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My son is having a hard time with our dog's death that happened last July


coachdad32

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coachdad32

Hello,

 

Our beloved dog "Coach" died last July while we were on vacation. The 8 months of his life he did not walk but would eat, drink, and was always happy to see us. (he was a dalamation and 14 years old) We paid to have someone watch him and take care of him in our home while we were gone for 2 weeks. I was afraid he would not make it til lwe got home and he did not. 3 days before we came home we got the call that he had lost a bunch of weight, would not eat, and had several big sores that the vet said he could not fix. He said he could try to keep him alive but he would suffer if we wanted to see him one last time. We did the humane (but very hard) things and let him go. I was devastated as was the whole family. My son is 10 and he took it really bad that night. He seemed to bounce back quickly but now the last 3 weeks he has been crying hard several different times and has been writing "I miss Coach" on the bathroom mirrors when they are steamed up and was recently in the guidnace Office totally broken down in tears for 30 minutes. Honestly I still get teared up time to time but I need to get him through this. In advance of his death we did get another dog that he had helped pick out (4 months before Coach died) and that helps some as he loves the new dog a lot. Can anyone help me on what to do to help my son?

 

Thanks,

Rick

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diane1234

Rick,

We lost our beloved Marbles last year & someone shared this poem w/ my family. I hope it helps your son. The Rainbow bridge is a lovely way of seeing the passing of our 4 legged family members :-)

Blessings,Diane

Here's the Rainbow bridge from when my other dog passed last year:

The Rainbow Bridge (in Honor of Marbles our Aussie '94 - 2/9/07)

Just this side of heaven is a place called; The Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been very close to someone here,that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge.There are meadows,trees & hills for ALL of our pets to run & play togehter. There's plenty of food,water & sunshine. Our loving pets are warm & comfortable.

All the pets who've been ill & old are restored to health & vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made Whole & Strong again; They are as we remember them in our dreams of days & times gone by.

Our pets are happy & content,except for one SMALL thing; they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

The pets run & play w/ each other; but the day comes when only one pet suddenly stops & looks into the distance. Their Brite eyes are intent; Their eager body quivers. Suddenly the pet begins to run from the group they were playing with,flying over the green grass, their legs running faster & faster.

YOU have been spotted. Then, when you & your special pet finally meet again; you cling together in joyous reunion. Never to be parted again. The Happy kisses rain upon your face;your hands pet your beloved's head & you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet; this beloved pet who's been soo long gone from your life but NEVER absent from your HEART.

Then you both....

CROSS THE RAINBOW BRIDGE TOGETHER............

Author Unknown

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coachdad32

Thanks Diane,

 

I have seen that poem before (long time ago) and it has a great message.

 

Does anyone know if such a delayed response normal for a 10 year old? Have any of you gone through this type of situation and did something to help the process? At this point he cannot even look at a picture of the dog without breaking down.

 

Thanks

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4everjoeysmom

Coachdad, It sounds like your son may have recently experienced a trauma of some kind that resurfaced his grief.  Did something happen at school recently?  Did a friend move away?  A teacher leave?  Anything you can think of?  Bottom line is that his grief is resurfaced for some reason.  Understanding the "trigger" if you can find it would be good.  Is teher a parallel life experience you can share with him from when you were a biy and perhaps suffered a trauma.  Loss is a part of the lifecycle, and it's really hard for kids to understand--especially after a first time trauma.  Maybe you could take your son on a special outing to the bookstore.  A barnes & Noble or someplece like that should have age appropriate grief books for your son.  Then maybe take him to get an ice cream, and visit a online rescue that tells stories about dogs who have had difficult histories.  You can explain that Coach had a most wonderful and best life being his dog, and that it is such a special reward that Coach is no longer sick, is in peace at Rainbow Bridge, and truly is grateful for everything he had in his lifetime.  He would not want your son to be so sad, because if he was still here he would be hurting so much.  His body just got old and worn out.  And Coach will always be his special dog.  No one will take his place, but that your son's heart has enough room in it to allow Coach to run free at Rainbow Bridge and to love other pets here....  Coach will never be jealous.  He will always understand and love your son.  I think your son just needs lots of loving, comforting thoughts and dialogue right now.  He needs to know that it's ok to remember and speak of Coach.  No one will ever forget him...  I do hope your son will find comfort and peace soon...  ~Claudia

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coachdad32

Thank you so much. That got me almost in tears myself! There has not been a recent trauma in his life but I thin kall the things you said make a lot of sense. Thanks soo much!

 

If anyone else has thoughts  iwould love to hear them!

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4everjoeysmom

Coachdad, Just checking in to see how your boy is doing...  ~Claudia

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coachdad32

In tears twice this weekend! Read the poem to him and talked to him about how much happier Coach is because he can run and play again. So he is still having a hard time but still trying to be there for him. Maybe I have trouble calmin him down because deep down I still have not dealt with it myself. I still feel guilty about leaving him to go on vacation when I knew there was a chance he would not be here when we got home.

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4everjoeysmom

I'm so sorry the grief waves are so rough right now.  I think guilt is normal, no matter what the circumstance is.  The helplessness we feel that we can't really do anything to change the circumstances of our precious pet aging or progressing in illness and dying is definitely difficult to bear.  But I think oftentimes we feel like we should have been able to stop it or at least prolong it, and reality is that so much is out of our control.  Please don't feel guilty for taking a vacation.  You had Coach for a good while and all of it was quality, filled with love.  I'm sure he was the happiest he could have ever been being a part of your family.  And he was probably a regal dog too.  Perhaps he preferred to pass while you were away so that you would remember his regal nature more than those awful moments of watching him die.  And if you would have waited, your family likely would have been too sad and preoccupied to enjoy the vacation and each other.  Don't feel like your choice was wrong.  For as much as you and your son (and family) gave to Coach's life, I am positive he would be distressed if he were to know you felt guilty.

Did your family do any kind of memorial for Coach?  In a couple of months it will be the one year date that Coach left for Rainbow Bridge.  I am thinking maybe you and your son could plan together a really nice memorial for Coach, to honor and remember his life as part of your family.  This could be something you could help your son with, but allow him to take on as much of the brainstorming and planning that he would want to (IF this is of interest).  There's lots of wonderful things you could do, like balloon release, with notes to Caoch written on the balloons, a pet parade at your nearby dog park (which would need an ad in the paper and flyers to get others involved), a visit to the SPCA to give some love for a little while to neglected and abandoned dogs, and if Coach has a place where he is burried, you could add some flower, stones with words engraved in them w/ a dremel (like PEACE, LOVE, REMEMBER, and his name, etc...)   and if there isn't a place, maybe you could make one.  (I had my dog Gretchen cremated three years ago when she passed, and I still have the urn of her ashes--yet to find that perfect place...)  I suggested to a mom on another tread a memorial bench decoupaged with photos, verses, poems, letters, and so forth that can be a beautiful place to sit and remember...  Just some ideas....

I'm not sure what exactly will help more than time itself, and maybe that puppy you got before Coach died, who probably is a pretty big fellow by now.  But maybe expressing outwardly how you feel about Caoch through some special activities, and talking about him, allowing yourselves to remember and grieve openly together will be of some comfort and help to you and your son.  Coach will always be loved and remembered, possibly as your most favorite dog ever--as my husband feels about his boyhood Doberman, Duke.  I always thought Gretchen was the best girl in the world (my beloved Boxer).  I now have a little boy (Shihtzu) who has become a loyal and perfect companion.  He has not replaced her, so to speak, BUT he has helped to soften the pain and the void in time.  Loss is such a natural and painfully awful part of life.  I'm so sorry anyone has to experience it.  But we can learn so much about love through loss and apply that going forward in ways that we could never have dreamed of before.  I like to think something good can be born from our pain--it's the only way I can get through my own pain of losing my son (2 years ago this July).  And I do hope that you and your son will be able to find peace when you envision the Rainbow... 

Anyway, keeping you and your son in thought and prayer...  ~Claudia

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coachdad32

Thnak you so much! Also, I am very sorry to hear of the passing of your son. That has to be so difficult to get through.

We buried Coach at my wife's parents house. We just bought a headstone type thing and will go out and put it on their soon. When we came back from vavcation we went out there that same night (about 30 minutes away) and visited the grave and planted flowers. But I think we need to do something bigger to release the grief.

Getting another dog before Coach passed was a very good idea. "Dunkit" (Great Dane mix) is a very big dog. He has a totally different personality and is a highly intelligent dog. I am glad he is so different, having another coach would have only made us miss him more. I tried to move on alittle bit myself yesterday. I sue to run around and walk Coach around a big reservoir about 10 minutes from our home. I walked Coach around that place everyday for almost 7 years. Yesterday was the 1st time I have been back there since Coach died.  It was mentally tough but I am glad  Ifinally did it.  Iwant to start taking Dunkit there often.

 

Thanks!

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4everjoeysmom

Coachdad, Sounds like you were able to jump a pretty big hurdle.  I'm sure Dunkit will love that place as much as Coach, and of course the quality time spent there with his master.  Made me smile pisturing it...  Thanks for sharing.  It's a process...a little but at a time.

Thanks for your kind words about my son.  Yeah!  It's the worst ever imagineable I think...at least for me.  I had him 23 years, and it's never enough time.  You know?  But I cherish every moment and memory...  It's all we can do to survive.  Blessings, Claudia

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coachdad32

I was happy to finally go back there but hiding the tears a few times as people walked by was a struggle. As a guy you never think you would be so attached to an animal but WOW when he died I felt like I had lost a part of me.

 

Hope you are finding peace as well.

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4everjoeysmom

Coachdad, Remember to take your sporty shades along when you walk Dunkit, and then you can let tears roll of you need to--although the more often you go, the sadness won't be so intense.....   and I think it's a shame that our society has made men feel like they aren't allowed to "feel" about loss as openly.  All loss hurts, but when it's our best buddy, our spouse, children, parents, etc, it's hard to hide the pain.  No one should have to.  It's healthier to exercise our freedom to feel our pain and allow ourselves to grieve.  I believe it's the only path to healing.... 

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Just an update, we passed the year mark (cannot believe it has been that long). My son is doing better but still has his moments. He gets all of us in tears. But  Iam walking our new dog a the resivoir regulary and life is moving on. The guilt over having to put him down lingers along with the guilt for going o nvacation with him not foing well.Hopefully that will pass with time.

 

 

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4everjoeysmom

Rick, It's good to hear that you all are engaging in life with yoru new furry pal.  Coach will always have a special place in your hearts.  That won't ever fade.  but I believe with time some of the pain and guilt you've described will also fade.  There really is no reason to feel guilty.  You did the humane and right thing, even though you and your family were not physically there.  Coach was in rough shape.  Maybe this was Coach's way of exiting with dignity, and allowing you all to remember him in better days rather than having lasting impressions of his last days.  Pets usually have a very keen sense of awareness, and they always want to please us.  Try to think on it as this was the way Coach wanted it to be.  There is no guilt to carry in that.

My sister-in-law had a beloved furry friend, Samantha for many years.  Samantha had trouble walking and balancing toward the end.  One day she fell into her bowl of water, and had her mom not been there to rescue her, she would have drown.  It was shortly after that when the decision was made to put Sammy down.

It's never easy to make that kind of decision, no matter when or where you are.  We love them as part of our family.  But remember, they count on us for everything--their nutrition, health and well-being.  When we no longer can control or regulate their well being in a healthy perspective, they sense it is time to go.  Some of us are blessed with peaceful passings (albight painful as well), and others go through terrible suffering.  No matter which, I believe our pets desire a regal and loving exit.  They deserve that, for all the love and beauty they bring into our lives.

I think of you and your son often.  I'm glad you posted an update and that both of you are doing better.  Grief ebbs and flows, but we grow through it, inevitably.  Take good care!!  ~Claudia

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Thanks again for the kind words.  Ihave been away from the board a while and am just now starting to read it again. We still cannot hang pictures of Coach up because of my son but we did take the plunge and adopt a 2nd dog that was in a rescue shelter and had to be placed. So now we have a great dane mix and a small 20 lb dog. They are hilarious together. It helps having them here. But I would be lying if I don't admit from time to time those strong emotions surface in me as well as my son.

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hello my name is jamie and i was reading on how your son is still having a hard time with your dogs lost  and it happpened last july. I AM THE SAME WAY I HAD TO PUT MY 11 YEAR OLD HUSKY TO SLEEP LAST MARCH I WENT IN THE ROOM AND SHE PUT HER HEAD ON MY KNEE WHEN SHE PASSED. I STILL CANT GET OVER IT. SOME DAYS ARE GOOD AND OTHERS I JUST DONT WANT TO GET OUT OF MY BED. I STILL BLAME MY SELF.MY BOY FRIEND JUST BOUGHT ME A HUSKY THREE MONTHS AGO AND EVEN THO I LOVE HIM TO DEATH HES NOT THE SAME AS MY JENNA SO I KNOW WHT YOUR SON IS GOING THREW.  I JUST HOPE THIS FEELING GOES AWAY.

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Thanks Jenna.....My son is doing better now, still cant have any pictures of coach up but the tears have not come around for a long time now. We now have two dogs- one big and one small that occupy him whenever he has free time. Dunkit- a mix great dane lab and Diego a mix but we are not sure of what :). I still have moments that pop up for the guilt for not being here when he was put to sleep but I suppose that will always be here.

 

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cremationsilver

You can make monument of the dog...for your son..... Cremation urns are one way we choose to keep our loved one close forever.... there are a lots of variety.... and by which we can according to our choice...

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In all the years of being owned by my companion animals, I had never considered having one cremated. Until, that was, I went to work at my daughter's small animal hospital. I'm only the office manager so I don't usually have the "hands on" of caring for all the wonderful pets that my daughter and her great team of vet techs do. But it's amazing how many of the dogs that walk by my office and demand their "grammie" pat or hug from me. It warms my heart. It also makes it heartbreaking when their time has come to a close and we have to say "good-bye". After I saw how many owners were comforted by having their "friends" cremated and were able to take them home in either an urn or box I began to appreciate cremation as a positive alternative to burying a pet in the family backyard.

Two weeks after I moved into my new [first] home, my beloved rottie/shepherd - Sugar - became quite ill and was found to have cancer. Sugar's last action was to lick my hand as she went asleep for exploratory surgery which exposed the cancer. I am a profound believer in death with dignity so I asked my daughter to humanely euthanize her rather than to have Sugar suffer any further pain. Since I had seen the comfort so many of our clients had gotten from having their beloved pets cremated, I decided I wanted to do the same. I had thought I would bury the urn; but a year later that urn still sits in my curio and I am comforted by so many memories every time I look at it.

A week later I was in a friend's gift shop and noticed she offered concrete paw prints that could be specially made with your pet's name inscribed on them. So I ordered several [including one for Sugar] and now I have Sugar greeting me when I come home every day and her urn to trigger so many years of good memories. It gives me comfort. And the rest of the story [as Paul Harvey would say] is that this past weekend my "little" rescue rottie-mix puppy is now big enough to fit in and proudly wears Sugar's collar! I am sure Sugar would approve.

PS - another of those concrete paws carries the name "Punkin" - the rescue puppy I got on the first anniversary of the death of my 11 year old daughter, Cathie, and was blessed to have for the next 16 years.

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Thank you for your heartwarming story. Yes, our pets love us so unconditionally, they are amazing creatures. As I write I sit between a very sweet, long haired teacup chihuahua named Skyler and a mixed breed (looks like a Jack Russell terrier) named Henry, who is full of spunk. They lay here by me wanting nothing more than to be a companion and friend. They have brought so much joy to our home. I have never cremated a pet, but I think we will choose that option one day also. And I think that is a wonderful idea about getting a pet on the anniversary, or birthday of your daughter's passing. Seems that it would be a comfort attached to a very sweet pet in that regard. Thank you for sharing with us :-)

MADDY

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Thanks, Maddy, for your kinds words. Animals were such a part of my children's upbringing and I can't begin to tell you how much Punkin became an integral part of keeping me relatively sane as I entered my 2nd year of bereavement - which for me was harder than the first. That was due, I believe, because the numbness and denial "stages" were past and I was facing hard reality. But that's a whole story in itself. Call me emotionally needy, but I have never been pet-less since then! ....Tali [Cathie's Mom]

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If you want to give to ur son...then you can planting tree....will be more impressive when you use fruitful tree....i am using cherry tree for my grandmother....because she love cherries...and very cherry season...is the most memorable moments of my grandmother...

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immissingyou

One thing I did for my brother in law who just lost his beloved Weim, Elvis, was I asked his wife for a favorite picture of Elvis with their daughter 3 yr old daughter, Cami. I bought both his Daniel and his wife a photo engraved pendant with the image and I've set them aside to give to them at Christmas. I figure I will do up a little letter from the new puppy they are getting this fall and Cami and let them know that Elvis is happy and doing okay. I did something very similar for my husband when our Weim died four years ago and he has it hanging from his cruiser. Very sorry for your loss and hope this helps!

photo pendants

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Ok been a while since I have been on here but I am back for more support. Since our dog coach had died a few years back we have had 2 dogs (dunkit a great Dane mix and Diego a terrier mix).dunkit is a very loving dog that we rescued and when we had the change to rescue Diego we jumped at it. They were opposites as far as dunkit is a giant and Diego was an ankle biter who actually was the alpha dog. Diego has had occasions the last few years when he has gotten loose and ran like crazy. Two weeks ago we chased him for several miles through woods and actually got him back safe. He acted different as far as he always wanted to be on my lap and seemed like that escape had changed him. Well this morning I left to take my kids to school and when I opened the garage door. Te strong wind apparently caused some pressure and the door I hadn't shut completely blew open and out Diego ran weaving in and out of traffic and actually ended up having a van stop over him but he somehow survived that. My son was told at school I was chasing a dog and he sprinted back (in high school). The dog kept coming back home but would then take off again. To make a long story shorter he tried one too many times to cross the main road in town and was struck by car. I didn't see it but came up on a woman holding him down and trying to comfort him. No broken bones but a few cuts with bleeding and labored breathing. I scooped him up and sod toward the vet. After being there for over an hour the vet said it was 50-50 that he would survive but he was looking better. We went and saw him and he was trying to get up but could tell he was in shock. The vet said in a few hours they would check his blood count and if it was stable he thought he could make it. So we went one and 20 minutes later the vet called and told us Diego went into cardiac arrest and died. My family is grief stricken and I feel so incredibly guilty. If I had taken 2 seconds to make sure the door was shut he would still be with

us. I feel like someone has hit me with a sledgehammer. If I had only taken the time.....any advice to help get through this?

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