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Muffin 11/29/2021


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I'm not really sure what to do or what to say. I lost my dog of almost 15 years yesterday due to a stroke. It was extremely sudden and I thought that I would have so much more time with him. Since he was small and a Yorkshire terrier, I hoped that he would have at least 2~3 more years to live even with kidney disease and bad teeth. He was perfectly fine the morning of the day prior, but suddenly started walking like a drunk. At first I thought nothing much of it, but it got to the point of him just lying down not being able to do anything but constantly moving his legs like he was running away from something while crying out. I should have taken him to the vet sooner then he might have been able to survive all of it but I was too late and the vet said that he only had a 20% chance of surviving even if they tried everything they can. They also told me that he probably has severe brain damage from he stroke. I regret a lot of things. I constantly ask myself what I did wrong that day. Should I have not given him his new medication? Should I have not given him the apple? Or the banana? Or was it the sweet potato? Or maybe the pumpkin? What could have caused his stroke? Even if it would have cost me more than I could handle, I would have done anything to save him. Because he would be worth every single penny.

I feel like I gave up on him too soon. I should have at least waited 24 hours even if it costed me 2000 dollars or even more, but the vet kept telling me that his chances were slim. I should have done so much more for him and given him everything that I could since he brought me so much happiness and joy into my life. He was there through everything and when he needed me the most I wasn't able to help him. I kept thinking that he would be fine and that I would take him to the vet in the morning but I was so wrong. I can't imagine life without him. He won't be there to greet me at the front door or to nudge the blanket so I could lift up the sheet to let him crawl underneath or just a simple lick on the face or his smell. I miss him so much already. I want to hug him again so badly and just nudge my face onto that small body of his and smell him. It feels like a part of me is gone. That there's a big gaping hole inside of me that won't even be filled again. Sometimes it feels like I'm suffocating. I can't breath because of all the pain. And sometimes it feels like a knife is jabbing me. I look at the spots that he loved so much and he's not there anymore. I think I feel fine at times, but it seems more like I'm numb for a few minutes and then it rushes all back to me. How am I suppose to handle all of this?

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None of those foods would have caused a stroke, and the medicine, that was prescribed by a vet who should know what is right for him.  Sometimes it's as simple as old age, our bodies don't last forever, and these little furry ones, they never last as long as we want them to.  :(  My Arlie was a big dog, I'd hoped he'd live to 14, but he was Husky/Golden Retriever and Golden Retriever and made a perfect dog, but sadly Golden's genes are not good for wellness and longevity...averaging nine years and prone to cancer.  He had acute chronic Colitis all his life so I cooked for him, had him on Probios, but he got cancer and all I could do was give him SAM-e and CBD oil to help him with his comfort, plus liver support.  When his suffering became too great, I had him put to sleep.  They botched it, their scale was off, so they under-anesthetized him, causing him great pain at the end.  It was horrific to watch him go out that way.  My Arlie, I would have given my life for him.  That was 8/16/19.  You learn to live with it, adjust to the changes it means for your life, but inside, your heart continues to hurt, to miss him, your love continues all your life.  

I did the same as you are, beat myself up, questioned myself, why wasn't it caught sooner?  Why did the vet never catch it?  He'd had a physical just two weeks prior, but they hadn't run blood tests...I trusted the vets to know what they were doing, why didn't they suggest it at his ten year mark or something?  He was 11 1/2 when he died, 2 months, ten days after his diagnosis.  What was supposed to be a routine teeth cleaning turned out to be a death sentence, lymphoma, inoperable, liver shutting down.
A Dangerous Villain: Guilt

Processing this is slow, arduous, painful, it's like someone chopping you up, bit by bit, a little more each day, excruciating, slowly torturing you to death.

I am so sorry for your loss, I know it is great, I feel your heart's cry.  I longed for Arlie so bad I was tempted to dig him up two weeks after he died, just to see his sweet face once again.  My son sounded horrified when I mentioned it to him, quickly asking me if I'd done so.  No, I'm not stupid, I know what happens when they're buried, but oh God I wanted to!  The pain is beyond anything physical, pain of the heart is.

Grief Process

You ask how to handle it...having lost my husband 16 1/2 years ago and many family/friends/furry companions since, grief is my life.  I've learned to carry it inside of me.  Losing Arlie felt like when I lost my George, he was my perfect dog, I called him my "soulmate in a dog."  He checked every box and then magnitudes more!  He was sweet, loyal, goofy, fun, protective, had the best communication of any dog I've ever met, a very tonal highly evolved language that Huskies possess, but his surpassed them all.  He was considerate, never wanting to wake me up even when he had to go outside.  He was the highlight of my life, my joy, my companion.  He was attacked by other dogs ten times in his lifetime, but never bit back, my gentle giant.  He got up to 140 lbs and had to "diet" down to 110, which he sustained.  I loved everything about him, just as you did your dog.  I know of no pain worse.
But back to how I handled my husband and thus Arlie's deaths...one day at a time.  Sometimes an hour or a minute especially in the beginning..  I wrote this about ten years after my husband died, but as close as you feel to your dog, I want to share it with you 
in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.


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.

And finally, I hope this short simple video brings you some comfort and peace...


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One other thing, it helps to honor them in some way.  I got a memorial stone here: (you can google promo codes for them) and have had these for years and they really hold up, I even have one for my husband where I laid his ashes to rest in our backyard.  They do have a sale going on now.

Personal Creations

Writing is another form of honoring them, immortalizing them in a way.  It also helps in processing our grief. 
Memorializing a Pet
Memorializing Pets We Have Lost

 wrote these in my losses of Arlie and Kitty:



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I am so sorry to read about your loss. :( It sounds like it was his time, you did nothing wrong. It's never the right time. We always want one more day, one more hour. How do you get through it?

I don't know. Moment by moment. There is no way around the pain and anguish, we just hang onto the good memories, let the bad ones of the end drift away. It is not easy. I too felt a gaping hole. I actually thought my heart was literally breaking in half. It will not always be this way. Hang in there. Keep writing here, that can help. I know it did for me. 

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