart goes out to you in the loss of your precious German Shepherd. She lived a long, loving, beautiful life with you. I lost my Australian Shepherd 17 months ago, and I understand those feelings you are having. I remember coming to these boards at 3 months after his loss, wondering why I wasn't doing better yet. Everyone here reassured me that it was still so early in my grief. When we have a long time, constant companion such as your GS, it takes time to get through.

I felt the same exact way about worrying I was erasing my boy from my life. I can share with you what I did, and perhaps it might help you. I tried to keep my boy's memory alive everywhere I could think of. The best place to do this was here on these boards. Everyone here got to know my boy through my posting about him. They are so loving and understanding, I felt like they knew him too. I also wrote about him a lot. I sent out poems to family and friends. I sent a eulogy out in the snail mail to 35 people! To this day, I still talk about him so no one will ever forget him.

Share your Shepherd's story wherever you can. It helped me put away his stuff and vacuum up his fur. I do have a little corner ... I call it his "shrine corner" with his ashes, photos and accomplishments as a flyball dog. The one thing I still keep is his bed. I haven't been able to let that go, and I'm not sure if I ever will. I really don't care. I do what I need to do to get myself through. You must do the same. Take care of yourself as you grieve and share more when you feel up to it.

Hugs of comfort,


Posts: 315
I am so sorry to hear about your loss.  My Riley passed at the end of May and I have all of his things out where they are still a part of my life.  He is and always will be a part of my life so there is no reason to move them.  I used to feel sad when I saw them but now they bring me peace and I remember the happy times.  I know it seems impossible to you now that this will happen.  You had many years of love and that love does not go away; it is always with you.  Embrace it and treasure it for the gift and miracle that it is.  The two of you are always together in spirit.  Be open to this and you will feel the love between you lives forever.  I wish you peace and comfort.

Posts: 1,982
It is so painfully hard and I know the feelings you are having too.  It took a very long time for me to steam clean the hardwood floors.  I could still see her little prints near the door.  I felt like you I was removing all trace of her.  When I finally did, at about 3 or 4 months it felt so final.

Just don't feel any rush, it will be done when you are ready to do it.  At that same time, I finally moved her bed from in front of the fireplace.  But I put it under my bed where it remains over 2 yrs. later.  So it didn't go far.  Her toys, collar, blanket were lovingly placed in fabric covered boxes that remain stacked in my room.  Once in awhile I open them, and I feel her spirit wash over me when I do.  I have photos that will always be around in rooms she would always be in.  It's her home, it's where she belongs, it's where her spirit and memory will live on as long as I do.

3 months is still very early, do things as your heart can.  That's all you can ask of yourself.


Posts: 6
I'm so sorry for the loss of your German Shepherd.  Loving, then losing a beloved friend and companion is painfully difficult.

Moving forward has been very difficult but I'm slowly putting things away.  An area has been set up as a memorial of sorts where we're keeping all of Hoku's licenses, collar, and favorite puppy toy.  Items of meaning are being added while slowly moving forward.

Our local hospice program offers bereavement support for people facing the loss or having lost their beloved furry companions.  Perhaps there is a similar program in your area that you could look into for additional in-person support and comfort.

Coming to this group and simply reading through the posts has helped tremendously and I hope you're able to find the same comfort and warmth as I have.

Please do take good care of yourself. 


Posts: 8
Thank you all for your kind words. It helps so much to know that others feel the way I do. I always feel like something is wrong with me for feeling this much pain. In fact, just reading these posts has me crying my eyes out. I am just so emotional. I wish I could be stronger. I should mention that I am a perfectionist and I can not handle feeling weak. I know it's not logical, it's just the way I've always been. My sweet Gretel reminded me that you can't be can try to be perfect or you can have a DOG! NOTHING ever goes quite as planned. Dogs are on DOG TIME! The house is NEVER really clean...and they like it that way! Gretel taught me to say "Whatever!" Perfectionists do not say "Whatever!" But without her, I do not say "whatever" anymore. I am back to needing control. But I don't have control and that is why I am stuck. Like Jen said about Muffin, I'm frozen in time...

Posts: 2,719
I am so very sorry for your loss of your GS dog.  I have had 3 GSD's and they are wonderful and magestic dogs.  Very loyal and loving.  You have my deepest sympathy.

I am glad you posted your own thread.  Come here often for support and comfort.  We all know what you are going through.

Bless you and the spirit of  your beloved angel

Love, Diane, Mom of Miss Dallas at the bridge 8 years
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