How to Live Without Your Dog

If you think you can’t live without your dog, you’re not alone. These tips for surviving your dog’s death are inspired by a question from a reader.

how to live without your dogGoodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski is an excellent resource for coping with the death of a dog.

Here the comment that inspired this article on living without your dog: “I have no family, I’m divorced, no friends, am very depressed, and my dog is the only friend I know,” says Jeff on my article about putting your dog to sleep? “She needs to go to heaven but what about me after this is over? Who can be with me to do this, are there any organizations to help? I don’t think have the courage to do this alone and I fear for myself when it’s over.”





And here are a few practical tips for surviving your dog’s death…

Living Without Your Dog

“Time always brings eventual relief from the pain and your life will return to normal,” writes Gary Kurz in Cold Noses At The Pearly Gates (a book that offers many spiritual ways to survive pet loss). “There will be a time when you feel guilty for feeling better, but event hat will pass. Nothing will ever take away the sense of absence, but the disabling and relentless grief will subside and eventually disappear. I know it may not seem that way now, but…it has proven true every time.” Time helps. It may not be the best consolation, but it’s true.

For the first few weeks, avoid visible reminders of your dog

Though it helps some people to keep their dog’s collar and tags, it may be too sad for you. People mourn, recover, and remember in different ways. Here’s what pet bereavement counselor Wallace Sife writes in The Loss of a Pet: “Get rid of your pet’s toys and other things…they are mostly painful, and not good for you at this time. If you can’t throw them out yet, put them out of sight in a drawer or a box in a closet or basement. The real memory is in your heart.”

Seeing your pet’s collars, leashes, dishes, and beds in their usual places may make it harder to heal. Maybe one day you’ll donate them to friends or an animal shelter, or use them for a new pet. But for now, it may be best to put them out of sight.

If you feel bitter or angry at the vet, read How to Deal With Anger at the Veterinarian.

Find other creatures to care for

Do you live alone and feel like you have no friends, family, or neighbors to lean on? Think about getting another pet.

“My responses to each of my pet’s deaths differed in duration and intensity, depending on how quickly the end came, how much we suffered during their decline, and how many other pets I had,” says Sid Korpi, author of Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss. “The silence of the house when our dog Ludwig died was deafening because we had no other dogs at the time. It was tougher than when Mortimer left us, because we had our two Westie girls, Blanche and Keely. I didn’t love or miss Mortimer less intensely, but I was forced to pull myself out of my pain when the girls needed me. They reminded me life has to go on whether we’d like to wallow in the past or not. I’d feed them with tears rolling down my cheeks.”







If you get another dog, remember that they’ll never be the same as the one you lost. You’ll need to balance mourning the death of your dog with embracing a new, different dog.

Give yourself a sense of purpose – a reason to live

How to Live Without Your Dog

How to Live Without Your Dog

Maybe you don’t have other animals to take care of, and maybe you don’t want to take care of anyone else. That’s fine, but remember that being needed is something all humans need. “One of the basic human satisfactions is the feeling of being needed, and attending to an animal gives many people a daily sense of being useful,” writes Gary Kowalski in Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet. “It is important to know you make a difference, at least to one appreciative creature. For some people, losing a pet can mean losing a sense of purpose.”

Have you lost your sense of purpose? Find ways to make your life meaningful. Ask your friends and family what makes their lives worthwhile and interesting, and try something new every week.

Strive for a healthy, balanced life

Do you think your life is meaningless without your dog? If you have absolutely nothing else to live for except for your dog, then you may need to seek help. It’s not healthy to get all your life, love, and meaning from a your pet. I love my dog with all my heart, but I also love my work, my husband, and my writing.

Help Living Without Your Dog

how to heal after losing your petIn How to Heal Your Heart After Losing a Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, I share the most valuable, comforting advice I found when I was dealing with the loss of my own dog, Jazz.
I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways.

To be truly healthy and happy, you need to be balanced. And that means finding happiness in several different parts of your life, not just from your dog.

May you find ways to live without your dog, and may you find courage and strength to believe that your heart will heal. You may even heal enough to open your heart and soul to love another dog one day.

“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there,” says Pam Brown. “Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.”



xo

49 Responses

  1. Neil says:

    Hello fellow pet lovers.
    It’s been two months now and the emptiness remains overwhelming for me. Misty, my Rat Terrier lived a long and wonderful life, 13 years however the last several months were tough battling IMHA. For those who are familiar it’s a tough hill to climb but I am at peace everything medically was done to support her. Like other owners I share the loss of my best friend and loved companion. My routine and the complete feeling of responsibility are gone from my life. There appears to be complete disruption in day to day activity and flashbacks are painful. Viewing the many pictures and videos cannot occur without tears and a general feeling of emotional stress so I have stopped for now. The memorial I created helps I light a candel as a life symbol everyday but it cannot replace the bark, and hugs I miss so much. Being there for her hugging tightly I was the last thing she heard and saw before her peace.
    I am taking it slow and hope I can recover but something has changed in me, something has been lost. I cherish all the memories, head out the window sitting on my lap her ears flapping, nose acutely sniffing the fresh air. Misty, you are missed but not forgotten.
    Wishing us all peace and recovery for out losses.

    • Corrine Codner says:

      Thinking of you and your loss, I will say it has been three months for me since my babies left me, the tears are less but the heart ache is still very hard, praying now for you

    • Tam says:

      My baby girl Holli Jayne, an English cocker spaniel was only 10 years when she passed just 3 days ago from Pneumonia. She had been battling Lymphoma for 3 months and things seemed to be going well with the treatment….the vet Doctor called her a dog as ‘tough as old nails’as she was coping so well with the chemo. She then contacted pneumonia and became so very weak within just a couple of days. We took her straight to the vet and Hol was admitted….the morning after, she died, along with my heart. I can’t believe she is gone and that i will never see my girl again. Everywhere i look around the house, i see her but it’s my imagination…i yearn to have her in my arms again that i could burst inside. I am an emotional mess and yet my husband who loved Hol dearly is coping really well. I am dying inside and my husband is carrying on with life as if nothing has happened. I feel like screaming at him and saying ‘can’t you grieve like me?’ It would be a great comfort.
      I miss my girl so much and keep asking why she left us…..I’m heartbroken. T

  2. Erica says:

    13 days ago I wrote about my dog Murphy. I wrote about how his health was deteriorating and I feared having to make the painful decision. Well, yesterday we put my sweet boy to sleep. I have so many emotions mainly sadness but also regret. I keep thinking was it too soon? He had his ups and downs. After we made the appt,he seemed like he was doing better. I was so confused and felt horrible. He got excited when it was time to get in the car. I can’t stop thinking about everything that happened yesterday and the time leading up to his last day. I feel terrible like I gave up on him. Maybe we could have had more time before he got too bad? I was expecting him to be around for another 5 years. My heart feels broken and my belly hurts. I mention things that are on my mind and my family says I’m being too hard on myself or they ask why I’m doing this to myself? I feel a very small sense of relief only because now I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to get him to eat or is he going to gain weight or checking his stool to see if it changed from the black, tar it was, wondering if he was going to vomit today or wondering if he was in pain and how much pain he was in. I keep second guessing my decision which is hurting me. Also, when they euthanized him I stayed in the room for the first shot but not the second. The vet said he didn’t know I was there but I can’t help but wonder if he did. As you can see I’m tearing myself up over losing him. One minute I feel OK and the next I’m miserable and crying or feel like all the air left my lungs. I’m not sure what I’m trying to get from writing this but I just feel the need to write my feeling and thoughts. I just hope I made the right decision. I love you, Murphy. You were the best dog and loved me unconditionally. You were by my side through the good and bad. I wish I still had you in my life. You definitely were the best dog to adopt and made my life so much better. I’m sorry for the decision I made. Love you Murph.

    • Corrine Codner says:

      Oh how i know how you feel, I had to make that decision for two of my babies within one week of each other, I can still see my baby on that table she looked at me and then they gave her the shot, I will never forget her beautiful face looking at me. I know i cry less than i did cause it happened in Dec 2016 but I still get so very sad every day thinking of them and how i wish they were with me romping around and having fun, and the many days they gave me kisses, it is so very very had to go on each day without them

    • Victor says:

      Erica, your story sounds identical to my own story ,i feel like I let my dog down by taking him to the vet , the doc said his organs were shutting down he had almost no BP he left in my arms , I cry everyday he passed March 7th 2017 at 953am . Lexx was my world. He was nearly 17 I got him at 3wks , I bottle fed him , our bond was as close as close could get.

      • Erica says:

        I’m sorry for your loss, Victor. This Friday will be one month since that dreadful day I put him down. I still cry and go over every detail in my head. I have been having some hard day’s lately. I still second guess my decision and can’t believe he’s gone. Murphy was my dog, he loved me the most. He would follow me around and wanted to be by my side. My heart is still broken. I hope you will find some light in this dark time. It sounds like your dog lived a long and happy life by your side. I wish I could tell you not to feel guilty or blame yourself but I have to work on that myself before I can say that to others. Our dogs were loved greatly and they knew it.

  3. Margie Roe Bowling says:

    We have lost our beautiful German Wirehair Pointer. He owned our hearts for 10 years and took it with him when he died 21 days ago. He just laid down beside my husband’s chair and in front of me and died during his afternoon nap. We are devastated and the tears won’t stop . No warnings , no reason. We loved him so much our souls are broken.

    • Diane says:

      Hi Margie. So very sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. A piece of me died Jan 11 when my pug Lola passed after 16 and a half years. I cry every day still. I feel so lost without her and an overwelming sadness follows me everywhere daily. I know. How you feel. Hurts so bad. I will never get over it, I am trying to get through it. Very hard.

    • Corrine Codner says:

      My babies oh how I miss my dogs. One passed on Christmas eve and the other New Years Day, I miss them beyond words, so I know how you feel, we did end up rescuing two dogs from the pound and they are a joy to us, but the dogs who left me are hard to live without. I see these two new ones playing and wishing my two that passed were here to enjoy the day.

  4. Erica says:

    Hi
    My name is Erica and today I write to you about my sweet furbaby Murphy. Murphy is a schipperke that I adopted almost 8 years ago. We think this year he will be about 10 years old. Murphy is still with me but I know his days are numbered. Just last week the vet found a mass in his abdomen area that is pressing on his small intestine. He has lost weight and isn’t eating like he use to. My heart is already breaking because I know what is coming. The cost to have the surgery, his age and the chance that the surgery won’t help even help him leaves me feeling terrible as a person. How can I not do everything for my furbaby to prolong his life with me? Murphy has a follow up appointment in a little over a week at which point I will have to tell the vet we are not doing the surgery. I guess we will discuss the next steps to make him comfortable until the day comes where I have to make the dreadful decision. Murphy has been by my side since I adopted him and he has always been considered my dog by everyone. He loves me the most. Since I had my 2 girls I feel I have neglected him some. I feel regret and sadness and Murphy isn’t even gone yet. My husband is trying to be supportive of the way I feel even though he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t have the connection with Murphy like I do. I feel like I shouldn’t be crying and carrying on like this when he isn’t even gone. I have read the other posts of people’s dogs that have passed and we aren’t there yet. I guess I’m writing this to hopefully help me feel a little better even if it’s just a small fraction. I’m hoping the guilt that I have over not doing the surgery doesn’t leave me regretting my decision. I love my Murphy.

    • Corrine Codner says:

      Oh how i know how you feel, as my sweet Pepperann at age 15 was slowly not wanting to eat she always had stomach issues, i would cry and cry thinking of the day i no longer would see her sweet little face, i then would feed her through a syringe and water the same way and then she would liven up and we did this back and forth way of life for almost a year. and everytime she would stop eating I would cry myself silly thinking how will i live with out her. Then she started to loose weight and then i really knew that her time was near, I miss her beyond words, even when she was here with me sleeping most of the day I knew she was still here with me and i loved her sweet little face looking at me, it is so very hard knowing their little lives dont live long enough and like you i cried a whole year thinking of the day i would have to let her go. But then that time came and oh so very very hard, I wish i could say she is in a better place and happy at rainbow bridge, but my selfish self wants her back, I feel for you and and truly know what you are feeling

  5. Susan says:

    I posted a post on here the other day about Cookie our Yorkie who died suddenly at home.Last night I finally put pen to paper and wrote a letter to Cookie and basically cried writing it but telling him about the wonderful way he completed my life,the letter is now in his box of favourite toys and belongings.As I neared writing the end of my letter and describing how his health was deteriorating I realised that some of my tears were for myself and I felt a little bit selfish that my darling dog who followed me everywhere,according to the vet the next day the bloods had come through and cancer could have been his next hurdle,I realised that I should accept that my little buddy had had enough and his body couldn’t take anymore,nature had decided what was best and I had to respect that.It is hard,Cookie slept on our bed everynight,and I always look to his place before I go to sleep,I miss him so much,the whole house is empty and quiet even though 5 of us live here,his presence is missed beyond words.I am glad I wrote the letter as I remembered the fun times,I prayed for him too still do and by doing so am begining to accept that it was his time and my love for him has to respect that.I have read some of posts on here and they helped me a lot.I felt less alone in my grief.

    • Diane says:

      Hi Susan – so very sorry for your loss. I too lost my precious fur baby. She was 16 1/2 years old. I am struggling. I cry day and night. Feel an overwhelming sadness. She followed me everywhere. I miss her so much. Every inch of my house reminds me of her. My house feels the same as yours … empty and quiet and miss her beyond words as well. I wrote her a letter too, need to finish it. I was so lucky to have her all these years, but used to her by my side all these years. Her absence hurts. I had such a connection with her. The pain I feel hurts so badly. Feel like a piece of me died with her. Constant sadness and emptiness I feel. I lost my best friend. The loss of her is one of the worst pains I have ever felt. I think it is acceptance that is holding me back from moving forward. Felt like she would be with me forever. Not sure what I thought … all dogs do go to heaven. I have been all over the internet trying to find ways to cope. Talking to others that have lost their fur babies and know what and how I feel helps.

      • Corrine Codner says:

        my baby of 16 years passed new years day, oh i know what you feel and what you said about you thought she would be there forever, i thought too, yet i knew her time was limited but i just never thought the day would come, what was i thinking? I would give anything just to have her back, i know that sounds terrible but i miss her so very much. I knew acceptance was holding me back also, i just didnt want to accept it

      • Diane says:

        Hi Corrine – so very sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. I too miss my fur baby so badly. During this grieving process I realize I will cry and miss her forever. Each day I hope I will feel better. Holding her and hugging her is becoming, and will become a distant memory, and all I have to hold on to are my memories. It’s hard when all you want is to hold them once more. I still can’t believe she is gone. I realize all dogs go to heaven. It takes time. Over 16 years of routines, taking care of her day in and out will take time as my life is forever changed. It will never be the same without her. I need to focus on good memories, all dogs go to heaven, they don’t live as long as we do. She was a family member, like a child to me, my baby forever in my heart. It is a struggle. I hope to get there. I never anticipated how painful this would be. She showed me the meaning of unconditional love. I have been reading losing a family pet is just as hard as losing a loved one. I can say this is true. I hope to find my way by maybe helping out at a shelter, or starting a group for people who have lost a pet. Stop kill shelters. Focus on good. Every animal deserves a loving home like we provided.

      • Susan Ferguson says:

        Hello Diane,Susan here,it is just over a month since we lost our darling companion Cookie.All of us are dealing with his loss in different ways.For me I missed seeing his little face and so this Sunday just gone I plucked up courage and searched through the photographs on my phone to find a photo of him,using the photo machine in our chemist I selected one and when I saw it I wept.I promptly paid for it along with a lovely frame and Cookie is there for us all to see.It has helped me so much and I hope my family too,he had a special friendship with all of us.My daughters and I scrolled through the photos and videos they had on their mobiles and remembered the fun times and now when I come in from work to a silent house I can look at my photo and say “hello”to my darling boy,and it makes me feel he is less far away.I do sincerely hope that you will find some peace,I think sometimes we blame ourselves for not doing this or that I did and on a bad day revert to this ,my daughter says “Mum don’t blame yourself”and for her 26yrs she is right.Just take a day at a time and eventually acceptance does come ,I think though its different for all of us but I truly believe our pets felt and knew our love and wouldn’t want us to think otherwise.Take care and sending a hug .

  6. Corrine Codner says:

    Hello, wrote on her previously about losing my dear dog on Dec 23 2016, she had a seizure and we tried for three days to save her, then New Years Day lost my 16 yr old, we knew her days were short but oh the pain is like no other, I went a few days to grief share for any kinds of grief and that helped somewhat, we did adopt a dashund from a rescue group and she has brought smiles to our faces, but I think of my dogs I lost and oh how I would give anything to have them back, anything, I miss them beyond words

    • Corrine Codner says:

      lost our baby pod on christmas day it has and still is very hard , but tears are healing ointment for our hearts; have you thought about another pup, we did end up rescuing from a foster group that rescues dogs , they tend to know all about the dogs behavior, we did rescue and , she has helped us heal

      • Susab says:

        We have started to look at re homing a dog and have visited some kennels,I know we will never forget Cookie,but at least by looking our family is moving towards acceptance and it would be nice to help a dog with no home.This has helped me so much and I feel less alone in how I have been trying to cope.Good Luck Corrine ,thanks for your kind words.

  7. Susan says:

    We lost our Yorkie Cookie on January 12th 2017.He was 14yrs old and had an amazing relationship with all family members.He had started again with Pancreatitis (he had it when he was 12yrs old and came through)the blood test results came through from the vet after the day he died.He had been at the vets all day on the 12th and on picking him up at 5pm it was great to have my boy back in my arms.We sat on the back seat of the car and was looking through the front seats,I am sure he knew he was going home.He wouldnt drink at all not even when I put water on his lips and my husband carried him into the kitchen thinking he may drink in a famiar enviroment .He collapsed and my husband scooped him up whereby he had a heart attack in my husbands arms and died.The life and soul of our home went out and we are all devastated even though we know nothing lives forever but being strong for my family is hard.We had a funeral for him at home and I have collected his basket and toys and put them in a beautiful box I bought specially for Cookies things.I am tbinking of putting photos in my lounge of fun times we had there were so many but I feel like I am in a fog what more can I do

  8. Helene says:

    I lost my follow collie cross Shadow on 9 December 2016 due to kidney disease. He lived to just about 16 and was healthy up to four months before the end. I ended it before he really suffered and his death was peaceful and although I get relief from that, my life feels very empty and I don’t have much hope. Reading sites like this as I know I’m not alone. Thanks

  9. Sandra says:

    It’s sad to say I probably mourn and loved my dog than some of my siblings! I cared all my life for all my relatives til they died! I raised my daughter on my own her dad didn’t want her than! He shows up when she’s getting married! My dog showed me more trust love and was more loyal than any person. He never ever broke my heart til he died!! My family never has good things to say and didn’t care about our relatives nor came around til they were looking for their will. And people wonder why I love my dog so much

  10. Laurie says:

    Thank you for being here – and I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how long ago our dogs die, we still feel the pain. Many people feel like they can’t live without their dogs. Know you’re not alone, and that grief is a natural feeling after a dog dies.

    Paul, have you talked to a grief counselor about your pain? It seems to me that after three years, the grief should have dulled somewhat. If your pain is still as raw today, it may be wise for you to talk to someone.

    It’s important to work through the grieving process. I wrote an ebook to help people cope – the link is in the article. Have you read any books on surviving pet loss?

    I encourage you to seek help, because it seems like you’re stuck in the beginning stages of the grieving process….and I know your dogs wouldn’t want you to continue living in pain! My prayer is that you find a way to focus on healing and moving forward, so you can live in peace and even joy.

  11. Paul says:

    Three years ago I lost two dogs, siblings, two months apart when they were 12 1/2. One was diagnosed with T cell lymphoma in April 2009 and after chemo went into remission in September 2009. His sister was diagnosed with melanoma on Valentine’s Day of 2011 and had two surgeries, radiation and chemo. Her brother’s cancer came back and we resumed chemo but eventually he could no longer tolerate the medicine. We had to make that horrible phone call to the vet one evening after work- it was time. His sister’s cancer never went into remission so she remained in chemo until her body coup no longer tolerate it. One Saturday morning in October 2012 I knew something was going to happen to her that day. We headed out for a car ride, her favorite, and after a couple of brief silly errands I came out to the car and could see she was on her way out of this life and I drove home in tears. Three years later I’m no better – my eating was affected when they stopped eating and I’ve lost 25 pounds. The pain is as raw today as it was the day they each died. My remaining dog is now 14 and is battling inoperable liver cancer. Surgery and chemo. But she’s still here. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get her to eat which makes me lose my appetite. Not sure what will happen to me once she’s gone. I’ll never be the same after losing these dogs. Yes I try to focus on their full lives, habits, likes, etc but the loss consumes me at the end of the day and I wish I wouldn’t wake up but I know my remaining dog needs me.

    • colleen says:

      I just lost my beautiful Ginger girl on Saturday morning December10. Its only been a few days but the pain is unbearable. Ginger was almost 13 years old, I still remember that day she drifted into our lives. Now I remember the day she left. My heart is broken and my soul is crushed. I’m just praying that she knew how very much she was loved and that someday we’ll see each other again.

  12. Laura says:

    My dog got killed by pitbull, I seen my little maxy on the floor dead, I can’t get the image out of my head, I keep crying and I can’t sleep at night, I don’t know if I will never get over this.
    This Sunday my mum walked my dog to the park and back. My mum was four door a way from my house, when a pitbull came from behind and grabbed my little maxy by the belly. My mum tried to kick the dog off, but it wasn’t working, the dog was ready to go for her as well. The dog run off with my dog in his mouth, blood going everywhere. My mum was screaming for help, people from the area hear and came out of there houses, one man got some wood and was hitting the dog. It wasn’t working, the women who owners the dog didn’t go near her dog, she was so scared! After a while the dog let go, my mum went to grab maxy, the women told my mum don’t go near him, screaming my dog will kill you. Some other guys got hold of the dog and put him on a lead, when my mum was on the phone to the cab to go to the vet with our dog. Everyone repeating the dog is dead, the dog is dead, nothing you can do! I turned up everyone was grabbing me up saying don’t look, I said you don’t know if maxy is a live! Let go off my fight with them, I seem my dog on the floor bleeding from his belly his inside hanging out. Maxy’s eye open with his tongue hanging out! Still tell him to wake up, crying my eyes out on the floor. I push the people who was holding the dog like “move that dog, get it away from my dog which is dead” The women who owners the dog what killed my dog tried to hug me and push her saying get off me, you did this. My mum was ringing the police at this time, the women started getting a mopping the floor with beach before the police turned up, washing her dogs face to remove all the blood from his face like this never happened! The police took her dog, I went and pick my dog in my arms and all what they was saying was how are we going to get our dog back, didn’t feel guilty one bit. Then trying to ring my doorbell to try a say sorry, it’s not going to bring my dog back!

  13. Midge says:

    So sorry to hear about your dog.
    My little dog was killed by another dog last week while my friend had her. I’m so angry at my friend that I can’t speak to her at the moment.
    My dog went with her dog as her dog needed to go to the vet, so I sent my dog there to keep him company, and ended up losing my best little pooch of 14 years, I can’t belive the grief I feel as my Miss Molly was my life she has been through the death of both my parents and now I feel I have nothing to live for.
    All I do is cry and I feel so angry at my friend even tho I know she is hurting to.

  14. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I’m so sorry that you lost your dog. Surviving pet loss is one of the most heartbreaking experiences – and I know it feels like you can’t live without your dog. At least, it feels like life will never be the same without your beloved dog by your side – and your home isn’t home without your dog.

    May you find peace and healing as you grieve your loss. The heartbreak never fully goes away, but I pray your heart heals and seals in the warm memories and joy your dog brought you. May you know deep in your heart that your dog is resting in peace and waiting for your souls to intermingle!

    There is nothing sweeter than the love of a dog, and nothing sadder than losing that love.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  15. Nora says:

    We got our dog, Lady, in May, 2001. My oldest son, chose her, or she chose him. We laughed, we played with her, we loved her so deeply. And we know she loved us. She was such a good girl. She was so protective that we felt safe. We adopted another dog, Kayla, when Lady was 6 years old. We had Kayla until August 2010 when she succumbed to cancer. Her death was hard on all of us, including Lady. We had her and she had us. We healed. It took a lot of getting used to but we did get used to our new normal. In 2011, I lost my mom in April, then my mother-in-law in December. I later lost my dad in July, 2013. Lady knew our pain and our hurt and she was right there with us. She would lay down at my feet the moment I felt sad. She began to show signs of aging, it got harder for her to get up. We would hear joints crack when she stood up. We knew the day would come when we’d have to say goodbye, but we didn’t want it to come. Six days ago she got a little dehydrated with the heat. She had plenty of water, but wouldn’t drink it. We basically forced her to drink water, by dripping water from melted ice cubes above her mouth, putting wet rags on her mouth. She got better. It only lasted a couple days. Yesterday, she wouldn’t drink water or eat. So I started the routine of dripping water from melting ice cubes above her mouth. We brought her in to the vet. We got the devastating news that she had late stage kidney disease and she was going to die from it, just a matter of when. We didn’t want her to suffer, we had seen her in pain the last few days and couldn’t stand it. We didn’t want her to die either. Our need and desire for her not to suffer won, we opted to put her to sleep. I stayed with her until a couple minutes after her last heartbeat, and just held her in my arms. I am so heartbroken. I know we’ll meet again.

    • Ana says:

      I know this is very old but my puppy just passed away Sunday the same way your beautiful Lady did. He was 16 and just a couple of days ago he stopped drinking water, would just hover over his water bowl. I would put water in his mouth with a syringe. We took him to the vet Saturday morning and got the news his kidneys were shutting down. He was admitted to the ICU and we waited to see if his levels would get better. They didn’t. And his body also stopped absorbing protein. The vet said it was like his body was leaking his fluid everywhere. He had stopped eating a couple of days before and started having trouble even walking. When we went to see him on Sunday his eyes were covered in yellow discharge and his breathing was labored… We made the decision to put him to sleep. I was there with him the whole time… I can hardly breath …

      • kerry says:

        Ana. Go to lightning-strike.com. its the oldest pet loss forum going. Im going to lose my 13 yr old girl Faith tommorrow. Old age and cancer. Peace my friend.

  16. rachel says:

    Lost the love of my life Aug 25th at 5:33 am. I have been grieving terribly and I don’t see an end in sight. My dogs name is Goliath. Im grieving so badly I vomit. I feel I could have done more to save him and I will forever feel guilty for that. I miss him so badly. ive been asking God to show me that he is in heaven with him waiting for me. If I could jus know that for certain. Right now I feel that if our beloved pets aren’t in heaven, I don’t want to be there . Id rather just be so dead that I don’t even know im dead than to go to a heaven where my heart isn’t. He was my world and I never knew such a love as this…..except the love of Jesus of course. All I can see is his beautiful glowing eyes looking up to me with such love and trust. He had so much life in him yet when parvo took him. I am devastated and horribly depressed. Its the darkest place in the world to be. To want to be with and hold your pet and tellem again you love him, and not be able to. I feel ive failed him. Im so ashamed of myself . I should have tried harder to save him. I look up to heaven and ask God to let me know, somehow, some way, that I will see him again. I feel I cant live if I don’t know this and the bible is not specific on this topic. Isaiah 65 tells us the lion will lye next to the lamb and a child shall lead them….. God gave animals breath just like he gave us breath……..I don’t see any reason for animals not to be in heaven…..more reasons say they will be there, but unless God himself lets me know in a special way, I will forever wonder and I cant go on like this. It hurts too much. With God all things are possible and I will continue to seek him and an answer. He said ask and you will receive. Well, im asking. God please comfort me and reassure me my sweetheart is in your loving arms so I can have peace. Please.

    • Corrine Codner says:

      i read your post and I am feeling just as you lost my pet on Dec 24 , i just have a hard time living without her

  17. PATRICK says:

    I took my eyes off my little cheese man. And he ran into the street, where someone was walking their dog. He just wanted to say hi. And now he’s gone. the quilt and grief I feel
    I have no words for. My heart is broken. Please be aware of what can happen in a blink
    of an eye. Sad man on long Island.

  18. lezly says:

    Im absolutely devastated by the death of my mums dog which at the moment i feel i overdosed him on wormer. I took him to the vets and they said it was kidney failure i promised to look after him and now i feel ive let everyone down i really loved him i went into deniel about his illness and told him to get better and put him on my bed. I found him when i went to bed and he was dead i couldnt stop screaming i think im in shock just want him back

  19. Lisa says:

    Thank you Laurie. I’m actually thankful that my Mom was not here when Alexi died…it would have been very hard on her. While she was ill and at the hospital, he would sleep in her room. When she came home, he lay under her bed. Animals are so compassionate and can sense when something isn’t right. I was blessed to have him and now have to find ways to go on. Reading your blog helps. Bless you.

  20. Laurie says:

    Dear Lisa,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, during this sad and lonely time. When my grandma died, I thought I would die too. I didn’t have my dogs when she died, but now that I know what it’s like to take care of dogs…I think I’d feel like I couldn’t live without them. Dogs are so much more than man’s best friend or faithful companions! They’re part of us, and why they die we lose a part of ourselves.

    My prayer is that you get through this period of grief as quickly as possible. May your heart heal, and may you find support in places that surprise you! I pray you find people, books, online sources of support, or other things that comfort and help you as you process your grief. I also pray you find comfort in God, that you find peace, joy, and serenity in His presence.

    I especially pray that you find ways to fill the void in your life. May you find love different forms, such as other pets, loving partners, a fulfilling job, or meaningful volunteer work. May your life be filled with beauty and joy – starting now, with the loss of your dog and mom.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  21. Lisa says:

    I recently lost my beloved companion, my dog of 16 years. He got me through the death of my Mom 6 months ago. It was always the 3 of us and now they’re both gone. I’m beyond devastated; he was the joy of my life and now I’m alone. I guess time will heal, but it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

  22. Laurie says:

    Dear Sham,

    I’m so sorry about your dog, and for the pain you are in. It’s awful to see your dog suffer.

    Have you read my article about knowing when it’s time to put your dog to sleep? In that article, a veterinarian said that if your dog is suffering, then it’s time to let him go. It’s heartbreaking, but you can’t keep letting your dog suffer.

    Please read the article — the link is at the very beginning of this article about living without your dog.

    If I had a 3 year old daughter, I would tell her that our poor beloved dog is sick, and went to be in doggy heaven. I wouldn’t say anything about euthanasia unless she asks. I’d keep it simple and straightforward: our dog is really sick, and we have to take him to the doctor. He might not come home because he’s so sick – it’s time for him to pass on from this world into the next. If you’re a spiritual family, you can talk about how your faith will help you heal, and about how you’ll see your dog in heaven after you pass on.

    Death isn’t bad. It’s scary because it’s a mystery — but what if it’s a thousand times better than life?? We don’t know what death brings, and I think it’s a mistake to assume it brings “bad” stuff that we should fear.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best as you decide what to do about your dog. You WILL survive the loss of your beloved pet, but it will take time to heal.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  23. Sham says:

    Hi, I have a 4 year old toy poodle whom I love dearly. He sustained a slipped disc which compressed on his spinal cord. He did not have an accident, he just woke up one day like that. He was a very active boy and this injury has caused him to be paralyses from waist down, and incontinent. It’s been 1 year since and he hasn’t recovered. Recently he started developing sores due to the friction and urine when he moves in his enclosure. And they seem to be getting worse. He gets snappy as well and I can’t teach him how to use a wheelie because of that. No one wants to groom him as he barks n snaps. I am having a hard time deciding what to do. He is suffering in this body he was given, and has no control of it. I can’t bear to see him suffer anymore. But I have a hard time coping with deciding to end his suffering. I have been crying non stop for days, I have stopped playing with my 3 year old daughter as well because of this. Also how do I explain to her what I’m gonna do to him?

    Sadly;
    Sham

  24. Laurie says:

    Dear Maureen,

    I’m glad we connected on Facebook. I want to post my response to you here, so other people who feel like they can’t live without their dogs know they’re not alone.

    It’s a horrible feeling, like you betrayed your dog by not doing enough to save his life. My heart goes out to you. I want you to remember that you did the best you could — you did not deliberately put your dog’s life jeopardy! It was an accident. If you had known it would turn out this way, you would have done things differently!

    I wish I could make you feel better, but I just want you to know that you didn’t cause your dog’s death. It was meant to happen for some reason, and I know your dog would want you to remember him with love, joy, and peace.

    Losing a dog is one of the most heart wrenching things to happen to us. A friend told me that losing her dog was worse than losing her parents. I think this is because our dogs rely on us for everything, and are so committed to us! Undying love, eternally. I’ve lost dogs and cats, and it helps me to think that they’re happier now than they were on earth. I have to believe there is a Heaven for our lost dogs and cats, and that their souls will be reunited with ours after we die.

    It’s important to let yourself mourn and grieve your loss. You loved your dog with all your heart, and a huge part of your life is now missing. Mourn and cry and wail — that’s what I did. Eventually, you will feel better, and you’ll remember D. with joy.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  25. Maureen says:

    I lost my beautiful dog tues night, I made the terrible mistake , my husband and I didnt know, he had been crying at night for long time, so we started giving him Ibuprofen, my RX from and ear infection, then he started getting really sick, I dint relate it to that, I think I killed my own boy, I am in so much pain, dont think I can go on, cant eat, get out of bed, nothing….what do I do…I don’t know how to live without my dog..

  26. Laurie says:

    Dear Sham,

    I’m so sorry about your dog, and for the pain you are in. It’s awful to see your dog suffer.

    Have you read my article about knowing when it’s time to put your dog to sleep? In that article, a veterinarian said that if your dog is suffering, then it’s time to let him go. It’s heartbreaking, but you can’t keep letting your dog suffer.

    Please read the article — the link is at the very beginning of this article about living without your dog.

    If I had a 3 year old daughter, I would tell her that our poor beloved dog is sick, and went to be in doggy heaven. I wouldn’t say anything about euthanasia unless she asks. I’d keep it simple and straightforward: our dog is really sick, and we have to take him to the doctor. He might not come home because he’s so sick – it’s time for him to pass on from this world into the next. If you’re a spiritual family, you can talk about how your faith will help you heal, and about how you’ll see your dog in heaven after you pass on.

    Death isn’t bad. It’s scary because it’s a mystery — but what if it’s a thousand times better than life?? We don’t know what death brings, and I think it’s a mistake to assume it brings “bad” stuff that we should fear.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best as you decide what to do about your dog. You WILL survive the loss of your beloved pet, but it will take time to heal.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  27. Sham says:

    Hi, I have a 4 year old toy poodle whom I love dearly. He sustained a slipped disc which compressed on his spinal cord. He did not have an accident, he just woke up one day like that. He was a very active boy and this injury has caused him to be paralyses from waist down, and incontinent. It’s been 1 year since and he hasn’t recovered. Recently he started developing sores due to the friction and urine when he moves in his enclosure. And they seem to be getting worse. He gets snappy as well and I can’t teach him how to use a wheelie because of that. No one wants to groom him as he barks n snaps. I am having a hard time deciding what to do. He is suffering in this body he was given, and has no control of it. I can’t bear to see him suffer anymore. But I have a hard time coping with deciding to end his suffering. I have been crying non stop for days, I have stopped playing with my 3 year old daughter as well because of this. Also how do I explain to her what I’m gonna do to him?

    Sadly;
    Sham

  28. Laurie says:

    Dear Maureen,

    I’m glad we connected on Facebook. I want to post my response to you here, so other people who feel like they can’t live without their dogs know they’re not alone.

    It’s a horrible feeling, like you betrayed your dog by not doing enough to save his life. My heart goes out to you. I want you to remember that you did the best you could — you did not deliberately put your dog’s life jeopardy! It was an accident. If you had known it would turn out this way, you would have done things differently!

    I wish I could make you feel better, but I just want you to know that you didn’t cause your dog’s death. It was meant to happen for some reason, and I know your dog would want you to remember him with love, joy, and peace.

    Losing a dog is one of the most heart wrenching things to happen to us. A friend told me that losing her dog was worse than losing her parents. I think this is because our dogs rely on us for everything, and are so committed to us! Undying love, eternally. I’ve lost dogs and cats, and it helps me to think that they’re happier now than they were on earth. I have to believe there is a Heaven for our lost dogs and cats, and that their souls will be reunited with ours after we die.

    It’s important to let yourself mourn and grieve your loss. You loved your dog with all your heart, and a huge part of your life is now missing. Mourn and cry and wail — that’s what I did. Eventually, you will feel better, and you’ll remember D. with joy.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  29. Maureen says:

    I lost my beautiful beiley tues night, I mad the terrible mistake , my husband and I didnt know, he had been crying at night for long time, so we started giving him Ibuprofen, my RX from and ear infection, then he started getting really sick, I dint relate it to that, I think I killed my own boy, I am in so much pain, dont think I can go on, cant eat, get out of bed, nothing….what do I do…
    Maureen 954-589-0606

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