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My perfect dog died suddenly at my feet


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nothingness

Sunday, May 16th was like any other day. I was working on my kitchen renovation. A project that's been going on forever. My kitchen is totally gutted to the studs and subflooring. I was adding a backdoor to the house, off the kitchen. I'm a 40 yr old female who has lived alone with my boy, Hercules. Hercules had free reign of the fenced backyard and house. The side door was open, allowing him to go in and out at will.

Hercules was an 8 year old, 160lb Cane Corso in perfect health. Lean, muscular, extremely athletic and energetic. He had spent the day chasing chipmunks, squirrels, rolling around to scratch his back, and barking at anyone walking down the sidewalk. He was a brute. Afraid of absolutely nothing. He'd plow through anything in his way without hesitation. I sometimes thought I should have named him Plow or Dozer.

Sometime around 4pm, I was working on the final piece of trim to go over the door I had installed. I was exhausted from working 3 days straight and just wanted to get this final piece done so I could shower and relax. Hercules barked at someone passing by and I told him to be quiet for at least the 15th time that day, as usual. Immediately after his quick bark and me telling him to be quiet, he headed straight toward me. I thought it odd that he was coming to me right after I had yelled at him to be quiet. He came in through the side door, up 4 steps to the empty kitchen, toward me where he collapsed right at my feet. I had a pile of 2x4s that he fell right over and I thought he had tripped over them at first. He had fallen in such an unusual and twisted way. I thought that he'd bound right back up as nothing ever seems to effect him, he's so powerful and strong that he always seemed invincible. But his entire body tensed up and stretched out, his limbs at full length, almost straight up, stiff and rigid, as well as his neck, and his eyes squeezed shut. I then knew something horrible was happening. I can't get these images out of my mind...

I thought he was having a seizure (which he had never had before but which my prior dog died from). I was trying to just comfort him thinking that it was a seizure and would pass and then I'd get him to the vet asap. But the tension lasted only a second or two and then he went completely limp and lifeless. I immediately started chest compressions and then looked in his mouth and saw that his tongue was blue. I thought maybe he was choking. I stuck my whole arm down his throat and there was nothing. I tried giving him mouth to mouth and there was no response. I then listened to his chest and I could hear a heartbeat so I tried mouth to mouth again as his tongue was still blue. I called the emergency vet and in a total panic asked what I needed to be doing. They said there was nothing I could do but bring him in. But it's a 20 min drive and he's 160lbs and I have no way of getting him into my car. I call my neighbor but he tells me he's not home. I run around the neighborhood frantically and find 2 random guys walking and got them to follow me back. This took less than a minute or 90 seconds at most. When I got back into the kitchen, I couldn't hear a heartbeat and tried CPR again but there was no response. All 3 of us struggled to carry him to the car. I drove as fast as I could but I knew there was no way for him to survive the journey.

When I arrived, the vet said there was nothing they could do. I explained the events and he said he suspects that it was an arrhythmia and that there's nothing I could have done and even if it had happened at the hospital, it is extremely rare that they're able to save them. I later talked to 2 people from my vet's office who said the exact same thing. In fact, my vet said she lost one of her own dogs last year from the same thing and that it happened right in front of her and she couldn't save him.

He was my everything. We have spent every minute of every day and night together for the 7 years I've had him. I have PTSD and I work from home due to my PTSD so I very rarely leave my house so we were ALWAYS together. He was perfectly healthy and active and had years left to live. He was all I had. I have no support in my life. My grandma called me about an hour ago to tell me that I need to "get over it" because "it's Friday" (meaning it's been 5 days) and chastised me for still being in bed in mourning and insinuated that I didn't even love him as much as I loved my prior dog and saying I wasn't even like this when my prior dog died (I was suicidal for 8 months when my prior dog died and had to see a psychiatrist to be heavily medicated the entire time).

The only person I can talk to is my psychologist (who isn't a trauma or grief specialist). I was also referred to a pet grief specialist and spoke to her yesterday and she was the nicest person I've talked to about it. She has a masters degree in this and used to work in hospice.

I've strongly been considering suicide and today spent time on a site trying to make a will (which I don't have) but ultimately gave up and decided I don't care what happens to my stuff. Then, I spent more time looking into the effectiveness of various suicidal methods. I should mention I was suicidal before this happened but my dog was what forced me to stay as I would never have abandoned him. I have no support other than paying someone for an hour of their time. He was the only good I had in my life. I can't believe he's gone. I can't believe that he could be a perfectly healthy, active dog one second and be dead the next. The images of the events of that day keep going through my head over and over.

hercules.jpg

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

Oh, my dear one, I am so, so sorry to hear about your dear Hercules.

Your heart is splitting in two, I know.
And I also know the desire for suicide - I, too, have PTSD, and live only for my special kitties, my favorite of which died suddenly two weeks ago.

Hang on, just hang on for now...for yourself, even if you don't feel like you're worth it; but also for your precious Hercules.
I believe he loved you as much as you loved him, and it would break his heart to feel responsible for your death,
because someday, perhaps far in the future, or perhaps tomorrow, somebody else will need you, will want you, will love you, and you will be there to help them in tribute to, and honor of, sweet Hercules.

I am so sorry for your pain, but so grateful that he was lucky enough to have you as his mom -
he clearly couldn't have asked for better.

The world needs more sensitive, caring people like you, not less.

Please know my thoughts & heart are with you.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

Please remember that you DO have support here.
I truly know what it feels like to feel completely alone, but other people will also respond.
And, someone, somewhere else, might appear as well.

Yesterday, a neighbor I'd never met before showed up at my door looking for his lost kitty.
We cried together, and I made a new friend in the last place I expected.
Share your loss - two sentences - with your grocer, your bank teller, your boss, your Social Security worker, someone you see on a short walk...and see what might happen.
It's so hard, I know.
But animals have of way of bringing people together like nothing else I've ever witnessed, and what do we have to lose by reaching out?

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KayC
18 hours ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

The world needs more sensitive, caring people like you, not less.

I agree!   Please hang in there!  I know your heart is broken, I know the pain, the emptiness, when your incentive for life's very breath is gone!  PLEASE call a suicide hotline!  Also make an appt. with a pet grief counselor asap and hang in there for that!  Trust me, I know what this feels like, I lost my sweet precious Arlie.  I called him my soulmate in a dog because he was perfect for me, the very perfect dog!  He was beautiful, smart, goofy, fun, loving, considerate!  If I could have made a dog to specifications, it would have resulted in him!  He got to 140 lbs, not as big as your Hercules, but Ioved every ounce of him!  It's been almost two years now.  I've learned to take one day at a time.  I started walking a neighbor's chow as it was so hard to walk without my Arlie, but it resulted in my getting two permanent hand injuries (one to a hard jerk, one to a bite...his second time) so I had to discontinue.  Fortunately my son found an adorable puppy and brought him to me, it literally saved me.  He's nothing like my Arlie but he's wormed his way into my heart in his own way and I'm so glad to have him...he was conceived when Arlie died and born on my birthday.  I feel God sent him to me.  

I literally wept as I read your story...I think what resonated with me, what caught my heart was when you called him your perfect dog, that is what I always felt about my Arlie.  Now I have to live another 15 years for Kodie (he has a lengthy age span potential) which has started on my taking the best care of my health that I can as I don't want him re-homed ever.

I know how hard this is, I still have my Arlie's coat hanging on my chair, his leash and collar hanging by the door, I don't know why, our grief doesn't have to make sense, we do what brings us comfort.  I go to his grave in my backyard next to Kitty and Skye (my granddoggy) we all lived together at one time, along with Miss Mocha who is now gone too, it's weird to see how our family dwindled to just me but now it's Kodie and I.  Everything seems a reminder of their absence, I had his sympathy cards on display until this month, I cherish his paw print hanging on my refrigerator (in motion), his lock of fur along with other mementos.  I buried him with his favorite (and first) toy, a duck, and bone.  Until we are together again...

Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

 

 

PS I want to say how beautiful your Hercules is.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...
7 minutes ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

KayC:  "Our grief doesn't have to make sense, we do what brings us comfort."
Profound and true - It is different for each of us.
Though we all know and understand the pain, we handle it in such a variety of ways.

I apologize, I don't have the "Quote" thing down yet.

 

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nothingness

Thank you @KayC. I cried reading your post as well. I'm so sorry about your baby. I'm happy you have a new baby to help you want to live again. That is kind of what happened with me and Hercules. I had lost my baby Boo Boo after 13 years and was devastated. I didn't want another dog but I had been a foster mom for the APL for years and I couldn't deal w/ the empty house so after 6 months, I went to the APL seeking a foster. Long story short, I ended up with Hercules who was not a foster dog. He was considered "unadoptable" by the APL due to behavior issues (basically extremely hyper 150lb 1-yr old puppy who was very stubborn and uncontrollable) but they were offering to give him to me. So I was sort of his last chance. Initially, I was still extremely depressed over Boo Boo and it took me a long time to bond with Hercules. But then he became my baby and I loved and kissed him every single day. He was a "velcro dog". He'd never leave my side. I couldn't go to the bathroom without him following and putting his head on my lap while I was on the toilet. I couldn't go anywhere without him following. He'd often step on the bottom of my pant legs, that's how close he always had to be to me.

I don't have any support system, friends or family who I can talk to. I'm very much a loner and only had Hercules. The only people I've been able to talk to are a grief counselor I just started talking to and my psychologist. So I appreciate the support I'm getting here. Thank you.

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KayC
54 minutes ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

I apologize, I don't have the "Quote" thing down yet

You just select what you want to quote then click quote when it pops up. ;)  Or you can just click quote under someone's post if you want the whole thing.

55 minutes ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

Though we all know and understand the pain, we handle it in such a variety of ways.

For sure...I've seen people clean everything out immediately because the reminders hurt...I don't recommend that as you may regret it and that can't be undone (my mom did that to my dad's stuff the second she got home from his funeral!.  Boxing up and putting out of sight would be a temporary solution.  As for me, I couldn't bear to remove Arlie's things.  Oh God, the pain!

52 minutes ago, nothingness said:

Initially, I was still extremely depressed over Boo Boo and it took me a long time to bond with Hercules. But then he became my baby and I loved and kissed him every single day. He was a "velcro dog". He'd never leave my side. I couldn't go to the bathroom without him following and putting his head on my lap while I was on the toilet. I couldn't go anywhere without him following.

This describes how it was losing Arlie and getting Kodie!  Kodie is always right here with me.  The dogs are complete opposites in most ways though.  Here is a picture of them...Arlie Husky/Golden Retriever, Kodie is Klee Kai (miniature Husky).  Kodie is begging for a treat, licking his chops at the treat jar, LOL!

 

54 minutes ago, nothingness said:

I appreciate the support I'm getting here.

Keep coming here as often as you want, that's what we're here for.  My "purpose" in life is helping others through grief (If I was younger I'd be a grief counselor) after going through so much myself.  I've lost parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousin, niece, nephew, 24 dogs/cats, husband, countless friends, as well as other animals over the years.  The very hardest were my husband and Arlie, it felt like it did when I lost him. 

 

Arlie running free XS.jpg

Kodie begging for treat.jpg

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nothingness

@KayC Both your babies are beautiful!

You have been through a LOT of trauma! It's probably never too late to become a grief counselor but you're doing a great job here!

I also have been through a lot of trauma, resulting in PTSD which has severely diminished my quality of life. But NOTHING even compares to the grief of losing my babies.

I received several calls today from my grandma. I avoided the first 2 because I can't deal with being bitched at anymore for still being depressed 6 days after my baby died in my arms. The 3rd call I answered. This time, I was told I "need to shape up and fly right". I'm so alone. I have no connections to anyone now that my baby is gone.

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KayC
17 hours ago, nothingness said:

I was told I "need to shape up and fly right".

WHAT?!!!  Someone's idea of "responding to grief?!"  I am so sorry!  Some people should come with a muzzle, just saying!  Are you able to get out and walk?  It helped me a lot in these last 14 months to getting to know my neighbors better, so I didn't feel so alone.  But I don't live in the city either, there people tend not to mingle so much. Have you considered grief counseling?  Griefshare is a good support group.  I led a grief support group before Covid, if it gleans interest again, would love to start it back up!
Grief specialist

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AJWCat

Hi @nothingness I am so so sorry to read about your sweet boy.

You found the right place. I still grieve over the horrific loss of my cat. He got suddenly, violently sick - it was horrible. We raced to an emergency vet on a Saturday night from a Air-B&B in the mountains and within 2 hours we put him out of his (literal) misery. 

Seeing my cat suffer like that was soul crushing. He supposedly was poisoned but I never figured out how. All I knew was, our "child" for 10 years was gone just like that.

Please do not harm yourself. Don't erase the 7 years of love and friendship or negate it. Honor him by being that person that he loved and adored - the person who goes on and lives because of his constant support and represents that. It took me a while to get that. 

I know how dark things look. I was insane with grief, too. I wish I could offer more. Keep posting, it can help you. I did, like, all the time, just to survive.  

 

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nothingness
On 5/23/2021 at 10:56 AM, KayC said:

Are you able to get out and walk? 

I haven't left my house except to go pick up his ashes yesterday. I got my neighbor to drive me as I don't think I'm fit to be driving in my condition. I rarely leave my bed. I try to go out to my backyard to water my plants at night and that's about it. I cry nonstop. I feel like even if I had friends, nobody would want to be around me like this.

 

 

On 5/23/2021 at 10:56 AM, KayC said:

Have you considered grief counseling? 

I was connected to a pet grief counselor through my vet's office and she's been great. I've talked to her 3 times now and she's even called to check on me on her own. Tomorrow, I'm doing a group grief session led by her, online.

I just don't feel like anything can help. I'm completely alone. I lost my baby and he's all I had. He's the only one I had to talk to during the day, and eat with, and play with, and cuddle with. I'm completely alone. I don't see how I can live without him.

I'm not able to do basic things like take out the trash or mow the lawn and I have nobody to help me. It's extremely difficult for me to eat because Hercules was so obsessed with food that he would freak out every time I was getting food and he'd lay right beside me while I ate. Now eating alone is excruciating and I end up crying and just putting my food down.

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nothingness

@AJWCat I'm so sorry about your cat. Poisoning was something I lived in constant fear of as I live next to a sociopath who has harassed me forever. I couldn't let my dog into my own fenced in backyard without watching him because I always feared for that. I'm sorry your baby went through something so traumatic. And you as well. I appreciate your support.

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KayC

I've been alone for 16 years since my husband died suddenly, barely 51.  My kids don't live here and I rarely hear from them.  I have a sister, disabled, she gets her neighbors to bring her mail, take out her trash, etc, I give her rides to the doctor and bring her food but she's unable to ever help me and she has dementia so unable to be a support to me either.  Her husband died in Sept. so she's also alone, but thankfully has good neighbors and a friend.  So important to ask for help when needed, she wouldn't be surviving without it.

OMG on the sociopath!  I'm so sorry.  My Arlie was my world and it's been very hard since he died of cancer, he was just 11 1/2, I'd hope to have him 14 years or more.  :(

Went through AJW's journey as well.  I've lost 24 dogs & cats so am no stranger to this, but Arlie was different, he was my perfect dog and companion.

I'm glad you've a grief counselor.  You could try griefshare as well, I'm sure they have it on line, I have slow speed internet with low data plan (I live in the country) so am unable to do zoom or skype.

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nothingness

I've been suicidal really my entire life, since I was a young child. I've been through a lot of trauma and abuse and suffer from severe PTSD and depression. What kept me going was my dog and my grandma. I thought my grandma was the only person in my family who actually cared. During covid, I went out of my way to take care of my grandparents so they'd survive. I left my house and moved in with them for several months to make sure they stayed away from other people, ordered everything delivered, stayed quarantined with them and all of that.

On the 5th day after my baby died, my grandma called and when she found out I was still depressed and in bed, she told me I need to "get over this already" and then compared my dog to my previous dog, basically saying I didn't love him as much as I loved my prior dog and that I wasn't even this upset about his passing. The worst thing I can imagine anyone saying. Telling me I didn't love my baby while I'm in mourning over his death and suicidal over it. I've been a suicidal disaster over both of their passings. I was heavily medicated for 8 months after my last dog passed. I don't think I ever really recovered and my life went downhill ever since.

On the 6th day after my baby died, my grandma called and again chastised me for still being depressed and in bed and told me I need to "shape up and fly right". She spends all of these phone calls complaining about her problems and offering ZERO support or concern or consideration for what I'm going through. She uses guilt-tripping and manipulation the entire phone call. She complains that I'm not taking her to her dr appts anymore when I literally haven't gone anywhere in my car since coming back from the emergency vet that day. I'm not a functional person at the moment and can't even walk from one room of the house to the other without crying. Our ENTIRE family lives closer to her than me and some are retired and are willing to take her to her dr appts but she was using guilt-tripping tactics to try to make ME feel bad for not taking her. Then she uses manipulation like she knows she's not supposed to be driving so she'll threaten that she's going to drive herself if I don't take her.

She went several days without calling and then I got another call today. It always starts the same, she chastises me for not calling her and that if she didn't call me, she'd never hear from me. Prior to my dog's passing 2 weeks ago, I was almost always the one to call. Rarely did she call me. The whole call is a pity party for her and no concern at all for my circumstances. She went into the same thing again, chastising me for not taking her to her appts, claiming there's nobody else who can, saying she's going to drive herself, complaining about all of her problems. I finally had enough and said, "you know my dog died, right?" She said, "who died?" I'm totally blown away. I said, "my dog." She said, "oh, yeah, I know that and I feel terrible about that." I said, "no, you don't!" Then she went right back into her problems and her pity party again.

Anyway, the point of all that is just to say that I realize I have nobody. The one person in my family who I thought cared, doesn't. I always said that when my grandma and dog were gone, I'd be done with this life. But now I feel like there's no need to wait. I have nobody. The only card I got was from my vet's office. The only people who have been kind to me over this have been total strangers. I just don't think it's worth anymore suffering.  I've been looking into the assisted suicide places in europe where it's legal.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

Dear Hercules' Mom @nothingness,

I hear you, I truly do.
The pain, the sense of isolation, the loneliness - I really, really understand it.

I am not a therapist, but I believe your grandma is so toxic, it would soothe your soul to simply let her go from your life, no longer answering the calls.
True family is not always those we're born to.

The hardest part right now is you're too exhausted to create a new family...except you've made a beautiful start by coming here.
Try to keep that going by reaching out to just 1 person a week for a kind word about your loss.
If no kind words are forthcoming, move on next week to someone else.

Give yourself some time before making a decision so final you can't take it back - it will still be waiting for you.

Is there a caring shelter nearby where you could volunteer to walk dogs?
They won't be Hercules, but I know they will be SO APPRECIATIVE, and that means you're giving a gift to a furry soul who desperately needs it.

Fo myself, I found a place named BetterHelp.com, and they put me with a wonderful therapist who was also a total animal lover.
I got a small discount because of our income, and if you're not happy with your person, you can ask to switch.
In fact, just this past week I told my therapist I needed a much softer touch, and she was very glad that I shared that with her, and happy to comply.
Tell them what you think you need and want.

Just hang on a month or two longer, Hercules' Mom, and see what happens.

For me, the only death worse than my dear Herbie was the first kitty I ever rescued, and her death was terribly sudden, like Hercules.
The thing that literally pulled me back to the land of the living was that I had just started trapping some baby kitties, and they literally needed me to survive.
Rescuing them and fostering them forced me to get out of bed and care for others.
And, despite my major objections to the idea in the beginning, I ended up keeping two, who loved me dearly, and whom I loved as well.

I can't guarantee it will happen, but I can guarantee it CAN happen, and in the meantime, you've wrapped another animal in your soft heart, who desperately needs it.

What do you think?

 

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KayC

Wow, I can't comprehend your grandmother's horrid comments!  I'd tell her "Highly inappropriate!f" and hang up.  I wouldn't worry about losing that.  So very wrong!  I hope you will strongly consider a grief support group!  There you can meet like-minded people who LOVE rather than being destructive.  I urge you to hang on until things can change and consider what you can do to help your situation...it would help if you could meet decent people.  They're out there, it takes us putting ourselves out there to find them.  Or barring that, another animal you can give and receive love with.

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nothingness
23 hours ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

The hardest part right now is you're too exhausted to create a new family...except you've made a beautiful start by coming here.
Try to keep that going by reaching out to just 1 person a week for a kind word about your loss.
If no kind words are forthcoming, move on next week to someone else.

Thank you @Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim.... This is something I've been trying to do for years but I can't seem to succeed at it. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I can't seem to form relationships with healthy people. I've been in therapy for a longgggggg time to try to figure out why I have a constant supply of toxic people in my life and can't seem to form relationships with healthy people despite working on myself very hard for over 15 years. I feel like I'm a "giver" and I'm a giant magnet for "takers". I feel like I'm dissatisfied with my entire life. My career, which I worked very hard for, my house which I adored, everything. I want a new start. Like moving to another country or something. But then I realize it'll be even harder for me to make relationships with people in another country whom I have even less in common with... I feel trapped. I feel like I'm sinking and my lifeline, Hercules, is gone. My life is so completely meaningless now.

 

23 hours ago, Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim... said:

Rescuing them and fostering them forced me to get out of bed and care for others.

That's basically how I ended up with Hercules. I had fostered for the APL for years while I had my prior dog, Boo Boo. After Boo Boo died, I was beside myself with grief and it was the first time ever being entirely alone. I had had him my entire adult life. I went to the APL at random just to fill my empty house, 6 months after Boo Boo passed. Through a random set of circumstances, I ended up meeting Hercules who was on the adoption floor, not a foster. I declined because I was not ready to adopt. 3 days later, they called me saying they didn't consider him adoptable due to his hyperactivity and being 150lbs, he was just too much for anyone to handle But that they'd give him to me. I was his last hope. I took him and the rest is history.

 

4 hours ago, KayC said:

I hope you will strongly consider a grief support group!  There you can meet like-minded people who LOVE rather than being destructive.

Thank you @KayC. I did join a pet grief support group. My vet's office recommended a pet grief counselor and I have talked to her twice. She runs an online group once every 2 weeks. I did my first one last Wed. I had a total breakdown when I tried to talk about Hercules. Everyone was really nice and 2 people reached out to me afterward and have stayed in contact, checking on me.

 

 

I bought a book from amazon called "My Dog's Album". It's like a scrapbook/baby book for dogs. I have a similar one for my previous dog, Boo Boo. I've been filling this out for Hercules which I think is helping. I have PTSD and terrible memory problems and I don't want to forget my special memories of him. I fill it out as though I'm writing to him. I also ordered some framed prints today from shutterfly. A nice framed/matted trio of pics and another large framed photo.

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nothingness

My mom called today. First time she's called in the 2 weeks since he passed. She told me I need to stop "moping around all day" and that I need to stay busy and stop thinking about it.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

I am just so sorry you are surrounded by such unsupportive people, who are never going to get it.

But we get it, and lots of other people get it too - please know that.

Many, many hugs to you.

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KayC
21 hours ago, nothingness said:

I've been in therapy for a longgggggg time to try to figure out why I have a constant supply of toxic people in my life and can't seem to form relationships with healthy people

I have heard Dr. Phil say, "We teach people how to treat us." and I believe that is true!  I grew up with horrible abuse, had an alcoholic father and a mental mother who was emotionally, physically, verbally abusive and controlling.  When in my mid-40s, I began to learn and it changed my life little by little.  I went to an al-anon meeting that was an eye-opener, then read "Adult Children of Alcoholics," "Toxic Parents," "Emotional Blackmail, and "Boundaries."  Those books changed how I responded.  I learned to set boundaries with my mom (my dad was long gone by then) and let her own the consequences.  I have a sister who got my mom's temper/anxiety, inappropriate responses, over-reactive.  A while back she went off on me for an hour on the phone, and I realized it was nothing I said or did, it was that I called when she was in a bad state, not something I could have known.  I finally said, "This isn't getting us anywhere, I'd better let you go for now." and I hung up.  The next day she called, was like nothing happened, didn't apologize or bring it up.  I let it go, it was a new day.  Next time I won't wait an hour.  I'll just tell her I'll let her go and talk to her later.  You might try that when your grandma starts in.  When she gets short conversations, maybe she'll figure it out.  If not, get blunt with her.  TELL her that her comments are unhelpful and hurtful.  Tell her what you need from her.  If she is unwilling, you may have to let her go.  I know that's hard but just because we're born into a family doesn't make them healthy for us!  

Another suggestion I've heard from Dr. Phil is, "If you want to make friends, you have to start by being one!  Ask people about themselves.  Show interest in them."  Of course we have to get out around people to MEET them before we can do that.  Church, parks, neighborhoods, walks, grief support groups, hobby/organizations are all a way to meet people, so is volunteering or work.  I have a wonderful neighborhood, I get out and walk twice a day with my puppy, I've talked to my neighbors and they have been wonderful throughout this last year of social isolation, it's been a lifesaver.  

It is okay to recognize our needs!  It's okay to require as much from others as we give ourselves!  Raise the bar!  Look for what you require, don't settle!  I've done that with men and haven't dated in 11 years now!  LOL  But that's okay, I've learned to value myself and I'd rather live alone, in peace, than with another that doesn't treat me well. ;)

16 hours ago, nothingness said:

She told me I need to stop "moping around all day"

Tell her, "Not helpful."  Excuse yourself and cut the call short!

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KayC
21 hours ago, nothingness said:

I did join a pet grief support group. My vet's office recommended a pet grief counselor and I have talked to her twice. She runs an online group once every 2 weeks. I did my first one last Wed. I had a total breakdown when I tried to talk about Hercules. Everyone was really nice and 2 people reached out to me afterward and have stayed in contact, checking on me.

I am so glad!

It helped me to write about my dog's cancer journey, memories with him, and also with my 25 year old Kitty.  I didn't want them ever forgotten, it's a way of honoring them.

 

 

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

Just checking in to see how you're doing, Hercules' Mom.

I really related to your struggles to create new friends and family - I'm great at giving the advice, but not always so successful at achieving it.

And I, too, have thought of moving...at least to another state where there are more like-minded folks.
Perhaps think about and research it for a few months - sometimes it helps just knowing you have choices.

I hope the searing pain has abated at least an incremental bit, and that you've been able to talk with a person or two (other than the counselor) who understands.

Have you had a chance to hug another doggie yet?
I've been looking online for special or senior kitties who really need a home, but something's stopping me from following through...I'm not really even sure what.

Hope you're caring for yourself as best you can -

Thinking of you,
Herbie's Mom

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nothingness

Thank you for checking on me @Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim.... I am a little better, I suppose. I think I've come to the conclusion that I have 2 options. I either end my life because it's truly been miserable for a very long time... or I start a new life somewhere else. I spend hours everyday looking at French real estate. I don't know how realistic I'm being. I would have to learn a new language, apply for citizenship, etc. It would be a huge undertaking but it'd be a fresh start and my last hope I think.

It's a long story but I've been struggling for a very long time. I've known for awhile that I won't be able to continue to working much longer and I've been trying to push myself to make it just a couple more years until my house and all debts are paid off, then I'd be able to afford an early medical retirement. I have a lot of equity in my house because I bought it on foreclosure during the housing market crash and now it's worth 3x what I paid. So I intend to sell it and use the profit to buy another property somewhere else, outright.

I have not had a chance to hug another dog. I don't think I can bring myself to think of getting another. My Hercules was just so completely perfect in every way that I know no other dog could ever compare. I've never seen another dog like him. He was unbelievably handsome, tall, muscular, incredibly strong, healthy, vibrant, active, and the smartest dog I've ever met. And he absolutely adored me and wanted to be right on top of me every minute of every day. Always staring into my eyes. I also think my plans of moving to another country would be really difficult with a dog.

I've had a lot of people (outside of my family and coworkers) be really nice to me. The people on this site, on another support group site I've been on for years, my neighbors, and other people. That's been nice. One of my neighbor's brought in my trash cans for my yesterday. That made me cry. One of them called me outside to talk a couple nights ago and we talked for a half hour probably. He just lost his mom 2 months ago and he was very supportive and understanding.

I ordered some big framed photos of Hercules from shutterfly. I've hung them on the wall in my room. I'm starting to have a little shrine with the urns of my 2 babies and their photos all over the walls now. I also started working on a baby/scrap book for Hercules. I've been filling it with memories so I won't ever forget (I have memory problems and I'm terrified of forgetting things about him) and putting pics in it.

It would be nice for you to take in senior kitties, if you could handle it. I've often thought that when I move (I plan to get a farm with a lot of land), that I'd like to rescue all the senior dogs and give them a home.

I hope you are doing somewhat better as well.

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KayC
On 5/21/2021 at 2:35 PM, nothingness said:

I've strongly been considering suicide

Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org

18 hours ago, nothingness said:

I have not had a chance to hug another dog. I don't think I can bring myself to think of getting another.

I had felt the same, but when my son brought me Kodie, it saved me, really.  He is not Arlie, he's very different, it's as if God knew Arlie could not be replaced so He sent me this little one and he has wormed his way into my heart by being uniquely him.  You might consider fostering a dog to have one to hug and see how it goes, day by day.

I did not see how I'd make it when I retired...I hadn't planned on it, I was 61 and it was the recession, I'd looked for work for an entire year and faced age discrimination, I knew when my boss said I was done that I would not file unemployment, that I was very done...the first week I found out I needed a new roof.  I lived four years off savings and my IRA but had to file social security when I ran out of $, a year early and take the penalty for life.  It's okay, I'm making it.  My advice is to not act rashly, give it great thought and some time to see if you still feel the same about moving, but certainly do whatever makes you most comfortable!  When my husband died, I made mistakes as I was still in grief fog, I've learned so much since then, but have forgiven myself the mistakes and learned and grown since.  I wish you nothing but the best from here forward.  I do hope you'll keep us posted, we care.  (((hugs)))

13 hours ago, Saddee said:

I am going through a similar situation 

I am so sorry.  I hope you'll start a thread and share your story with us, we want to be here for you also.

 

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nothingness

My grandfather died today. I just told my friend and he said "well it was going to happen eventually. All of my grandparents are dead."

I'm tired of dealing with people who act like this. This is the part I'm struggling with the most is the total lack of empathy around me.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

I'm so sorry about your grandfather.

You have really been through the wringer and then some.
But I'm hoping that this means you are on the brink of something better.
Not better because Hercules isn't in it, but better in that you will be able to function again...at some point, even with a bit of joy.

In the meantime, yes, research France -
for whatever reason, it seems to call to you, and the more you look into it, the more it will either feel like a right move, or it will lead to something else.

Please remember that I truly mean it when I say I believe the world is better with you in it, and there will be some doggies in the future who will agree.

Take care,
Vicki

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nothingness

I need my baby. I can't live without him.

I don't have anybody to pick up the food I drop and to eat the food I can't finish.

I don't have anybody to cuddle and kiss at night.

I don't have anybody to go exploring in the woods with.

I don't have anybody to put their head on me while I'm sitting.

I don't have anybody who wants to play with me and bring me toys.

I don't have anybody to pop the bubbles from the amazon packages.

i don't have anybody to break down the boxes so they'll fit in the trash can.

I don't have anybody to play hide n seek with.

I don't have anybody to protect me from bad guys.

I don't have anybody to help me garden and share the strawberries and cucumbers with.

Everything I had is gone. There's just emptiness now.

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Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim...

Dear Hercules' Mom,

Your pain is palpable, and your heart is screaming.
It is wrong and unfair in every way, and you have every right to "rail against the dying of the light."

I know Hercules cannot be replaced, because he was so special, but I did smile at the thought of the two of you partaking in all your special little rituals.
Thank you for sharing those moments.

What do you think HE would want you to do?
I'm not trying to be New Agey obnoxious, it's just a simple, yet profound question that might help guide you.

This is something I ran across on the internet which makes me cry gasping tears...but also makes me believe I owe it to Herbie - and myself - to keep going in his honor:

"Before humans die, they write their last Will & Testament, give their home & all they have to those they leave behind.  If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask...

To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:
- My happy home.
- My bowl & cozy bed, soft pillows & all my toys.
- The lap, which I loved so much.
- The hand that stroked my fur & the sweet voice which spoke my name.

I'd Will to the sad, scared shelter cat, the place I had in my human's loving heart,
of which there seemed no bounds.

So when I die, please do not say "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."
Instead, go find an unloved cat, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give MY place to HIM.

This is the only thing I can give...
                                       The love I left behind."

-- Author Unknown.

It feels like no help to you right now, but I promise you that you can find love again - it won't be  perfect, it will be different, but it will surprise you when one day you'll realize...you love.

But you are hurting NOW, I know, and it seems like nothing but a yawning abyss before you.
Honor and respect your pain, for as long as your body can stand it.
And then, when you are exhausted, and not ready, but there is simply nothing left to do, go and care for a dog somewhere, somehow.
Take that gigantic heart of yours, and Hercules', and give a tiny piece of it to someone who desperately needs it, just for a moment.

See what that does, knowing it will be both bitter and sweet.

Hang on.
I am here for you.

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nothingness

Thank you so much @Mom to Herbie, Tiny Tim.... Your response made me cry. It's so hard to imagine ever getting another dog when Hercules was everything I'd ever wanted and needed in a dog and I've never met another dog like him. He was so unique. I know nobody could ever measure up. I just can't accept that such a healthy perfect dog could die suddenly out of the blue like that. That's really what I struggle with is that I never imagined this could happen to him. He was the biggest/strongest dog anyone has ever seen. He was so active and healthy. He was always bouncing around and running and barking and full of energy. I felt so lucky that at 8 years old, he was so healthy and wasn't even turning grey, wasn't slow or tired or anything. I fully expected to have many more years with him and I felt so grateful that he was so healthy and active at 8. My previous dog, by 8, was already grey and had terrible hips and couldn't get around well and was very slow. But he made it to 12.5. So I was sure I'd have Hercules for at least that long and felt so lucky that he still looked and acted so young. It's so shocking to me that I still can't believe it. That a perfectly healthy dog can just drop dead suddenly without any warning. I did everything to make sure he was healthy and safe. I wouldn't even let him in our privacy fenced backyard without supervision. I always knew where he was and what he was doing. I fed him the best/most expensive food on the market. I feel like I should have known something was wrong.

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15 hours ago, nothingness said:

My grandfather died today. I just told my friend and he said "well it was going to happen eventually. All of my grandparents are dead."

I'm tired of dealing with people who act like this. This is the part I'm struggling with the most is the total lack of empathy around me.

I am so sorry, both for your loss, and for friend's inappropriate response.  It was callous.  I would have retorted, "Inappropriate response."  and left (or got off the phone).  We don't need that when we're grieving.  Big hugs to you!  

Friends, letdown
It's important when a friend is grieving to acknowledge their grief and not compare...all loss/grief is unique as are our relationships, our own way of coping, etc.  Hell, I think even our family placement probably enters in!  So for her to compare to her's is wrong.  Maybe it didn't hit her as hard because she wasn't as close to them!

Maybe you could print this out and give it to her or email her the links (different articles)...
Helping Another in Grief
Helping another in Grief
Supporting another with Pet Loss
Tips for Helping The Mourner

13 hours ago, nothingness said:

I need my baby. I can't live without him.

I don't have anybody to pick up the food I drop and to eat the food I can't finish.

I don't have anybody to cuddle and kiss at night.

I don't have anybody to go exploring in the woods with.

I don't have anybody to put their head on me while I'm sitting.

I don't have anybody who wants to play with me and bring me toys.

I don't have anybody to pop the bubbles from the amazon packages.

i don't have anybody to break down the boxes so they'll fit in the trash can.

I don't have anybody to play hide n seek with.

I don't have anybody to protect me from bad guys.

I don't have anybody to help me garden and share the strawberries and cucumbers with.

Everything I had is gone. There's just emptiness now.

I think all of us have felt this, it takes much time to adjust to the changes it means for our lives.  I had to smile at the bubbles, Arlie always got so excited when bubblewrap came!  Now Kodie does.

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3 minutes ago, nothingness said:

It's so hard to imagine ever getting another dog when Hercules was everything I'd ever wanted and needed in a dog and I've never met another dog like him.

This is EXACTLY how I felt losing Arlie!  And no one replaced him.  Those things I continue to miss about him are a tribute to him, he was my "soulmate in a dog," my perfect dog!  Yet my son brought me Kodie 1 1/2 years ago yesterday and I am amazed at how I feel I can't live without him, he's my life now!  And he does NOT "replace" Arlie, he is unique and has wormed his way into my heart on his own merits.  He's always with me, very intuitive to me, adorable, wonderful personality, smart!  I miss Arlie's extreme goofiness and personality, his big body I could really hug, his patience & consideration, he was so beautiful and had that continual beautiful smile, even with cancer.  I miss him and always will.

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AJWCat

Agree with you @KayC my cat doesn't replace the one we lost. But I love her so much and she's made it easier. I'm coming up soon on 4 years and I have not forgotten our other cat. 

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Hello,

I am so sorry to read of the loss of your wonderful dog Hercules. He was so lucky to have an owner as wonderful as you. Not all animals benefit from that kind of care and love but Hercules did, and for that you should be so proud of yourself for being such a wonderful owner too.

I just wanted to say having recently lost my mum which has devastated me, I came across this post and it took me back to two years ago when me and my mum were devastated by the loss of our pet cat.

We had a cat called Bob - he lived 14 and a half years which we were greatful for. That's still a good age for a cat. He was black and white, very timid but he was his own character, and he helped us through some of the toughest times of our lives. Like most people who take on the responsibility of a pet, they quickly become family members. I lived with my mum, so it was me, mum and our cat Bob. We were like a little family here.

When we lost Bob, we were truly devastated like you are. He had some health problems for a while, in the last few weeks of his life we were making regular trips to the vets, as he suffered with a digestive disease which we had managed carefully for many years by feeding him a diet of Chicken whenever he had an upset stomach. This would settle his stomach and allow him to eat again. However, this wasn't working anymore.

The day we lost Bob it very much happened like it did in your story. He scratched my bedroom door early in the morning, he had his morning meal, all seemed normal. Later that afternoon, he was sick and mum took him to the vet. We assumed he was poorly as he had been before, the vets said he was just dehydrated so they gave him something, mum brought him back home but he was getting worse. So she ended up taking him back to the vets, where they told her there was no more they could do for him. We sadly had to let him pass.

I just remember mum walking back in the house with the empty cat carrier. It was devastating. We cuddled all night, comforted each other. I had not cried like I did that night since I was a child. We both vowed never to get another animal after this distress, we said we couldn't go through the pain of the loss again.

It wasn't until a few days after when mum went to the local hardware shop and got talking to one of her friends. She had been looking on her Facebook and found one of her friends was advertising Kittens for sale - there was only one Kitten left for sale. She showed mum a picture. Mum said she was not ready for another pet until she saw the picture. A small, ginger ball of fluff sat in a cardboard box looking like he needed a home desperately. Mum contacted me while I was at work - my initial suggestion - "it was too early to get another pet". Then she sent me this photograph - as soon as I saw the photo, I was back on the phone to mum and I said "please get him".

My point here is - getting new pets never ever replaces your old ones. That's not the reason we decide to get a new one. Each animal is unique like any person is. They have their own characteristics, their own personalities and traits and we can never compare them. However, we both came to a conclusion and agreed that another Cat needed some love, it needed a safe home where it would be looked after exactly the same way our previous cat Bob had been for 14 years.

Bob spent 14 happy years with us both, and his legacy when he left us was that another cat would need that same love, care and attention that he received.  And it would be the same when our next cat passed on - we just want to look after and give good lives to as many cats as we can do in our lifetimes. We decided to accept our new Kitten Lee and 4 weeks later, he was at our house. 

My mum passed away a few weeks ago, but we spent 2 years together at home with our cat Lee before she passed. Following the loss of my mum, I need him more than ever and I am so glad we decided to get him two year ago because I'd be on my own in this house if we hadn't decided to take him in. I now have a duty to look after him for my mum, because she loved him very much like she did our previous cat Bob. I also think we are planning to scatter our cat Bob's ashes with mum's when we decide to do that. 

My advice is - when the time is right for you, and when you feel ready, (I don't know if you will do) - but I really do encourage you to consider taking on a new pup sometime in the future. They will never replace Hercules, he was special and unique. But as another poster said - Hercules would definitely want you to be happy, and I am sure he would want you to give that same love, care and attention that you gave him, to another dog who needs it. But only when you are ready to do it! 

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11 hours ago, GribbleMC1 said:

My point here is - getting new pets never ever replaces your old ones. That's not the reason we decide to get a new one. Each animal is unique like any person is. They have their own characteristics, their own personalities and traits and we can never compare them. However, we both came to a conclusion and agreed that another Cat needed some love, it needed a safe home where it would be looked after exactly the same way our previous cat Bob had been for 14 years.

I so agree!  I am sorry for your losses as well, but you are using those experiences to help others right now, which is a good and healthy route.  Best wishes on your journey and enjoy your kitty!

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