Losing a beloved canine companion

(10 Posts)
subterraneanalien Sat 16-Mar-19 22:28:07

Just wondering how others might have coped after the death of a much loved dog? My lovely boy died last October, from complications brought on by his underlying autoimmune disease. He was only 4 1/2. He succumbed to AIDs when he was 18 months old after contracting a meningitis virus, and every 6 month or so he would have a serious flair up, which would be managed quickly with antibiotics, and he'd bounce back as though nothing had happened! In the meantime, his condition was managed with low dose steroids.

In October he had a flair up in the usual manner, but it was catastrophic and within 12 hours or so, he died. Although I was used to these episodes and had been told anecdotally by many that dogs with AIDs often don't live long, I just wasn't prepared for this. It was sudden and brutal.

I have really struggled to manage my grief at losing him and part of me feels silly that I am still so deeply upset. A voice in my head says, "he was just a pet, get a grip," but he meant so much to me. As a juvenile, before he first became ill, he was a real handful and a challenge, being so wilful and independent and confident, I had many battles with him. My husband had a bit more command of him in those early months but all the way through, it was me who did the training, took him to classes and agility, walked him and put the time and effort in. After he first became ill he bonded with me because I nursed him, and from then on he and I had an understanding and I regarded him as a faithful companion, finding solace in spending time with him on long walks when other areas of my life were at times difficult. I think his death has been all the harder for me because I invested so much in him.

I just miss my buddy, his quirky character, and while we are soon to welcome a new puppy into our home, which I know I will love and enjoy, I can't get past this grief. Does anyone have any words of solace on this?

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Marylou62 Sun 17-Mar-19 10:37:41

Hi OP...It is a fear of mine, losing our lovely boy. He is 12 years old (today!) and I know how very very lucky we are that he's had the life he has had. If I could say anything it would be that I think how incredibly lucky he was that he came to you. You who did EVERYTHING in your power to ensure his life was as comfortable as it could possibly be.. You went above and beyond to keep him healthy, recognising when he wasn't well and getting him help. Imagine if he'd gone to a home who didn't care as much as you did, left him suffering, hungry and cold..(this happened with one of my dogs litter mates..broke my heart as we only found out after he died..we would have rescued him).
tell yourself you did all you can and that although he was not in your life long..that life was as good as it could have been..
I am so sorry and quite tearful as I know I will feel like you one day..
Enjoy your new puppy and I hope they bring you some comfort.

user1498572889 Sun 17-Mar-19 10:51:46

You are normal. I lost my much loved dog (13) in 1998. I am still not ready to get another one. I was devastated and don’t think I can ever put myself through that again.
Obviously I have got over him passing away but I remember feeling so completely bereft that it puts me off ever getting another one.

Afternooninthepark Sun 17-Mar-19 11:31:31

It’s so hard, I still think of all the pets I have loved and lost over the years, some lived great old ages, others died young and I cried over all of them. Time will heal and your new puppy will fill your heart with love and laughter.

subterraneanalien Sun 17-Mar-19 12:46:08

Thank you Marylou, User and Afternoon, these are comforting words indeed and thanks for taking the time to post. There is certainly solace to be found in knowing others have experienced the same, or empathise. At times I find it hard to imagine starting out with a new dog (even though I know I will love her - we went to visit her last weekend at 6 weeks, with her five siblings - adorable!) and while I know she is not a replacement for my boy, all I really want, is him. I wondered if it was too soon to have another dog, but part of me thinks I'll feel like you User, and find I never get another one! And the bottom line is, I do want a dog in my life.

So, puppy will be a positive part of the process and I am sure there will come a time when I can look back on my time with my buddy and feel happy at the memories, not sad. And yes, he did have a good life, he was very much loved and cared for.

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Marylou62 Sun 17-Mar-19 15:06:02

When is the right time? I think we will never have another dog as Kenny is perfection! (not really, that would be impossible!!) . But DCat George, died suddenly on a sunday morning and DCat Dylan came to live with us on the wednesday! How could we replace him so soon? Even I asked myself that..but one of the 1st people I told about George said that the neighbours were looking for a home for their last kitten..I held off till next day..feeling very sad about the huge space next to me on the sofa, the empty food bowl..Went around next morning..just to see! Oh my..he was George reincarnated..I just thought about the life he would have with our family...13 years later..still wonder if it was the right thing to do but know it was really..
Your puppy will not be a replacement but will fill the dog sized hole in your life. good luck

subterraneanalien Sun 17-Mar-19 19:16:30

What a lovely story Marylou! And thank you. Today's sunshine, and a chance to work in my greenhouse sowing seeds for the spring and summer to come, cheered me up no end today. My dog would have been lying on the ground outside the greenhouse or badgering me to chuck the tennis ball for him, but actually it felt ok that he wasn't there in body, but I can still feel his company, if you know what I mean. Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

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Marylou62 Sun 17-Mar-19 19:35:41

I remember a comment from someone about still finding their Ddogs hair years after they had gone.. I often think of this when I find yet another hair in my food.. And never really mind... My mum and dad still used to hear their Ddog walking around the house.. (wood floor.. Claws). My parents got that dog 3 months after I left home to train as a nurse! She ate better than me too!
Remember the good times and thank God they came into your life. And how lucky they were.

Calmed Sun 17-Mar-19 22:12:40

I've just got a new puppy after the loss of my beloved dog last year.
Because she is a puppy and so different to my older girl, it doesn't feel in any way that she is replacing my old girl - she has made me laugh and brought sunshine back into the house - she is so sweet, but my love for my old girl is still strong and I feel relieved that somehow it just feels right.
I hope you have a wonderful time with your new pup/x

subterraneanalien Mon 18-Mar-19 18:59:36

Thanks Calmed, I feel confident that I will feel the same with my new puppy. I'm glad to hear your new dog helped you to a happier place after your loss. thanks for your comment. x

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