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How to Get Over the Death of a Dog

If you arrived at this post, your dog has either died or at some point, like all living beings, he or she will pass away. You want to know how to get over the death of a dog and the fact of the matter is this: You don’t. Your identity as a loving dog parent evolves from the physical presence of a dog in your life to the eventual understanding, albeit it kicking and screaming, that the next time you will see your dog is when you physically pass away.

This blog is called Fidose of Reality, so I am not mincing words when I tell you this: Getting over the loss of a dog is not in my DNA. Anyone who tells you to get “over” your dog dying is either saying so to be cruel or because they truly do not understand the enormity of the bond you forever share with your dog.

How to get over the death of a dog

My Dog Died and I Can’t Stop Crying

The first dog I ever owned as an adult took my heart, infused it into hers, and then took millions of pieces of it far away when she died in 2008. Here I sit nearly a decade later and my heart beats and breaks dog. My journey in claiming grief has not been an easy one, but I can attest to this: I will never get over the death of my dog and I’m fine with that. Allow me to explain.

I looked for books. I asked for help. I carried her cremated remains around with us. I saw a grief counselor. I joined a pet loss forum online until it sucked the little oxygen I had left in my soul from me. I could not bear to engage with the constant barrage of pets dying. I found zero comfort in shared loss back then. In fact, I wanted to scream and curse at these people, and often times, in the comfort of my own dog-less home, I screamed, cursed, and cried at them and in spite of them.

I wanted an answer, a remedy, a pain relief—I wanted something to make the intense angst in the pit of my chest to go away and in some miraculous fashion, bring my dog back.

I cared less how my wife felt in this grieving process and I told her so in my ever so distraught way: I can’t help you grieve because I am lost in my own well of sadness, I explained.

I went to a psychic, who called herself a medium. I just wanted help. Maybe this medium could somehow tell me it was okay and things would get better? I felt comfort in talking to this lady, sitting together at her kitchen table. No, she didn’t bring my dog back. Yes, she did know that I was grieving and she sensed it the moment I sat down for the reading.

I sought the help of a grief counselor, one who understood that my dog was a living being and not something or someone who is replaced. She never once said, “Why don’t you get another dog.”

The grief counselor explained there is no fast forward button on grief. I am a very type A personality and I like to get things done. I deal with public relations and problem solving on a daily basis. I just wanted a solution for the level of hurt inside my bloodstream. Please, I begged her, my wife, and God, just take my hurt away. I never wanted to harm myself: I just wanted my pain to end.

That’s the second worst part of grief, the first being the physical being is no longer with you. The intense pain that courses through your mind and your body 24/7, even infusing its misery into your dreams/nightmares is the second worst part of grief. You do not get over that grief. So what do you do?

The Day My Dog Died

Letting my little girl go is the worst moment in time that has ever happened in my life. I know all of the common sense things, many of which you are probably thinking: It was for the best, at least she isn’t suffering, you had to let her go. I know that. It makes sense. She was very ill and slowly withering away. It doesn’t make it fair nor does it diminish the grief. Death is a part of living that comes with a very high price, at least for this dog mom.

Being by her side when she died, I closed my eyes when she did and I feared my eyes would never completely reopen. I am outwardly heaving and sobbing right now. However, my eyes reopened and I found a purpose and a way to channel my grief, carry her with me, and live her legacy until my time to cross to the Rainbow Bridge comes.

How to get over the death of a dog

When a Heart Beats Dog, It Breaks Dog, Too

Dogs are more like us than not but they are not humans. Dogs are the best of us when the worst of us breaks our hearts and lets us down.

I embrace a passion for dogs and that passion somehow in this crazy, messed up universe so very perfectly found its way to me. A little girl once lost found her forever home in dogs.

My life is a celebration of dog and their time on Earth, a mere flicker. Poof, we blink and it’s gone. A heart that beats dog is all too keenly aware of its ability to break, and oh how it shatters.

Every day is Christmas with a dog. It’s a true celebration, a present waiting to be unwrapped every day. Cliche, but true.There’s a secret unspoken club for us dog lovers of the highest order. On fortunate days, we find each other: At parks, pet-welcoming stores, on vacations, and at traffic lights. Dogs sniff, we smile. Ages are exchanged, stories are passed on, and dogs bring strangers together, even for a moment.

The words change, but the feelings are the same: Those who love and have learned to love more richly because of a dog carry a light in their soul. We have hope when the world goes crazy: Dogs want us in it. We are welcome in their worlds. They celebrate our existence. The circle of life is pretty damned special with a dog in it.

Moving Through the Guilt

I permitted the veterinarian to end my dog’s life. What kind of monster does that make me? I realize now that I would have been a monster to have allowed her to suffer.

We make a vow to our dogs when they enter our life, us dog lovers of the highest order. We promise to love them, we tell them we love them. We take them for vet visits, on trips, car rides, and all the things we do with and for dogs. And then in the moment they need us the most, we sometimes cannot make it better. This is what I held onto for so long: I could not make her better. I am not a miracle worker. What kind of monster am I? I am rotten to the core. I am not a dog lover after all. I gave her all these things, all this love and devotion and time, and now her helpless body cried out to me and my answer is to end it. Who does that? This is the torture that is my grief. 

It took me years and years to realize that I did not murder my dog. You don’t have to understand it. We all walk a different path with grief.

I formed my career out of a love for dogs. That love was even more prominent when I had to say goodbye. I decided to reform my definition of letting go. It isn’t goodbye after all. You say goodbye when you know something is never coming back. The next journey is the one I will take to her and to all the dogs I love thereafter. What a huge hello my heaven shall be. Hope is a glorious feeling. Even if you feel our life ends here on Earth when our bodies die, it is true then that you go to the same state of being as the pets you have loved and lost do. You are all simply done from this Earth.

Loss of a dog
My friend, Jan Todd, had this beautiful painting done for me.

How to Cope With the Death of A Dog

Never ever ever, let me repeat: Never ever ever believe that grief is a one-size-fits-all process that every person experiences in the same way. Loss, and the grief that follows, is an individualized experience. There is no wrong way to grieve unless that way involves something that is beyond your control. If you need help, talk to someone, or whatever works for you: Do it. Do not let a family member, co-worker, relative, friend, or neighbor make you feel that this is “only a dog.”

I don’t love “only a dog” and I don’t grieve “only a dog.” I don’t live “only a life.”

Here are things I have done to help cope with the death of my dog. Feel free to borrow from this list or change it up as to how and when it suits you:

  • I get people to say or type her name. My Brandy Noel died in 2008, and here I am in 2017 typing her name. You just read her name and so now you know her a little bit, too. Maybe you will tweet or share this post and someone else will know her. Love never ends. Period.
  • Surround yourself with those who understand. Here I am close to a decade later and I surround myself with people who understand. Loss is loss whether it happened yesterday or decades ago. Time does not diminish pain; it does make it real and permanent and changes the construct of who we once were.
  • Sometimes I cry like the day my dog died. I do this when my other dog is not around, perhaps he is with my spouse in a separate room. I let loose.
  • Blog/write. For every cliché that says “writing helps the grieving process,” there is an angry writer that says “to hell with you” in response. This angry writer is here to say that writing works for me. I breathe her life into a new paragraph. She is here again. I write her name and her short time on earth flickers once more. Love never ends.
  • Talk to someone you can trust. For me, it was a grief counselor. I was good to no one if I couldn’t even understand what happened. I am not afraid to own my grief any longer. It’s now a badge of love I carry with me in a big unseen suitcase.
  • Fundraising for dogs in need: Together with my spouse, we created Wigglebutt Warriors, the fundraising arm of my dog blog, Fidose of Reality. We raise money for dogs in need. Dogs live such short lives. All my anger, grief, and tears will not bring my baby girl back. The love she gave and forever emblazoned on my heart is brought forward to any dog in need that we help.
  • Get a Permanent Tattoo: One or more. I have several now, most of them dog related. I carry her with me and am reminded of her permanent place in my life.
  • Look for Signs from Your Deceased Dog: The day my dog died, a white butterfly hovered over her weak body before we made what would become her final ride in the car. I knew it was her time to go. I have had white butterflies visit me at the most interesting times, and I honestly feel her close to me even more so in these moments.

Cocker Spaniel Dexter

This next piece of advice worked for me and I never in a zillion years thought I’d be writing this, let alone living it. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to love a dog again. I felt like I’d be cheating on my dead dog to give my heart to another. Wait, how could I even give my love away and risk it being squashed again? Do I even have any love left to give or did it end when I let my Brandy Noel go in 2008?

I need a dog in my life. You don’t compare dogs. I hear people say “my heart dog” and it’s so unfair for me. Every dog is my heart dog. I used to tell people I could never get another dog again. I now realize that I could never not love another dog again. Dog is in my soul. I love my current dog, Dexter, as I love my first dog. Love is love for me.

Dexter is my never again. Loving a dog is like breathing to me: It is second nature and an involuntary reflex.

My Heart Beats Dog

Living a Legacy

I live. Someday I will not. I live, I love, I breathe dogs. I can never not share my life with a dog. There is so much love in my heart, to keep it boxed and closeted and under a shroud of blankets isn’t fair to the dog with whom I can share love. I know I will walk the path of hell that is grief again and again and again. I will be a warrior and face that grief but never shall I conquer it. I can’t get over it and honestly, I don’t want to move past it. I choose to carry it with me.

For all of you heart beating dog lovers of the highest order, make that bucket list, embrace your love of dogs, be proud of who you are, and never feed the trolls, haters, or those who otherwise don’t share that bond or understanding of love between human and dog. Love never ends.

If you want to learn more about my journey and losing my dog, please consider reading these blog posts:

Anatomy of a Grieving Dog Mom

How to Stop Dog Grief

Surviving the Holiday Season After Pet Loss

The Miracle of Dog Mountain and Dog Chapel

Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Dogs Who Communicate

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Very beautiful and true. Though it is callous to tell the grieving person to get another dog, it is true that when the time is right, sharing the love of another dog doesn’t replace the dog that has passed but does heal the heart by letting love in again. It may be days, years, or months, but eventually the time may come to bring a new dog into one’s life. At least that is how it’s been for me.

    • Mary Weber says

      I lost Balto January 20 , and right now, I am sobbing. He was The absolute most gentle dog I have ever known. NOT ONCE DID he ever grab a treat from me or anyone. He always gently took the cookie. He had the most beautiful eyes. Husky Corgi mix,, but when he passed away,, his eyes were green from the jaundice. Ohhhh I do miss him. , I couldn’t drive down the street without someone commenting on how BEAUTIFUL he was. He always barked incessantly when we passed a cow or horse on the side of the road and
      I loved that about him. I MISS HIM SO VERY MUCH!!!

    • Lisa says

      I loved your article. Thank you for writing it. I lost my best buddy Max on April 8th. He was 15 1/2. I find myself going back to the moments when we put him down, how he licked my nose like he was telling me it was ok. I miss him so much and I cant seem to get past my grief. He will always be my sweet boy.

  2. Robin Pearson says

    My sweet Tiffany Lynn passed away July 27th. She was 15 and half years old and having some health issues but she was still trying to play with our other dog Buddy even though I could tell she was tired. On the 27th at 3:23 she closed her eyes for the last time. I was laying beside her on the floor talking to her and petting her head. I cry as I write this. I miss Tiffy so much. I have her ashes in a curio cabbinet, along with her Mama dog Maxi who passed away. I loved your article.

  3. Beth says

    I struggle with grief, especially due to a death of a dog. I started crying when I started reading your post.

    The only disadvantage of growing up with multiple dogs is having had to say good bye to so many amazing dogs. When my Keeshond (who was an only dog) died ten years ago unexpectedly due to a groomer’s negligence, I was so heartbroken. I got another dog after only two weeks, not to replace her, but because I need canine company. I know some people think they can’t go through the grief again, and I respect their choices. Knowing my heart is likely to be broken when a pet dies is worth the joy I have while knowing them. Everyone grieves and heals differently. I still (infrequently) cry over a puppy that died when I was 5 and seeing Theo’s graying face can bring me to tears as well. However, I’ll never regret sharing my life with dogs.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Beth, I am weeping again and it’s okay because we share a love and a loss of dogs. I totally concur: I will never regret sharing my life with dogs. Love is love.

  4. Naomi says

    When my Mia passed away suddenly from IMHA, fostering healed my family’s heart. Although we initially told the rescue we wouldn’t be fostering for awhile, for us, not having a dog in the house made Mia’s absence even more noticeable. Fostering allowed us to have a dog to love while our hearts healed from Mia’s loss. The joy of seeing dogs go to their new families helped us get ready to experience that joy once again. We fostered for three years before adopting Waffles. When someone loses a dog, I wait awhile before sharing about our experience. I’ve had people say,”But what if I fall in love with the foster and want to keep it?” I answer , “Maybe that means your heart is telling you that you are ready for another dog.”

    • Denise says

      I know what it like to lose the love of your life. Ozzy died December 1 2014. He got sick after vets that said there was no hope. He crawled in my arms gave me a hug and kiss. He died at my feet. I have another that has helped me heal. My heart will always have a piece that belongs to him. Until we meet again on the Rainbow bridge. I’m thankful for Dozer he has listened to the stories of the love before him.

      • Karin says

        I lost my 6 year old Eddie to IMHA on July the 10th. He was so ill and i had to decide how to do. First they thought he was on the right track but then all went down again. It was one of the worst day in my life. I am so happy i hsd my job collegaus then. They said that they were my family and they helped me not falling through. They were more of help than my brothers family that asked so much questions. Also it is hard when people that has seen me with both mine ask where he is. I cry a lot but i let myself do it. And i go out in the forest and scream when i need to. Important to let your grief out. Don’t keep it inside you.

  5. Deborah F. says

    My Pebbles passed last October. She was a dalmation/shepherd mix. We got her at a year old and she was a rescue. When she died, she was 17 years and 3 months old. When we first got her, I wasn’t sure about her. I didn’t think I’d be able to connect with her. She stuck like glue to me. Where ever I was, she was one step behind. If I left the house, she was inconsolable. I kept her at arms length. Then two weeks after getting her, she ran a low grade fever and got all “droopy”. As soon as I noticed (when I woke up), i cried, “my baby!” I gathered her imto my arms and told my hubby we needed to get to the vet asap. She had been my baby ever since…for 16 more years. I miss her every day. I don’t cry as often as I did, but I still do. It’s hard, but every day is a little better…then i cry again…lol…

  6. speedyrabbit says

    Its the same when I lose a my rabbit,kills me every time but I can’t bear to be without a rabbit…and the worse thing is when you get told well its only a rabbit they don’t live long anyway not like a dog or a cat does get over it! who the hell says that when you have just lost your soulmate…..and rabbits can be long live they can live 8 to 12 years,the oldest I know lived to 18.The grief is the same whether it is a dog or a rabbit or a cat an I have lost many over the years dogs,cats and rabbits and it does feel the same with all of them,well written post,xx Rachel

  7. Jan says

    My first dog came into my life when I was 3 and died when I was 18. I remember the great parts of my childhood we shared and all the dogs I have ever had. I grieve for them all.

  8. Bonnie Marshall says

    Carol, I am crying my eyes out reading this , and you are SO EXACT with your rendition of thoughts, emotions and pain I have felt each and every time one of my beloved dogs have made their journey beyond. The passing of ALL pf them has been difficult , and some tougher than others. This month I am reliving the pain of two of my dogs leaving me last year in such a short period of time… 5 days between departures. MY beautiful puppy mill Jessica on Aug 5 and then only 5 days later my heart dog Tucker whose one yr anniversary comes tomorrow. I had him since he was 12 weeks old… purchased out of a store window by my husband for me when we were dating… he KNEW the way to my heart was no a big diamond… it was a black cocker spaniel. Tucker was just short 3 months of his 16 years with us. As you know, many , many cockers have passed thru my life doing rescue, each one special and each one will always be remembered and hold a very near & dear spot in my heart. You are SO RIGHT… you NEVER get over the death of a dog you loved and cared for with all your heart & soul … even the ones you didn’t have that long. What I have done as a reminder to help me thru the pain ( yes .. I have done ALL the same things you did , which brought me no resolve or relief from my heavy heart ) … I have a special tree in my yard that I can see from every window , and on that tree I hanged a windchime for each dog I have lost… every time the wind blows… I know who has come to visit, and it is a great comfort to me. A friend once asked me if it made me sad.. ( the look on her face was one of morbidity) I told her no, the contrary… it gives me great peace. Sometimes at night when the wind is blowing even a little… I awaken to hear the gentle chime of Jessica’s windchime , or the little deeper softer sound of Tuckers and the very gentle sound of Charlie Brown’s and I can smile, think about them and know they are somehow still with me. It is very comforting to me . And when the time is right I know there will be another little cocker waiting to steal my heart again… I still have 7 so for now , all is good. ~ Much love to you Dar & Dex <3

  9. MaryAnn Olleck says

    Brandy Noel was, and is, very much loved, as are all who will follow. That is their true purpose in life, to bring love, to show love, and to share love. Brandy Noel fulfilled that promise to you, as you did to her. May you truly enjoy your reunion one day.

  10. wen budro says

    That was hands down the best writing that I’ve ever come across about pet loss and grief. I lost my dog companion, Missy, suddenly and unexpectedly in March. I know that I will never get over that experience. I just want a little bit of relief from the guilt and regret that haunts me. Everyone, that I know, quickly and easily told me to just get another dog. That’s exactly why I no longer talk about Missy anymore to friends and family. Thank you so much for your honesty……I needed to read your words today.

  11. Marie B. Anders says

    Whether it is a beloved dog, a cat, a rabbit, or even a person….the pain is often unbearable. Someone once told me this, “Grief is the high price we pay for sweet love.” No truer words have ever been spoken. When we lost our beloved Pepper, a toy poodle suddenly to a massive stroke, we were devastated. I must have cried a bucket full of tears. One day, two weeks later, I woke with a start….What could I do to honor his life, and show my great love for him? My husband nearly had a stroke when I told him I had been to the animal shelter….and he & I would be getting up early the next morning to go back. To make a long story short, by the following evening….we had made arrangements to adopt two Boston Terriers. They had been seized by the county for severe neglect, along with six or seven other dogs. They were absolutely wild & crazy…my husband said, “Marie, they are nothing like our Pepper.” I said, ” I know, and that’s OK…I am not trying to replace him….but pass on all the love I had for him!” I would later adopt three more dogs, who were destined to have miserable lives….I tell people…” Pepper was so special, it took four more dogs to even try to fill his little paws!” With every dog I adopted, my heart hurt a bit less. Grace, one of the Boston Terrier dogs had little chance of a great home. She was nine & in poor health. She had surgery to remove a large tumor on her hip, dental procedures, spaying, etc. We were blessed to have her for five sweet years. Five years of treats, good food, car rides, and much love. She passed away at home. Layla, the other Boston, is now eleven, but she is healthy & happy. We currently have five dogs….and they mean everything to us. We also help care for my Mother in law’s big boy, Doobie. We love him, too.

  12. Elisa Becker says

    Thank you for this post. It couldn’t have come at a better time as I had to unexpectedly put down my 11 year old Lab last Saturday night. My heart aches beyond anything I could have imagined. I am very lucky to have friends, co-workers and family who understand my grief and are giving me the time and space that I need as well as being there for me when I need that. I am also grateful that I have another dog who needs me. My whole life revolves around my dogs and I cannot ever imagine being without. My dog and I will take as much time as we need to grieve Julia’s passing and then we will make room in our hearts and home for a new dog to join our pack.

  13. Kim Crisp says

    I will never get over the loss of my sweet girl Kitty. She left me May 14th, 2011. The calendar that hung in my kitchen never changed from that date until I moved 8 months ago. Her ashes sit on my dresser. I never had to worry about getting another dog because I had three others, it didn’t make the grief any easier. For anyone that has suffered the loss of their beloved dog, this is a must read. This is the first open and honest thing I have read since the loss of Kitty. The part about writing her name getting it out there and keeping her actively with you is one thing on the list that I already do. Kitty was a beautiful Rottweiler and the sweetest dog I have ever known. She is forever in my heart. Thank-you for sharing your story it has touched me deeply.

  14. Cathy Armato says

    Carol, this is so beautifully written, a wonderful tribute to Brandy Noel and to all the dogs we’ve all ever loved. Losing my childhood dog Ginny was one of the most devastating things that ever happened to me. After 17 years, she had been in my life for nearly all of my 23 years. No longer having her there was really awful and felt so wrong. I grieved for SO many years and never thought I could love another dog like that again…. until I started volunteering at the county animal shelter. After awhile I couldn’t stand it anymore, I HAD to have a dog of my own again. Being at the shelter, and ultimately fostering a dog, gave me the ability to open my heart and love a dog again. I don’t think I’ll ever be without a dog again, not if I can help it anyway. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Your words mean so much to me. I have been wanting to write this piece for so long. It drained me emotionally but it was necessary – hugs

  15. Cynthia M Ohn says

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s like your words are coming directly from my heart. I lost the love of my life on September 13. My sweet standard poodle, Sammie. I know I will never get over him and that’s okay because I don’t want to. He was my best friend and I know there will be no other like him. I’m blessed and honored to be his doggie mama.

  16. Danielle says

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your grief. I know how hard that was. I lost my baby girl a little over two months ago. She was ten. She was my everything. I was going out of town for the night and asked a coworker to let her out for me while I was gone. Needless to say she was let out without supervision and got into the road and that was it. I am so devastated and so so angry. I find that everything I read about pet loss comes from the pet dying of old age or sickness. But how to cope with the loss from someone’s negligence? How do you process the needless loss of a life that was beyond priceless? Everyday I battle with my poor choice of someone to watch her. Had I just not left home, had I just not left her, she would still be here. The only thing getting me through this is the thought that I may still yet get to see her. I pray everyday that there is such a thing as the rainbow bridge and that my baby girl is in heaven. And that I will see her again. Thank you for saying that this is not good bye forever, but just until it is my time to go. Thank you for your story.

  17. sadler says

    my beloved Stella a border collie mix passed away just 4 days ago, she was only 8. I was 12 when I adopted her and now I am almost 18, she was my dog and I was her person, we were both always glued to each others sides. I have never known such pain as this, my parents are divorced and Stella was the only constant comfort I had in my life, every time we went from house to house she came with us. Stella and I were always by side, she slept in my bed every night, followed me all around the house and even waited for me by my bathtub when I showered. In the end Stella could not even wag her tail out of the pain, but she and I had a special thing where when I told her “I love you” she would bark it back, and in those last moments outside under the sun in the grass, she kept saying she loved me back. Stella was and is my best friend.

  18. Steven says

    My lab Ranger passed away last week in my arms, he was 14 years old. He was the most kind and loving friend I have ever had. I am overwhelmed with grief, guilt, sadness and loneliness. The emotions are worse than anything I’ve ever felt. I have lost family members and friends over the years, my dad 5 months ago. Of course I loved all of them and grieved for them but it was nothing like this. The bond I had with Ranger was so strong and tied into every part of my life. I just realized yesterday that every time I had eaten something in my house, that experience was shared with him. As with so many other things. I tried to force some food down yesterday while tears poured down my face thinking about it.

    Ranger was a gift from my uncle. And he would be my first dog I raised on my own from pup to old age. I was building a house when my uncle told me I could go pick out a pup at a nearby kennel as a house warming present. I always wanted a lab but I didn’t want to have one until I had a house in the country where he could run and explore every day. Without telling the whole story, I knew the second I saw Ranger that he was the one. He was as much a part of the house we built as the walls and roof, in fact he was the foundation. It feels lifeless in here now without him.

    Ranger was my equilibrium for life. Always there, always happy to see me. So kind and so sweet. I miss him so much and tears are flowing as I write this.

    Thank you for sharing your life with me Ranger. I am so happy that we were blessed enough to be together and words can’t describe how sad I am now that you’ve passed away..

    I will always love you, you are the love of my life.

  19. Lisa says

    Thank you for sharing. Losing a beloved pet is definitely one of the most painful and draining experiences that many people underestimate. I hope writing this brought you some peace.

  20. meryl b southern says

    Can’t sleep, it was a week ago that Chloe’s health took a dramatic turn For nearly 18 years my precious little girl was one of the biggest joys of my life. I groomed her, I cooked for her, she went everywhere with me. I adored her. A tiny black toy poodle, smart as a whip, gave my husband and I nothing but love. She was our baby. The last couple of years, she declined, slowly. I dreaded the day I would lose her, and it came 5 days ago. She had labored breathing. We took her to the vet, and tried a few different meds , but nothing really helped. I made the decision when the vet said there was nothing more he could do. My husband and kids came to the office, one via facetime, and we held her and told her how much we loved her. It was very peaceful, and quick. Her brother, Timmy and our cat Boo seem very sad too, Timmy barely eating or drinking, unless i hand feed him. The house feels weird, everything feels weird. I cant stop crying. Her death was the biggest loss I have ever felt, worse than losing my parents. I feel like I lost a child. The pain is beyond pain. I will never be the same. She took a piece of my heart with her . Chloe, wherever you are, Mama will always love you.

  21. erik says

    my dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack a few months ago.
    he was 73. he was my hero. we fished together since i was 2 years old, and i worked for him for 25 years.
    now my 14+ year old toy poodle is about done. my mom rescued ”Cubby” when he was 4….. cubby’s former owner beat him, shot him, and kicked him off a balcony. Cubby had a broken pelvis, and hip. and his stomach was kicked up towards his throat. he had seven operations. he still has buckshot in his leg. but he is tuff, and survived. Cubby fished with me every trip, and has thousands of hours at sea…. one day i tilted a trash can up, and a mouse ran out. Cubby grabbed it and bit it’s head off! Cubby killed 25 more mice since i had him!
    Cubby’s whole mode is surviving, and i doubt he will die on his own.
    but he no longer wants to go on walks. and he doesn’t even care about getting a mouse anymore. the pain and arthritis from the abuse is getting real bad. he mostly sleeps now…. he is not having fun at all anymore.
    I know they say God only gives you as many stones as you can carry…. but i don’t know if can endure losing my 2 best friends in a row.
    I just don’t know if i can handle

  22. Stephen Mitchell jr says

    My pet poddle dead and i been there cents i was 3 and now im 12 and i cant focus on my grades and basketball causd ever since he dead i feel heart broking and it hurts to feel like this and he got ran over by a car and mom told me he was dead and he is in my back yard and i been praying for him to come back

  23. Gine Oquendo says

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve lost my beloved Tyra and it is very painful to me and it’s been 2 months she’s been gone. I don’t know where and how to start again, I tried to join already some groups and reading this kind of blogs but the pain is still here and her memories are still fresh. Thank you to my friends who understand me.

  24. Susan says

    This was so beautiful, thank you for sharing. I said good bye to my 15 year old sweet KC girls 6 days ago. The guilt and regrets are so unbearable. She was suffering with bladder cancer for several months. Blood in her urine and the meds the vet ordered didn’t work. I went out of town for 8 days on a trip with my grandkids and knew I should of cancelled the trip and didn’t. KC was getting weaker. When I returned she was having trouble getting around. I spent endless hours day and night helping her around the house to walk, cleaning up constant accidents, washing her beds. If only I held her and laid on the floor with her. She needed me. I can still hear her whimpering as she did one night and I gave her a pain pill. The day we put her to sleep, her body was lifeless and I was able to hold her for a few hours. Vet felt there was internal bleeding from other tumers elsewhere in her little body. The pain is unbearable, I’ve had to deal with loss so much in the past. But this is most unbearable. My heart is so broken. As you said its a love and bond that is so special, Christmas was everyday to my Kc and to me. I miss her so much and can’t stop crying.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Oh no, Susan. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how horribly difficult it is. Our very deepest condolences. This is the worst part of being a dog mom: the loss. My heart is with you.

  25. Maurine says

    I have read and reread this story Carol. I want it to help me. I went to pet counselors and psychologists and I want them to help me but they couldn’t. I’ve gone to pet loss chat groups to help me. Nothing can. Nothing will bring back my sweet boy Dax who died suddenly at the too young age of 4 on April 25th – 5 months ago tonight. I feel like I am losing my sanity. I agonize over the pain he suffered during the 24 hours at the unfamiliar ER vet. I agonize over the stress and sheer terror I saw on his face when he couldn’t breathe. I agonize over the decisions made and not made. I am angry, SO angry at the vet b/c they didn’t start diagnostics or treatments for hours. I’m angry at myself for not advocating for my sweet boy and getting him out of there and to another vet. I am angry at other people saying I will feel better. My sweet boy didn’t deserve the horrible death he suffered. I can’t forgive myself. I won’t forgive myself. Dax was cheated out of a full life. I have a photo I took of him on April 20th as we walked on the trail and he is so happy and so healthy. Then 5 days later I am holding his body as the warmth drains out of him.. I cannot stand this life without him in it. My heart is forever broken,

    • Barbara says

      Our Molly Dolly left us on September the 15th. Almost one month ago. Your words feel like my own. She was a beautiful golden retriever and only nine years old. We didn’t know she was sick until she went a bit off her food, which was unusual for her. The next day at the vet’s she was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen. That was a Thursday and she past away Saturday. On Friday she lay on the grass on our front lawn and everyone who loved her came by to see her and say good bye. That evening she pulled me and my husband towards the car- as sick as she was she wanted to go for a car ride. We took her to her most favourite spot- a large empty field of long golden grass where she could dig and run and sniff. She did all those things that evening- more slowly, more gently, but with great joy.. That is a memory I will always keep. The next morning she was hardly able to stand and we called the vet come to our home in the afternoon. All that morning we lay on the floor with her telling her how much we loved her and what a good dog she was. Our good friends, who loved Molly very much,
      were there with us for her passing.
      Molly came into our life when we were very much in need of healing. She was joy and hope and love. We miss her so very, very much. We miss the sound of her. We miss her exuberance. Our house is much too quiet now. We wonder how we did not see that she was sick, and yet we know with this type of cancer it would have made no difference. Still, we think she knew. We would catch her over the last few months simply staring at us and I would say to my husband, “Look. There it is again, like she wants to absorb us,” And a couple of months ago she started to pull us towards a park bench with a view in the park behind our home.. She would hop up on it with us sitting on either side. We’d stay for 5 minutes or so before continuing on- the same bench every time we walked in there.. We walk there now and think about her- our beautiful friend.
      Thank you for this lovely and honest piece of writing. It is a comfort to find other people with hearts that beat dog. Your words are a gift- a safe place to let this sorrow be what it is.

  26. Ronnie says says

    I’ve read all the heart wrenching stories, and they all share the sentiment I feel for the loss of my baby, Ginger. I had initially rescued her from a shelter to be a buddy to my Shepard, Sugar who was 2. Ginger was 3 mos, and a Rottweiller/Shepard mix. Within the first year, Ginger bonded so much with me, then. I with her that everywhere in the house, she would be right behind me. She wanted to be my number one, and Sugar finally relented and tolerated her possessiveness of me. My Ginger would wait at the window for me when I left home, and first at the door when I came home. My wife said Ginger would howl when I left, then just wait by the window until she saw my car again. Her devotion to me was unreal, I was everything to her, and she meant so much to me.
    Sugar passed five years later from an illness, and the grief I felt was eased with Ginger by my side. Now my baby Ginger, who would normally be laying right next to my chair at my computer right now, is gone, It’s been only three days, and I cannot stop this hurting I feel. I can only sleep 3 or 4 hours, and keep looking at the foot of my bed where she would always sleep, and she is not there, and will never be again, how can I deal with it? So much hurt, emptiness, a deep void in my heart. I was 55 when I adopted Ginger, and had just retired. A man my age, grieving so much for my pet? Yes.

    Reading your stories have actually helped me, and writing these words have helped as well. I found myself at the shelter again today, where I had adopted my Ginger 8 years before. There I found a male 2 month Shepard mix, just staring into my eyes, “please get me out of here”. Could I? Would I. How? My Ginger has just left me, and I was going to adopt again? I felt another urging to give love to this dog and adopted him. I don’t know if we will bond as Ginger and I did, there will never be another girl like my Ginger, but I am willing to share my love and give this boy all the best a home can provide.

    • Larry says

      Ronnie, thanks for that story. My Jake, a 10 year old Lab/English Setter, died March 22nd, 2019. I still cry everyday since he left and find it hard to get over losing him. It’s been 3 months now & the pain of him not being beside me just breaks my heart. We did a lot of things together, from taking 4 mile walks at least twice a week to taking him riding in my truck just to go get Pizza. Just last week, I decided to walk the 4 mile route we always took together, but this time I was all alone. I cried 3/4 of the way through it but I did it. It’s the first time I’ve walked since Jake died. I dedicated that walk to Jake and did that as a form of therapy. I know one day I will get another dog and the joy that that dog will bring to my life will ease the pain of losing him.

  27. Vicky says

    Thank you for this. I let go of my dog 3 days ago and I’m hurting in a way I never imagined. I have been crying like I never have before. I was not ready for this pain, I wish more people would talk about this pain, I was not ready, I had no idea what it would feel like. Being home is the hardest thing right now, I just want the pain to stop 🙁

  28. Joshua Power says

    My Pug, Chester died today. He was accidentally left outside and as my dad was driving out he got under the tire. I wish he went naturally or around his family but I know this stuff happens. He was about 14, coughing, hacking, but still happy. It’s not my dads fault I know but I still feel angry and I just wish for one more day with him. Thank you for this post and helping us dog lovers get through this tragic time that’s riddled with grief. We can get through it and I know Chester is in doggy heaven 😊

  29. Steffy says

    I lost my sweet Mishka a week ago. He was almost 14. For a long while he was a tired little boy with many health issues, But he was still happy to spend time with his pet parents. He ate well and connected with his world. We compared him to an aging person who loved company, but slept a lot and had a hard time getting around. Then a few weeks ago he started to decline quickly. The vet was very helpful and prescribed different meds to help him, but he was weaker each day. The day before we let him go he didn’t want to eat and he had a sad look in his eyes. That evening he struggled to rest and we knew he was ready to go. Mish was a happy, loving little guy. And the light of my life. My heart is broken and I miss him terribly. For a long while I was frantic to find ways to make him feel better, when I knew there probably were none. As I read these tributes I realize how lucky I was to have time to spend with him, as his decline was slow. It helps me to know that others struggle with this heartbreak. It also helps to know that others feel as I do, that we truly never have to let go of remembering the good times and all the love we shared. I hope Mish is strong again and playing with his puppy sisters and brothers. Just as he was when I found him and how I hope to find him again. Happy and carefree.

  30. Len Claus says

    I lost my sweet little girl “Liberty” Christmas day (2018) from vaccine induced IMHA. She was only 3.5 yrs old and my heart is forever broken. That little dog gave me so much joy, she was my life. She got her booster shot Nov 22 and exactly one month later she was suddenly lethargic, not eating, high temperature and urinating blood. Then she would vomit. This all happened within hours. Rushed her to the OVC. She lasted 4 days, with 3 blood transfusions and powerful drugs, but in the end we had to put her down at 9pm. I told her I loved her as I watched her eyes close for the final time.
    My grief is crushing, she was everything to me, my constant companion in my senior years. She was 15 pounds of pure love, because that’s all she ever knew.

    I am bitter and angry, and my grief is doubled because she was perfectly healthy and I believed and trusted in the annual booster regime I thought was the right thing to do.. Was I WRONG! I put her up on the vets table, and let them fatally inject her with a vaccine she didn’t need. Talk about guilt.
    I’ve done extensive research now and advise all pet owners to get titer testing before any shots. I didn’t even know about this before, why wasn’t I told about this.

    I miss my little girl so much and my life is broken beyond repair. There is nothing I can do to bring her back. I just cry and cry. Libertydad

  31. Norma says

    I just lost my tyson three days ago. I don’t know how to move on. I’ve been crying so much. He was with me and my family for 8 years. I miss him so much. I will always remember him.

  32. Wanda says

    Ya han pasado 2 años desde que lleve a mi Fluke al vet. Para practicarle la eutanacia. Aun siento mucho dolor y me siento culpable. No se como despegarme de esa tristeza. Tengo otro perro que también lo amo porque mi amor por ellos va mas alla de mi dolor. Amar, vivir, cuidar y alimentar a un perro es parte de mi vida y disfruto mucho de su compañía.

  33. Linda greenfield says

    Can’t believe this site came up. I lost my 15yr old Ch. Smooth Fox Terriers today Queenie. I believe we live in a temerpery schell that hosses our soal. When that can no longer keep going our soal is with the Lord. Bless her heart of Gold. She is dearly missed.

  34. Rick says

    I released my Tobey from his suffering on March 22, 2019. It hurts so bad. I love dogs but Tobey was that one special little guy. The grief is like no other. I loved him so much.

  35. Joe C says

    I lost my miniature Pinscher, (Ziva) 2 weeks ago today. She was not even 6, super healthy and active, gorgeous coat, a perfect body for her breed, and she would not let me out of her sight any time she was awake. Even when people came over to pet her, she would look back at me as if asking me if it was OK. We would go to the dog park and she would hang out with me on the bench, instead of playing with other dogs. Ziva started with excessive ear scratching, then a tilting head, and eventually, she was diagnosed with a progressive brain disease. I spend 4 months straight running back and forth to vets and hospitals, and spent nights sleeping with her on the floor when she could no longer sleep in our bed.

    Steroids made her last a few months longer, and my neurologist said some dogs continue recovery and live a complete life, while other dogs may relapse after a few months. Unfortunately, Ziva was in the latter, as eventually, she couldn’t even walk. By the 2nd week of May 2019, she could only move one paw and scream in discomfort if you tried to move her. She would look at me while crying silently – with mouth movement like she was trying to tell me something, yet no sound came out. My neurologist said they’ve tried everything possible, but their options were now exhausted. We knew it was time, as did my neurologist. I had a vet come over and do at-home euthanasia and they were so empathetic and made the transition as smooth as possible. Since that day, I’ve been breaking down and crying every night. I can’t believe the level of pain and heartache. When my dad died (who I loved) I cried for a day or two, then went on with life. My love for this dog was so deep. She was taken away too soon.

    After reading these posts, I can say one thing we all have in common. We were so lucky to have this magic in our lives.
    – Joe

  36. Robyn says

    I am so grateful for all these post, it’s helping me find some comfort in the grieving of my little fur buddy. It’s been over 72 hours now since I had to say goodbye, he would have been 11 next month on July 14th and have had him since he was 8 weeks old. I cry when I wake up in the morning and he’s not there, I cry everytime I come home because he’s not there to greet me, I cry when Im cooking and he’s not there by my feet patiently waiting for a handout and I cry everytime I pass by one of our favorite parks he loved walking in together. He was diagnosed with a condition in January of this year and had slowly declined every since. This last month took it’s toll on his little body to the point we were having to carry him up and down the stairs to go potty. He was a trooper, even though his little body was giving out on him. I kept asking my family when will I know it’s time to say goodbye and I was advised that I would know when and that time came Friday night. I took him for one last potty trip for the night and he just laid down in the yard and didn’t want to get up and that was not like him, he was always ready to come right back in after going potty. I let him lay they for about half an hour and told my husband I think it’s time, I could see in his eyes that he was in pain. Another clue he gave me was the next morning he got his turkey jerky treat (which is his all time fav!) and he only ate half of it and when I came home from work a few hours later, the other half was still laying there by him and my husband said he hadn’t moved once. I miss him dearly and sadly wait for the time when the pain and grief subsides to some degree and I’m left with all the great and happy memories he has given me ❤

  37. Tania says

    I’m in so much pain my best friend left my life three days ago my boxer dog macca , I won’t to go with him I can’t stand my life with out him , he was hit by a car and his back bone was broken he was only four a baby , he was like no other dog I have ever owned but I loved and love all my animals but macca was special he would look into my eyes put his big head on my lap and kiss me with unconditional love , I’m almost blind and he was my guide my hope my life , I go to his grave and I won’t to lay with him , I’m in so much pain I won’t him to come home , I just won’t to know why god took him when I needed him so much , I love you macca byond this realm , and if thank all you good people for being here too , god please look after my macca please

    • Carol Bryant says

      We are so very sorry for your loss. May time be of comfort and hold the memories dear to your heart.

  38. David says

    I just lost My Little Guy 3 days ago. “Little Guy “was his name. The pain is killing me. I feel such guilt for the time I didn’t spend with him. The times I left him at home. I was on a vacation with my sons when Little Guy passed. The boys mother who was doing a great job nursing him back to health. We didn’t get back on time to say goodbye. I feel horrible… He was not only my lil buddy, but a companion to my parents and very loved by my son’s. We laid him to rest on out property and planted a white Crepe Myrtle at the top of where he lays. 🙁

  39. Jordan says

    Tears and tears and tears and tears. 2 years ago I got a beautiful scooby looking dog from the shelter. Having your own dog when you’re 22 and on your own, living away from family and struggling with your mental health makes for a pretty deep bond and an even deeper hole in your heart when he’s gone. He was a year old when we got him, and I had to put him down last weekend. He was born with a couple of congenital hernias, which we had a massive surgery to fix, and he had a tough recovery after that. Big surgeries can bring out other issues apparently. I moved away for an internship this summer and he stayed with my partner who has been with us from the beginning. I came home for the weekend, had a wonderful day with him as he had been doing much better, and then he quickly down-spiraled and we had to put him down the next day. I think he was waiting for me to come and say goodbye. He was made for me and it feels so unfair sometimes. Your words make me feel less crazy for not wanting to get out of bed every morning without him. Thank you for sharing and making me feel like I’m not the only person who is barely surviving the loss of their dog and anticipating that it will never ever get better. Lots of love to you & the hurt you carry.

  40. PJ says

    I don’t know how I will ever heal. My beloved Mazal Tov, a cancer dog that did trials for humans to find a cure, passed on Tuesday, August 6. We had a beautiful funeral for her on the 7th. But there is such a horrific hole in our house. She was in every room, every heart, every plan…. This is something that just cannot be fixed.

    I have heard Rabbis and Pastors teach there is no heaven for pets. I prayed about this for years and one day was caught up into a vision. G-d Himself showed me the Garden of Eden. As we were walking through this perfect jungle and by perfection I mean PERFECTION, out on a limb came a cat I had for 16 years who had passed years before. I heard her think 🙂 She was thinking, “it’s about time you got here.” A few seconds later, another cat I had 15 years walked out. A few seconds later, out came a dog I had for over 20 years. I believe there will be a total new creation at some point and all our precious pets WILL be with us forever and ever.
    I don’t believe in any rainbow bridge but I know G-d promises to make a new covenant with the animal kingdom.

    For those of you who believe in a heaven, remember this. For a pet owner who is so bonded to their furry friend and goes through the heartbreak and separation of death, there MUST be a place in heaven for those pets otherwise their joy would never be full and G-d’s heaven must be full joy or it could not possibly be heaven. My faith is in the love of G-d.

    I will miss this courageous teacher of loyalty, friendship, obedience, love, and forgiveness for this rescue dog who had been so abused by men. All she ever wanted was a family and to belong. She got it all and was loved as one of us.. She was surpassing excellence in a fur wrapper.

    KID OF COURAGE AND EXCELLENCE
    MAZAL TOV “Pearl”
    October 17, 2006 – August 6, 2019
    Gave her life to help mankind while trying to find a cure for herself.

  41. Christy says

    I just lost my beloved Shep on 08/08/19 from Lymphoma. He was diagnosed on 07/23/19, but I think I was in denial. Instead, I convinced myself he had tick borne disease since he had a history with those. He also had heartworms as well, when I adopted him. He was perfectly fine one minute, then the next his personally went downhill….not the happy guy he always was, then skipping meals, then not eating/drinking at all. So, I gave him milk because I was worried about dehydration. I did get him to eat if I put wet canned food in his kibble, but he didn’t want that anymore eventually. He did drink regularly again. So, I bought canned tuna fish and rotisserie chicken. They put him on prednisone, but he never got better…only worse. I made the painful decision to put him to sleep on 08/08/19, but he died early that morning while I was asleep. He stayed in the same place, no longer able to get up. He also had labored breathing. Something made me wake up at 5am and I found him dead. 🙁 I’ll never get over that image of him lying there dead. My mom and I had to move him and get him in the car so that he could be cremated. I wish I’d intervened sooner, but I had to try to help him. I feel so guilty that he probably suffered, I didn’t want that for my pretty boy. He went with me to most places, loved car rides…walks and being brushed. I sometimes feel like this grief is suffocating me.

    • Carol says

      My 10 yr. old cavalier just passed on Wed. Sept. 18.He had lymphoma but chemo stopped working and during chemo he got facial paralysis, and few weeks before he passed started having neurological and eye problems. Feel so guilty because pet euthanizing service could not come until that Wed, and I didn’t know why I didn’t ask if they could come sooner, because that Sunday night and for the next 2 days he had trouble breathing all night because the lymph nodes came back in full force. Why didn’t I ask for an earlier appointment. So Wed. morning came and he was to be put asleep at 9 am. However at 5 AM I suddenly went over to his pet bed where he was barely breathing but instead of letting him be, I called his name and brought him downstairs where he began to awake. He was always good in the morning. But the vet who came for the process was awful and callous and Never interacted with my dog. Her treatment of him was more devastating than his passing.

  42. Suzanne Arthurs says

    I lost my beloved cat Itty Bitty almost 6 months ago and I am still grieving, still burst into tears often. Everything you wrote I felt I could if written myself. This post was comforting knowing I’m not the only one who grieves the loss of a pet so strongly. Thank you for writing and sharing with us :).

  43. sandy says

    Lost the love of my life Stella,she was 11 years old when I noticed a lump on her stomach,took her to the vets ,they put her on meds ,needless to say they did surgery and sent the mass away for testing it was an aggressive cancer,she had it back in a week,the vet put her down,the pain of losing my love,my friend and buddy was gone ,I felt so along ,rest in peace my girl,love yah till we meet again,my Stella

  44. Melissa says

    I lost Pebblez yesterday 9/17/2019 at 11 am. she was 14 yrs old and 4 months. I and I feel like I’ve never felt before. My world collapsed in one moment and although I made the right decision after the cancer tumor grow too large to eat or breath easy I don’t think I can survive this. If anyone can help I would be forever grateful.

    • Jim says

      My prayers go out to you for your loss. I believe Peeblez would want you to go on with your life and be happy once again – to cherish the memories of wonderful years you had together. In time you will heal. I believe that you and Peeblez will be together again when you reach the other side. She is there now free from the suffering you helped her get past. ❤️

  45. Jim says

    Said goodbye to our beloved Baby yesterday October 2, 2019. Hardest decision My wife and I have ever made to end her life. She was 14 and was struggling terribly to breathe and in pain.. Vet and friends said it was time. My grief is beyond anything I have ever felt – it sickens me. I am so very grateful for the incredible years we had together. I thank God for bringing her into my life. I pray she is being cared for and that I will be able to love and be happy again someday.. My prayers also go out to all those who have lost their dear companion. They leave us way too soon. ❤️

  46. Michael Olden says

    On October 2nd we said goodbye far too early to our darling little Jack Russell Terrier, Daphne who was just 12 years old. She’d been diagnosed with kidney failure on 10th September and sadly her health rapidly deteriorated and we took the decision to end her suffering. Having been brought up with dogs and losing 2 very dear lurchers of my own back in 2006 I knew what to explain. Well I thought I did, this loss hit me harder than the loss of both my parents, there was just something about that little dog that made me love her more every day. If I were reading or using my iPad she’d wriggle it out of the way and have a cuddle, I’m just so grateful I put the book or iPad down every single time. I never once wasted a chance Of a cuddle or snuggle with her, I honestly thought I’d have a few more years with her as they tend to be Such Michael a well lived breed. When she went she took a huge piece of my soul with her & it hurts so bad I physically ache inside. I have cried daily and you know what? She’s worth every single tear that slides down my cheeks, every ache in my heart, I’m just so sorry I couldn’t make her better, I have two of her paw prints that I shall have made in to a tattoo. I just can’t express how hurt and lost my life is without her in it.

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