Mourning a family dog(3 Posts)
My mum phoned me an hours ago to tell me that our family dog of 20 years had to be put down yesterday. She told me she couldn't phone me to tell me yesterday as she was too upset.
An hour after speaking to her I feel really bad. Not because I'm devastated I've lost the dog who shared my childhood with but because I don't feel anything.
He has been very unwell for a long time. He has suffered with arthritis for over 6 year now and in the last 3 or 4 years he has been losing his vision and his hearing. I moved away from my family about 2 years ago for work and now tend to visit once every 6 months or so. Every time I have been back to see the family I have been saddened to see him looking worse than the time before. During the last year he has lost the ability to control his own bladder. He wasn't completely gone however since he would come and sit next to me for a stroke and to lick me when I visited.
I don't understand why I am not upset. I feel more about the lack of feeling than I do for the lose of my dog. We were very close. I was 5 years old when we got him and I spent more time with him as a teenager than anyone else in the family. It was me who would volunteer to take him on a walk each evening and we had a set route we would follow (which had optional short-cuts if I needed to use them), we went that often he knew them off by heart and even without his lead on would lead the way. He would also come on my paper round with me every morning and afternoon.
I was wondering if anyone could help me understand this. Is it because he has been ill for so long? I know I was expecting this call and my mum didn't need to say anything more than "We took Barney to the vets yesterday" for me to know why she was calling and what had happened. Or could it be that I have grown away from him after living away for 2 years? In which case that makes me feel worse, he was a member of my family once.
Aww, don't feel guilty - you sound as though you loved him a lot and used to have a very strong bond which naturally got less as you lived further away - you will probably feel more emotional when you go to your mum's house and he is not there where he should be. it is hard to take it in when it feels no different in your day to day life. maybe you could go and see your mum and share your memories, look through old photos, etc and that would help to let you mourn.
when it is expected and for the best in some ways i guess the feelings are not so strong; but it shouldnt take anything away from the lovely relationship you had together and the memories.
dogs are such loyal companions and he sounds like he was a wonderful family member for you all.
I think the anticipation will be to blame here, not you! My grandma recently had to get her dog put down - it was about 17 and could barely stand and was incontinent - and because the dog had been getting steadily more and more decrepit for the last 3 years, it didn't come as a shock at all. On the other hand, when my family dog had to be put down when I was at uni, it happened really quickly, within the space of about 3 days. One minute the dog was fine and the next it had developed pancreatic cancer and started vomiting blood and that was that. That was a huge shock and I cried for ages when Dad called to tell me.
I think that when it is expected, you have come to terms with the idea already and made your peace with it. Don't beat yourself up about it! With Grandma's dog, I knew it was only a matter of time until she could bring herself to do it, and had been mentally prepared for at least a year. You sound like you were in the same situation. Don't worry!
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