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Losing them - when does it get better?

(27 Posts)
Crispaficionado Sat 25-Jan-20 21:12:49

Lost my nearly 14 year old flat coated retriever boy on Friday afternoon - he had terrible arthritis & we were getting to the point of a decision on PTS but his heart gave out so the ending was unexpectedly sudden & I didn't cuddle him enough as I didn't realise - was on the phone to the vets when he collapsed and didn't appreciate he was going until he was nearly gone if that makes any sense.

My children, DH etc we're all so sad, the house is too quiet, I can't accept that's it and he's gone now, part of the past. I had him for such a long part of my life, it feels like a huge ending. My children have had him there all of their lives.

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SingingMyOwnSpecialSong Sat 25-Jan-20 21:41:41

I’m so sorry for your loss, that must have been such a horrible shock to lose him that way when you thought you still had time to plan. I am sure, from the way you speak about him that he knew he was deeply loved, even if you worry you did not cuddle him enough at the end. You were doing your best for him, speaking to the vet.

It does get easier and for me, after losing my 16 year old cat after he suddenly developed liver failure last January, it was only a few months before memories became a nice thing to look back on rather than a painful reminder he wasn’t there anymore. I was very open about my grief with people who I knew would understand it, and I think having people to talk to about what happened and all the decisions I had made helped. I still miss my old boy, we knew each other so well and he was so cuddly and easy. We got a new cat about 6 weeks after he died and although it has been nice to have a cat around I have had to remind myself at times to value you him for his personality and not wish he was my old boy.

Wishing you comfort and peace as you grieve.

itstrue Sat 25-Jan-20 21:46:40

I'm two years down the track of losing my 16 year old girl. I'm only now able to think about her or see a picture without crying.

We got a new baby quickly. It saved my sanity a lot.

I'm really sorry for your loss

VividImagination Sat 25-Jan-20 21:51:42

UnMumsnetty (((hugs))) to you and your family.

We had our lovely boy put to sleep yesterday. He was a thirteen and a half year old Labrador and was also very arthritic. His back legs had pretty much gone along with his bowel control. I knew it was time but it was still so, so hard. I tried to change my mind when I got to the vets but they were amazing and so caring.

We are lucky that we have ddog2 so still have a doggy presence in the house but our old boy was so special to us all. I do feel honoured to have had him in my life for so long although it is never long enough.

This is the second dog I’ve lost and it does get better. I thought I would never get over loosing my first dog but I now enjoy remembering all his quirky ways and the naughty things he did. Take what time you need to grieve for him. Take care of yourself and each other.

Steamfan Sat 25-Jan-20 21:55:04

It'll be three years next month when our girl had to be pts. We got another dog after a month as we couldn't bear the empty house! But I miss our first dog every single day. I am so sorry for you xx

Crispaficionado Sat 25-Jan-20 22:05:32

thanks both - I keep looking at the places he usually is, and have that sense that something is wrong as he isn't there. Animals are so much better at friendship and love than most people are.

I don't think we can have another dog for a good while, we're at a complicated stage with the children and we've had a lot of years of the lovely boy being poorly, it doesn't help the feelings that we've lost things we can't recapture.

It will get easier, I hope at least it being quick was better for him.

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TheMotherofAllDilemmas Sat 25-Jan-20 22:08:28

My last dog was 17 when he died. I just accepted that I was to continue loving him forever and as someway it felt as if he was still around, I just told him he was free to stay for as long as he wanted. I continued to put water in his bowl for a month, it made me feel better, probably because I felt breaking that little routine was going to break my heart further.

I got his ashes back and put them in storage until there was a clear day when I could take him to his favourite place and set him free, but that day took so long to arrive, the ashes are still stored but with instructions that when I die and I’m cremated we need to be scattered together.

So we are still together, with some communication problems caused by his failing body but this is just a temporary glitch, so I am not mourning him, he is still at home, in my heart. flowers

Crispaficionado Sat 25-Jan-20 22:13:08

ah vividimagination sorry to hear that, it's so sad to watch them struggling with the pain, and so hard to make the decision. You're right of course it'll get better.

steamfan it is funny how unique they are, I can imagine that too.

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Crispaficionado Sat 25-Jan-20 22:16:26

@TheMotherofAllDilemmas we're waiting for ashes, we were going to scatter in his favourite park where I have so many memories of happy walks (that he's been too weak to go to for over a year now) but your idea of being scattered together is beautiful.

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somm Sat 25-Jan-20 22:38:26

I don't think it does become better - it just becomes different, and you will cope. There are people who will never understand how you can grieve so strongly for an animal. The way I look at it is if you're hurting so badly then thank god that that animal found it's way into your family.

Crispaficionado Sun 26-Jan-20 08:18:48

Thanks Somm.

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talia66 Sun 26-Jan-20 14:21:59

Hi, I am so sorry for your loss. I really understand how devastating this is. I lost my darling Toby (Bichon) in August and I honestly felt like I couldn't function. I found my self randomly bursting into tear (and still do) but it is getting easier. I must say I got a puppy about a month afterwards (the house just seemed so quiet) and this really helped me - although you do forget how much hard work the puppy stage is!! It has been a welcomed distraction. sending you a big hug xx

10000things Sun 26-Jan-20 14:33:25

I'm so sorry for your loss. Unless you have felt the intense pain of losing a beloved dog, people won't understand and can be very dismissive of the depth of feeling.

I lost my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel nearly 4 years ago, and she left such a whole in my heart, it is only now that I am able to start to look for another dog. She came into my life just after my Father had died, so she was very special, and helped to heal me during my grief.

She died in my arms of natural causes, it was in a strange way a beautiful, albeit terrible moment, and I felt strangely privileged to experience her passing, without veterinary intervention.

It is such early days for you, be kind to yourself and your feelings will change and the pain will gradually lessen. Somedays will be better than others, but eventually, there will be more good days than sad ones.

Crispaficionado Sun 26-Jan-20 16:27:33

@talia66 it's overwhelming at times. I find myself wanting to rush out and get the closest dog I can find to my old boy just to distract myself from the feelings. I do keep reminding myself that he chewed every chair we had when he was teething, regularly ate socks and they had to be retrieved from one end or the other and all of DH's hankies disappeared at one time or another.

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MovinOnUp Sun 26-Jan-20 16:32:33

I'm sorry for your loss OP.
I lost my 13 year old German Shepherd almost 2 years ago.
For the last 6 months I had got to the stage where I could look at a picture of her or talk about her without crying.
But then Friday would have been her birthday and I was crying most of the day.
I think it's a grief like any other, It comes in waves and we learn to live with it.

Crispaficionado Sun 26-Jan-20 16:37:31

@10000things I can't understand people that don't understand that dogs are always there for you, always look for you and always forgive you when you've let them down. My dog and my cats have been with me through so many good and bad times, nobody helps you deal with bad feelings like a dog does with their persistent love and friendship.

I'm trying not to spend too long thinking about the times when I could've cared a bit more - I picked up so much dog mess in the house and thought that it'd be a relief when there wasn't so much washing and cleaning to do but now I find I don't want the house to be any cleaner and the lack of washing merely feels strange.

You're right though, the way he went was best for him. I wish he'd died on his bed and not fallen whilst getting up off it but endings are only ever a range between awful and the best you can hope for, for an ending.

Thanks for the comments, it helps to talk to people that understand - I grew up with a King Charles spaniel and she was such a soft, gentle dog (except if you were a pigeon, liked to have a bark at them!).

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Crispaficionado Sun 26-Jan-20 16:39:06

@MovinOnUp reckon that's right, the last time I felt this bad was when a family member died tragically, I don't think there's a particular line between pet and person. In fact my dog was probably there for me more than many people in my family.

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MovinOnUp Sun 26-Jan-20 19:42:44

@Crispaficionado Mine certainly was there for me more than any person in my life (during her lifetime anyway) She saw me through marriage, children, illness, divorce....She was very old when I met my boyfriend and went downhill quite quickly thereafter. I like to think that she was waiting to see me happy again (And to check that he was a good'un) smile

Be kind to yourself now, It's the hardest thing I've ever been through (and I've been through some amount of shit)

Talking about them helps, Feel free to tag me if you if you fancy a chat about your lovely boy.

Grassynoel Sun 26-Jan-20 20:03:56

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's the worst feeling and the silence in the house if deafening. Mine is gone 6 months now and I still struggle. I think it's a case of getting used to it and accepting that you'll always be heart broken and trying to move on as that is what they would have wanted for you.

I swore I'd never get another dog but we had one within a few weeks. We weren't trying to replace the one we'd lost, we just wanted to move on in a way that honoured him. It's the best thing we ever did, he keeps us busy!

I hope you're ok op. I (and lots of others) truly know how you're feeling.

user1471453601 Sun 26-Jan-20 20:23:38

I've lost three cats and four dogs in my long life. Every single one of them left a paw print on my heart.

But current dog? I would be totally and completely devastated if she goes before me.

We got her two years ago from a shelter, aged 7 with some anti social habits. Some we've trained her out of (stealing food) some we are struggling with (only shitting on concrete), but dog fills a part of me i didn't even know was empty

Some animals, like current dog, hit some part of you that others cannot.

I think the joy you get from an animal is in direct proportion to the pain you feel when they go

Russellbrandshair Sun 26-Jan-20 20:26:40

I’m so sorry OP. I lost my beautiful girl in 2018 and I still can’t bring myself to get another dog. I want her 😭 she was my heart dog and I will never stop missing her. She was the brightest, sweetest most loving, beautiful soul and I have a hole in my life without her.

Big hugs to you ❤️

rumandbiscuits Sun 26-Jan-20 21:01:28

So sorry for your loss.
When my cat died in 2017 I honestly didn't think I could go on. I mean it sounds very dramatic and it isn't like I'm not used to death, all of my grandparents have died who I was extremely close to from the age of me being 12 to 21 so I had been through grief.
But it was horrific and so sad to make the decision to put her to sleep. We couldn't explain to her what was going on and we couldn't ask her if it was what she wanted either. Pets are there for you no matter what. She was just always there through happy times and through sad times a constant little being who I could rely on. It does get easier though I promise you that. Although it's still very sad and I miss her, it isn't gut wrenchingly painful anymore and I'm not a sobbing mess constantly. I do find that there can be a taboo around losing a pet, some people don't quite get it and therefore don't really give you the sympathy that you need. I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope in time you will start to feel better thanks

Crispaficionado Mon 27-Jan-20 11:56:33

@rumandbiscuits I was so glad not to have to make the PTS decision - we should’ve done that a few weeks ago frankly and I have regrets about it too - my dear DH kept convincing himself that a dog that could still beg for a crisp was doing ok and stuck his head in the sand, and I did too which was why it was such a shock. My dog was so brave that he never whimpered and the only way you knew he was in terrible pain was refusing to move or sitting down when walking.

I’ve lost family too it’s harder with a pet that has been there for you day after after day, my kitchen feels all wrong. I was desperately searching dogs last night but my DH talked me out of it, we need a few years without one as the kids are still that bit too young to fully appreciate the joy of them, the dog was mine and DH’s although my elder daughter is very upset too.

The struggle of walking the lovely boy with two slow and grumpy young kids who don’t want to walk fast like a flat coat does and are cross that they can’t hold him as he could have them over in a trice isn’t a part I’ll miss, but in a few more years hopefully they can either stay home or so long walks.

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Crispaficionado Mon 27-Jan-20 11:59:34

@Russellbrandshair ❤️ to you - if only people could be more like the best dogs. Time travel, it’s the only solution I’ve come up with so far.

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Crispaficionado Mon 27-Jan-20 12:02:02

@user1471453601 that’s a lovely sentiment - maybe you are right, my boy gave so much joy to so many people, he hated feeling sad, he used to howl if you put on a sad song - steel guitars drove him crazy!

Sometimes the struggles make them more special. My dog had so many health crises he was a virtual celebrity at the vet teaching school (they did a fantastic job with him).

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