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Still grieving my dog after almost a month...

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Last month, I lost my Labrador to Ehrlichiosis (basically a tick transmitted disease) and I have been putting off my grieving due to finals. 

Today everything just hit me extremely hard and I don't know how to cope. I feel immense grief and pain over not spending enough time with him due to school work. The regret is truly killing me. 

I also feel very guilty for not noticing how sick he was before he got so bad. My mother and I noticed he was sick a week before his death but my mother assured me it was probably just a stomachache like my other dog had. I truly thought he would be okay since my mom eventually took him to the vet and he was given meds.

Charlie (his name) was the dog I was most attached to since I rescued him from the streets. He' only been with us for four years. It just breaks my heart to remember the day we left him at the vet and he was so weak he couldn't stand. He hadn't eaten for days and gotten so thin. 

When the vet called my mother to let her know he'd passed away, I was at school too so I couldn't even go say goodbye. 

How did you cope with your pet passing away? I know everyone copes differently but I absolutely wasn't ready to say goodbye and I don't know how to let go of my dear Charlie. 


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I am so sorry.  It's the hardest thing in the world.  You ask how we cope...honestly, I don't know that there IS a way to cope, but to live through it, allow yourself to feel the pain and grieve, because that is how we process it.  I have learned we can't circumvent grief, it will find us and knock us down.  If there was a way, I would have found it by now.  I have lost so many people and pets...the hardest have been my husband and pets.  When I lose my dog, I don't know how I'll handle it except the same way I had to when I lost my husband 12 years ago.  You never get over it, you continue to miss them, but little by little the shock wears off and we begin to get more used to it and adjust to the changes it means for our lives.

The following is something I wrote from my 12 year journey after losing my husband.  Some of the "tips" will apply with loss of pet as well, grief is grief.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.]
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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So sad to hear about Charlie.

KayC shared a lot of good things to help you. I will say this: it is just a process. We lost our cat very suddenly to some kind of sickness. I was devastated and could barely function for the first few days and the following weeks were not much better.

Now, 4 months later, and I have my good and bad days. Still sad. Time heals. I am able to remember the good memories and not just the painful end, so you will get there too. It's just really hard in the beginning. The 1 month "anniversary" was awful too, I felt like I just lost him all over.

Let yourself grieve the loss of Charlie and be patient. I am so sorry - I know how very hard and painful it is. 

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sorry for your loss. i am not yet ready too like you. my pup died while i am here abroad. i wanted her back so bad. i don't know either how to cope up. i just joined here to ease the pain somehow because i will turn crazy anytime. hope you cope up somehow too. time will tell.

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