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Posts: 16
Hi everyone.  I'm a newbie here.  My beloved Zoe went to the rainbow bridge 15 days ago (June 4th).  She was only 5 years old - a beautiful apricot Pug.

Zoe was me and my husband's first child.  We had just moved to a new location in mid-April and Zoe started acting strangly.  She was treated for a urinary tract infection, but then the lethargy came, then the weakness and struggling to breath normally.  I cannot tell you how many times we went to the vet during April and May.  Finally, they took a chest x-ray, and we began treating for blastomycosis, a "rare" fungal lung disease.  Basically she just sniffed some bad soil, and in the end it killed her.  They did so many tests and they didn't even get positive diagnosis until June 2nd - two days before her death.  We were on our way to another vet trip - when I went to get her out of her cage, she was gone.

To make matters worse, my 3 year old son was with me, and I did not hold it  together well.  He has been doing well, but I still worry about him.  We pray for her together at night and talk about her lots.  I went got a book on pet loss for children today - "Dog Heaven."  It seems like a great book, but I'm not sure I can get through it without becoming a total wreck. 

I miss my baby so much.  I'm doing everything I can to work through the grief and keep all the wonderful memories alive, but right now those memories are like sharp knives in the gut. 

When Zoe's urn comes (hopefully next week) we are going to have a celebration dinner in her honor.  She would like that.  I'm just so sorry that she suffered so much during the last 3 weeks of her life.  I was just hoping since she was so young that she could beat the disease.  It's hard to think she was a happy, bouncy Pug just a couple of months ago. 


Posts: 2,719
Dear Wendy,  I am so very sorry for your recent loss of Zoe.  It is so very hard to loose these wonderful furkids who are so much a part of our lives and families.  You have my deepest sympathy.

Come here often for support and comfort.  We all understand what you are going through.\

Bless you and the spirit of your beloved Pug Zoe.

Love,  Diane Mom of Miss Dallas at the bridge over 5 1/2 yrs.

Posts: 228

I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet pug, Zoe.  Take your time and grieve for Zoe the way that is best for you.  One day those memories that are so painful now will bring much comfort, peace and love. 


Posts: 5,100
Dear Wendy,

My heart broke as I read about your loss of your beloved little Pug, Zoe. I know the fact that she was so very young makes the loss even more tragic for you and your family.   I know you all wanted so much to have more time with this wonderful, precious girl.  My heart and prayers go out to you.

I have copied the following for you to help you deal with your son's loss. This primarily focuses on the loss of a person, but it holds true for loss of family pets as well.  I work in this field.  I have added some additional comments after some of the suggestions.   Some parents feel so guilty, as if they are not doing enough for their young children at times like these.  Remember, young children are far more resilient than we are.

Children's Understanding of Death

Children's understanding of Death is provided by Hospice of Southeastern Connecticut Bereavement Program. This chart is meant to be used as a guideline and not a checklist. All children develop at different rates and it is important to remember that the parents know their own child the best.

Newborn to Three Years
Child's Perception: Infant/Toddler can sense when there is excitement, sadness, anxiety in the home; can sense when a significant person is missing, presence of new people

  1. No understanding of death--You will benefit more from the book "Dog Heaven" than he will. 
  2. Absorbs emotions of others around her/him--If you are very upset, he may absorb your emotions and be upset.   
  3. May show signs of irritability--fussing more or tearful 
  4. May exhibit changes in eating, nursing patterns, crying, and in bowel and bladder movements
  5. Depends on nonverbal communications; physical care, affection, reassurances--it is perfectly okay to distract him to something more pleasant and enjoyable for him 

Providing Support:

  1. Keep normal routines and structure whenever possible
  2. Be verbally and physically affectionate and reassuring--remain as positive as you can. I know this is hard as you have lost a dear member of your family. 
  3. Provide warm, loving caretaker when parent is not available
  4. Exhibiting healthy coping behaviors--staying positive and upbeat around him, having a little memorial service (although he is not likely to fully comprehend the purpose) 
I hope this helps. 

I have lit an internet candle for her under her name.  It can be found under AurichWolf's "Light a Candle Here" thread, on this grief board.   Go to page one of the thread and click on the little Light a Candle Icon in AurichWolf's post.  The candle will burn for 48 hours. 

Again, I am so terribly sorry your beautiful Zoe has passed.  May your heart be comforted by wonderful memories of your girl. 

Sending hugs and prayers,

Betsy's forever mom



Posts: 820

So sorry to hear of your loss of Zoe.  It doesn't seem to matter what age they are sometimes they just have to go.  Here people believe in the Rainbow Bridge for our fur babies.  Sometimes it helps to think of that rather than other possibilities.  My cat Rupert was 15 and he died of kidney disease in January and I still struggle each day.  You have to take each day one at a time.  Don't worry about losing it in front of your son.  I too lost it in front of my kids and they are 6,8 and 10.  When the vet came I sent them in the house as I was almost hysterical. They know I have had a hard time coping with this and it doesn't do them any harm to see us showing sorrow and pain.  They learn empathy and my ten year old puts him arms around me when I am sad.  The kids cope so much better at this than us.  The younger ones talk about Rupert everyday and made a cross to put in the garden.   Deepest sympathies   Ruperts Mum


Posts: 686
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Zoe.  I wish there were words to take away your pain.  Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Zoe knows how much you love her and that you gave her a wonderful life filled with your love.  She will always be with you in your heart.

Thinking of you,
Kate (Gus' mom)


Posts: 16
Thank you all so much for the kind words and the info regarding children dealing with death.  My son is going on 4 and certainly has a lot of questions about death right now, which is totally understandable.  I do feel guilty about the lack of focus on my son right now, especially since we have our 2nd child due in September.  I'm really trying to face my grief for Zoe and show my son the love and reassurance he needs right now. 


Posts: 1,400
Dear Zoe's Mom:
We am so very sorry for the loss of your little Zoe.  We can feel your pain.  We know it was hard on your family and your little son.  I will pray for all of you.  I hope Zoe will meet my loving sweetheart Meister who when back to God on 6/6/08. 

Hugs and Prayers
Meisters Mom and Dad 

Posts: 5,100
Wendy, I am sending the recommendations for children who are ages 3 to 6, since your little boy is close to four.   As you can see,  they are a lot more specific.   
My heart still aches for you.   I think Pugs are little angels and I cannot imagine the pain you feel losing sweet Zoe.   Please know that you can write about her as much as you want, and all of us will listen.   This site really helped me when I lost my beloved Betsy.  The people here are simply wonderful and so helpful.
Big hugs,
Helping Children who are Grieving:
Three to Six Years
Child's Perception: Child thinks death is reversible; temporary, like going to sleep or when a parent goes to work; believes that people who die will come back
  1. "Magical thinking"; believes their thoughts, actions, word caused the death; or can bring deceased back; death is punishment for bad behavior
  2. Still greatly impacted by parent's emotional state
  3. Has difficulty handling abstract concepts such as heaven
  4. Regressive behaviors; bed wetting, security blanket, thumb sucking, etc.
  5. Difficulty verbalizing therefore acts out feelings
  6. Increased aggression - more irritable, aggressive play
  7. Will ask the same questions repeatedly in efforts to begin making sense of loss
  8. Only capable of showing sadness for short periods of time
  9. Escapes into play
  10. Somatic symptoms
  11. Hungers for affection and physical contact, even from strangers
  12. Connects events that don't belong connected
  13. May exhibit little anxiety due to belief that deceased is coming back

Providing Support:

  1. Keep normal routines and structure whenever possible
  2. Provide opportunities to play, draw
  3. Read books on death & loss with child
  4. Help to verbalize feelings and fears
  5. Help to identify feelings and reactions
  6. Be honest and tell a child if you do not have an answer
  7. Explain in specific, concrete language - not euphemisms; explain what has happened giving specific explanations about physical reality of death
  8. Gently confront magical thinking
  9. Make sure child does not feel responsible for the death
  10. Be tolerant of regressive behaviors
  11. Modeling healthy coping behaviors
  12. Avoid clich├ęs; "At least you have another brother", "You can always get a new pet"
  13. Use specific, concrete words - not euphemisms; Avoid "Mommy has gone to sleep", "God has taken Grandpa"

Posts: 16

Thanks for all this information!  I really appreciate it. 

My son has gone through so many changes in the last couple of months and is going to be going through more soon.  He did start acting out right after Zoe's death, but we have reintroduced out sticker chart and that has really helped. 

He has gone through a major move, the loss of Zoe and he will be getting a little brother in Septmeber as well as starting preschool in August.  Keeping a good schedule is key for him.  I'm really trying to keep it together for him, but work through this grief in a positive way.


Posts: 190
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Pug, Zoey.  My heart goes out to you - I know how difficult these days will be for you.  Please come here often and share stories and pictures of Zoey.  It has helped me so much to be able to come here and talk to others who understand.

Many warm thoughts and prayers to you.

My Angel at the Bridge 6 months...


Posts: 1,205

Sorry I am late posting a reply.  Just wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your little Zoey.  It is so hard.  It makes it more difficult when you have a child I know.  Thinking of you.  Love Di xxx

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