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Not coping with the death of my beloved Tessa

(16 Posts)
thedogwalker Sun 24-Jul-11 09:42:34

My beautiful, gorgeous 15 year old border collie x was put to sleep yesterday after she rapidly became ill.

I saved my girl 11 years ago after she had been abused by her previous owners. We have been inseparable. It was only her and me for 6 years and then I met my DH. We have been such a happy family unit. Last August I gave birth to my first LO. She was so loving with DS and very protective. But she has always been my shadow, where ever I went Tessa would follow.

3 months ago she started to limp, on and off. Took her to the vets who said it was probably arthritis so she was put on medication. Which she seemed to work. 2 months ago I returned to work after maternity leave and I have been so busy. Excuses, I know, but my DH works abroad and only gets home for 1 weekend a month and so for me, it took time to learn to juggle, work, LO, housework and Tessa and I'm ashamed to say I sort of took Tessa for granted. She was always there, always happy to see me. She started to go off her food a couple of weeksa go and I just thought she might have a bit of a tumy bug or put it down to old age.

On Wednesday, during our walk, she hadn't gone far and and she sat down, I shouted at her for being lazy. Then on Friday night she collapsed and it took her ages before she could move. I helped to pick her up and that is when I felt a lump on her side. I took her to the vets yesterday and it was an aggressive, large tumour. I came home without her.

I can't stop cyring, not even in front of the 11 months DS. I know I should get a grip and man up for the sake of my DS but I just can't. I feel so guilty for not knowing my girl was suffering and I so wish I had spent more time with her these past few months.

Sorry just needed to speak about this as my DH is not here and I don't know how to make myself feel better.

coccyx Sun 24-Jul-11 09:54:45

poor you. Cry as much as you need, don't need to get a grip.
Think of the 11 years of love and kindness you gave her and vice versa

Quodlibet Sun 24-Jul-11 09:55:56

Oh you poor poor thing.
Not only are you dealing with the death of your beloved dog, which is devastating, but you've heaped a whole load of guilt on yourself too.

Please don't feel like you let your dog down. You've clearly given her a wonderful secure life for 11 years. There's most likely very little that could have been done about the tumour even if you'd caught it earlier. As it is, it seems to me she suffered a remarkably short time for an old dog, and I say that as someone who had a couple of years of watching my own very stoical border collie deteriorate with arthritis wondering when that judgement call would come. Collies can be really good at not letting you know they're in pain and carrying on as long as they can, bless them. It's hard to judge when they've had enough even if that's all your thinking about.

If you'd had all the time in the world for her in her final months it wouldn't feel like enough. You're not making 'excuses' and you haven't neglected your dog or inflicted any cruelty on her. I wouldn't doubt your dog knew she was loved til the end.

You shouldn't feel you have to 'man up', let yourself grieve.

ObviouslyOblivious Sun 24-Jul-11 10:00:50

Oh I'm so sorry for your loss sad please remember the good times. You gave each other much love and happiness. My heart goes out to you.

fannybanjo Sun 24-Jul-11 10:06:05

Oh dear - poor you, it is heartbreaking when a much loved pet dies. You gave Tessa a wonderful life after she had such an awful start and she thanked you by being a faithful friend. It will get easier. Unfortunately with grief you cannot stop it flowing, you have to embrace it and move through the stages of it. Cliché I know but time really is a healer. If only all dog owners were as kind as you...

tabulahrasa Sun 24-Jul-11 10:14:33

I had my dog put to sleep last October - he had a tumour which I did spot (well it was in a pretty obvious place, lol) but couldn't be treated.

I cried for about a week, I still get a bit teary occasionally, why would I not be upset? He was my best friend for 13 years.

I'm sure you feel bad about the way it happened, but, realistically, she had her normal life right up until the end of it - that's the best you can hope for, that's the ideal isn't it? I know that's what I want, lol.

WoodRose Sun 24-Jul-11 11:12:10

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. We lost our beautiful border collie girl last summer after 14 wonderful years together. What helped us and DC (ages 8 and 5) to come to terms with her death was to write a memory book. We would jot down memories of our lovely girl as and when they came to us. We can now talk about Rosie with a smile rather than tears, but it did take time. Be kind to yourself and let yourself grieve. Take comfort from the fact that for 11 wonderful years, your Tessa knew love and kindness. Very unmnetty (((hugs))).

Madondogs Sun 24-Jul-11 13:35:20

Please do not feel as though you have let her down, you sound like a wonderful owner. It is very natural to feel guilty when you have to have a beloved companion PTS, put you obviously did the best for her xx.

As for crying ... Who would not cry,you have lost someone very important and loved. It does get easier, try to think of the wonderful times you have had, my heart goes out to you xxxx

Scuttlebutter Sun 24-Jul-11 14:54:11

Please don't feel guilty. I think it's good for your son to learn that we are sad when we lose our beloved animals - no need to hide that.

Lots of tumours present as sporadic limping to start with - that doesn't make you a bad owner. You took your dear girl to the vet to get it sorted, which was the right thing to do, and when the time came, you made the brave, right choice to ensure she didn't have to suffer.

You've had years and years of love together - of course you will be crying - Tessa was your very special friend. I still miss and grieve for family dogs who we lost years ago - of course the pain eases but we should never underestimate the bond we form.

I love WoodRose's idea of the memory book, how about making a beautiful scrap book of photos of Tessa to show your DS as he grows up?

Please be gentle with yourself. Sending you lots of sympathy.

Ephiny Sun 24-Jul-11 14:57:17

I'm so sorry to hear this. All I can say is you need to give yourself time. She was your girl and your dear friend for 11 years, you couldn't possibly be expected to get over her loss in a couple of days. It must have been such a shock as well, with her having such a sudden deterioration at the end sad

It's true what everyone else has said - you rescued her and gave her a long and happy life, and a loving home for all those years, and she knew that and loved you.

moosemama Sun 24-Jul-11 15:35:29

I am so sorry for your loss. As others have said, you gave her a wonderful, happy and secure life, she knew how much she was loved and you proved that by making the hardest decision for her.

You really don't need to try and stifle your tears, let them flow, as Scuttlebutter said you are teaching your son that its ok to grieve for our much loved companions. They are part of our family and we love and grieve for them just as we would for any other beloved family member.

I understand completely how you feel about not finding the lump sooner, but please try to be kinder to yourself. My own border collie X belgian shepherd girl was rushed in for an emergency operation yesterday, after I failed to notice a lump in her throat and she became very ill over the course of a few short days. Border collies are such hardy, stoic characters that they often don't show any signs until things get really bad.

Its important to allow yourself the time and space to grieve. You will always miss her, but it will be less raw with time. I had to make the same hard decision for one of my old girls two days before Christmas and I still miss and grieve for her, but can now also smile a little when I think of our happy times together.

thedogwalker Sun 24-Jul-11 16:11:34

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I just feel so lonely without her, she was always just there. Went for my first walk with the LO without Tessa earlier and it was just dreadful, the people in my village must think I'm nuts as I couldn't stop crying whilst walking and then I had an hystierical crying session when I got home because she wasn't here to greet me.

The memory book is lovely idea and I will start it very soon, I had hoped my son would get to know her, now he'll not remember her, but I can show him what she meant to me.

Thanks so much for understanding, thought I was going mad here on my own, love my DS to bits but at 11 month old he's not much of a conversationalist yet!!!!

Once again thank you.

DavidDickinsonsTan Sun 24-Jul-11 18:03:06

so sorry sad x

Mollymax Sun 24-Jul-11 20:36:15

I really feel for you.
We had our beloved 16 year old border collie PTS last tuesday.
We had her from a tiny puppy and she was my faithful friend.
It is such a hard decision to make and you feel devastated.
We are planning on planting a tree for our Molly in the garden.
Look after yourself.

thedogwalker Mon 25-Jul-11 10:34:52

I've just ordered her urn, she is being cremated on Wednesday, not sure if I should go or not?

doglover Mon 25-Jul-11 13:49:13

The grief you're experiencing is totally normal. Allow yourself to feel it. Yes, it's painful but it's a necessary journey. We've had this four times now sad and one of our current dogs is close to the end; I know that we've given them all a great quality of life and this does help. I'm sending you hugs. xx

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