Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Favorite Video Friday – Your Best Friend

October 2, 2014 5 comments

I’m just going to admit it. It’s been a very rough week. We have had to say goodbye to so many this week – Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Lorie Huston, and now Cleo from Grouch Puppy.

Lots of tears have been shed, stories told and tributes made. It doesn’t take away the pain of their absence, but it does help us to know we are not alone in our grief. How fitting that animals should figure so prominently these lives. Our pets often help us in our most difficult times, don’t they?

This week was a good reminder that we are not an island in this world. Someone will always love us and miss us, whether that be our dogs, our cats, or our humans. We are not invisible, even when we may feel like it.

This week I chose to re-share a video I shared before. I thought it a perfect end to the week. Not sad, but touching. I hope you will like seeing it again.

Happy Friday everyone.

Wordless Wednesday #207 – Grief and Loss

September 30, 2014 2 comments

grief 4

Photo credit: Yukari Yu (modified in Camera 360)

When a dog dies…

March 21, 2010 4 comments


Today my family said goodbye to my brother’s dog, Remy. Remy was a Chow-Lab mix, and even though he was 15 years old, it still broke our hearts when my brother called us today to say that Remy was not doing well and it was time to say goodbye.

One of the hardest things that we, as pet owners, have to face is saying goodbye to our furry best friends. In some cases, losing a pet can be even harder than losing a family member. That’s because our pets are our companions, confidants, comedians, and best friends. They are with us more than most family members and see us through the good times and the bad.

Given the loss of Remy today, I thought it might be appropriate to post some information about the Five Stages of Grief.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the Five Stages of Grief in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Although the five stages were designed to help people through the process of grief and tragedy in their own lives, I think they apply to our beloved pets as well.

The Five Stages of Grief are as follows:

1. Denial – “My dog is fine.”; “I’m just being silly. My dog is not showing signs of being sick.” ; “My vet must be wrong, my dog looks fine to me.” – For many pet owners, admitting that our dog is sick or is the near the end of life is too hard to deal with so we pretend that everything is okay. They’re just having a few accidents in the house or they ate two days ago, so they might eat again tomorrow.

2. Anger – “Why my dog? It’s not fair!”; “It’s all my fault. If I had only brought her to the veterinarian sooner, she would be okay.” “I should never have done left him alone.” – Often in the second stage (anger) we look for someone to blame, whether that be our veterinarian, a family member or ourselves. We may even look towards other external sources: dog food companies, boarding facilities, etc.

3. Bargaining – “If I just try this new procedure, I’m sure my dog will be okay.”; “If I just wait a few days/weeks/months, my dog will be better.”; “I might make a decision too soon when my dog could recover.”; “I’ll do anything for just a few more years with my buddy.” – In the third stage, we hope that we can somehow postpone or delay death. Sometimes we even negotiate with God in hopes that we can spend a few more precious days with our friend.

4. Depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I don’t want to do anything now that my best friend is gone.”; “I don’t want to even look at another dog right now. They would just remind me of my loss.” – In the fourth stage, we may find it difficult to eat, sleep, or concentrate and we may not want to be around other people. Our grief overcomes us and we mourn. One of the most difficult things for pet owners to deal with is seeing their pet everywhere they used to be – a favorite rug or chair, playing ball in the yard, searching the kitchen floor for scraps, etc.. This is often the most difficult stage because what was once a possibility is now a reality.

5. Acceptance – “I miss my dog, but I can move on.”; “My dog had a really great life in the time he/she was here.”; “I had some wonderful times with my dog.” – In the fifth stage, we begin to accept that our furry friend has died and focus on the wonderful times we had with him/her. For pet owners who’s pet has been sick for a long time, there can even be a bit of relief – not that our beloved pet is gone, but that the care-taking and stress involved with caring for our sick pet is finally over. (Owners should not feel guilt or shame over this relief. It is okay to be relieved that the stress and worry is gone.) There will still be times when we experience deep sadness, anger, or guilt at our loss – I still shed a tear now and then for my pets – but we start to look forward rather than backwards and we may even consider looking for a new pet.

The Healing Process:
One of the best ways to begin to heal from our loss is to express our love for our pet in other ways. For me, the loss of my dog Alicia led to me to volunteer at an animal shelter, where I could help other dogs and cats. For one of my clients, it involved creating a shelf dedicated to her beloved dog. For others, it may be creating a picture book or planting a tree. Whatever the thing may be, consider doing something that honors your pet. It can go a long way towards the healing process.

Remy – We miss you buddy!

Dogs, Death and Saying Goodbye

June 12, 2009 3 comments

On Wednesday, one of my doggie clients crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to wait for his loving owner. It was a terribly sad day for his Mom and for me. Teddy has been a part of her life for the past seventeen years. He was a tenacious fighter, who battled through many ailments and managed to enjoy life despite some neurological issues that affected his back legs. He wanted to live, but his little body just could not hold out any longer.

It is never easy to lose a beloved pet, no matter what the age.

People ask me…When is the right time to say goodbye? After losing three dogs (two in the past four years), I can only tell you that the answer is never the same for everyone. My first dog, Alicia, stayed with me for fifteen glorious years. I had a very hard time saying goodbye to her and I believe that I probably waited longer than I needed to because I just couldn’t accept that she would no longer be a part of my life. Indy suffered from seizures brought on by a combination of vaccines. When the seizures became so frequent that she was on longer able to enjoy life, we knew it was time to say goodbye – she was without a doubt a very special girl. Aspen was ill when I adopted her. I suspected cancer, but could not bear the thought of letting her die in a shelter (like her owners had chosen to do). Although it turned out that my suspicions were wrong, she still had some gastrointestinal issues that made her very ill. I knew that I would only have a short time with her. I was lucky to have one wonderful year (she died last May) – I miss her personality the most. I miss her still. Each dog was different when it came time to making the decision to say goodbye.

After Aspen died, a friend said to me “It’s the absence of their presence where they once used to be that is the hardest part.” I could not agree more. You see them everywhere they used to be… a favorite bed, the end of the couch, lying on the rug waiting until you get out of the shower, out in the backyard sitting in a pile of leaves that you just raked up. I think that is the hardest part of losing a pet. Knowing where they always hung out and knowing they are no longer there.

I’ve never been one to immediately let another dog into my life. I need some time to process, to grieve and to accept their loss. For some people, getting another dog right away is what helps them through it. Just like each good-bye is different, everyone handles their grief differently. I am so glad that Teddy’s mom had a great bunch of friends who offered her their support and encouragement as she prepared to say goodbye.

There are some great websites and resources out there for anyone who has lost a pet. There are even grief counseling groups for pet owners who have recently lost a pet. I have included a few below.

God bless you Teddy. I pray that you have finally found peace somewhere over that Rainbow Bridge.

The Pet Loss Grief Support Website
Pet Loss Support Page
How Will I Know When it is “Time” to Put a Pet to Sleep?
The Humane Society of the United States: Coping with the death of your pet

Aspen in September 2008

Aspen in September 2008

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