View Full Version : Goodbye, My Little Heart

09-24-2016, 10:33 AM
Ten years is actually a long time.
That's how long Annie was part of my life. Ten years and a little more than two months.

It didn't feel like ten years. Primarily because the last two years of that decade were powerfully overshadowed by the Cushing's Disease that just about consumed me, too.

When Annie died, I felt like I had been shortchanged. Somehow, her loss seemed unfair. It felt like I hadn't had her for as long as I thought I would.

I found myself beginning to make comparisons of other ten-year spans of time that would help to put everything into perspective.

The first one that popped into my head was that ten years took a child from birth right up to Grade Five. That's actually a long time. There are one hell of a lot of milestones that a child achieves during that decade when one stops to think about it.

Good grief … not only do they learn to walk and talk and use the bathroom, but they graduate from a crib to a bed. They learn to read and write. They play sports and learn the intricacies of the rules. They ride bicycles and skateboards and taste the freedom of independence and speed. They open countless birthday presents and learn that the best part of the gift is not just to eat the shiny paper. They make lengthy lists for Santa Claus and experience the magic of ten Christmas mornings. The tooth fairy visits them often as they grow their adult teeth. They learn to swim. They go on vacations with their families, building sand castles and perhaps they even meet Mickey Mouse. Their palettes become more discerning as baby food gradually gives way to more mature tastes and textures. And they feed themselves, too.

If we peer into that same child's life at a different stage, ten years is still a long time.

The decade from their tenth birthday through to their twentieth is also filled with many measurable achievements.

They finish elementary school and head on into high school. They graduate from high school and enter university - if that is their chosen path. They get their first job. They learn to drive and taste a whole new kind of independence and speed. They fall in love and probably have their heart broken more than once in the process, too. They begin to get a sense of what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They may leave their childhood home to face life squarely on their own terms.

When I stop to think about a ten-year span in my own life, it's still a long time.

Ten years from the date of my marriage in 1975 saw me established as a teacher with a son in Grade One. I had moved four times, gotten professionally credentialed, hired and assigned to a school. I had already written countless report cards, marked innumerable tests, assignments and exams and planned hundreds upon hundreds of lessons in all the required subjects. I had gotten pregnant and given birth. I had commuted thousands of miles, enduring the frustration of traffic gridlock and seasonal weather challenges. I had been driven by the clock. I raised a little boy … And all that THAT entails. I had juggled the exhausting demands of motherhood and a full-time career. I had found reliable day-care providers and dealt with an abundance of childhood illnesses that, unpredictably, threw a monkey wrench into established daily routines.

Ten years is, in fact, a long time.

When you share that span of time with a canine companion, though, it seems to flash by in the blink of an eye.

Our own lives have to be tucked into the interstices between their essential walk schedule, for example. And, after the novelty of walking with a puppy has worn off, those daily strolls pretty much all blend into each other. The same times each day, the same route … the same expected outcome.

Thousands of water bowls filled and thousands of meals prepared. Thousands of harnesses put on … and taken off … Thousands of poop bags purchased, filled, knotted and disposed of … Hundreds of little winter coats put on … And tiny feet gently washed to neutralize that stinging salt … The transition of forty seasons witnessed … which never ceased to be magical when seen through the insatiable curiosity of a dog's eyes and nose.

I was still on the clock.

It's not so easy to mark the passage of time with a little dog.

It is easy to feel shortchanged when the essentials of their daily routine, by their very nature, tend to blur one's ability to discern memorable moments along the way.

Rainy days, snowy days, windy days, icy days, they were all the same. Just a necessary “something” to be gotten through so that one could go back to fitting life into the interval before the next walk … always with one eye on the relentless march of the hours …

I was not shortchanged.


Ten years is, in fact, a long time.

But what I wouldn't give for ten more …

Goodbye, my little heart . . .

Until we meet again.

09-24-2016, 10:57 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. Ten years IS such a long time, isn't it?

And yet... it's not.

Godspeed Annie.

Many hugs sent your way.

09-24-2016, 01:34 PM

09-24-2016, 01:39 PM
Dear Catherine,

Your K9C family is so sorry to learn of Annie's passing. Thank you very much for returning to us, though, and allowing us to join you in honoring Annie and all she has meant to you. What we wouldn't give to be able to start the journey all over again with our precious pups, but this time around with them being strong and healthy for years and years and years. :o

Every moment is a gift, though. And just as you have said, we are grateful for each and every one of those moments spent together.

Sending you my best wishes across the miles, Catherine, and my deep sympathy for your loss of your little girl.

Squirt's Mom
09-24-2016, 02:21 PM
I am so sorry to hear about your precious Annie. We never get enough time regardless how long we get to share our lives with them. We are here any time, right by your side.

Our deepest sympathy,
Leslie, Trinket, Sophie, Fox and all our angels

From The Darkest Evening of the Year
By Dean Koontz

“Dog’s lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with (them), never fail to share (their) joy or delight in (their) innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

09-24-2016, 03:15 PM
I am so sorry for the lose of your precious Anne. There is never enough time with our fur babies. From one Canadian to another. I lived in Rexdale, Ontario,in the township of Etobiko,in the 1960's. Lived one time beside Maple Leaf Garden. My Sweet Anne be at peace.
Sonja and Apollo

Budster's Mom
09-24-2016, 04:43 PM
For me, time is measured in moments. Most good, some bad. When it comes to our sweet babies, there is never enough time. Whether it be eight, 10, 15 years or more, it seems to fly by in the wink of an eye. Leaving us always craving more.

So sorry for you loss. Fly free Annie!

09-24-2016, 09:21 PM
Ten years....It is such a long time...Lena has only been gone for 7 months and I can't believe I have made it to this point...how on earth can I last another 9 years without her??

We became seniors together; I became a grandmother and she became an "aunt"; we moved from the house she came to us in to a new one; my father, her "pop"; she lost her big sister, five cat brothers; and a parakeet....such a long time.

As you, what wouldn't I give for another 10 years...even if it meant such heartache. We love them to pieces and then we have to let them go. It's not fair....

But I think it gives us more time to give our hearts to the other ones that need us NOW. That's how I want to think of it.

I loved Lena with all my heart and I miss her every second of every day, but I couldn't turn away any other if they needed me...just call me a sap....

09-24-2016, 10:34 PM
I have to take a moment to thank all of you most sincerely for your tender condolences and support.
This experience of grief is unlike anything that I've ever felt before and its intensity is beginning to cause me some concern.
Perhaps someone could help me out here with a bit of reassurance.
When Annie died, I was as prepared as one can be ( I guess ) for the emotional pain that hit me like an eighteen-wheeler.
I've buried both parents and my husband died eight years ago, too. I thought I knew what to expect.
What I didn't anticipate were the physiological manifestations of this grief and sorrow . . . In other words, I'm not only feeling Annie's loss in terms of my head ( emotions, thoughts, etc. ) but I'm also feeling it in my body.
Severe insomnia, loss of appetite and muscle aches are the most bothersome symptoms.
It is almost as if my "fight or flight" response has gotten stuck in the "ON" position.
I find that I've become hypervigilant and filled with anxiety.
Mind you, that's exactly how I felt during Annie's final weeks as her little world ( and mine, too ) got smaller and smaller. I kept an incredibly close eye on her . . . 24 / 7.
She began to gradually eat less and less . . . so I scrambled to come up with meal alternatives that would tempt her waning appetite.
She developed opportunistic skin infections which were treated with meds and special veterinary shampoos. ( Annie hated water. The only way that I could follow through with the prescribed WEEKLY baths was to get into the tub with her to try to keep her calm. )
I could list many other examples . . . but as you've all dealt with Cush-pups, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.
And now Annie is gone.
My head is valiantly trying to tell my heart that I can stand down.
But the message isn't getting through . . .
I feel myself still "braced" and ready for the next challenge !
Do you have any suggestions ?
How long did it take before you found yourself able to relax a bit ?
I can weather the emotional storm . . . because as so many of my friends have said, "Catherine, you did GOOD."
It's utterly exhausting waiting for my heart to catch up to this new reality . . .
Thank you all again . . .

09-24-2016, 11:01 PM
My apologies for the lack of line spacing in my last post, by the way !

09-24-2016, 11:04 PM
Ten years....It is such a long time...Lena has only been gone for 7 months and I can't believe I have made it to this point...how on earth can I last another 9 years without her??

We became seniors together; I became a grandmother and she became an "aunt"; we moved from the house she came to us in to a new one; my father, her "pop"; she lost her big sister, five cat brothers; and a parakeet....such a long time.

As you, what wouldn't I give for another 10 years...even if it meant such heartache. We love them to pieces and then we have to let them go. It's not fair....

But I think it gives us more time to give our hearts to the other ones that need us NOW. That's how I want to think of it.

I loved Lena with all my heart and I miss her every second of every day, but I couldn't turn away any other if they needed me...just call me a sap....
Joan, you're no sap, my dear . . .
You just love animals as much as I do !
Yes, ten years IS a long time, isn't it . . . Those years seem to have disappeared in the blink of an eye.

09-24-2016, 11:26 PM
Dear Catherine,
There is no easy way to go through this grief easily They are our family, our babies. Anne has been there through a lot with you . People say cruel things. No she was not just a dog, she was your family, your friend, companion, love. So why would you not feel this bad. When you have taken care to help our fur babies, tried everything to help it is even harder. Your whole focus is on them. Then suddenly it all stops. You don't realize how overwhelming it was at times. It is like all of a sudden you are hit with a ton of bricks. Your body is finally letting go and obsorbing what you went through trying to save her . There will be flashbacks, overwhelming tears, beautiful memories, sadness ,loss. It is called grief. When you have loved so hard, gotten that love back many times,why would you not feel this way. Let it out. Be kind to yourself. We will support, love you through this. You are not alone.
Sonja, Apollo

09-25-2016, 07:58 AM
I am still in "panic mode"; I still get anxious when I am away from the house where all my memories of Lena are; everything I do that we used to do together brings on tears that I can't stop; any time any of the other fur babies have any kind of illness, I panic and start thinking they are going to die.

When my father died, I didn't feel this kind of grief. Sometimes I'll be driving and I can feel the anger and grief take hold and I find myself gripping the steering wheel so hard that I just want to rip if off. There are days where I can't concentrate on anything because my mind is full of Lena.

So, Catherine, you are not alone and I've wondered sometimes if this is normal and maybe I need some help, but not yet. If she was a child, no one would question why I can't get over it...but she WAS my child, she WAS my baby and I am going to grieve for her as long as I need to.

So, I keep it to myself; I cry when I'm alone; and I come here where it's perfectly normal to feel this way and let my feelings out.

My heart goes out to you...

09-25-2016, 08:06 AM
Catherine, hugs.

I'm sorry for your loss of Annie. Yes, in the space of ten years, so much in our lives can happen. Marriage, moves, jobs.... And yet ten years is like a blink of the eye. It feels like just yesterday. When we want it to be forever.

Grief is a beast and I don't think there's a way to predict its impact. There have been losses which caused me tears and sadness but otherwise were as one might expect. There were also ones which caused me such pain that I couldn't hear or sleep, until I willed myself to do those things.

The last three pets I've lost all needed a great deal of medical care in the final weeks or months with me. My body was physically wiped from this but, yes, I did feel hyper vigilant too. I found that just like grief will tamper off, so will the hyper vigilance. If one has other pets, I've also found that just like there will always be some sadness for what we've lost, there will always be a more keen sense of being aware of how much one needs to do to keep them well.

Loss DOES leave one with a different reality. That's why I appreciate so much the support of communities like these. You're not alone in this and ones will help you through the dark road ahead. And eventually there will be smiles and hope again. Give yourself time and take care of yourself. You've lost a precious friend.

09-25-2016, 08:45 AM
Good Morning, everyone . . .
Just thought I'd take a moment here to share an invaluable resource that I stumbled upon during one of my many recent sleepless nights.
If you go to www.petsatpeace.ca and scroll halfway down that home page, you'll see the title "365 Days of Healing".

When you sign up with your e-mail address ( which I did right away ), you'll receive daily reflections and "lessons" ( sort of . . . more like points to ponder ) delivered directly to your Inbox every morning.

I have begun to archive them so that I can refer back to the ones I've received ( so far ) when I'm feeling especially distraught and hopeless. ( like at 3:00 in the morning . . . sheesh . . . )

I suspect that this service was originally intended for people who have lost human loved ones, but a loss is a loss. And every loss is experienced at 100 %.

One thing that I forgot to mention . . .

Would you believe that I'm a trained and certified grief counsellor ?

I know, right ?

The irony isn't lost on me either.

The phrase "Physician, heal thyself" leaps to mind !

I'm trying to remember everything that I was taught about grief but I've come to realize that grief recovery is not an intellectual exercise.
This is soul work, plain and simple. ( and perhaps not so simple )

This morning's e-mail ( from the above source ) has set me the task of exquisite self-care today.

Doesn't that have a lovely ring to it ?

Exquisite . . . wow . . .

So I decided to take that seriously by sitting quietly with my first cup of coffee. I asked myself, "Okay, Catherine . . . What do you really want to do today ?"

And I waited . . .

Predictably, my "To-Do" list popped up front and center.

Get the groceries . . . ( I did that yesterday. Check. )

Do the laundry. ( Already done. Check. )

Clean the house. ( Seriously ? Is that the best you can do ? Besides, that takes energy which is at an all-time low right now. NEXT . . . )

Plan some simple, healthy meals for today. Oh yes, and actually MAKE them . . . and eat what you can. ( Perfect. Refer back to "Get the groceries". Check. )

REST. ( How can I rest with dust balls colonizing all over the place ? )

REST. ( How can I rest with last week's mail waiting to be opened ? )

REST. ( Alright, already . . . I'll try to rest. But what am I supposed to DO while I'm resting ? Just stare at the ceiling ? )

REST. ( Perhaps I'll try to relax into the pages of a good book. )

As soon as that thought occurred to me, all of the other so-called "priorities" faded to black.

That's it !

I'm going to spend the DAY reading. ( I'm a HUGE reader. )

That feels pretty darned exquisite to me.

On this quiet, Sunday morning, may God bless us everyone.

We were committed, loving stewards of the precious little souls that were entrusted to our care.

We gave them a wonderful life . . . and we need to try to remember that we can take pride in that.

Yes, our hearts are hurting. And they will likely continue to hurt for a very long time, too.

But we have honoured our Sacred Contract with the Creator who sent those beloved spirits to us to love and nurture.

When we first cradled that tiny, squirming puppy, we knew that they were only "on loan".

The time would inevitably come when we would have to give them back. That was the Agreement.

After all, they really were a little bit of heaven on earth, weren't they ?

I always KNEW there had to be a reason that "God" spelled backwards was "DOG".

Love to you all . . . and thank you again for your gracious words of support.

We are not alone.

09-25-2016, 09:13 AM
I am still in "panic mode"; I still get anxious when I am away from the house where all my memories of Lena are; everything I do that we used to do together brings on tears that I can't stop; any time any of the other fur babies have any kind of illness, I panic and start thinking they are going to die.

When my father died, I didn't feel this kind of grief. Sometimes I'll be driving and I can feel the anger and grief take hold and I find myself gripping the steering wheel so hard that I just want to rip if off. There are days where I can't concentrate on anything because my mind is full of Lena.

So, Catherine, you are not alone and I've wondered sometimes if this is normal and maybe I need some help, but not yet. If she was a child, no one would question why I can't get over it...but she WAS my child, she WAS my baby and I am going to grieve for her as long as I need to.

So, I keep it to myself; I cry when I'm alone; and I come here where it's perfectly normal to feel this way and let my feelings out.

My heart goes out to you...
Good Morning, Joan . . .
Your description of being in "panic mode" REALLY resonated with me, hon. Thank you so much for being so honest.

Yesterday, when I was out grocery shopping ( felt like I was wearing my nerves on my skin ! ), I found myself rushing through the aisles in much the same way that I did when Annie was beginning to decline. She had begun to be very anxious whenever it was necessary to leave her alone . . . even for a brief time.

I caught myself and tried to keep remembering that the old "rules" no longer applied. But it had no effect. I just wanted to get back HOME as soon as possible, dust balls and all. ( I'm considering naming them ! )

After riding the Cushing's roller coaster for over two years with my little heart, it's going to take a long time to get my equilibrium back, I suspect.

I can remember taking an Alaskan cruise many years ago. After several days at sea, the ship docked and I got off to explore that port-of-call. Would you believe that I staggered around on dry land like I'd had too much to drink ? I believe that phenomenon is called "sea legs" . . . and I wasn't alone then, either.

This has a very similar feel to it.

Annie and I were knocked around from pillar to post ( think of a gale at sea ) virtually ricocheting off walls sometimes . . . Our "weather forecasts" were phoned in to us by our vet . . . with those oh, so crucial numbers that we were waiting for.

The truth of the matter is that I'm actually in calm "seas" now. Crystal clear blue skies . . . with a soft breeze and unlimited visibility, too.

The question "Now what ?" keeps popping into my mind.

Do I choose to remain "becalmed" in the doldrums ? Or do I take advantage of that gentle breeze to set my sails for a new horizon ?

Today I'd have to say that I just don't know.

I'm still on "red alert" for the next storm !

It's going to take time, I guess.

Thank you again, Joan, and warmest wishes . . .

molly muffin
09-26-2016, 10:23 PM
I am so sorry to hear that Annie passed. I completely understand as the reason I haven't been online very much is because i lost my molly too.
I understand the panic mode very well. At first I had panic attacks (which I don't have normally) just entering the house, to the point where I didn't want to be in the house without her at all. With that horrible silence that rings so loudly.
I still come home from work right away because that is when molly would be waiting for me I was probably better at not coming home at a very specific time when she was alive than I am with her gone.
It's not always the big things that get to us so much as as the cumulative little things. The walks, the feeding, treat time, wake up time, go to bed time. It all just adds up to one big hole that shouldn't be there.
10 years is a lot of time yet it is not enough time at all in relation to our own lives.
I agree, the grief over the loss of our furbabies seems to be so intense and consuming. I think it is because it is like the loss of a child. A dog, or cat, pet, relies on us for everything in their lives and well being. We are here and spend each day making sure that They are okay. That hole is larger to fill and feels bigger than other losses.

09-27-2016, 02:12 PM
Ah, Sharlene . . . I'm so sorry that you've lost your beloved companion, too.

I understand that silence, let me tell you. Who knew that silence could ROAR ?

One thing that I'm really having to do battle with in the aftermath of this profound loss is my inclination to just want to be alone.

Everything seems to require SO much energy, doesn't it ?

Case in point : I've been invited out for a belated birthday dinner this evening with friends and, as this afternoon wears on, I'm feeling less and less interested.

Oh, they all know that Annie died four weeks ago . . . I think they're just trying to help me pull my head out of my a**.

But the mere thought of having to sit and "feign" interest in ongoing conversations while putting on a composed facade for the world to see is really bugging me this afternoon.

I'm an introvert by temperament anyway . . . we do our battery-charging in solitude. And, MAN, do my batteries ever need charging.

So I'm stuck on the horns of a dilemma at the moment.

Do I risk offending my friends by politely requesting a postponement ? ( like for, say, five years from now ? lol ) That's what my aching heart is telling me to do.

Or do I expend the effort required to "pull myself together" ( I'm retired, by the way ) so that I'm ready when they stop by to pick me up?

I'll let you know.

09-29-2016, 01:10 PM
When you are in grief and loss the last thing you want to do is put on a happy face and listen to people reminding you of what you have lost. Only you can decide. When Apollo died I pulled away for awhile so I could grieve in my own way. It was just to exhausting to engage with people and act like everything was okay because it wasn't and people are uncomfortable with your grief and try to fix it,when there is nothing to fix. It is up to you.
Love Sonja and Apollo

09-30-2016, 04:07 AM
Hi Catherine,

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my boy Friday night. I just turned 30 and he was with me for 16 of those years. It is never enough time no matter how long they are with us. I would give anything to see his sweet face again. The intensity of your pain right now is nothing to be concerned about.

That eighteen-wheeler you mentioned, hit me head on last night. I have never lost anyone close to me before so I was not expecting it at all. In fact, the last 5 days, I thought I might actually do ok with this grieving thing. Wrong. It was so profound that I fell where I was standing and had the most severe stomach pain I had ever had in my life. I couldn't stop crying which brought on the worst headache of my life. During those few hours, I thought I was going to die twice from the pain. All I remember thinking before this happened was that it was real and I was never going to see my boy again.

What I am getting at, is your response to losing Annie is normal because it is unique to you. I still question at times whether or not I am dealing with this in a healthy way. I just remind myself that I am still breathing, I am not harmed and the day before, I was able to get out of bed and be productive.

I kind of hope you didn't go to that birthday dinner. As in introvert myself, I spend 90% of my time alone. It's strange because I want to be alone more than ever but feel scared to be alone at the same time. I am curious to know how that night went for you. If you have pictures of Annie, I would love to see her. I understand it is too hard to look at pictures. I can't Sometimes but other times I stare into his eyes and can almost feel he is with me.

If you ever need to talk, feel free to message me. Even at 3 am when you are at your worst. That is my daytime so I am always up.


09-30-2016, 11:59 PM
Hello, Kat . . . and thank you for taking the time to send me your thoughts.

First of all, my sincerest, heartfelt condolences on the loss of your own "little heart". If it's any consolation, please know that the depth of your grief reaction is very much mirroring my own.

I, too, have been bothered over the past two days with stomach pain. ( Annie died on August 31st. ) My first thought was, "Oh, great, now something's wrong with ME ?" I, however, am 63 years old so, naturally, I found myself starting to wonder if there was something serious going on in there.

I'm just playing it by ear . . . It's not debilitating or anything like that, it's just "unusual". I'm hoping that it resolves on its own.

As far as that birthday dinner goes, I gave my regrets and did not attend. I asked my friends to please postpone it but so far there has been no further talk of an alternate date . . . and that suits me just fine, too.

It's always very gratifying to hear from a fellow introvert ! I, too, MUCH prefer solitude to the company of a lot of people. I always have. And now that I'm grieving, it's much easier to be on my own clock ( I'm a retired teacher. ) than it is to be accommodating the schedule of other people.

When Annie died, the most intense manifestation of my grief was the severe insomnia that hit me with a vengeance. And I'm not just talking about only being able to sleep a couple of hours every night . . . I mean ZERO sleep. Period. I went 72 straight hours with no sleep . . . and massive anxiety with racing thoughts, to boot.

My doctor prescribed some sleep meds for me to weather this crisis but they didn't work.

Nothing worked. I was missing my little cuddle bug and her soft snoring so much that my comfy bed had become a place of profound emptiness and sorrow.

One night, in the wee small hours, I had a bit of a brainwave.

I started to look online for a Dachshund stuffed animal that had the same Black and Tan coloration as Annie did. And I FOUND ONE at Amazon.

I can't believe that I'm actually admitting this, but figuring that I had nothing to lose, I ordered it.

It arrived three days later.

It's just a little bit smaller than Annie was but the shape of its chest and little round bum is pretty darned close to perfect . . . Enough to satisfy that aching sense memory that was keeping me awake.

So, here I am, a 63 year old retired professional . . . sleeping ( and napping ) with a little stuffed Dachshund.

And would you believe that it's worked ! I'm sleeping very peacefully again . . . Actually, my body has begun to crave sleep. Occasionally in the middle of the afternoon, too, and I'm just following its lead. After all, I figure that I'm healing. Not only from the major body blow that I took when Annie died, but also from the eighteen months of anguish that preceded her death as I tried everything medically possible to deal with the Cushing's and its many opportunistic complications.

I'm just oh, so very tired now. And if Annie's little "stand-in" enables me to relax into the memories of the comfort with which she blessed me, then it looks like I might be sleeping with a stuffed animal for the rest of my life . . . or until I get another Dachshund, anyway. ( ! ! ! )

Now that I'm able to sleep again, the intensity of my grief is beginning to ebb a bit, too.

I try to keep reminding myself that she was ( and still is ) very dearly loved, protected and nurtured. I made sure that she had the best veterinary care available and I prioritized my budget so that her needs came first. In other words, as my friends keep reminding me, I did GOOD. ( lol )

Would I want her back ? Is that what this aching, yearning grief is all about ? When I can be brutally honest with myself, I can now answer no to that question. Not if it meant that she would have to endure one more millisecond of the limited mobility and ultimate weakness that characterized her final months. The heat intolerance, the panting, the exercise intolerance . . . it was a real challenge to come up with strategies to keep her comfortable. But I did it.

And that's what I cling to ( along with Annie's "stand-in" ) when my sorrow and grief starts to get the better of me.

I gave her a wonderful life . . . That's something to be proud of.

I hope that I can really remember to believe that some day.

Thank you again, Kat, and please feel free to stay in touch . . .

10-01-2016, 09:11 AM
The first week after Lena died, I slept with a little stuffed dog that looked very much like her. Whenever my grandsons left it lying around we always thought it was Lee. Even though Lena didn't want to cuddle much the last few months of her life, because she was always so hot, I clung to that stuffed dog.

Nine days later, my husband brought home a puppy without telling me and the first night she cuddled up to my neck and slept all night. I was in shock over my loss of Lee and just couldn't bond with Sibbie for the first few weeks, which I might have been able to do if i had been given the time I needed to grieve, so she slept next to me, but not on my neck anymore....she also decided that the stuffed dog was hers, so I put it away where she couldn't chew it up.

Sibbie still sleeps next to me, she curls up against my back and when I reach out during the night to touch the place where Lena used to be, I always put my hand on Sibbie to make sure she's close by.

None of my dogs sleep where Lee used to, not on her side of the bed, and not on the arm of the couch where she was always behind me where I could lean back and kiss her sweet little face...it's like they know those are only for her.

In all my 60 years of owning fur babies, I have never felt this kind of grief. I am overwhelmed, and consumed by it. I love all of them and they know it. I take care of them, I worry about them constantly now (any little bout of nausea or diarrhea puts me in "red alert" mode), but Lee was my heart and soul baby...and I can't let go, I don't want to let go.

So, whatever makes you able to deal with your loss, just do it. No one has to know but us on this forum...we all understand.

10-01-2016, 12:49 PM
One of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of this sad time in my life is dealing with people who continue to badger me to either be more social . . . or to get another dog right away !

First of all, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am an introvert by temperament. Insisting that I be more "social" is like asking a tulip to turn into a daffodil. I'm fairly confident that botanists haven't had much success with THAT !

I was on the receiving end of those comments just this morning, too, when I took one of my senior neighbours to the local library and then to do her grocery shopping . . . because her car was in the "shop" for the weekend.

Now if that's not being social, then I don't know what is expected of me ! ( don't care, either )

As for getting another dog right away ? First of all, my grief is much too fresh and exhausting these days . . . I also live on my own. I can't imagine summoning the energy to deal with the normal, healthy demands of a brand-new puppy ! Not yet, anyway.

My home is a condominium here in Toronto. Living on the seventeenth floor as a I do, going out for a walk four times a day is a real TREK.
When Annie was younger and more mobile, I became quite used to it. And as the seasons began to change, I actually enjoyed watching nature's subtle transformations from day to day with her.

But heading into a Canadian winter with a puppy ? I may as well install a revolving door in my suite . . . I'd be up and down in the elevator about every two hours or so !

Why in the name of GOD can't people just leave me the hell ALONE ?

I am ferociously independent and quite capable of the self-care required for recovery from this grief . . .

Nor am I a hermit !

You know, I would NEVER presume to say stuff like that to another griever . . . even if their loss was JUST a dog ! ( Oh, I've heard that, too . . . )

How have you managed to keep these well-intentioned boneheads at bay ?

10-01-2016, 01:01 PM
Easily, I don't let them know how I feel. I save it for here and if I start to talk about her and I see that "look", I stop and don't talk to them about her anymore.

Anyone who implies that she "was just a dog" has lost my openness. I'll still work with them if I have to, talk to them if I have to, but our relationship will be forever changed, even if they don't know it.

10-04-2016, 12:42 PM
Dear Cathrine
That is why you are here. To be loved ,supported by people like you. Annie is your baby. And no she was not just a dog. Like you ,I come here to let it out. Most people do not realize we need to grieve in our own way. There is no quick fix. Our fur babies are a part of us, not an object to just get over. For awhile I wrapped myself in my grief and distance myself from people because I did not want to put on a fade facade for them. Most people feel uncomfortable about loss so they try to cover it up with business. Right now you need to grieve Anne . Do what is best for you. You will never replace Annie. Be around people of like mind. How do you deal with it? Be kind, be honest, you are grieving the loss of your baby and need time to heal. There is never enough time with these little angels.
Love Sonja,Apollo,Karma

10-14-2016, 06:31 AM
Hello, everyone . . .

It's been six weeks now since my beloved little girl left me.

I thought I was doing REALLY well, too !

Running a small business from home, not making any mistakes anymore, ( ! ) eating and sleeping well, and visiting with good friends.

HA !

Insomnia has returned with a VENGEANCE. Insomnia and her equally evil twin - racing thoughts.

I finally gave up on sleep about three or four hours ago and found myself sitting here in the kitchen staring into space. Pretty much shut down . . . Thinking about everything and nothing in particular . . . ( overthinking is more like it )

I decided to touch base with all of you kind, wonderful souls here because if anyone can understand this bloody anguish, you can.

It also helps if I take the time to write about my feelings . . . I need to get them out of my head.

I think this current "wave" of grief was triggered by a completely innocent encounter I had with a neighbour yesterday afternoon. I live in a condo here in Toronto and EVERYONE knew Annie. She was almost like our building's unofficial mascot. The overwhelming majority of our residents are senior citizens . . . in various stages of their senior years, too. They welcomed the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Annie whenever they ran into us in the lobby and Annie was always very wiggly and affectionate with everyone.

Yesterday afternoon as I was in the parking garage, I ran into a neighbour who commented that I must be about to go grocery shopping because I didn't have Annie with me.

I gently told her that Annie had died six weeks ago. We must have stood there talking for about twenty minutes or so. She had many questions and I took the time to answer them for her.

I was a little bit shaken by having to tell my "story" all over again but I figured I would bounce back once I hit the grocery store.

Which I did, actually.

Until it was time to try to sleep.

WHAM ! ! !

The worst part of this latest "wave" of grief is the constant nattering of my inner critic. I seem to find myself itemizing everything that I haven't been able to attend to over the course of the last six weeks.
That "To-Do" list was started well before Annie died. I literally put everything on hold as she declined - assuring myself that I would have plenty of time to deal with all of that "stuff" soon enough.

Now that she's gone, I find that I'm beating myself up for not swinging into action to tackle those tasks.

My get-up-and-go got up and WENT !

When I'm not dealing with the immediate demands of my small business, I just want to REST. And for me, that means curling up with a good book . . . with naps whenever my eyes begin to get heavy.

When my husband died eight years ago, my grief didn't feel like this. I pretty much just felt rotten for about a year and a half.

This experience of grief is very different. I'm aware of peaks and valleys now . . . Not bipolar peaks and valleys, mind you . . . There are just days when I feel more like myself ( whatever that means ! ) minus my usual motivation and drive . . . And then there are days when I just feel like hell . . . That's when I become virtually immobilized by inertia.

Am I being too hard on myself here ? Fortunately, I have no regrets with respect to the quality of Annie's nurturing and care during her final months . . . I don't really know WHAT'S tormenting me and preventing me from sleeping.

Is this "just" grief ?

10-14-2016, 07:42 AM
It does seem harder with our fur babies. I am still in "grief" and it is 34 weeks today. There are days when I also function like a normal person and then there are the days I can't. I go over and over and over it all. I blame myself for rushing in to treat her. She was almost 15, I should have just left her alone and let her live out her remaining days home with all her familiar surroundings and not going to the vet for blood work and having to constantly watch her for signs of too much Vetoryl.

Last night was one of my waking up every hour or so remembering that last night, checking the time and remembering what was happening at that time in the Emergency Clinic that night that she died. I wonder when it will stop?

11-06-2016, 10:34 AM
Hello, everyone . . .

Annie has been gone for just over two months now and I "thought" I was making my peace with this soul-searing grief.

Until yesterday, that is . . .

Right out of the blue, a day that had started out with workable plans slipped into a day of sad inertia. And I have no idea what triggered it, either . . .

I'm sleeping again ( for the most part ) and I make sure to eat nutritious meals, too.

My energy is pretty good and I socialize with friends on a fairly regular basis . . .

I even have moments when I realize that I'm feeling happy and peaceful . . . knowing that Annie's struggles are over . . .

So what the hell happened yesterday ?

Actually, today is shaping up to be somewhat similar, too.

I'm in the process of trying to "force" myself to tackle a few items on my "To-Do" list this morning but all I really want to do is just curl up and read the day away . . . Nothing is really pressing anyway.

I wasn't expecting to be so blind-sided by my grief and sorrow again, to be honest . . . While not as intense, this inertia very much resembles the way that I felt right after Annie died !

I'm also afraid that if I honour what my body is telling me to do today ( effectively, a big fat NOTHING ), the voice of my "inner critic" will roar to life to berate me for being such a slug !

I've put myself into a damned-if-I-do and damned-if-I-don't predicament !

Do any of you wise souls have any advice ? As always, it would be MUCH appreciated !

Budster's Mom
11-06-2016, 09:22 PM
Hi Katherine,

My Buddy passed over three years ago. As you can see, I am still here. I don't know how wise my advice is, but I have found that it helps for me to listen to what I'm feeling at the time. So, it is quite OK to curl up with a book and read your day away, if that's what you need at the time and are afforded that luxury. A few down days now and then, will not turn you into a slug. Grief comes in waves. Some small and rippling, while others knock you flat. Be gentle with yourself and listen to what you are needing/feeling at any given time. It's slowly start to get easier, but the pain never goes away entirely.


molly muffin
11-07-2016, 05:39 PM
I have no wise words, as I too find that out of the blue, something seems to set me off into a world of missing my molly and basic inertia to get anything done.
Sometimes I don't even know what it is, just a general look around the house of where she should be and isn't I think will do it if the feeling is inside waiting to come out.
The only thing that one can really do is to roll with it, knowing that this too shall pass and maybe tomorrow is the day that you will not feel it so profoundly.
Then again, maybe it will be next week. There is just no way to tell when it hits or how long it lasts.

11-08-2016, 12:36 AM
About ten minutes ago or so, I found myself tossing and turning in bed trying to get comfortable enough to sleep.

Finally, I just decided to give up on this whole sleep "thing" for now, anyway.

I still seem to be mired in this latest wave of grief . . . and this one is a doozie.

I was so proud of myself, too . . . I thought I had been doing so well ! It kind of reminds me of the game of Monopoly. "Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $ 200.00."

In other words, many steps forward and now what feels like about as many steps backwards. Maybe Snakes and Ladders would have been a better analogy !

Being the "overthinker" that I am, I've been trying for the life of me to figure out what plunged me into this most recent abyss. I guess I'm assuming that if I can identify the trigger, then the grief will ease a bit because I'll be able to understand what caused it to roar to the surface again.

But trying to intellectualize grief is pretty much an exercise in futility. My experience of this is that grief has nothing to do with our heads and everything to do with our hearts.

I find myself wondering IF and when I'll get another dog. Maybe that's done it ? Maybe it's just too soon ? The thought of getting another dog just fills me with anxiety over the likelihood of having to go through this grief one day down the road again.

Friends have asked me what breed I would choose if I were to get another pup. My answer is always the same. "I would want another Dachshund because I love the breed."

That's right about when they start to bombard me with a zillion reasons NOT to opt for a Dachshund again.

"Oh, Catherine, WHY ? Annie was a very difficult dog. She was a LOT of work."

"She wasn't really a LOT of work. She had a chronic disease. And besides, I kind of cherished her stubborn, little, feisty personality before she got sick."

"Do you want to run the risk of having another dog get Cushing's Disease ? And go through everything that you went through with Annie all over AGAIN ? You're not getting any younger, you know.
( I'm 63 and perfectly healthy, thank God. Just a bit of pesky insomnia of late . . . ) Just think of all those WALKS . . . You're free now !"

Maybe THAT'S what I'm grieving . . . ?

Maybe I really HAVE made my peace with the loss of Annie.

Maybe I'm bereft at the thought of never being able to snuggle with a little warm, furry body again ?

Then again, maybe it's just too soon to know . . . One thing that I definitely know for sure is that I'm really not myself these days.

I'm going to call it grief. It just is what it is. And it won't allow me to try to "explain" it away, either.

I've been knocked on my a** for a reason . . . and if past experience is any guide, these periods of stillness and inertia usually precede a bit of personal growth.

Thank you, Kathy and Sharlene, for your kind words of support. Not only does it help a bit to be able to pour my heart out through my writing, it also helps enormously to know that I'm not alone. . . or unique in this experience.

Now if only I could SLEEP. ( Ugh ! ! ! )


11-08-2016, 12:53 AM

You have such a way with words. I'm sorry you're facing a night of insomnia but "This Too Shall Pass" ... never as soon as we'd like, it seems.

My husband asked me today if I'd decided whether or not to get another dog. He doesn't want another, but I had been thinking about it before mine passed, trying to decide if I did or did not want to consider adopting another. But now it's much too soon to think about. Besides, we still have one dog, and it seems he's currently trying to deal with his own grief. I'm thinking we'll do what we can to get through the holidays and see how we feel about it after that. I don't know that I would adopt another doxie though. We'll see.

I digress. I'm usually asleep by now but have been playing a game with one of our sons, catching up with him in the process. But now I need to head to bed, as work will be demanding my attention before long. Hopefully you will be able to get some rest soon, as well.


Harley PoMMom
11-08-2016, 03:31 PM
Oh Catherine,

I have no words of wisdom to help but I can send you the biggest and most loving hugs. ;) Lori

11-09-2016, 02:04 PM
I can only you give my experience, strength and hope. When my Apollo died, the only thing on my mind was grieving his loss. The memories, the love, the life he had. I would not have changed it. Even through all the illnesses he had with Cushing's I would not change it. I loved him, will always love him. I needed time to deal with my grief and not think of anything else. 4 months after his death, something propelled me to look up adoption sites. I think Apollo knew I was lost and was saying it is okay if you pass that love on to another. We all grieve in the way we need to. Sometimes we just need to withdraw from the world, listening to everyone pushing us because they feel uncomfortable with our grief. Just halt everyone. Making major decisions when you are grieving is to much pressure. You can never replace what you lost.
Love Sonja and Apollo

11-09-2016, 02:24 PM
If my husband had asked me if I wanted a puppy a week after Lena died, I would have hit him. So he did it without telling me. I can't remember the first couple of weeks, I was so overwhelmed with grief. I couldn't bond with Sibbie at all and she learned to take care of herself.

Now of course I am sorry that I missed those first few weeks when she needed me. If he had waited a few months, I probably wouldn't have been so stressed out and could have been happy about it because I love animals.

I still miss Lee every day, all day.

But Sibbie and I have formed our own bond...I am Mommy and she is my baby. She's finally starting to cuddle with me and comes to me if she gets hurt or afraid. Sometimes she will stay in my arms for an hour while I rock her like I used to do with my darling Lena...not as much as Lee, who would stay in my arms as long as we both wanted it. I remember my first trip to PA with Lena, I had to hold her in my left arm the whole way. Three and a half hours driving because she just wanted to be closer to me. My shoulder hurt the whole time we were there. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

When and if you are ready to open your heart up to another, you will know...or you won't, and that's okay. There are no rules when it comes to loss or love, it is what it is.

11-10-2016, 10:50 PM
Dearest Joan, Sonja, Lori and Shana . . . and anyone else that I may have missed . . . ( with my sincerest apologies )

I think I may have overdone it this week. I had three busy, consecutive evenings . . . out and about with friends. And I was oh, so PROUD of myself for making the effort to not turn anyone down.

Tuesday evening, I got together with a few women ( also dog owners and their dogs were there, too ) for some dinner and we watched the election results. I stayed until about 9:00 because I really just wanted to go home, get into my gruddy nightshirt and watch CNN on my own.
I had a sense that this was going to be a historical night ( much like the moon landing was ) and I wanted to be a witness to it "as it happened". I pretty much pulled an all-nighter. And yes, I watched as Dana Bash ( on CNN ) announced at 2:40 a.m. that Hillary Clinton had just called Donald Trump to concede the election. I went to bed around 4:30 a.m. or so and managed to get a couple of hours sleep.

Wednesday evening I had theatre tickets to go and see Shakespeare's Richard III here in Toronto. I went with a friend, I did the driving and the play was about three and a half hours long.

This evening, I was invited to an H'ors D'Oeuvres party. Everyone had signed up to bring some sort of "finger food" and I brought mini-quiches. ( store-bought but I had to bake them first here at home )

That's when things got rather interesting, to say the least. As I sat in the company of all these women, all of whom knew Annie, by the way, I found myself getting increasingly uncomfortable. I didn't feel very talkative . . . nor was I rude ( ! ) . . . I was just quite content to sit and listen to the conversations unfold around me. I participated whenever I was spoken to directly, of course, but I gradually became aware of the fact that these women were just talking AT me. Kind of like "downloading" . . . nothing particularly negative . . . but nothing particularly interesting, either. I felt almost invisible. ( Does that make any sense ? )

Before I knew it, and right out of the bloody blue, I realized that my eyes were filling up with tears. I high-tailed it to the bathroom right away to try to get myself under control. The LAST thing I wanted to do was draw any sort of attention to myself. I dried my eyes, flushed the toilet, ran the tap ( had to make it sound like I'd gone in there for a reason ! ) and rejoined the group.

THAT'S when I realized, much to my horror, that I was right on the edge of a full-blown panic attack. I've only ever experienced panic attacks but a few times in my life but I sure as HELL remembered what they felt like.

I had to get the HELL out of there. I could no longer tolerate inane conversations about recipes, home cleaning tips, grandchildren or anything else for that matter.

So I very calmly made my excuses, ( I said that I had some work to do this evening - I run a small business out of my home. ) thanked the hostess ( who was somewhat taken aback at my hasty departure ) and came home.

As soon as I walked in the door, I pretty much exploded into tears.

And I knew that I HAD to reach out to my fellow grievers here at this site as SOON as I could see straight again.

What the hell happened ?

I just really want to be LEFT ALONE.

These friends of mine are PUSHING me to stay connected and socialize . . . after all, they say, it's been two months now.

But all I seem to be capable of is teeny-tiny baby steps these days.

The yard stick that I used to use to gauge whether or not I've had a good, productive day has had to be drastically recalibrated of late.

When I have to be with other people, it feels like I'm walking around with a gigantic arrow sticking out of my chest. All of my nerve endings seem to be on the OUTSIDE of my skin and my energy "reserves" get drained right down to empty when in the company of any kind of group . . . no matter how warm and friendly it may be.

I'll ask it again . . . what the HELL happened ?

When I'm left to my own devices, I can actually take damned good care of myself ! ( lol )

But that's the "key" . . . I just really want to be LEFT ALONE.

For now, anyway.

Is that so unusual ?

11-11-2016, 06:45 AM
Hi again, Catherine. I'm surely sorry that you're having such a tough time right now. I do believe that each person experiences grief in their own way and on their individual timetable. It is not at all surprising to me that you are still experiencing periods of intense grief over Annie after only two months since her loss.

Having said that, though, from what you are describing it sounds as if your grief may now be broadening to involve additional issues for you as time goes on. Annie's absence from your life may be unveiling feelings or reactions that were somehow easier to manage when she was alive.

In answer to your question, I don't think it's at all unusual that you are still feeling greater solace in being alone rather than participating in social activities right now. What I do worry about, however, is your description of being on the verge of a panic attack while being in the simple presence of friends. I would not want to see that reaction escalating or generalizing. As a result, and especially if it happens again, I'd encourage you to locate a counselor with whom you can talk about your grief, your loss, and your path forward.

Of course, we will always remain here alongside you as well. But I just think you might additionally benefit from talking to someone who has specific expertise with resolving the anxiety that can accompany a major life change or loss.


11-11-2016, 08:06 AM
Hi Catherine,

Feeling like you are walking around with an arrow in your chest describes how I feel. My heart hurts...today Lee has been gone 38 weeks.

You're not giving yourself enough time to mourn...and you may need help dealing with it. Sometimes I think I should call my old therapist and make an appointment. I get panic stricken very easily since Lena got sick and left me.

Yesterday Sibbie was throwing up and had diarrhea all day. When my husband texted me at 4:00 that she was still throwing up, I started to cry. I left work, went to his office and stopped at the vet on the way home. Before Lena's illness, I wouldn't have worried as much. I would have figured she just ate something and waited it out. Not anymore! I am petrified that they will die on me. I know that is not normal behavior, especially for me.

Sibbie got some shots, fluid under the skin and meds to take at home. My vet said it was probably something she ate, which of course my rational self knew all along.

My point is that we all react differently to stress, and having lost a beloved pet is stressful. I feel panicky when I'm not home or at work. At first I thought I was getting agoraphobic, but it has lessened and I am calmer, especially when I take Sibbie with me (not that I will ever admit that to my husband, who still won't admit that he should have waited!)

I think you have to allow yourself more time to grieve and if it still is too much, then talk to someone. Your friends mean well, they just want you back...and they can't feel what you are feeling.

molly muffin
11-11-2016, 05:46 PM
Hi Catherine, you aren't alone in the panic attacks. I too had them, more so in the days following molly's passing. Mine was hyperventilating and not able to enter the house, or hyperventilating and just wanting to get out, but what I didn't want to do was talk about it, or talk to anyone at that point about molly either. I just didn't want to talk. Sometimes, I still don't.

My husband was afraid I was going to pass out a few times and I could not get it under control. I think I stayed outside the entire day after molly left us because I couldn't go in the door. It was just too much. That is what emotion does to us. It takes us over and overwhelms till nothing else exists just that panic of the moment.

I was lucky to have some girl pals that stayed with me through the worst moments via chat online. All having been there and understand exactly what I was feeling. They are all members from this forum and we had extended talk sessions. They literally got me through the worst of times. I think that worked better than someone actually with me in person would have been. That I don't think I could have dealt with at all.

We just had a first real out lately with friends. It was good, it was fun and it also just 'was'. And I know that probably doesn't make much sense. I laughed, ate, made chit chat, and felt despair when I walked in the door afterwards.

Luckily there are people and events going on me all the time right now, so it doesn't have that chance to hit me and overwhelm near as often, but then there are those moments, when I too will go to the bathroom, wiping the tears from your eyes, praying you don't collapse on the bathroom floor in great gasping sobs and tears and that someone comes knocking asking if everything is okay because you just want to be left alone.

I was thinking about it as I read your post, and I think it is because we are forced by life to go on and do the things that need to be done, when deep inside we aren't actually ready for that. It's just that there is no choice and being responsible people we do what we have to do to get through it and are proud that hey, we are handling this really well. Productivity is up and things are being accomplished so we must be okay and not really having a hard time. Then those moments occur and remind us that we have lost something very important in our lives.

I don't think it hurts any to take that time to ourselves, to Demand the time from those who profess to love us most, to let us be sad, to miss our fur babies, to remember and smile at the things we loved so much about them.

I think maybe not enough gut wrenching cry sessions or whatever works for each of us, when we need it, is the culprit to the emotions finally Demanding that we pay attention to our inner soul and give it a hug from our outter person. Embrace who and what we are and what we feel and not put it aside to be looked at later.

I am trying to do this myself. I don't know how successful I am or will be at it, but I do want you to know. You aren't alone in how you feel.

11-11-2016, 06:18 PM
Hey Catherine, just wanted to come back to clarify that I surely don't think you're falling off the deep end or anything! I just happen to be good friends with lots of "helping" professionals, and I have personally benefited from counseling sessions at various points in my own life ;). So when I see people having a hard time, it's a recommendation that I often make.

As you can tell by the loving support offered to you by Joan and Sharlene, you are definitely not alone or unique in your feelings. From what you wrote, though, the thing that struck me was that it sounded as though your feelings of isolation and anxiety are actually developing or worsening now, two months down the road, rather than abating. And that's just what made me wonder whether some other "stuff" may now be entering in and complicating your grief process.

I may be totally misunderstanding things, however, and if so -- just ignore me. You are in good hands here, among our family members, that's for sure. And I hope that will be a continuing comfort to you!


11-11-2016, 09:55 PM
Dear Cathrine, you are not crazy. Right after Apollo died I had to move my mother. I tried to hold it in as the tears would slip out. I could not wit to get home be alone and grieve. For months, I would cry for no reason. I hated going home because Apollo wasn't there. You are going through the stages of grief. Let out the feelings. It is normal. You lost your best friend, companion, confident. So why would not feel the way you are. That is why you are here. To be comforted, loved , reassured. We have all been there.
Love Sonja

11-12-2016, 08:35 PM
I'm sorry it's been a while since I posted. Unfortunately, I know about panic attacks all too well and it certainly sounds you had a horrible one. It is a normal response for now but you don't want it to go on much longer and the fact that it has gotten worse has me genuinely worried. Loosing Tank was traumatic for me. He was with me for 17 years and things are nothing like they used to be. All I want is for everything to be normal again but every day, that reality seems less likely to happen. And that reality, crushes me to pieces. I know I will have to seek professional help soon, not just for the loss of my boy but for things that went unnoticed in my life while he was with me.

I hope this is temporary for you because I know just how horrifying it can be. The depth and intensity of your feelings.. completely normal. The way you described your anxiety is something to keep in eye on. I'll help you.


11-12-2016, 10:36 PM
Kay, one of the last sentences in your post really resonated with me because it mentioned something that I actually just became aware of this evening on my own . . . as I was thinking.

I do a LOT of that lately, it would appear. ( ! )

One of the many blessings of a canine companion, in my case, Annie, is that they help us remember to stay in the moment. They don't dwell on the past ( with whatever memories it may contain ) nor do they worry about the future ( which is a no-fail recipe for anxiety ).

And I'd have to say that I really followed her lead on that life lesson because that was the only place that genuine peace and serenity could be found.

While she certainly wasn't "credentialed", she almost filled the role of a Service Dog in that regard.

Nothing else mattered when that little Dachshund was trotting along beside me . . . or curled up ( snoring ) against me.

I'm sure that I'm making it sound like everything else in my life went to hell in a handcart . . . but that's not the case in the least.

It was all good . . . bills got paid, groceries got purchased, meals got planned, laundry got done, and I started a small business that I was able to run out of my home so that Annie was never alone.

Now that she's no longer with me, everything is still getting done and that small business of mine has grown in leaps and bounds ( my salvation, actually ).

But it feels as if I no longer have that little "shock absorber" between me and the thoughts that start to bubble to the surface. Somehow, just looking into that precious little face put everything into the proper perspective.

She took me out of myself and nurtured ME just as much as I nurtured and protected her . . .

I think I've just answered my own question as to whether I'm going to get another dog or not !

Your post mirrored my own insights this evening.

I love it when that happens !

I've worked with a therapist before, Kat, and I learned many valuable coping skills during my time with her, too. Chief among the "tools" in that toolbox is mindfulness. Annie helped me perfect that skill, too !

It's "funny" ( in a back-handed kind of way ) that I forgot all about it in the midst of processing this grief. My poor old head seemed stuck in trying to make sense of this loss . . . instead of surrendering to it and grounding myself to come back to the moment.

You have no idea how validating your post was for me this evening. Thank you !

Now perhaps I'll be able to sleep tonight . . . 😊

11-12-2016, 11:08 PM
I hope so! Give that brilliant, overthinking mind a rest for tonight and get some sleep. We all have your best interest here and are just looking out for you. I will always be here if you ever need to talk xx