anticipatory mourning?

(13 Posts)
Wordsaremything Wed 17-Feb-16 19:50:20

My beloved heart dog is 17 and until a year ago she never showed her age. Regularly came with me on seven hour hikes until st least 16. Then she had a stroke which she recovered well from, and is now well again after a horrible d and v bug which really took it out of her. At one point last month I honestly thought she was dying.

The thing is I love her so very much I can't begin to imagine how it will feel to lose her. Yet I find I'm thinking about it more and more and my heart literally aches and I often end in tears. It's impossible to explain. I have other much-loved pets but she is my star, my darling brave girl dog who has been the one constant in my life for the last 16 years.

I guess I want to put this out there amongst people who understand. Because when it happens I will very much need support from you all. In the meantime I will enjoy every precious minute I spend with her.

Cirsium Wed 17-Feb-16 20:43:41

So sorry that you are facing the loss of your lovely girl dog. She sounds amazing.

DH felt this way about our last dog, who had been his for 6 years before I met him. In some ways it helped as we made sure every day counted, especially after her leukaemia diagnosis. She went to all her favourite places and was allowedWe have some great photos of her eating christmas dinner at the table with us and pulling crackers. He also thought carefully about how he wanted to commemerate her and we were able to save accordingly. Her ashes are in a wooden box on a shelf in the living room with some photos, and favourite toys.

Sadly we were not able to have her pts at home as we wanted as it was a bank holiday and the emergency vet couldn't leave the surgery unattended. They were fantastic though and gave us all the time and space we needed.

I think the key, hard as it is, is not to let dwelling on the sadness to come spoil the good times you can still share. There are pet bereavement grief counsellors out there although we didn't contact one in the end.

Wordsaremything Wed 17-Feb-16 21:32:03

Thank you for such a lovely response. Yes I would prefer her to be euthanised here at home if that is what happens but realise this may not be possible. ( even thinking this feels like a betrayal.)

I also worry what happens if she dies naturally in the night or something. When she was ill I barely slept as I worried I'd wake and find her dead. I need to speak to my vet about that I suppose.

JohnThomas69 Thu 18-Feb-16 05:02:56

Tbh if she deteriorates to the point where you have to take the decision to pts, the dogs wellbeing may override your own emotions with feelings of relief that they are at peace. I lost my old dog to an aggressive form of leukaemia last year and watching her deteriorate over the final few weeks was awful. The loss afterwards paled into insignificance in comparison. I believe the greatest compliment you can pay them is offering your home to another.

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 18-Feb-16 13:32:56

Felt the same in the final couple of years of our last dog (She died aged 14). I think everyone who has had dogs, has one that is The One, and for me - she was it. She was a very gentle, and quiet little soul and with me for 12 years, through everything. (I got her aged 2). Everything towards the end was tinged with sadness and I wish that hadn't been so but it was getting more and more obvious we'd have to say goodbye. I look back on that time now and can't disentangle that over-arching thing of anticipating her loss and just my last memories of her. So try and enjoy her and although it is close to impossible, try to not feel that as far as you can. You have a lifetime to mourn when she's gone. Try and take it a day at a time. Far easier said than done, but I wish I had.

Cirsium Thu 18-Feb-16 19:54:31

We followed advice we found online to choose her three favourite things and when she could no longer enjoy them it was time to say goodbye. In the end she deteriorated very suddenly over 24 hours and it was very clear she had had enough, she was too sore to stand cuddles (she was the cuddliest girl ever), couldn't sleep and was sick frequently. We still took three calls to our lovely, patient vets to decide as we were trying to cling on to her and I think that helped afterwards when we were doubting ourselves (she had perked up briefly in the waiting room trying to be strong for us).

We always let her sleep with us so her slipping away in the night would have been 'ok', in that she wouldn't have been alone. However changing your dogs routine might upset her and i'm sure she knowshow loved she is. I do always make a point of saying goodnight properly to our dog (we have a 2 year old boy staffy now) and cat, just in case. I tell the cat i love him and to take care when he goes out too and have been known to tell DH off if he forgets and go to find the cat to make sure he knows we care about him.

Liberated71 Fri 19-Feb-16 18:15:57

What beautiful messages on such a sensitive thread. I lost one of my dogs too soon and too suddenly and it hit me so hard I can still cry at the thought of it some 6 years later. My current dog is ageing and has had a number of health problems in recent years. I will remember this idea of her 3 favourite things - the day she doesn't wag her tail at the idea of chasing a tennis ball will be a significant day. I know it's coming (she's 13 next month) but hopefully it's a long way off.
I found the loss of my other dog more bearable because I still had a dog in my life. I can imagine I'll be in the rehoming centre very quickly.

Wordsaremything Fri 19-Feb-16 21:51:48

Thank you all so much.
The decline is gradual at first - can't get over a ladder stile,then a normal stile, then has to be helped into car...
Heart dog still has her favourite things though. Her spirit is still puppy like tho fur and whiskers grey. Long may it continue and banish my morbid thoughts.

LimeJellyHead Sat 20-Feb-16 10:15:11

I really feel for you and send you big virtual hugs flowers

I know how you feel and it is almost impossible not to. I was the same. I mourned my Berkeley a year before he left us. Looking back it was such a waste but knowing that doesn't mean you can instantly stop doing it, does it. When you can see them getting old in front of your very eyes, when they stop doing little things and it all starts adding up... how can you not start to already mourn. I do think it is natural. But one day when it was clear he really did only have 1-2 months left to live I gave myself a massive talking to. I knew I had to make the most of it, for him and for me. There is time enough for tears.

Allow yourself a little weep and a little reminisce, then take a big deep breath, smile and be glad that today she is still with you.

YodellingForJesus Sat 20-Feb-16 10:23:13

Oh my god, you have explained perfectly how I am feeling too. Mine is 12 now and slowing down rapidly. She also had this horrible D&V bug recently and I could hardly sleep for worrying about her and kept getting up to see if she was still breathing. I dread the end, she is such a wonderful companion.

Such lovely posts here. Dog lovers understand! Every day you have with her is precious, and just remember how happy you have made her. Loving an elderly dog is so bittersweet. flowers

Wordsaremything Sat 20-Feb-16 22:40:19

Thank you all so very much for understanding thanksthanksthanks
I had a dear friend round for dinner tonight and we played my d dog's favourite game of 'where's the ring'.
There may even have been roast chicken leftovers and broccoli (Mmmm broccoli hmm) to enjoy as well.
That's at least three favourite things in half an hour. grin

Wordsaremything Sat 20-Feb-16 22:42:41

My heart dog.

Cirsium Sun 21-Feb-16 08:28:44

She is beautiful. Glad she is still enjoying life and you are still enjoying her.

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