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First loss of a pet.

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I am just so unfathomably sad. She wasn't my first pet, but she was the one I raised. I got her when I was five. I'm almost twenty-three now. This is such an empty, bottomless, useless sadness. It's a sadness I've never truly felt before. I felt some pain when we lost Daisy and Cody, but I was young. I moved on quickly and it was quicker still knowing I wasn't there when it happened; I was home, comfortable, in Arizona, while my grandparents shed tears I had never seen over their beloved pets in Tennessee. I shed tears of my own when we lost Juno, and I thought that's all there would be to it. I would shed some tears, linger on the feeling for a little, and move on. I was worried about Tink, my chihuahua, who would look for Juno every time we took her to my uncle's. I was in denial that morning. I thought maybe she would get better. But I'd never seen her so lethargic and unmoving. She laid in my mother's arms, and then in mine, this tiny little ball of fur, hunched over in our grasp. She didn't move when I laid down to hold her close against me. She didn't shiver when I started to cry. I didn't want to lose her and since that night I don't think I've been whole. Not a night has gone by where I don't cry. I have this hollow aching in my chest, a physical and tangible pain I feel like I need to claw and grasp at but can't. I remembered when I had anxiety and I would hold her to my chest and her weight against my heart would soothe me and nothing can ever give me that feeling. That night I cried so hard my eyes stung to keep open. I couldn't touch my eyes, couldn't wipe my tears, without wincing from this extreme and foreign pain. I ball my hands into fists and press them against my chest where I would hold her but it doesn't help. Nothing helps. I have gone on trips, I have had fun, I have laughed and enjoyed myself. But it feels like a temporary distraction. Every night, the world crashes down onto me. My world is empty. Colorless. I have a hole in my chest and I don't know what to do with it. I never liked going home, but I always had her to look forward to. I would come home in the dark and lay on the floor beside her and just relax. I would feel weight and tension lifting from my shoulders. I would keep her with me. We would sit in silence together. She would wedge herself behind my knees as I lay on my side on the couch, watching TV. Before I lost her, I wanted to get pet rats. She always hated other dogs, but she liked when I had mice, and she was nice to them. I thought maybe the rats could bond with her and I, and we'd have friends. Now I feel like if I were to get the rats (on the up chance I would be able to save up to get them and the supplies necessary), I feel as though I would be replacing her, or putting my love into something else recklessly. I don't know what to do. Now I dread coming home because I know she isn't there, I know my energy and happiness will fade the second I step into that empty house. I lost her on June 19th. It's August 19th now and this feeling has not lessened, has not shown any sign of leaving whatsoever. I have not felt okay since I lost her. I have felt anxious, exhausted, like I'm always waiting for the snap of something awful to happen. There's a perpetual cloud hanging over me and I don't know what to do. I'm beginning to lose hope.

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I am so sorry that you find yourself going through this...it is hard, grief, the hardest thing we are called upon to experience.  I too got my first when I was five, a dog I named Huck...he lived to 15 so not as ripe an age as yours, but still a good long life.  My parents didn't tell me they were going to put him to sleep, I never got to say goodbye.  I still remember the tears I shed after they called me.  The dog who had been with me all my years growing up.  He endured me dressing him up, dragging him around the house on a leash, playing fetch in the yard, sneaking him a treat.  Those are learning memories...of our first love, our furry friend.

My heart goes with you as you experience the pain of loss and grief...I just lost my dog to Cancer...my sweet beautiful boy, the pain is unbearable.  I know, having been through grief time and again in my life, that this pain will soften it's edges a bit to make it more tolerable, but it will never erase the love or missing him, I will instead have to learn to live with carrying it with me.  Grief is the price we pay for the love but never would I wish away one moment with him, it is what gives life its worth.

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