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Lost My Best Friend


OldTrojan

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OldTrojan

Six days ago, my best friend Bear passed away unexpectedly.  My world stopped and can’t stop the tears.  I’m a 73 year old male and should have better control of my emotions, but I have never experienced this extreme of grief even when people in my life have passed.   I’m long since retired, and we spent so much time together every day as best pals.  I live alone and now feel more alone than at any time of my life.  He was a wonderful guy.

 

At 7AM, 11AM and 4PM, the times of day that we walked 45-60 minutes, I visit his grave and tell him how much I love and miss him, and sob uncontrollably.  At 7 I walk our route with his leash in my pocket, and the tears flow.  I have to avoid people because I can not talk about this without breaking down completely.  Almost everything all day reminds me of him, and I can't stop crying.

 

I don’t know how to deal with this most tragic event of my life.  Any and all suggestions are gratefully received.

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13 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

I’m a 73 year old male and should have better control of my emotions

No, guys have emotions too and it's merely society that teaches them not to but they have them and this is one of the hardest things we can go through.  I lost my Arlie 8/16/19 and it felt like losing my sweet husband had 16 years ago!  Arlie was my companion, best friend, patient, considerate, loving, loyal, sweet, gentle giant.  They are our world.

My heart goes out to you, I know the pain all too well.  Keep coming here, it helps to express yourself and know you're heard by others that "get it."

I wrote this article with loss of spouse in mind, but much of the tips can be applied here too, I hope something is of help to you.  Also, it helps me that I believe we'll be together again, so even though details may differ from the Rainbow Bridge, the thought is the same, and I totally count on being with my Arlie again!  Will also include some articles for you to read.
Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers
Articles on Pet Loss
A Bill of Rights for Grieving Animal Lovers
Crying, cannot stop
Grieving intensely
Heart Dog? - Dog Mom Days
Is Pet Loss Comparable to Loss of a Loved One?
Pet grief & cleansing tears
Support lack for pet loss
Why Does It Hurt So Much?

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH 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.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • 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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OldTrojan

KayC, Thanks so very much for this.  Excellent advice that I hope I can take.  At the moment I am in too much pain to do anything but weep.  I haven’t slept much, as I think of him at night.  I haven’t eaten much; I’m just not hungry.  Dinnertime is worst.  When I was cooking dinner, even though he had eaten his, he would lie on my kitchen floor watching and smelling, knowing that he’d get a little “people food” as a treat.  Now when I look down and see that his food and water bowls are gone I completely lose it, which I do throughout the day.

I’m an old guy nearing the end.  He was a young guy, who would have turned just two this month.  He should have had a long happy life to live.  If I could, I’d give my life to bring him back.

Thanks again,

Phil

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I feel the same, I would have given my life for Arlie!  My beautiful sweet loving boy, he was everything in the world to me.

In the beginning, we do what we need to do, we cry the tears, if we breathe and get dressed, that's an accomplishment.  Be kind to yourself.

73 still seems young to me, I'll be 70 next year...but then my family usually lives into their 90s.  I'm hoping not to as I don't see good coming from it.  Right now I'm taking care of my dementia sister, she's only 77 but never took care of herself.  She thought she'd go long before now, her husband of 50 years died a few months ago.  She's going blind from macular degeneration and did nothing about it for over 4 1/2 years.  

I hope you find something more to hope upon, to find some good in.  Right now I think we all desperately need it.  :wub:

I'm sorry you lost your dog so young, not fair at all.  Sweet beautiful dog.  I can see why he had your heart.

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OldTrojan

Thank you so much for this.  It is overwhelmingly kind of you to provide this support to a stranger in a time of emotional crisis.  Nothing can minimize such painful grief, but your sympathetic response from your own painful experience is helpful, and provides some hope for the future.  Now I feel like this grief will never end.

Today is one week.  Not an anniversary that I want, and it has prompted uncontrollable sobbing again.  I’m not doing any better today than a week ago.  Seeing my happy, healthy young best friend dead was such a shock last week that it took over an hour for the tears to come.  I wish that the shock had killed me.  Virtually everything, all day, every day, reminds me of him.

Thank you again.

Phil

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Hi @OldTrojan I am so so sorry to read about your loss. 

I went through a similar sudden death of my cat 4 years ago now. I was absolutely heartbroken. I cried more than I thought a human could cry. I won't go into the long story but I know where you are right now. 

The shock is over. Now, it's just the sad reality, day after day. I felt the grief would never end either. A dark shroud covered everything and nothing brought me joy anymore. KayC was here to help me. I wrote a lot here to get out my feelings. I had to share somewhere otherwise I thought I would go mad.

Your age and wisdom are one thing. But no amount of logic (we know our pets die) or experience can prepare you for the loss. The loss of the routine and the day to day of which they are a part of so so much.

I wish I could help you more. Just know that we here understand. :( and I wish you peace. I promise you will reach it. Just give yourself time and patience. 

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OldTrojan

Thank you AJWCat.  I do not feel so alone in my grief with such kind comments helping me. Nothing seems to mitigate the pain, though.   It is still a very dark world for me without my Bear.  I understand that it is a matter of time, but time seems to stand still for me.  Thanks,

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Hi Phil, 

I'm truly sorry to read of your loss of Bear. My story is similar. I'm 66, I lost my best friend Goldie in December to kidney disease. He was 14,yet fit right to the last day. He was my reason for getting up and living. I don't live alone, but that said me and him were together every second. We walked miles each day, here and there, and people knew us as Gary and Goldie. At near 8 months now im still so sad, life has no point. Tears most days. I didn't leave the house for 3 months apart from a quick shop visit. I tried to avoid everyone. I eventually couldn't avoid people and broke down every time when he was mentioned, the latest the day before yesterday. I'd not seen this guy for over 8 months and he said he knew it was either me or Goldie that passed. Well I was in tears again. I'd like to say it's easier, but for me it's not. I'm an emotional person and I knew it would hit me hard and it sure has. I really just want to be with him. When I go out I take his leash too, and shout for him to go, then imagine putting it on him. I talk to him all the time. Reading that I'm not alone has helped and it wil I hope help you. Yet the emptiness is awful. I've been and still am consumed by guilt and regret about the odd day I left him, or cut a walk short. I've convinced myself I'm a not so good dog dad as I think I took him for granted at times. People have said I was a good dad but I don't know. I'm a shadow of myself. I used to play music every night but since he passed I've not played one single track, I'm just not interested in anything. All we can do is take each minute at a time. Thinking of you. 

Gary 

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OldTrojan

Hi Gary:

Thank you for this heartfelt commentary.  It helps me enormously to read such posts, and to know that I am not alone in my grief.    There are so many parallels between your grief experience and my own.  I, too, have avoided going out and talking to people.  The best that I can do when people ask about Bear is to cry and croak that he died.  I simply do not want that pain of such conversations, and solitude is much better.  For me, too, he was the reason that I got out of bed in the morning.  I’m forcing myself now to walk our 7AM route, in tears, after I talk to him.

So sorry that you lost Goldie.  Don’t question yourself as to what kind of dog dad that you were, as others thought that you were and right.  To Goldie you were the best in the world.  I’m questioning what failure I had that might have led to this disaster.  My world will never be the same.

Thank you.

Phil

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Thanks for saying that to Goldie I was the best in the world. Maybe its just me analysing everything in detail as usual. I can imagine you doing the early walk. I just don't do many walks as I'm too sad. I've had to start doing some for health reasons but it's not at all enjoyable. It's not fair Bear was taken so young. I very much doubt there was any failure on your part, some things are beyond us. I wanted to go with Goldie, but it seems its not my time. I am thinking of you. 

Gary 

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Sometimes things aren't our fault, they just are.  It is normal when we grieve to go through all of the what ifs in an effort to find a different possible outcome, only there isn't any other than what happened.  It's just that what happened seems too horrific to accept.  I beat myself up after Arlie died, remembering the time I tried to pull him out of his doghouse (he had cancer) to come eat...the vet had told me when he quit eating, the end was near.  I was so terrified at losing him!  But I should have let him lay there, as he was suffering, I wondered how I'd feel if someone did that to me and I knew I should have thought of HIM, not me.  Those are the things that haunt us.  That and the vet screwed up his euthanasia so he went out in immense pain instead of it being a gentle release.  Those images haunt me.

But I have to remember also that Arlie meant more to me than anyone/anything in the world, along with my kids, he was my life!  I got up and cooked for him at 4 am so it'd be ready when he wanted to eat, he had lifelong Colitis, I also had him on Probios (probiotics for dogs/cats/horses), fish oil, put him on CBD oil to help the pain and sleeping and anxiety, had him on SAMe for mood elevation, liver and joint support, Milk Thistle for liver.  I walked him twice a day, every day.  I used to take him to play with his friend several times a week.  I gave him the best life that I knew to, and you did the same for yours.

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OldTrojan

Hi Gary:

Dogs are wonderful creatures.  They love us unreservedly despite our faults.  Goldie didn’t think that you had faults.  He loved you at least as much as you loved him, and you enriched his life as much as he enriched yours.  Be proud of that, despite the pain of loss.

Phil

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@KayCthat is an amazing amount of care you gave Arlie. It's just what you did, I suppose we do more for our pets than we do for ourselves.

@OldTrojanthanks Phil, you put things so well. You're probably right that Goldie didn't think about faults, he was just always so happy to be going out. I need to remember this, we were a team as were you and Bear. He knew you loved him so much. Thanks. 

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OldTrojan

Gary:

Thanks for this comment.  I never thought of our relationship this way, but we definitely were a team.  I think that this more the case for people such as me who are retired and have so much time to spend with our dogs.  I never thought of us as pet owner and pet.  That’s for people with goldfish.  He was my best friend.  He was my family.  He was the love of my life and my reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

And now I will think of us a team.

Thanks,

Phil

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Hi Phil, 

You are right about the reason for getting out of bed. I'd be up just after 6, out soon after. Now I'm not up till maybe 8. There is nothing to get up for. As you also say being retired meant that there was more time. I also never thought of myself as Goldies owner, when we went out we were equals. People knew us, here's Gary and Goldie. Now I don't have an identity, it was him that gave me that. Thanks, 

Gary 

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17 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

I never thought of us as pet owner and pet.

Me either.  He was more than that, he was my everything!  My soul mate in a dog.  My companion and best friend.  I love/d him with all my heart and soul.  Heaven would not be heaven without him in it.  
Pets go to heaven

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OldTrojan

Gary and KayC

We have such similar experience with this.  This is one reason that this forum is so valuable to me at this point in my loss. 

Bear was literally, as well as figuratively, what got me up in the morning.  His 7AM walk was so important to him and got him so excited I could not miss it for any reason other than weather.  I have many physical problems from so many decades of injuries.  I currently have to go to the hospital here for physical therapy three times a week.  I missed Wednesday the week before last, when I found Bear, and Wednesday of last week when I was in meltdown at the one-week anniversary.  I have lengthy physical therapy exercises that I must do at home daily.  First thing in the morning I can not sit comfortably, or walk.  To take Bear out at 7, I have to start my stretching at 4AM, with just simple wigging of my foot, and minor flexing of my back.  I have four phases of exercise to transition to bigger stretches and mobility.  After the first two phases that take 40 minutes, I can get around a bit, and would go see my best friend for his first backscratch and belly rub of the day, and a small dog biscuit hours before breakfast.  He was always awake at 4:40AM.  An hour later after the second phase, he was always asleep.  He had his own schedule, as well as the one we shared.  He was only about 40 pounds, but very strong and so excited that he pulled hard on his leash when we first started our walk, which was a real challenge to my physical problems.  I would endure anything for him,

I now still start at 4AM, as I am not sleeping, anyway, and at 7 go to his grave and talk to him, tell him I love and miss him, sob uncontrollably, and go do our walk route alone.  I take his leash with me.  He is still getting me going at 4AM.

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OldTrojan

Writing a little about Bear is somewhat cathartic, although it makes me miss him more.  This was an excellent suggestion to me.  This turned out to be just his unusual history, without discussing who he was (I think of him as a who) and why I loved him.  That would be a separate long topic, as well.  Sorry that this became so long.  Once I started, it sort of just flowed out.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for not reading it all.

It is a bit difficult to describe the relationship of dogs who have lived here.  I live in an apartment, and, in theory, Bear was my landlord’s dog because, in theory, his mom (four litters) was his dog because, in theory, her mom (four litters) was his dog.  In reality, he is not a dog person and has never taken care of his dogs.  He has had dogs as part of what he considers to be his security system, thinking that dogs are a deterrent to someone with ill intent from coming back here to his property.  He doesn’t even give them names, and doesn’t even feed them, or play with them.  A lady who lives adjacent took care of Momma Dog, fed her in the evenings, played with her.  A year ago we had three happy healthy dogs here, as Bear’s older brother was also alive.  The lady did not feed or take care of the two guys, though.  I fed all three in the mornings, and the boys in the evenings.  Treats during the day.  Played with them, scratched backs and tummies, and picked ticks off, which are a problem here.  Mom and I spent countless hours sitting on my stairs for years, my arm around her, her paws in my lap, leaning on me, while we talked about weather, Lassie, UFO’s, and everything else.  She was not highly opinionated.

Two years ago this month, Bear’s litter was born.  Three girls, three other boys.  Girls are harder to adopt out here, so my landlord killed all three.  The next month he left for 3 ½ months, with relatives of his girlfriend house-sitting.  I took care of the puppies.  One at a time the three other males disappeared overnight, and the relatives claimed not to know anything about it.  Bear, the cutest little polar bear, was going home with them when my landlord returned, although I, not they, took care of him.  When my landlord did come back, the relatives left, but did not take Bear.  My landlord did not want him either, and ignored him.  At this point he was big enough to escape the puppy enclosure that I built (which had to have low enough access for MommaDog to climb in), and was living a semi-feral lifestyle with MommaDog and his brother, much of which was under a container.

MommaDog was very territorial, and we had nasty dogs on three sides of us (lagoon on the fourth), so she and the boys were often in fights out front with incursions of the bad dogs, although Bear was too small to be a soldier.  14 months ago when he was just 10 months old I saw his that left side was covered in blood from such a fight and continuing to bleed, and that he was vomiting blood.  I worried that the fight had punctured his throat.  He stopped eating the food that I put out for him.  He was hiding under the container injured much of the time, but on day 6 I captured him when he was out walking, probably because he was weak at that point.  I cleaned him up as best I could, although I did not try to get all of the dried blood off of the big wound on his ear, concerned about pain.  It was still bleeding and not coagulating.  There is no vet here for pets, but there is a vet here provided by Taiwan for animal husbandry for small farmers.  I called him, and he was reluctant to see Bear as he is not supposed to see pets.  I think that the panic in my voice about him dying convinced him.  I no longer have a car, and my landlord refused to drive us, so I hired a taxi to take us 22 miles out to the end of the island to see him.  I had to put down cardboard and old towels in the taxi for the vomit.  The vet cut the hair off of his ear to get to the skin and remove the blood-matted hair, and did some minor surgery to clean up the wound.  He opted not to do stitches, as he said that would be more pain in the long run.  I had to treat it with Betadine three times a day for six days.  The vomiting was from a tick-borne parasite and would have killed him.  The vet injected medication to kill the parasites, and said that it would take three days to be effective, and not to feed him until he could drink without vomiting.  He saved the little guy’s life.  Bear vomited on the way home.  He spent those three days almost motionless on his bed on my kitchen floor.  On day two I thought that he might have died, but he was breathing.  The “bed” was an old mattress pad folded up, wrapped in an old sheet. Comfy, if impromptu.  Day four he could eat again and he improved daily for a week.  After 10 days upstairs with me, he wanted to be downstairs again with Mom and brother.  I suppose this is when he became “my dog”.

I did not want him loose, just to be chewed up in more fights again, so had him on a 35ft line.  He could play, somewhat, with the others in the yard, and could come upstairs to my kitchen at the entrance to the apt.  He liked hanging out under a boat right here at my stairs when the tide was not up.  I took him out on long walks three times a day, and when we were back here on our property, I dropped the leash so he could play vigorously with the other two, although I had to be vigilant to grab his leash if he made a dash for the front where the street is. Over the next 13 months he went from being a rescue to my best friend.  We spent so much time together, all day, every day.  I had hoped that training him when we walked not to go out in the street or chase other dogs would cure him, but it didn’t.  At least once a day on our three walks I had to hold his leash tight to keep him from running out in front of a vehicle.  He had no concept of vehicle danger.  Traffic is probably the biggest cause of dog death here.

Nearly a year ago, my landlord killed older brother (I had named him Buddy) because he was becoming aggressive, even though a dog lover here with a big fenced yard offered to take him in with his other dogs.  Bear was devastated, losing his best friend and constant companion, and was depressed.  Little interest in food, or anything else.  He tried to get aging MomaDog to play vigorously like his brother, and surprisingly she rejuvenated and did so like a young girl.  Six months ago she was killed by a car.  Bear went into deep depression.  He started chewing up his bed, destroying four sheets, and I had to take it away from him.  I mourned Buddy for months, tempered by my anger.  I cried for weeks when MommaDog died and never quite recovered (nor did Bear)..  But the soul-wrenching pain of Bear’s death is quantum levels worse.

I miss you so much, Bear.  I love you.

 
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Oh Phil, this is all so sad. I'd never have imagined a story like this, the heartbreak and sadness. The landlord seems like a real piece of work. I suppose some people really don't care about dogs, but all those pts and totally neglected seems awful. I can see how the bond between you and Bear deveped into something special. I can see the bond you had with Mom and your talks about everything. That's so awful about Bears injuries, the fact that no vets are there and the bleeding and getting a taxi. How caring you were to him. He must have loved the walks and attention you gave him. You gave him someone to love. You showed him the good side of humans. Then deaths of his brother and then of MomaDog must have been awful. This is all so tragic, no wonder he was devastated. To form such a bond as you did and to have it torn from you is awful. My heart goes out to you Phil. 

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OldTrojan

Thanks, Gary.  Bear certainly had more than his fair share of trauma in his short life.  I gave as much love as I could, and he more than reciprocated.

I thought of you and Goldie yesterday.  Like you two, people here saw Bear and me together so much that to them we were like a single entity.  One such person saw me alone yesterday and asked the obvious question.  I was too emotional to reply, but he figured it out.

Today is day 13 and I am still a basket case.  I'm wondering what is wrong with me.  I have never suffered this much grief and paralytic emotion even when people in my life have passed away.

Thanks,

Phil

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I never want to share bad news @OldTrojan but Day 13 is still very "young" in this horrible process. That's why I always tell people to be patient with themselves. So hang in there. I too was a basket case at this stage.  

I started reading your story, I had to stop whenever I read someone is killing animals. Your landlord sounds like an evil person who should never be allowed near animals, ever. (Sorry I just can't believe the neglect. Thank goodness you were around.)

So... I'm nearing my 4 year loss of my cat and though I have found a place of peace (eventually you wear down have no other choice no matter how traumatic) I still miss him and I hate how he passed. :( 

 

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OldTrojan

Thanks, AJWCat.  It is so helpful to have people such as yourself on this forum to help those of us early in this journey of grief.  I am having a terrible time with patience while I hurt so badly.

 

 

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OldTrojan

Hi AJWCat:

Thinking about animal cruelty, I have a sad story with a happy ending, due to Bear.  Walking Bear could be a bit of a challenge, as he loved smelling garbage, and would stick his nose in any garbage bag/box.  If he looked like was going to eat anything, I’d drag him away.  One early morning almost five months ago, he stuck his nose in a big box of garbage, and a little brown head popped up.  Someone had thrown out a little two month old (estimate) puppy.  I cleaned her up, fed and watered her, and spent over an hour removing about 70 ticks from her small body.  She then fell asleep in my lap and I fell in love.  I couldn’t keep her.  I knew that the people at the small business across the street liked dogs from the way that they treated Bear and his friend who lived behind their store, and gave the puppy to them.  Bear and I visited his friend and the puppy every time we walked, and they played together.  Four+ months later the little girl went from garbage, covered with ticks and starving, to having a loving home and two great big brothers, thanks to Bear.  Only one big brother now. 

Phil

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Day 13 is still so new and raw. There is nothing wrong with you apart  from missing your best friend. After 8 months ive probably gone from a 10 to an 8. Yes its still awful. I've kinda realised I'll never think I was a great dog day as I still deal all the time with feeling that I didn't do enough or went the occasional day away and left him with my son. Life is  totally devoid of everything. We were like you 2, he gave me my identity. I've people here but I think they have kinda given up with me, I'm just totally miserable. As far as I've got with it now is that I've realised he's not coming back, although I know he's with me in spirt. I do like your happy story, and because of Bear. 

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On 8/7/2021 at 3:23 PM, OldTrojan said:

I now still start at 4AM, as I am not sleeping, anyway, and at 7 go to his grave and talk to him, tell him I love and miss him, sob uncontrollably, and go do our walk route alone.  I take his leash with me.  He is still getting me going at 4AM.

It's a ritual you are incorporating your grief and the changes into, so important.  Our love doesn't change, we continue to love and miss them, but we incorporate changes in how we navigate with them after they pass.  So beautiful a statement, I love that you carry his leash.  

I had to prepare for level 1 evacuation (fires two miles away and out of control), I put Arlie's lock of fur into my purse.  He's on my phone's screensaver.

It's horrid what your landlord did, someone else recently went through this with their neighbor.  To me they should be locked up for life, animals are not second rate, IMO they are better than humans.

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OldTrojan

Oh, Kay, I am so sorry to hear that you are caught up in the terrible fires raging in the West.  I wish you the best of luck.  The fire in northern California is now the biggest in state history, and they have had huge ones in the past.  I have friends up there complaining about air quality from the fires 100 miles away.  California used to be a great place, but began its change for the worse in the late 70’s.  I sailed away for good in 2002.  I miss the California that used to be.

You are right:  dogs are better than humans.  I do now continue our ritual.  At 7AM I HAVE TO go talk to Bear and do our usual walk, although in tears. I HAVE TO talk to him at 11 and 4 at our other walk times.  After I got back yesterday from the early walk it started raining heavily.  At 11 and 4 I put on my foul weather jacket from my sailing days and still went to his grave.  He would never have abandoned me, and I won’t abandon him.

Thank you for taking time during your own immediate fire problems to provide a valuable message to me.  Your kindness is overwhelming.

Phil

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I come here every day I possibly can, I've been on grief sites for over 16 years since I lost my husband, I've had many other losses but his and Arlie's were the hardest by far.  I pray for you, I'm so sorry you lost your sweet Bear.  (I had a golden retriever named Teddy Bear, aptly named).  Holding you in prayer, I know how badly it hurts.

One of the things that will break my heart if my place burns up is losing the place I laid my husband and pets to rest, his ashes were released here and all of my animals buried here excepting the ones that disappeared.  It will kill me, I look out over the back yard every day where they are, and often visit their graves.  II'm trying not to think about it too deeply as a possibility but the fire's two miles away...
May be an image of fire and nature

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OldTrojan

Terrifying pictures, Kay.  It’s a beautiful location where you live.

I don’t know if prayers help our departed pets.  That’s theology that is beyond me, although wishful thinking.  Will Rogers said that if dogs don’t go to heaven, he wants to go where they do.  You have my prayers, though.  The most valuable bit of real estate in the world to me is the small piece where Bear and MommaDog are buried.  I know exactly how you feel.

16 years of going to grief websites to help us complete strangers is generous beyond belief.

Every day I go back and reread your posts to me.  They are invaluable to me.

Thank you so much.

Phil

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OldTrojan

Two week anniversary today.  I have been dysfunctional all day, more so than previously.  I continue to see him as I found him two weeks ago.  Other than “our” walk this morning I have not gone out of my apartment at all, as I am a blubbering mess and do not want to be near people.  This is one of my worst days, after that first one.  I know that it is relatively early in the grieving process, but I’m not making any progress, and worried about the depression that seems to be settling in.  I am not an overly emotional person and this extreme reaction has been a terrible shock to me.  I know from what I have read, and from advice so generously given, that I should take care of myself better, but I am oblivious much of the time.  Yesterday was the fourth time that I realized that I had not showered the day before.  I have had almost no sleep, other than short crashes, and the sleep deprivation seems to make the emotions worse.    I have had very little to eat, as I have no appetite, and can’t stand at the stove and cook without him lying on the kitchen floor next to me as he usually did.

Most of my friends, and all of my close friends, have moved away or passed away.  Bear was my best friend, and my only family (yes, a dog is family).  I have never felt so alone.  This morning at our early walk time I sat on the ground and talked to him at length between sobs.  I just cannot apologize enough that I somehow failed to protect him.  I loved him more than life itself.

I know that people here have been through this, and the comments have been very helpful, but the pain, especially on today’s anniversary, is overwhelming.

Phil

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Phil, thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me.

I got evacuated last night, found out my sister Peggy did too, took me until today to find out she's with my sister in Portland who is blind, my other sister took her there.  Peggy is very disabled and has dementia.

I am at my daughter's with Kodie, he's been a trooper, he's not used to the city & noise.

I'm with Will Rogers about our animals.  I think God gets it. ;) 

Two weeks...One of the things that kills me about evacuating is not only the possibility of losing everything and starting over at my age but not having their graves/memorial stones.

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OldTrojan

Kay:

In the midst of all of your problems and those of your sisters, you are still posting to those of us who you have already helped so much.  Thank you for all that you do for us.

Take care of Kodie, and take care of yourself.

Phil

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Oh no KayC, I'm so sorry to hear you've had to leave your home. I pray that things don't get worse. And poor Kodie, his routine will be disrupted, I'm glad he seems to be coping with it OK. Thinking of you ❤️

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OldTrojan

Hi Kay.  How are you doing?  The people who you have so generously helped care a great deal for you, and are praying for you.

Phil

 

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I'm back home, they downgraded to level 1 but fires everywhere, wish we could get some rain.  Drought and heat does not help.

Had serious laptop issues while I was gone, came home to freezer thawed out, what a mess!  I feel so appreciative of my home, it may be old but it's mine, I love knowing where everything is and being able to cook!

Thank you for thinking of me, I hope each day gets a little softer, I know it's hard.  Arlie's second anv. of death was the day I came home, the 16th.

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Hi really sorry to read of everything you are going through. It must be awful to have had to leave your home. I do hope some rain comes soon. Arlie's second anniversary will have been difficult too. I hope Kodie is managing OK. Thinking of you. 

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OldTrojan

Kay, I'm so glad that your home, and its precious memories, were spared.  I'm sure that Monday was a difficult day on the anniversary of Arlie's passing.  Yesterday was only the three week anniversary of Bear's passing, and I am still a basket case.  I know that it takes time, but everything reminds me of him, as we spent so much time together all day.  There were usually three days a month that the tide is low enough that I could take him out on the reef for a walk.  He got really excited since we couldn't do it often, and he had new things to smell and investigate.  A dog who considered a bath as terrible torture would wade out in the lagoon neck deep to look at fish and crabs.  We recently had those days of low tides, and that made me cry, too, without him.

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7 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

A dog who considered a bath as terrible torture would wade out in the lagoon neck deep to look at fish and crabs.

:D  This gave me a good chuckle, just like kids!

Thank you both for your thoughts, it means a lot to me, sometimes on line friends seem the only ones who show care!  I'm sorry, OldTrojan, that you are still hurting so badly, but not surprised by it.  I guess it was  a blessing in a way that I was so hugely busy Monday as it didn't allow me time to think (Arlie's anv of death).  Still have fires to worry about, one started a few miles from here, luckily they got it out at 2 acres!  A cop came to the rescue with his chainsaw, creating a line with someone else's help.  I've never seen a summer like this before, record heats by landslides!  Fire threats, drought, all starting in June, usually doesn't begin until August.  Not one bit of fun all summer.  Plus taking care of my dementia/disabled sister.

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OldTrojan

Hi  Kay.  Thanks, as, always for your empathy.  It’s been three and a half weeks, and I am still not doing very well.  I know from reading that the extreme grief that I am experiencing is typically one month, although sometimes two. People like me, retired and spending so much time with pets are very close to their pets as Bear and I were.  I no longer have sporadic sobbing spells.  I haven’t sobbed like this since early childhood, if then.  I still do when I talk to Bear.  It’s a heartbreaking conversation of how much I love him and miss him, and how much I hate myself for not protecting him from whatever it was that happened.  I’ll never know what it was.  I now do “our walk” first at 7AM, and then visit him afterwards.  The other way around and I was walking in heavy tears.  I still cry at certain places in our walk, and always do when talking to people about him, which I avoid.

I limit how much time I spend away from home, simply to limit my public embarrassment when I cry.  I mentioned before that I am not an overly emotional person and I am unpleasantly surprised by this overwhelming grief.  Even just coming home from being out is difficult.  When I would come back, even from just 20 minutes at the store across the street, Bear would be excited and be jumping around as if I had been gone a month.  Coming back to nothing always elicits more tears.

I’ll never be 100% the same again, but need to get some control back.  The kindness of people on this forum has made an enormous difference to me, though.  I can’t thank everyone enough, especially you.

Phil

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At 8 months Phil I still have the crying outdoors. It can just be when walking. If I meet someone for the first time, Ill be in tears when it's mentioned as it always is. Ive noticed that when I go out and see someone, I speak to them because of Goldie. Not just some people but everyone. This makes it very hard. I've told my family the old me is gone and it's not coming back. I think they are starting to believe me. I've kinda as you say got some control back in that I do wash more, and try to eat more sensibly. But I'm still left with extreme sadness. I can't have gone through that and not be different. Take care Phil 

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Even when the tears slow to a stop, we carry them silently within us, the sorrow still there, just now people don't see it.  A month was nothing in my grief.  Yes the overwhelming shock, disbelief, not knowing what to do with ourselves, etc. eventually dissipates, we slowly learn to adjust, we have no choice, we have to do life without them, it's forced upon us...that doesn't make it easy though.  I am so glad to be back home, safe from fires, not quite contained, but out of the worst threat, where I know the graves of my husband and animals are safe, what I've been through is unexplainable, the pain beyond anything, sister safely back home but the future still hangs heavily upon my shoulders like a crushing weight...the unknown...back to one day at a time!  It's all I can handle.

Please allow yourself the tears, do not feel as a man you shouldn't cry, real men DO cry when they have something to cry about...and you do!  You lost your dearest companion, best friend, loyal loving advocate, our dogs are everything to us!

Gary, I get it. 

I got a FB memory of my Arlie lying on the couch, smiling, I shared it, wrote something like, "Miss my big boy, I used to call him my Little Boy..."  Someone immediately replied I have a sweet little Kodie now, why do people want to instantly replace my love for Arlie with Kodie?  Kodie is a separate love, for unique reasons of his own gifting to me, but he does NOT replace Arlie, nor ever will!  It's like people can't bear to see us grieve!  That's their problem.  I do grieve, two years last week...

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Yes KayC why do they think that Kodie can replace Arlie. It's a different love, I can see that. Some just can't, or don't want to. They don't like us grieving, it upsets them. The memories are so hard to deal with. I'm glad you're home and feel a little better. You have had so much to deal with. 

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OldTrojan

Kay and Gary:

Thanks for the words of wisdom from your own grieving experiences.  I don’t know how I would have been able to cope without them; I’m not doing all that well even with such help.  Some things still unexpectedly torment me, such as just looking at the monthly low tide reef, and realizing that we will never walk it again.

I get very little sleep, and the sleep deprivation probably accentuates the emotions.  I have had no interest in food, and haven’t eaten much.  I’ve been trying to force myself to eat.  I now have a couple of pieces of toast for breakfast, but not yet my usual cereal.  I looked at the milk carton in the refrigerator and couldn’t.  Bear liked chewing up the milk cartons when I was done with them.  I just threw out a 3 ½ week old carton.  I haven’t cooked dinner yet, either.  Bear was right beside me in the kitchen, on the floor or sitting at attention, enjoying the smells of cooking, and knowing that he would get some of what I was cooking as a treat.  I’ve simply been eating some sliced meats and cheese for dinner, which I have not eaten in 45 years due to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I have limited going out in public, other than “our walk” at 7AM.  I just don’t want to talk to people.  I understand Gary’s comment completely.  I’ve missed half of my physical therapy sessions at the hospital for the last 3 ½ weeks.

Gary’s description of the old person being gone is a perfect description of how I feel.  The new person is different.  I have a hole in my heart, which was the most important part.  Several people who don’t understand have suggested just getting a new dog.  I am often tempted to ask them if they would get a new mother if theirs died.

I have a very long way to go.  Thank you both so much.

Phil

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12 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

realizing that we will never walk it again.

This is one of the things that hit me the hardest...Arlie and I had walked together twice a day, every day, all his life with me!  He was such a wonderful companion and partner.  We went together!  I started walking a neighbor's chow (for ten months) and he caused hand injuries to both hands, very severe, I've permanent damage from it, surgery on the right one made it way worse, so will not let them touch the other hand!  So much for that helping.

12 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

I’ve been trying to force myself to eat.

Can you try making a smoothie?  I used to make one with bananas, strawberries, spinach, granola, yogurt, protein powder, all the food groups, sometimes easier than swallowing whole food.  I'm diabetic and can no longer have that but it helped while I could.  There's lots of smoothie recipes on line.  I sometimes made one with kale, celery, rhubarb, bananas, yogurt, berries, it was pretty good too.  It sounds weird but tasted pretty good together.

13 hours ago, OldTrojan said:

Bear was right beside me in the kitchen, on the floor or sitting at attention, enjoying the smells of cooking, and knowing that he would get some of what I was cooking as a treat.

That was hard for me too, no one to eat the "last bite!"  

My life is all about taking care of Peggy and her dementia, doctor's appts, each one requiring a lengthy trip to the city, taking up a whole day.  I'm to have foot surgery 9/2 and she wants me to drive her to the eye surgeon's the next day!  I've been telling her for months she needs to hire a caregiver by then, she hasn't.  I don't think I can do it.  It'd require leaving the house at 6:30 am and taking hours, all of my shoes/slippers hit the spot in the worst place, I don't see how I could do this the next day.

This is quite the life, isn't it.  I'm so sorry you're going through the throes of grief, I am still grieving my BIL and feel things emergent keep hitting and preventing my grief the way I need to...

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Hi @OldTrojan at the risk of repeating myself, your loss, is still so new. Sorry to say. I too by 3.5 weeks was done bursting into tears and instead settled into a dark sadness. :( 

We all know about how wise @KayC here is and I was constantly posting how there was no longer any joy in this world. She challenged me to find it, in something, anything, however small. I would read her words and want to disagree with her. (Of course she was right.)

It felt like a betrayal. The more I held onto my grief the closer my cat remained to me. Let it go, and he would fade. Even as I type those words, tears come to my eyes, letting him go physically was horrible enough. I couldn't let him go from my mind, my heart, or my thoughts. It was a slow process.

He is still in my heart and even after four years now, I think of him all the time.

The cat we got a few months after losing him helped me through it, too and the love I give her is a tribute to the bond I had with our other cat.   

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OldTrojan

Hi Kay:

You have so many personal issues, yet still make time to help us in this forum.  A real saint.  Thanks for all that you do.  Unfortunately, I have experience with feet and surgeries.  I spent a year in an orthopedic boot, and was on crutches for two months.  Please be very careful after the surgery, and be very conscientious about physical therapy afterwards, or you could face long term negative consequences.  If you have to, say “no” to your sister rather than jeopardize your recovery.  It’s harder as we age.

Wednesday was the four week mark, and I pretty much melted and stayed home all day.  When we buried Bear, I placed rocks all over his grave to keep out rats.  Since then, every time I leave, I bring back another rock, creating sort of a funerary cairn.    Somehow it makes me feel better, although through my tears.  At some point it will look like the Great Pyramid at Giza.

Phil

Hi AJWCat:

Thanks for your comments.

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Phil, I love that!  It brought me a huge smile at the picture in my mind of this boulder of rocks!  But I love that, and protects his grave.

My sister called at 2:40 am, waking me from a sound sleep, getting my adrenaline going, causing my BP & BS to raise even these several hours later.  I never got back to sleep.  She thought it was 2 pm...I told her to look outside, it's dark out.  I'll take my phone off the hook tonight, I need my sleep.  Today I have to take her to the denturist, will probably drive 140 miles today, hard to do when you're tired.

I'm glad you honored your feelings and stayed home.  Sometimes we need to do that, to just allow ourselves to grieve and feel what we feel.

Thinking of you...:wub:

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OldTrojan,

I just found your posting today and I am sorry for your loss. Sadly we are all here because we don't want to be but in some way need to be. I am going to state my reasons and some will have read them elsewhere but I want you to know I can fully understand what you are going through in my own grieving process. My sad journey started in January 2020 when my wife and I lost our last cat due to many medical issues, then in March 2020 our Catahoula Leopard dog had multiple seizures during one night and when taken to the vet they said they could not control them and recommended euthanizing him which was terrible. I was a caregiver for a friend of mine who took a bad turn during 2020 and after many moths he broke his hip in October 2020 and went to the hospital. In December 2020 we had to have our female Chihuahua euthanized due to her congestive heart failure making it so she couldn't breathe. In January 2021 my friend died after they ended up amputating his leg and he gave up. In March 2021 my wife, my soulmate, my everything died suddenly and unexpectedly and then in June 2021 I had to have our male Chihuahua euthanized when the nasal tumor he had started bleeding and it was not treatable. I am not trying to compare my grief to yours but when you have lost your best friend I do understand that feeling. I am at a total loss of everything in such a short time but I am holding on because I am caring for MIL who has dementia and it is all that keeps me going at this moment. Sorry it is so long and sorry for those who have heard it before but....

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OldTrojan

John:

I am so sorry that so many tragedies befell you in a relatively short period of time.  I don't know how someone could cope with so much.  You're very strong man to have dealt with all of this.  I admire your fortitude, as I'll not dealing at all well with just one personal tragedy.

Phil

 

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OldTrojan,

Honestly I am not really doing all that well myself, I am so wiped out but I will go as long as I can. I have said before on other posts that all grief is personal and this site does help but it is really hard.

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