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Dogsarepeopletoo

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Posts: 106
 #1 
We said goodbye to our precious dog about 2 and half weeks ago. She was just shy of 14 and collapsed one morning; we had to make that awful decision 48 hours later.

I'm 64; she was the third dog I have had in my lifetime but she was THE ONE that I felt closest to; my "heart dog" I suppose. Anyway, I'm really struggling with the loss -- the house feels so empty; I keep expecting to see her; I look in the rear view mirror to see what she is doing in the back seat. Yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen floor and sobbed because I was mopping up a few muddy paw prints left from her. We are going on a little road trip this weekend and I sort of dread it because it's to a place we always went with her.

ANYWAY, I know many of you have walked this same path. I know my grief is normal (well, whatever that is!) but I just cannot seem to shake the loneliness I feel for her.

I know there is no magic wand -- but what helped you get over this hump?
doglife

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Posts: 69
 #2 
First I am so very sorry for your the loss of your Heart dog.   It is extremely painful.  I just also lost my first female GSD, who was a healthy , happy girl, playing in the backyard as usual who came running up to me and collapsed at my feet , and wasn't breathing.  She was gone in a matter of minutes.  The utter slap in the face of losing her so quickly and unexpectantly has been extremely difficult. 

It took me a couple of weeks, but after I started I haven't been able to stop.  I made a special memorial of her in my garden.  I planted all flowering plants that attract butterflies because Jada loved chasing them.  I had a stepping stone made with her name and the saying " Forever" and the years that she lived and died.   I also have began a collection of solar powered butterflies for the garden.  They light up at night, and they are so pretty. 

Your grief is very normal, esp. after losing your Heart dog.  I also purchased a book , called, Heart Dog, surviving the loss of your Canine Soulmate.", by Roxanne Hawn.  I haven't read it yet, but it had very good reviews on Amazon.  Maybe that could be of help.   We also took Jada to a special place in Michigan every summer,  where the water was crystal clear to swim.  She would get so excited when we even entered the beach parking lot that she would literally start shaking and high pitched whining because of being over stimulated.   The last summer we went, my husband had her leash in one hand and was carrying some chairs & beach bags in the other and she literally pulled him across the sand and almost into the water.  He of course fell in the sand, and was unable to get up because when Jada wanted something she went for it full on.  She was as strong as an ox.  We couldn't let her off the leash at the public beach.  But swimming was one of her most favorite things in the world.   We usually went up there about once a year with the dogs.  I don't think I can go for a while, because the memories of her and not having her with us, would be to painful for me right now.  My heart is broken , as I'm sure is yours.  It will take time to heal. 

I understand your pain, and I understand wanting a magic wand to take it away.  Unfortunately the pain is there because of how much you loved your dog and how much she loved you.  It's a loss, just like losing a best friend.
I wish you comfort and peace and healing. 
Doggie hugs and kisses
Jada's mom
Dogsarepeopletoo

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Posts: 106
 #3 
Thanks so much for the reply. I know we would never wish this on anyone but it does help to know others share the same feeling of loss and pain.

I bumped into a classmate at the vet one day -- I was checking in, he was at the desk getting ready to leave. We chatted about life for a bit and he introduced me to his wife. And I will never forget him saying "we just had to put our dog down." He said it just like you might say "I stopped for an ice cream cone today." No tears. No drama. I compare him to me; and think we are on totally opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of dealing with grief. And I firmly believe there is no correct way to grieve -- we all do it in our own way, at our own speed. But, that level of stoicism? So not me.

I love the idea of a little garden spot -- I know just the place (by an ornamental grass that was like Snicker Bars to our dog).

I understand needing a break from going to her favorite lake -- I know it will be hard to go to the beach this weekend. Hopefully there will be a time when those places will bring us comfort and happy memories.

I know things will get better (or maybe easier is the right word? I never know how to say that).

Thanks again.
twinkiesmom

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Posts: 837
 #4 
My heart goes out to you in this time of sorrow. I have had dozens of fur kids over the years (67 here) and with each loss have grieved and felt as if a piece of my heart was missing. I wish we could just have a good cry (or a few hundred) and somehow feel just a little better but we all know our journey towards healing takes more than that. They wiggle their way into our lives and into a place in our hearts where they remain forever. She was, and always will be your heart dog. She can't be with you physically but she will always be with you in spirit.

I cry a lot and pray a lot, asking God to help me survive the pain and thank him for the honor of having my babies in my life. In time my tears lessen and are replaced with smiles as I remember our time together. I always compare grief to the sea. At times the waves come at you so hard they knock you off your feet. And when you feel as if you can breath normally the waves hit all over again.

As Doglife said, some people seem to take it all in stride, showing little if any emotion but none of us know what happens when they are alone. When my friend's mother died she would wait until everyone was at work or school and then take a shower and scream over and over. I am the one carrying tissues everywhere I go, tears flowing, wishing I could stop them but knowing most people will understand and love you through it.

Again, I am so sorry. Please return and tell us about your baby. Talking (writing) can help and all of understand and offer support. Take care.
doglife

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Posts: 69
 #5 
Twinkies mom. Good to hear from another crier. I also cry alot. I don’t know how you can go through the pain of that many losses. I guess that just means you have more loves & more memories tp enjoy. The losses for me have NOT been easy.
First my 18 year old cat , she was something how bonded & connected she was to my emotions. I thought that I was going to die when she diid.

And then my first well she’s actually my second because my first dog is still alive and he has suffered his whole entire life with severe hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia , along with too many other issues . I never dreamed in 1 million years that Jaada , my healthy dog first . She was almost 8 and she was the “ Watcher” over every body. Nothing got past her. We had a very bonded relationship . I started her in puppy classes at eight weeks old and we continue doing all kinds of fun dog classes and vacations and trips to the ice cream parlor and she was such a good girl. She was such a fast learner & loved working. I stilll cannot believe that she is gone forever. I thought it would get easier, but it doesn’t, for me anyway . I still don’t fully understand what happened to her that day that was like every other day and she was playing in the yard and then she came up to me and dropped dead at my feet . I will never fully “ get over” that. I am so grateful to have had a dog like her In my life, because she surely was one of a kind. I only wish she stayed longer than her short time & I never got to say goodbye, because she was gone so fast. Some days sre better than others, but the sadness of losing her will never fully go away.
Thank u both for sharing, & I hope To hear mote of your stories.
Jada’s mom
georgesmom

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Posts: 22
 #6 
I love the term "Heart" dog (or cat), because that is how I felt about my cat, George, whom I lost in April.  He was the ONE, my love and I miss him so much, and it hurts every day without him.  We "talked" every day, and now he's not here to share all the things I've been going through since he passed.  Just so much emptiness...  
I am sorry for your losses as well.  *HUGS*
Dogsarepeopletoo

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Posts: 106
 #7 
I suppose crying is cathartic to some degree; I imagine it is healthier than suppressing grief or bottling it up. I find grief a rather fascinating subject -- how we each deal with it; what people say; the similaries people share; the differences. There is such a comfort in hearing others discuss the emotional challenges of losing a pet; makes me feel less alone and less whacky about crying so much. I loved the story about bawling in the shower -- I imagine many of us have that experience. Many, many years ago we had to put my first dog down. I cried all day at work the next day but mostly held it together during work hours after that. On about day #5, I cried a bit and a coworker caught me dabbing at my tears and said "you are STILL crying about that dog?!" I was so hurt that he would say that and he made me feel rather foolish for crying. I am decades older now and beyond feeling embarrassed abut my tears and emotions.

The other day I scrubbed the kitchen floor -- I just bawled as I scrubbed away a few faint paw prints.

We loved to travel with our dog and regularly stayed at the same hotel on the Oregon coast (an hour away). We just returned from three days there. Luckily, our favorite rooms were not available so we stayed in a different style room, but it was still hard. I tried to be cheerful for my husband's sake but we were walking on one of our favorite beaches and he said "wow, this is so hard." So, I knew he keenly felt her absence, too.

One of my Facebook friends lost his dog not long ago and was also really struggling. One thing he said that really struck me was "I almost feel like I loved her too much." I sort of get that -- not that I would ever wish I WOULD love her less but, loving so much makes it hard. Does that make sense? Every day for quite a while, he posted a photo of his dog and called it "the daily Lucy" -- the posts were poignant, touching, sweet, funny. To his astonishment, he was unfriended by several people because of those posts. I could tell he was surprised but not terribly upset. I suppose folks who have never loved a pet cannot understand the pain.


doglife

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Posts: 69
 #8 
Dogsarepeopletoo,

Loved your post. I think dogs may just also be angels sent down to teach us how to love & forgive because that’s exactly what they do & they do it unconditionally. They trust us like a child would, they live every day being in every moment. They never complain even when we make them wait for us for too long, instead they are so happy to see us. They never judge us or are critical of us. Instead when they see their special human, they just love on them. They forgive our mistakes. They say most dogs are as smart as a young child- toddler age.
Although I disagree with that because my German Shepherds are MUCH smarter, & you have to always stay one step ahead of them or they’ll outsmart you.
They are teachable and love learning new things, they love to please us. I swear my girl Jada would do silly things on purpose to make me laugh & I would look at her & she would clearly be smiling & nodding her head as if to say, that’s my job mom, to make you laugh every day.
When she was a puppy we took her to puppy classes & she excelled so quickly. She passed all of her classes with flying colors. She then moved on to Shutzhund- a German Shepherd sport, where they learn tracking and obedience routines and do some protection work . She made quite the impression at the dog club that we were at because she was responsible for getting at least eight dogs to join that Shutzhund club, possibly even more after we left . Even when the trainer “ accidentally “ whacked her in the nose with a stick & made it bleed profusely later that evening, (trainers are NEVER supposed to whack a dog in the head with the stick ) & it’s supposed to be a soft stick, & only used to make it look like the dog is being patted on the sides. We didn’t go back to that club for a while after that. The trainer never apologized, & the owners/ breeders told us that happens sometimes. So not knowing enough back then , because this was our first dog & first training experience, we did go back , but not for long & , Jada never cussed the guy out for hurting her, & she actually went right back into doing protetion work & she loved it without batting an eye.
Although I had an issue with their harsh training methods & found a positive training club, so we left & never went back there. We went to several different dog clubs because that’s what Jada loved to do.
But then we found a dog trainer who did bite suit work for real protection work and he was a positive trainer and he built dogs up and Jada absolutely adored him , she found her new thing. Whenever Jada was done doing protection work with this trainer, she would turn it off & go give the trainer a hundred kisses. Every trainer who ever met Jada was super impressed with her & she would become one of their favorites.
Jada was a sweetheart, we took her everywhere with us. Lots of parades, watched fireworks, icecream parlors, vacations, beaches, she was the dog who everyone approached & she in turn gave love & kisses to whoever needed it. She loved kids, she loved & always watched over my daughter- & my daughter also did training with her at AKC shows & she did Rally as well. Jada was what the Germans call a well rounded A+ Temperament dog .
I kind of went off on a tangent there about some of her talents .

But the point that I really wanted to bring up was how much it touched me that a friend that I had made at the very first dog club that we ever went to , made a tribute to my JADA on his Facebook page right after she passed . He said that she was one of his favorites, next to his of course. But I had a lot of memories that came up on Facebook after Jada passed because it was her birthday two weeks after she passed , And so I posted the memories because they were so precious to me and only one person responded with a kind word or picture, & that was him. I am pretty sure that everybody else was pretty sick of seeing memories of my dog that had passed . But those memories mean everything to me and that is my Facebook wall , And it just goes to show why I think dogs are better than most people . My other dogs lick me in the face, and allow me to hug them and cuddle them while I am crying and they never say are you done yet . And if I have to cry every day , or maybe I go all week without crying, and then a memory hits me and I cry for two hours straight over the loss of my baby girl Jada, my other 2 dogs never judge me , and they never say all right already this is enough of this when are you going to get over this! People on the other hand , especially people who are not animal lovers have no concept of how painful it is to lose a pet . Plus not everybody bonds with their pets like most of us do on here. The closer the bond the harder the loss and the more pain . It is the cost of pure love and devotion , and it is the most beautiful thing when it happens between a pet and a person, and then the most painful thing in the world when you lose that special special angel that was made especially for you to help you through whatever it is in life that you needed help with.
To all of the people grieving on this message board , we are all in this together at one point or another in our grieving process . Never be ashamed to cry and never be ashamed to pour out your heart on here because you will be heard . It is beyond hurtful when people don’t understand the Depth of grief that is felt over losing a pet, that has been a family member for however many years .
And because we took Jada everywhere with us, everything reminds me of her and it is still making me have moments of deep grief of missing her .
I am actually to a point of realizing that people who have never had privilege of a special loving bond with a pet , and who don’t understand the grieving process of a person who has, and act like they are some superior human , are not happy, nice people at all. They haven’t had the beautiful awakening of being touched by an angel. They are the losers. They are not people that I want to even be around, they are usually very judgmental & critical.
So cry when you need, belt out sad songs, be kind to yourself, never forget, & never let anyone shame you for your feelings.
Hugs & doggie kisses to all the pet parents,
Jada’s mom ❤️
Dogsarepeopletoo

Registered:
Posts: 106
 #9 
That was so beautifully written and expressed.

Both of my parents are deceased and I felt so alone -- that unconditional love that comes from a parent is just gone. Then I thought "no, it's not --- my dog loves me no matter what." And it's true.

Our dog was born to a pregnant mama who was at the shelter. She was adopted by a woman with a bunch of wild kids; and was shuttled off to a life in the back yard. I think she was fed, but otherwise neglected and possibly teased by the children. When she was one, the owner returned her to the shelter. Poor Annie was a mess -- shelter staff did not think she had ever been indoors; if you looked at her cross-eyed, she peed all over; she was scared of everything. She lived with a foster for a few months which helped a lot. We spotted her at an outdoor art fair in an "adopt me" coat; and adopted her a few days later. It took several months for the submissive peeing to stop; she was awas a timid dog; and snapped at a few toddlers who cornered her in their exuberance to love on her.

I've never had a dog that seemed to be naturally obedient. She was a dream to walk at my left heel. She "sat" and "stayed" like a champ -- it was like she read our minds. She rarely barked. We traveled with her a lot -- all over the west.

Her only vice was counter-surfing. We had to be diligent to put away anything remotely edible. And "edible" was a large category. She ate vaseline, cuticle oil, hand scrub. Her worst snag was two loaves of raisin bread (a call to the emergency vet!). We could NOT figure out how she got food off the counter -- was she jumping ON the counter? A friend loaned us a trail cam and we baited with a piece of buttered bread and left. This is one of the many videos (on Dropbox -- just click past making an account):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mya9lmr4eytig63/SUNP0017.AVI?dl=0

I love it that Jada made you laugh. Our dog was a natural clown. Her ears were tall and very expressive and made us laugh all the time. Her eyes were so expressive and she had this goofy way of rolling them to look back at us that I have never seen a dog do before. My mother used to say "ya know, she isn't really a dog, right?"

She had such a different appearance. We could not go anywhere without someone stopping and asking about her heritage. We were walking in the woods once and could see a man in the distance, running towards us, crashing through brush. It was somewhat alarming. He stopped in front of us, huffing and puffing, and said "what kind of dog is that? I'm goingi to get a dog and am researching breeds!" Uhhh, half blue heeler, half mystery. Ha!

You nailed the childlike quality -- I think that vulnerability is a small part of why they are missed so much -- they are dependent on us for food, care, love, shelter and in return the give us love love love. And in the end, it hurts that we cannot provide the miracle they need.

The story about your friend posting the tribute to your dog is lovely -- those are the friends that get it. One friend said "call if you need to talk" so I did; and she sort of cut me off. That stung.

tumbleweed

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Posts: 5
 #10 
I think when you say you saw someone  at the vet and they told you that they had just put their dog to sleep without any emotion that he was probably in shock.  I remember when I was at the vet I was like that and then in the car I fell apart and have been crying ever since.  
tumbleweed

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Posts: 5
 #11 
What helped me today is I saw all these wild grapes growing over my tree in the back and I went and attacked them with my loppers and boy did I get my anger and frustration out just pulling those grape vines down off of that tree.  I was a mess. but I felt better.  Also, yesterday, I took a melatonin and I slept a solid 10 hours and I felt much better today but still miss my baby she filled up the house.  The other 2 cats are sad and sleeping.  They love each other, no doubt. They were together for 16 years! and every day all day while I was at work. so of course they grieve too.  
Dogsarepeopletoo

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Posts: 106
 #12 
Tumbleweed: You are kind; I suppose he might have been in shock. Actually, now that I recall, I was that way when we had our cat put down several months ago (we were called to the vet at 1:30 am so we were in a bit of a stupor). I was a mess later. With our dog, I was inconsolable at the time. Luckily, staff showed us a back door so we did not have to blubber our way through the waiting room.

Good idea to tackle a nasty job -- I might do that tomorrow. AND take a sleeping aid; sleep is important for healing and well being, and mine has been intermittent at best.

Good tips!
Dogsarepeopletoo

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Posts: 106
 #13 
Here is a photo of Annie -- taken a few years ago at the Oregon coast on a drizzly day.

https://d28lcup14p4e72.cloudfront.net/17577/3968437/IMG_6404.jpg
georgesmom

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Posts: 22
 #14 
Dogsarepeopletoo, I love that video of your Annie - what a striking dog, and that is too cute how she was trying to get that plate!

I love the compassion in this group, and how we all understand each other.  It is so true, people who have not experienced that close bond with a pet will never understand.  I won't hide my feelings, I just come out and say "I miss George" when I am feeling it at that moment.  I get strange looks, or comments but I don't care, I have to express myself.  I just got over a crying spell, thinking about my boy.  His blanket is still in the same spot, slightly messed up the way it was left the last time he laid on it, and I can't bring myself to move it yet, it has been 3 months.  There's still a sprinkle of catnip on the couch, and his "crinkle bag" is on the floor still - he would hide in it once in awhile.  It's going to take some time.
Dogsarepeopletoo

Registered:
Posts: 106
 #15 
Georgesmom: She had such an interesting look. I'm quite shy and she was such a good conversation starter for me.

Good for you for making no excuses for your feelings. I am so appreciative of friends who ask how I am doing; or comment on things that are likely hard. Oddly, my own dogloving friend sort of cut me off when I tried to talk to her about my feelings. Maybe it was too painful for her? Who knows.

I'm sitting here looking at one of our dog's beds/pads. We left it in place for the cat who never sleeps there. I just cannot bring myself to put it away.
pb313

Registered:
Posts: 104
 #16 
Dogsarepeopletoo,
I am extremely sorry for your loss. It is an excruciating pain that some people never feel. I almost feel sorry for them because that means they have never felt the love we have. It can’t hurt any deeper than you loved her and she loved you.
If you need to postpone the trip, no harm no foul. Take care of yourself and remember the gift she was.
Sincerely,
Paula aka Raider’s mom
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