Why Can't I Get Over My Dog's Death?

Updated on May 23, 2019
akirchner profile image

Audrey is a lover of all things DIY. The personal touch is so important and something we all can enjoy—in the creation or receiving!

My sweet, sweet boy.
My sweet, sweet boy. | Source

Coping With Losing Your Best Friend

I have learned over the past two years that losing your best friend is sometimes harder from one pet to the other. It is as if there is no rhyme or reason to it, but here are the things that have helped me heal. That's not to say that I will miss him any less, but these tips have made the pain tolerable.

  • Celebrate your good fortune that you had him or her in your life!
  • Try and focus on the happiest memories and the good things
  • Remember him or her with pictures, collages, even a desktop slide show
  • Be thankful for the many moments you had in spite of your loss - the glass is half full
  • Allow yourself to be sad - whenever it comes upon you
  • Cry when you must and laugh when you can
  • Don't give up on another dog or pet - I tend to believe that your best friend will 'come back to you' in ways you have not realized yet
  • Realize life is not always fair but realize that time does make heartbreak easier to take
  • Let yourself grieve without guilt, shame or remorse - we cannot change the events in our lives. We can only accept them and move on.

Of All the Dogs in the World

To say I have loved and lost before when it came to dogs would be an understatement. I have been so blessed in my lifetime to own at least 15 dogs. However, as much as they were so incredibly special to me, I have never taken the death of one of my dogs as hard as I've taken losing Griffin. I have come to the conclusion that somehow he was my therapy dog and I didn't even know I had one!

Everyone Has a Favorite Dog

I had just lost one of my most favorite dogs ever when I lost Kodi. People that know me say every dog is my favorite but unfortunately, they would be wrong. There were favorites–and many of them–I just couldn’t help it. I have been blessed with having all these dogs over my lifetime (which was still not enough I will add) but there were always sublime standouts. I did not want to start over again. I was at that point where I had just one dog left and she was older, and frankly, I just didn’t want to go through that pain again myself.

Then I saw him. My friend, who was a malamute breeder, sent me a picture of four puppies (two of them long-hair malamutes) and I fell in love with him. However, I told myself “No, can’t go there again” and told the breeder thanks but no thanks. It hurts too much and how can I ever replace my Kodi? He was part malamute and he had been one of the magic ones. I talked to my husband about it and he definitely didn’t want to go down heartbreak lane again.

That being said, I decided to leave it at that. Cut our losses so to speak and quit going through the trauma. The last thing I needed to see (though in retrospect the best thing that ever happened to me) was the movie The Proposal. The puppy in that movie did it. It simply sealed the deal. I walked out of the theater, turned to Bob and said simply “I’m so sorry but this decision goes to a higher power. I have to have that puppy.” It seemed fortuitous as my friend had already given away the puppy away but she got him back just for me.

To say Griffin was the dog of all time would be putting it mildly. I feel like I’m Elizabeth Barrett Browning but how do I describe the ways I have loved that dog? I’ve known a lot of dogs in my day obviously but this little fellow was just surreal. I wanted to name him Dante, which ironically means enduring. He has certainly put a stamp on my heart I will carry with me forever.

I could go on and on and wax eloquent about his many characteristics but suffice it to say that two years later and change, I still cry over losing him almost every day. I dream about him, but I suppose that is a good thing. He was in a word incredible. He was so beautiful and I mean inside and out. Every day that I had him I thought how blessed I was to have him in my life and how incredibly happy I am still to have known him and raised him. Malamutes are not known for being “as teachable” as Griffin was. I always laugh when I say it, but he would literally do anything for a treat. If you don't believe me, look at his pictures in some of my other hubs. These were all captured with the promise of just a treat and a few words of instruction or encouragement!

Source

Why I Loved This Dog so Much

He was majestic. He was incredibly handsome. Every person who ever passed him on the street, saw him in the back of our car or came to visit was just in awe of this gorgeous creature who also happened to be almost human. We had people pass us in their car when we had the back open, put it in reverse and come back just to look at him and go “wow–what a beautiful dog.” That was putting it mildly.

He had a language all his own and he talked to everyone he met and to us every day. He was one of the most social dogs I’ve ever seen. He loved nothing more than to travel with us, be with us, or to just talk to us. He loved walking down the streets, going on hikes, or cruising counters. He was the expert of all time there and made it look like you were the one who was mistaken. There was nothing left of anything so no crumbs or incriminating evidence. He would just look at us innocently as if to say “What are you talking about? What food?”

He would lie next to us in bed just for a bit to say he loved us and put his head on you in just the right place or cuddle against you just so. I called it Griffin acupressure. Instead of being frightened, most people were drawn to all 95 pounds of him. We had people run out of hotels to touch him or call down from balconies exclaiming they had never seen such a beautiful boy.

A young baseball team termed him "polar bear" and came outside in the pouring rain with multiple other people from the hotel just to pet him. We had people who followed us in the parks just to ask about him or pet him. We had families with children hold an elevator door just to let him ride with them and pet him rather than be frightened of him and his size.

He was such a special fellow. Walking downtown one cold wintry day, we had a throng of kids scream “snow dog” at the top of their lungs and laden with hats, coats, backpacks come running at him. They literally flung themselves on him and he just ate it all up rather than eating them up! I always said he was like a life-sized teddy bear. His fur was so soft that I can still almost feel it when I look at his pictures.

On top of being just an incredibly beautiful dog, he possessed the quality I find most endearing in life, which is humor. He had to be the funniest dog I have ever had the pleasure to own. His mannerisms, his antics, his training moments, his “talk” – all of it just made us laugh over and over.

Malamutes are most often thought of as snow dogs, yes, but they are also thought of as dangerous by many and as dogs that can be a bit challenging. If anything, Griffey was predictable. He would do anything for attention or treats and he loved, loved, loved people. He just loved life. He did so many comical things that we never had a day where we did not laugh over a “Griffin” moment.

He watched TV, ran upstairs to see my daughter and son-in-law on Skype and then tried to find out where they were hiding behind my desk. Yet, he was sweet and gentle enough that when we brought his niece home when she was 6 weeks old and he was two years old, he showed her the ropes and was the best mentor a puppy could have had. I marveled at him every day that I had him–and I truly thanked God for the time I had with him. I still do. No matter how much it hurts to have lost him.

Griffin in Training Making Everyone Laugh

Griffin Gallery—Some of Thousands

Click thumbnail to view full-size

People die every day of cancer. Dogs die every day of cancer or tragedies like poisoning or being hit by a car and much, much worse. I think the thing that upset me the most about losing my Griff was that I tried so hard to appreciate him, to give thanks every day for him. I was in love with him as a dog because he was absolutely incredible. I took such good care of all of my dogs but it just didn’t make any sense to me at all that this dog, so full of life and love, just all of a sudden ran across the deck one day and yelped. We had just come home from walking and he started to limp on his leg. He was so very much alive and so happy in all that he did that it seemed illogical that it could be something terrible. He was only 6 years old. How could anything be seriously wrong with him? Even the vets thought it was just a muscle sprain. No one thought it was serious enough to take x-rays, including us.

Resting and medications didn’t make it go away and poor Griffin was just frustrated. He wanted to live. He wanted to run and cruise counters. He wanted to have his life back. I am most grateful for the fact that after this started, before we knew how bad it was, we went on a week’s vacation. We always travel with our dogs and Griff and Gabby always went with us to hotels and on our outings and treks. At least I had the time to say goodbye (though little did I know it was going to be goodbye). As sick as he was, he was his usual magnetic self. We had time to cuddle. We had time to go to the places I wanted him to see though he was hampered by the limp so we could not do much – but he was with us for a full week and I treasure that time I had with him now. I do feel some closure over that.

We had an appointment on the day after we got home from vacation with an orthopedic vet because we couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting better even with the medications and rest. Unfortunately, when they went to finally x-ray my beautiful boy, his leg snapped because the tumor had eaten away the bone. He went from somewhat in pain to being in excruciating pain. He also couldn’t walk on his leg anymore and now had to drag it. Just the sound of it still haunts me.

We were told they could amputate his leg (which would be a horrible thing for a 95-pound dog with cancer) and one as energetic as Griffin but that unfortunately and even more tragically, it would not save him in the slightest. He went from a little uncomfortable to crying all night and being hardly able to move with his now nonfunctional front leg. It did not take long for us both to realize that this was not fair of us to do to our beloved dog. It literally broke my heart but we had to have him put to sleep to ease his pain. I could not live with him suffering like that. They gave us the option to keep increasing his medication but unless he was practically comatose, he was in too much pain.

What a way he had of looking into your soul.
What a way he had of looking into your soul. | Source

The Aftermath of Losing My Dog

In the aftermath of it all, I’ve beaten myself up at least a million times. Why didn’t I see it sooner? When did it start and how did all that time go by and I couldn’t see it? What could I have done to save him? I have never been angry about it except at myself I suppose for not knowing. Would it have changed his outcome? No, I don’t think so at all. It is a genetic thing and it is most of all just so horribly tragic.

The most magnificent dog in the world should not have had to suffer that way and we should not have had to lose him. At first I would tell people “You just don’t understand. He was so special!” What I realized later was the fact that we all have had a dog that was the most magnificent in our eyes and in our hearts. It certainly can’t hurt any less for anyone to lose their best friend as it hurt for us to lose ours. I saw him everywhere and I still think of him every day, even though we have since moved. He is part of us and he will always be part of me. Unfortunately and fortunately, it is as if he was just here 5 minutes ago.

I read something very profound one day that said “Why do you put a question mark where God has put a period?” Humbling and so very true. I cannot change what life/fate/God’s will has decided where my dog is concerned, and I need to accept it for what it is, one of life’s heartbreaking events.

Today, I try and dwell on the bucket load of blessings he gave me and I recall to the moment what made me laugh about him every day. I have literally thousands of pictures and videos and he lives on through them. He was such a sweet, sweet dog and especially for a malamute, he was one of a kind! He was so incredibly intelligent and observant. I swear he was an angel in fur. He soothed me every day that I had him. He was my therapy dog without me knowing I needed one. I could have done anything with him by my side and I did. I miss him every single day and I think I will miss him until the day that I die. He was that special.

I did not know how I could possibly ever go on but then of course, there was the “little’ matter of his niece, who was broken into pieces as well. She absolutely adored Griffin. She was more devastated than us if that was possible because 4 months earlier, she also lost our “queen bee,” Denaya, our rescued malamute who was probably 16 years old. In a couple of months, Gabby had suffered the loss of her entire canine pack.

As humans, Bob and I cried and cried. We still cry over Griffin, but Gabby just gave up. She came into my office on a daily basis and literally threw herself on the floor in desperation as if to say “What do I do now?” Oh that I could just throw myself on the floor because I would have said the same thing over and over and just given up.

Why do certain dogs mark us? Why do they wrap their paws around our hearts and make it feel so full and then break it apart when they leave? That’s the magical question. We tried everything with Gabby and she would spark for a few minutes with walking. She even became a retriever playing ball in the park and would run until she was exhausted and even came back with the ball! It would always come crashing down though when we were home again. It was very obvious she was grieving and probably going into depression from her loneliness.

Bob was the one who finally said we needed to do something. We felt that she was going to give up and die if we didn’t find her a companion. Enter Mad Max. We ended up going again with a puppy and though he looks nothing like Griffin, he “is” Griffin in many ways. He is not the same exact replica. That is probably a very good thing but then again, he is comical in his own ways.

Strangely, he does things that Griffin used to do. In fact, he adopted Griffin’s chair (I could not leave it behind and brought it with us when we moved). He has many similarities to Griff but he is his own boy. Again, that is good. Most importantly, Gabby did not give up. She rose to the occasion and embraced her new pal with all the zest and love that Griffin gave to her when she came on the scene. The most treasured and bittersweet moment was seeing Gabby “smile” in pictures when she was playing with Max, tolerating Max, and showing him the ropes that her beloved Uncle Griffin showed her.

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Gabby gets to be a mom at last!
Gabby gets to be a mom at last!
Gabby gets to be a mom at last! | Source

Cooping With This Tragic Death

I believe Griff lives on in spite of his tragic death and I only hope that he is running free somewhere and saying it’s all okay...or that he is waiting for us on the other side. He was a treasure I have never seen the likes of nor will I ever again I imagine. I will always miss him because he made such an imprint on my heart, but I do believe he is coming back to us in his own ways through Max and just by us remembering him. There will never be another one like him, but to have known him and to have loved him was the ultimate gift of a lifetime.

I have thought about this so many times and truthfully have gone at it from every angle possible.

Questions We All Ask When Our Pets Die?

  • Was it meant to teach us something?
  • Did it happen to prepare us for the other losses that occurred over those 2 years since Griffin left us?
  • Will it ever get easier to look back without grieving for him still?
  • Is it possible that I will ever get over losing my all-time favorite canine companion?

I don’t know the answers to any of those questions but I do believe that perhaps time at least soothes all wounds if not heals them. It is certainly easier today than it was 2 years ago or even one year ago perhaps.

The only conclusion that I’ve come to is that everyone grieves in their own way and that healing is never going to be same for everyone. Every experience will be different, just as with the grief I felt over losing other dogs. In those cases, I did heal more quickly but that really has nothing to do with the current grief that I feel from my loss of Griffin.

Unbelievably to me still is that I lost a Labrador at exactly the same age to the same exact condition and accepted that tragedy much easier than this time. That in itself made me feel very guilty for some time, but I realize now that it is about how much love I felt for Griffin that is perhaps prolonging the grief and loss. I did not love Mariah any less—I just loved Griffin more somehow.

All I know in the end is that I loved him with all my heart and to have done that is far better than what my life would have been without him in it. He was priceless to me and my time spent with him will always bring me joy, in spite of the pain of losing him too soon.

My mind's happy place.
My mind's happy place. | Source

Saying Goodbye Is So Very Hard To Do

In my heart and in my mind, we walk along the ocean still and he is whole and healthy.

Rest in peace, my sweet, sweet boy and thank you for all the happiness you gave us. Thank you for visiting me in my dreams and for channeling Max! (Please try harder there—he needs a lot more help, bless his heart!)

Six years was definitely not long enough. I will never forget you.

Why Do We Love Our Dogs?

There are a lot of reasons and I've come to realize every single one of them in the past two years!

  • Pleasers—they try to do what's right to please us (most of the time)
  • Unconditional love generators—try to make them stop loving you!
  • Tactile soothers—(in Griff's case, a living, breathing furry body pillow or a real life teddy bear)
  • Joy makers—laughter and merriment because they do the funniest things
  • Goal makers—I want to train my smart malamute to do tricks!!! (not easy)
  • Faith builders—through their innocent eyes, life is simpler

Use Whatever Tools You Can to Cope with Loss

Reading articles and books such as "Losing My Best Friend" noted below really helped me cope with my loss. Even though it is hard, I love the line remember them with tears and laughter because the tears are inevitable but the laughter always comes back as well.

Having loads of pictures and videos have helped me tremendously as well. I can put myself right back there and again be so grateful for the ride with Griff.

As I was trying to heal from suffering my terrible loss, I found myself doing a lot of writing about it. As I mentioned, it took me quite a long while to write this!

I further went on to write a book about it, pouring my heart and soul into that. I was hoping to aid others who might be going through the same experience and possibly having as hard a time as I have had getting over my favorite dog of all time.

I have found a great inner peace and comfort in being able to channel my grief into a positive from such a sad "chapter" in my life in losing him.

In short, doing whatever we can to heal ourselves is the ticket. If we can somehow learn to express what we feel or even just get to a point of understanding it a bit more, we can achieve the ability to grieve but not quite as acutely. I still cried many tears in writing my book but it did help. I only hope that it goes on to help others as well.

Epilogue

As I said above, I always think that somehow Griffin speaks to me and wants me to be okay since he's gone. Yesterday, a very dear friend of mine at work shared a video with me from Animal Watch with Anneka going to visit the giant malamutes owned by Lorna Bartlett from Arctic Rainbow Malamutes.

What immediately stood out to me and almost knocked me off my chair was Taggie, the beautiful long-hair malamute who came in the sliding door and seemed to gravitate toward Anneka. I began to cry. It was liking watching a movie of my sweet Griffin. She looked like him, she had many of the same mannerisms and it was just surreal. It made me miss him terribly, but then in some way, it made me think of Griff when he was healthy, happy and so very personable.

Don't misunderstand—all of Lorna's malamutes are beautiful and enchanting. I could see Gabby in one and my rescued malamute Denaya who died in 2015 as well. Even Dooby reminded me of a malamute I was going to adopt after Griffin died but he was a little too big for us.

I contacted Lorna just to tell her thank you for the incredible gift she had given me of somehow "seeing Griffin" again. I will keep the video forever in my favorites and look at it maybe when I'm missing him. Lorna wrote me back that Dooby had just died 3 weeks ago and again I cried, this time for them as I know what a devastating loss that is. My heart goes out to them because malamutes truly do grab you by the heart and become part of your human "pack."

Part of working through grief I think is just learning to take it a day at a time and finding ways that bring our pet back to us in some small way. This video did it for me and for that, I shall be eternally grateful. It is yet another coping tool and a wonderful way to remember my sweet boy.

Animal Watch Giant Alaskan Malamutes

Good Resource on Amazon

Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss
Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss

I had so much laughter with Griffin that this book really meant a lot to me. Remembering him with laughter and tears works for me every time. Check out some of the other books on grieving for Fido as well and find the one the speaks to you and your unique relationship with your special dog. I'm sorry for your loss as well.

 

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • Thank you for this beautiful story ❤️ I just lost my dog and she was going to turn 6. My heart is broken. My husband and I said to ourselves that we won’t have any pets anymore because the pain is so strong and we are devastated after losing our fur baby.... I don’t know if I really need to get a new dog so I don’t block myself .... I also feel guilty for not having been able to get her help sooner so she was healed and with us now.... any thoughts?

    I do think that it is a personal decision. Some of us don't want to get another dog because the pain is too deep and we don't want to ever have to go through that again. I think that is a normal reaction. Others think that it is important to allow another dog in so that you can heal. It will vary from person to person. There are so many emotions that come into play when we lose a dog because dogs are just always 'here' for us. We don't expect them to leave us and especially not so young. We can consume ourselves with guilt over what we should have done, but I always think that they know us - deeper than any person on the planet probably - and they know our trueness. If you loved her, she knew you did. Please don't guilt yourself over it as I always think that life has a way of just playing out no matter how careful we are and how we think we can control it all. It is just a tragedy pure and simple and I am so very sorry for your loss. I think if you just let go of the guilt part and grieve for your loss, you'll know if you should or should not get another dog. It will 'come to you' and you will know if it is the right thing or not. Hugs to you.

  • I had that once in a lifetime dog, Buster! The one I have now, Pepper reminds me of him. Sometimes, I really want to believe it is my Buster reincarnated! I do believe they can reach us thru other dogs. It's been 9 years since his passing and I still cry for him! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story-it was mine too. Do you believe in doggy reincarnation?

    I do - each of my extra special, special ones have come back to me in the next dog -many of the same traits. I have to believe that they are trying in their own way to tell me it's okay and they are happy when they are. I surely hope it is so! I always wink at them and say something. With Max, I will hug him and say - ah Griffin - I know you're in there too. I love you baby boy. Pepper sounds like just the thing to help you remember Buster. I don't think we ever get over them completely but we can heal a little day by day. Hugs to you and so sorry for your loss as well.

  • I had to put my first dog to sleep a little over a month ago. Fuzzy was a gorgeous miniature poodle, only 7 years old. He got diabetes and lost his vision, and then he quit eating. I still feel like there should have been something I could have done. I feel like I abandoned him because I was not there when he went to sleep. How can I stop feeling so guilty?

    We all have different levels of coping with our pet's death. My son had a similar experience, in fact, the same deadly disease. His dog was just a little older than your Fuzzy. He absolutely adored his dog, Hutch, and when he had to make the decision to put him down, he could not bear it. I totally understood as he was my little boy who tried to rescue birds that hit the window and gave them mouth-to-beak resuscitation. He just couldn't be with him and feel that he put an end to his life. I think we all have to do what is best for us - and it takes nothing at all away from your dog's love for you - or my son's dog's love for him. We all just deal with this issue differently. Fuzzy would not want you to feel guilt or dismay - he had a good life with you so please, forgive yourself. There truly is nothing to forgive. You did the right thing by ending his suffering. That is what is important. If you love him, let him go so to speak, but know he will always, always, always be a part of you no matter how his life ended. Sending virtual hugs. I am so sorry for your loss as well.

© 2017 Audrey Kirchner

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      4 weeks ago from Washington

      Oh Luba - I am so sorry! My heart breaks with you. Malchik sounds like your true soulmate for sure. I am convinced that they stay with us though and will never leave our sides. My Griffin comes back to me in dreams and I swear, every once in a while, I look at my other dogs just out of the corner of my eye and see him for a moment. It is like he is visiting me. I hope that your beloved Malchik will do the same. Please only remember (or try to) all the good things that you had with him, from him - and that he loved you with all his dog heart and soul. It is better for them (or so I keep telling myself over and over) that they are not suffering and it is the only kindness that we can do for them at that moment in their short doggie lives...it does not make it any easier to say goodbye though and the pain is like a raw wound for a long time. I do not think I have ever felt so sad and I've had some things in my life that were unbearable - or so I thought. I still miss him this 4 years later and can't help it. That is just how much we love them. It will get better for you in time but until then, please know I'm thinking of you and wishing you peace. I'm hoping and praying he will come and visit you and give you peace as well. Sending virtual hugs.

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      Luba 

      4 weeks ago

      It is help a little but I just put to sleep the most wonderful human dog. I had many dogs and each of them in my heart. The last one red mini poodle name Malchik was the best: supper warm, understand everything, he could read my moods, myself . We were always together and I don’t need anyone. I was in love, I purpose, I have Friend.He was always ready for me. We travel, we had long walks for hours, we sat in the park, we even went to the movie and supermarkets, travel by bus, trains and airplanes. He was love of my life. Finally I have a soulmate who adores me.He looked at me with such a love. I can’t describe last 2 months when first vet did not proper checking him and told me that poodels sometimes pretends.we went to different vet who Supposedly did the test for Lyme disease but delayed it for two more weeks and became brain died and I have to put him to sleep. Such a tragedy! If the doctors found it early, my dog will be alive.it is only 3 days ago. I am in pain but I cannot do anything. He was most handsome, smartest,, loving dog/person. I don’t think I had ever ever loved so openly, without pretentious anyone. He was my Malchik, my truly love.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 weeks ago from Washington

      Hi Rick

      I think that we all have guilt about everything we should have done for our pets or should not have done. I knew a young fellow who lost his 3-year-old dog because she got into the antifreeze. She went into renal failure and he was broken when he had to put her down. Sometimes, things just happen - we open a door and they run out or something unforeseen like getting cancer happens to a young dog like my beautiful Griffin. All I know is that you are right - they are our soulmates (some more than others even) and they forgive us - they loved us with all they had, and they would not want us to remember them with pain. I'm so very sorry for your loss but if you can, try not to blame yourself. Bobo would not want that. I believe somewhere in these tragedies, they are meant for some reason that we do not know about. It does not make it any less painful though and we always question why. Wishing you peace over his death. I have come to terms with losing Griff for whatever reason it happened, although I still cry for missing him sometimes. It is just who we are and it means that we have an open heart. You obviously have an open heart that you are still grieving. Take care and know you are not alone in your feelings. You had a wonderful run with him and I'm sure he loved you all that time and still does, wherever he is now.

    • profile image

      Rick H. 

      5 weeks ago

      The story is beautiful and helped me, i lost my dog 2years ago to accidental flea drops overdose, i have a really hard time dealing with it was all my fault he died because i did not read the instructions before applying the flea killer. His name is bobo, i had him for 12 years and he was like my soul mate, my very best friend, i just miss him so much, but with Gods grace im hoping to see him again, when its my turn to go. Animals are so special and we need to help them if they need it and understand that they really do have feelings for us too. Thank you and God bless you. Rick H.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 months ago from Washington

      Hi Di Freeze

      All dogs are wonderful - don't think that for one moment your little girl Flower was not just as special as my Griffin. Whatever dog tugs at our heart, makes us feel whole and gives us what we need - that therapy - it is priceless and unfortunately irreplaceable. That old saying about you don't know what you have until it's gone is so true....even though I DID know how much Griff meant to me from day one. It is just so hard to let go of them. I'm so sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing your story with me and everyone else. Do write about it or at least read over what you wrote - it is healing in its own way even though I still cry. I sometimes just look at the pictures on all my articles and remember those wonderful moments with him - that is a gift back to myself from him. Bless you that you have taken on dogs from a puppy mill also - nothing could be more cruel. I'm sure your dogs love you and appreciate you in ways we cannot ever know. I'm sorry for your loss as well. Just know that Flower knew how much you cared and how deep your love was for her. It is just never easy losing them because they are so innocent and should not suffer tragedy, illness or anything bad. Hope she is running free chasing Griffin around and giving him a run for his money! He was always such a fraidy cat - it was hysterical! I can picture them now!

    • profile image

      Di Freeze 

      5 months ago

      Thank you for sharing your feelings about Griffin. How much you loved him and how special he was is so evident. My heart hurts for you. We adopted three shih tzu half-sisters nearly 8 years ago. They spent their first years in a puppy mill before being rescued. One of them, Dottie, who is 13, has had health issues for a year and a half, including being nearly blind and ear problems. My husband and I talked about what it would be like when we lost Dottie. We knew we would still have her two younger half-sisters, Candy and Flower, nearly 10 years old. And then there is Nigel, another rescued shih tzu. Nearly two weeks ago, the unthinkable happen. Flower, who we thought was the healthiest of our dogs, got very sick and died the next day. We were told it was probably congestive heart failure. My husband and I have cried and cried over this little girl who shared this journey with us over the last eight years. I know it isn’t the same. She wasn’t a “Griffin” type of dog. She never seemed to get over that two years spent in a puppy mill, and she had lots of fear. But in between fearful moments, she was a sweet, innocent, wonderful little "girl" that we grew to love. And in her own way, she was my therapy dog. Like you, we have tons of pictures and videos, although we took more in the earlier years. Also, I blogged about them when we first got them, and one day soon, I hope to be able to read what I wrote without being overwhelmed with sorrow. For now, reading about the love others have for the dogs they are having trouble getting over helps me understand that we are not alone in our grief. Thank you again for sharing about this wonderful dog.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      6 months ago from Washington

      Thank you Taha for writing - that is a very good point if it did not come through. Any loss of an animal/favorite pet is devastating. I know someone who lost her favorite goat and she really never got over it. We can't pick who we love and how - but I still think it is better to have had them to love so dearly in the first place, even though it hurts so much. Thank you for your kind remarks.

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      Taha 

      6 months ago

      Thank you so very much for writing this article. I have had several rescue cats as well as other domestic cats as pets and the loss of each one is unreal.

      Thank you again.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      6 months ago from Washington

      Oh lord, Caroman - that is a wonderful thought about them being angels. I have often thought that myself because they do bring us so much comfort! They are so full of love and caring that I think they should be a great example to humankind. If we could but be so excited to see people, so eager to please them, and so gentle and loving - we'd be better people, eh?

      I am grateful for every single dog I've had over the years. I can't imagine a life without a dog though it does make you stop and think about doing it again when you have a tragic loss. I get that thought as well - for me, it has been the healing that came with opening my heart just a little more and a little more until dang - I fell in love again. Some will mean more to me than others - Griffin can never be replaced for example - but there certainly is a lot of happiness that goes along with trusting your heart again to love another fur baby. I am grateful for that as well. Thanks so much for writing! I do not know why animals should suffer either but I have decided it just isn't my job to figure it all out - just to take each day as it comes and do the very best I can with it. Thankful I have good things in my life to make that possible.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      6 months ago from Washington

      Hi Emmakatherine

      That was so beautifully put - I totally feel your pain as it is so new still. Your words made me cry for both of us - 6 is just too young and SO NOT FAIR. I kept saying that over and over when it happened and it didn't do much good except to make me cry more. Life is so unpredictable sometimes and as you say - sometimes the more we take care of them and worry over them, the more we think we are ensuring that they will be okay. Then when they are taken from us anyway - that really bites. I remember going through my days in a fog for probably over a year because I simply could not cope with losing him. Everything reminded me of him -even places I had never BEEN with him. I think that the gaping hole that they leave behind just goes with us no matter what we do.

      I am SO proud of you for taking on another dog! Some people that have suffered such a terrible, terrible loss just refuse to do it. They do not want the pain again and they never want to lose their hearts again that way. I do think another someone to love is the right answer, not only for us but for them too. There are not enough good people in the world to love all the dogs (and other pets) that are out there so we have a purpose. Little by little, Max has made me feel better - not that I ever stop missing Griffin - but he has his own quirks and things that he does now that are so funny that I kind of stop and look at him closely - Griffin - are you in there? It's probably not true but I swear every once in a while I think Griff may be channeling through Max. It makes my heart hurt a little less.

      I think that losing Griff did prepare me for the grief that was ahead. I lost both my stepfather and my mom in the past 2 years and even though all the grief was different and for different reasons, it did prepare me a bit. I almost think though that it was harder losing him than them and for that, I feel a little badly. They were very old and they became very, very sick, so it was almost a blessing. I do think that it all has to do with how we lose someone (including our beloved dogs) and when we lose them. Different circumstances make it harder than others perhaps. All I know is that I will love that crazy boy until the day that I die and I feel so privileged to have had him in my life in spite of the pain on losing him. I know you feel the same way about Moose. Hugs back to you and thanks for writing such a beautiful tribute to your sweet girl. I'll be thinking about you and your new journey. He will adore you for having you in his life.

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      Emmakatherine 

      6 months ago

      Thank you so much for the article. I lost my sweet girl, Moose, about 3 months ago. She had been with me since she was a baby, and I was too in many ways. She was- my once in a lifetime dog. She was with me through breakups, moves, uncertainties. I thought "as long as I have moo, I'm okay." She was my person. Losing her was like losing a limb. I wasn't prepared and feel like I'm not functioning right without her.

      She suddenly (as in, one day she was fine, the next was in the vet ER) was overcome by acute pancreatitis. She didn't eat anything fatty. She wasn't even close to overweight. She had a ton of allergies so we were super careful with her diet. I didn't even know this was a thing. I had never heard of it.

      When we brought her into the vets I thought she had a tummy bug. We were at the vets all the time! Allergies, tummy aches, reactions to shots. Just something. I was SO paranoid. She was my lifeline.

      She was sick on a Friday, and had passed by Tuesday. She was 6 years old. It wasn't fair, and it certainly didn't make sense.

      I still can't believe it. I'm still not okay. I won't be for a long time, and I know that. It's a pain I wake up to everyday and go to bed with every night.

      The other layer on all of this is that we had been looking to bring another dog into our lives when she was alive, and a few days ago, another frenchie basically fell into our laps. He is the sweetest boy and such a gentleman. We love him, it's just so bittersweet. I want to think of him as her little brother, and that helps a bit when I get overwhelmed with sadness.

      She was so funny. Like you said of your pup. Actually funny. She also knew when to just lay with me, and when to stay close.

      I truly don't expect to ever have another "her." I'll love this sweet boy and every other animal I'm blessed with that comes through my life. I just now know a new depth to life. One that I was always afraid of knowing. One I'm grateful for knowing now, and depressed to know at the same time.

      She taught me how to love, and is teaching me how to grieve, and how to have a new level of empathy I didn't understand before. I will love her and miss her for the rest of my life.

      Thank you for understanding this pain, though I'm so sorry you are able to. Xo

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      6 months ago from Washington

      Hi Nicola

      I hear your pain and have asked myself that a bunch of times as well - over and over. Because he was only 6 - shouldn't I have had his leg amputated and tried harder to save him? You just can never second guess yourself and I've eventually learned to let myself off the 'hook' there so to speak. Who knows what further pain he would have endured had I not let him go when we did? I think it would have been even harder on him and he would have absolutely hated not being able to get around and 'live life.' I think we do the best we can and love them with all our hearts and souls - they KNOW this - they sense our pain when they have to leave us, too. I have no doubts. He has visited me a bunch of times in dreams and I'm so grateful for that! I hope you will find peace and I think you will. It just takes time - the tincture of time does heal wounds...a wound of the heart. Take care - thank you so much for writing me about your beautiful boy. Hugs back to you.

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      Nicola 

      6 months ago

      I’m so glad I came across your article. I lost my sweet boy over two years ago and I still find myself overwhelmed with grief sometimes. He was such a sweet, good natured and handsome boy and I miss him every day. I got him when I was 19 and he was with me through my twenties, through many house moves and relationships. I miss him so much and I can’t at this stage imagine ever getting another dog. He got cancer towards the end and I still question all the time if we did enough, did we let him suffer too long, or could he have survived longer with different medication? Did I give up on him too soon? The day we put him down still haunts me and I feel so guilty about it. Thank you for writing this article- it’s reassuring to know that other people feel this way too xx

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 months ago from Washington

      Hi Mark

      From your lips to God's ears.

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      Mark Lewis 

      7 months ago

      When we get to heaven, every pet weve ever had, will come running to us.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 months ago from Washington

      Hi Floyd

      I'm crying along with you - what a beautiful story of your beautiful Abby and then her wonderful friend you had, Chunky. It made me giggle as Griffin was a little butterball for quite some time. It might have been a good name for him, too.

      Please don't think that it is abnormal - three weeks is not a long time at all to miss someone we have grown SO very attached to. It does just break us in two - or three or four it seems when we lose that 'special' or 'extra special' one. It has something (I think) to do with our time in our own life too - maybe just as we get older we realize how finite everything is and how we are going to lose more than we gain so to speak. It is hard coming to terms with death on any level but the death of a beloved pet seems cruel and unusual punishment. I still cry over Griffin and it will be 4 years in September. I still miss him - that is not to say I don't love my Gabby and my Max and will always love them - but he was just THAT special.

      Please take heart in knowing that it will get better - there just is no time table for it. I did write a book also on it because obviously I could not get over it even after writing this article! It still pains me I hate to admit - but really - it is no sin to have loved a dog that much. He made my life complete and he gave me so much. I don't think that is too much to grieve for losing and I think it is only natural that we do not want them to leave. You did the right thing though because them suffering is just NOT an option. It isn't fair to them and we as their caretakers have to do what is right - no matter how much it kills us in the process.

      Sending you virtual hugs and best wishes for acceptance. It does come eventually because there is truly nothing else we could have both done. They KNEW that we loved them - that is the best thing I can say - they did not want to go - but maybe they needed to. Maybe they had a purpose - to go to someone else and help them...I don't know. If and when I meet up with Griffin, I intend to ask him - and I know he will answer me because he was way smart, too. Take care of you.

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      Floyd Roberts 

      7 months ago

      Every time I think of my dog I get rushes of our life together and it hits me so hard when it comes to the end memory.

      When I was younger and still very troublesome. I moved away from where I grew up in the city to get away from the trouble I was getting into. I randomly got a dog. She literally became my best friend and cured all my feeling alone. Even when she wasn't allowed in that house she would sneak into my window, yes she could jump into it! And I'd let her sleep in there with me still. Nothing at all could keep us a part.

      I decided to move back to my area and bring my dog with me this time. I never felt alone so I never got back into my old lifestyle. Things went great from there. I had her for about 5 years up to this point. And I really felt she saved me from a lot of things in my life.

      Well my brother had a male dog...and one day they got together and we ended up with 10 puppies. Which I birthed myself! I made sure all of them went to great homes, even denying a few who seemed very unfit. Anyways, I got to a point where there was only one left. And I had a big connection with the one left. He was so chunky and a fat little fella as a puppy. And he really reminded me of his mom, my dog. A very smart thinking dog. Instead of running around crazy he would always observe everything first.

      A firefighter came to get that puppy one day, and I was very upset but I had to do it. I felt like I just lost a whole lot after taking care of each and every one of them.

      But he brought him back the same day and said he couldn't do it. Because the loss of his dog, he was not ready for another dog. But he mentioned it was a great little puppy. I was very happy and at that moment I decided I am going to keep this one for myself!

      After that I got married and had a son also. So my dogs really became a part of all of my family's life they were my kids too. We did everything together. Its way too much to type.

      About 4 years later my girl dog passed I had to put her to sleep. She was in too much pain to just keep going on. That was an extremely hard day for me. I lost the dog that basically saved me there. And I'm still not over it to this day. Her name was Abby. A blue eyed husky rottweiler mix. A very smart dog she mostly resembled the husky side. She could open the fridge, open doors swinging/sliding doors, and anything just about. I was hurt.

      However, I still had her son, Chunky! So it felt like she was still here with me in a way. As I mentioned he acted like her a lot. Very smart thinker I mean he could understand when I talk I believe.

      He developed anxiety of being alone so me and my wife became very very attached to help him cope even more with that. I didn't know we could get closer. He was my only friend outside of my family now. And I literally knew him since birth. Plus he was a part of Abby.

      There was not a single day where I did not do something that involved my dog for 14 years. We grew such a huge bond it was amazing. Its far too much to type again.

      This came to an end about 3 weeks ago, I put him down. Same situation just too much pain meds no longer working... I held him to sleep with my face on his neck crying. I didn't hurt like this with Abby. This was a new feeling I did not feel this way with my Abby. Perhaps because it still felt like she was here as well. I really broke down in there in that room that I still remember everything about. I seen his last breath in slowly faded. And it felt like my life was ending. I lost the best friend I ever had. My security of life, he made me never feel alone. I suddenly felt vulnerable and mad at everyone. They were not my dog not my real friend like he was.

      Now every time I see a picture or even the slightest thought everything rushes in my head and it clashes with me very hard. I don't think I will ever get over this it feels like. Its always going to hurt. Chunky was such an amazing dog, it effected my whole family and I had to explain to my son about things...

      It seems my family is a bit more moved on than me now as it was honestly my dog mainly but I can't say that because he loved them just as much. I'm still breaking down every night here. Including now. I just thought I'd write this somewhere because I don't know what to do anymore.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 months ago from Washington

      Hi Larry

      I am so sorry for your loss as well. I completely get all that you are saying. Griffin was just that extra-special canine soul that I got the pleasure to commune with. No matter who came before and who comes after, I will love them but nothing can ever replace that for me either. I think some of it has to do with the tragedy of them dying young, and of such a horrible disease - I truly do think that is what upset me the most. It seemed so 'unfair' but then life is rarely fair it seems. Take care and glad that you found the article helpful. It has helped me deal with my grief but I will always miss my big handsome bundle of fur and love! I know you will too.

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      Larry Jensen 

      7 months ago

      I’ve lost many dogs in my lifetime, but losing Lexie was the hardest. Cancer took her as well and way too soon. Unlike my other companions, Lexie was more than that to me. The only way I can explain it is that Lexie was my soulmate. We communicated without words, understood each other on a level above anything else I’ve experienced and she brought me a joy and peace no other animal or human ever has.

      Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know I am not alone in this feeling.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      7 months ago from Washington

      Hi Kona's mom

      I am SO sorry for your loss and that is so new and so raw that you cannot be expected to stop crying. I honestly did not know how I was going to go on - for days or for weeks after I lost Griffin. My other dogs, I cried about and I was able to realize that it was "for the best" perhaps and just move on. I know that feeling you are talking about - I would fall asleep and wake up only to remember and start crying again.

      Miraculously, somehow you will go on. It is good to get out and about - to keep the memories at bay - but I will tell you that for me, no matter where I went, it crept in. That sense of loss - a lot in part due to the fact that we took our dogs everywhere with us - so I missed him as much in the car as I missed him at home. I still miss him and that is just the way it is.

      I think I finally came to the point where I knew that it was okay to grieve and grieve terribly hard - but then to do something with it. I did all the things I mentioned in my article and then went on to even write a book - I still had things to say apparently! I honestly think that losing Griff was meant to help me in some way - I recently just lost my mom and a lot of the feelings are similar. I think grieving just means that we loved them that much and that cannot be a bad thing. It is so hard to go on without them but then on the other hand, if we had not hand them, we would not be grieving like this. It is a double-edged sword but I would much rather have had him in my life than not at all if that makes sense.

      Take care of yourself - try and meet with Kona in your dreams. I do that from time to time and I love that. I love being able to see Griff whole and healthy and I get to love him just a little bit longer somehow. I also get to see him in Max - and even in Gabby who was left behind. I treasure every moment I have with them and just thank God that I had Griff for as long as I had him. I'm sure you feel the same about Kona. It will get easier, I promise. It just takes time. Do whatever you can to remember and treasure those memories and it will begin to ease your pain. I'm again so very sorry for your very new loss - that is so hard and my heart goes out to you. Know though that Kona loved you to the moon and back as did my Griffin and they will ALWAYS be part of who we are and who we loved - and who loved us in return - no questions asked. I'll be thinking about you and wishing you peace.

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      Kona’s mom 

      7 months ago

      I have never posted anything before in my life but I googled “I can’t deal with my dogs death” and your site miraculously appeared.

      My konie died yesterday morning and I am so afraid I’m never going to stop crying or hurting. I don’t want to be in my house and see things that remind me of her. I can’t even sit on the couch because she’s not there to try to push me off of it. I have to go back to work tomorrow and I don’t know how I’m going to do it, knowing that when I come home she won’t be there to meet me with her “zoomes”.

      I’m not a crier at all really, but I can’t stop and I feel like I can’t breathe either. I don’t know what to do.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 months ago from Washington

      Hi Jamie

      I'm so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I think you will probably feel your loss and pain for some time because when these dogs mean so much to us, it is SO hard to let go of them. I cried so hard I thought that it wasn't possible to cry any harder but then I did. It is just a measure of our love I think. It did ease after time - the tears are still there sometimes but the thing I came to realize was that I didn't want him to suffer. He was in so much pain (and it sounds like your dog was as well.) I just could not BEAR this beautiful boy of mine to suffer any longer and that was the final thing that made me decide to end his suffering. I still miss him and I still wish I had not had to ever make that decision. It was done out of love though and that is all I/we can say or do. I did write a book about it because I was still so upset even after writing this article. It has some concrete ways that I used to deal with my loss that have helped me a lot. It is on Amazon both as a book and as a Kindle. It's called Mourning the Loss of Your Favorite Dog. I think we will always miss them but that just means that we loved them to the moon and back. Take care and try and just take it a bit at a time. It will get better with time.

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      Jamie 

      9 months ago

      I lost my dog yestarday she had kidney failure and she couldnt walk that well i cant stop crying i just want her back how do i get over this

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 months ago from Washington

      Hi Anne - I'm so sorry for your loss. I would not beat myself up though I know completely that feeling all too well. No matter what we decide, we feel that we could have, should have done something more quickly, something better. I have come to realize I think in myself that it is just what it is meant to be. Someone else is deciding when our pets (our friends, our family members) are to leave this earth and it is really out of our hands. I had to finally let myself off the hook and just TRY really hard to focus on all the good that that crazy dog brought to my life. I will miss him forever and regret that he had to die that way for just as long but in reality - it was such a blessing to have him at all that I have to try and let the pain go. It is hard - but you will find that with each day/week/month - it doesn't go away - but it gets easier. Wishing you peace - remember that your Molly would not want you to feel guilt or pain - only love and remembrance. That is what we can do for ourselves I guess as well. I had a Molly too - my beautiful black Labrador. Take care and again, I am so sorry for your grief and your loss.

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      Anne 

      10 months ago

      Hi Audrey

      Thx 4 ur post- I'm still grieving the lost of my Molly... she past away the previous Tuesday & I still cry like a baby every time I'm home alone

      Red cattle dog. She was exactly like ur dog, but like u said - she was much more than words could explain... so intelligent yet so innocent

      She died the same day I had our vet appointment - but it was too L8... the sorrow, guilt & regret hasn't passed yet...i should've taken her into emergency wen she was constantly throwing up the water she drank the previous day/night

      Humans can b so stupid wen it comes to animals - they can't speak & we can't understand their body language

      I'm just trying to distract myself which semi helps but wen I'm alone, i break down all over again. Thank u once again 4 this article - it brought me to tears with memories, because it's still fresh... don't know why Google showed this as a result wen I searched "how to stop crying over my dog"

      U expressed wat I feel, yet there's so much unspoken words to describe our overall feelings/thoughts

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 months ago from Washington

      It is strange how we all feel, isn't it Hayley? They just made such a huge paw print that it is impossible to let them go. I miss Griff every day but I do feel so blessed to have had him in my life for those short 6 years. I'm so sorry for your loss as well - what a darling name - Harley. Let's hope that Griff and Harley found each other wherever they went and are romping free and having a wonderful time! I hope and pray it is so. Take care.

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      Hayley B 

      10 months ago

      Thank you so much for writing this article. I am still grieving the loss of my guy Harley, I love my other dogs dearly but reading this just took the words right out of mouth. He was my special boy that left a mark on my heart. Thank you again.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      11 months ago from Washington

      Hi Kristin

      I'm crying for your loss as well - I'm SO sorry. I don't think there is a more horrible way to lose a dog than to an accident or trauma like that simply because I know myself - I would blame myself and think that I could have prevented it. You could not have prevented it and your family could not prevented it. I absolutely never will understand people and dogs off leash. I have big dogs myself and you would think that I would not worry - I do constantly! Mine are on leash and small dogs, big dogs come at them and there I am - caught in the middle. One bite from my big dogs and a small dog could be toast. I hate being put into that position and I think there should be stricter laws about bad pet owners that can't seem to understand the basic dog behaviors! I'm so very sorry you had to experience yet another example of poor dog handling. When something results in the death of a beloved pet, that is just too much to bear.

      I felt the same way on losing Griffin - it just seemed SO unfair. He had an allergic reaction to his 1st vaccination and my breeder almost did not give him away because of it. In retrospect, I wonder if something in his immune system was already goofed up and maybe that is why he was so susceptible to cancer. I have blamed myself a million times - why didn't I see it? Why didn't I get him help? Why didn't I give him herbal supplements or try to build up his immune system?

      I think that is what we do though when we love a pet that much - we just keep going back over it and over it and feel like we could change the outcome. I do think it is 'fate' or 'destiny' or something. They just were not meant to stay with us until a ripe old age. That was what I was counting on with Griffin. I bought a purebred dog for the 1st time in my life - and he only lived to be 6 years old. I could not believe the heartbreak. He was 'supposed' to live to be 10 to 14 years old - I had it planned out!

      All I can say is to try and take it 1 day at a time - it does get 'easier' with time though I would be lying if I told you I do not look at Griffin's many pictures - on my computer, on my walls (along with my other dogs and photos) and on my phone and sometimes cry more tears - 3-1/2 years later. I remember every day with him and miss him terribly - even though I have mischievous Max to think about and worry about every day - and Griff's niece Gabby who is a wonderful sweet girl who brings me unending joy. It is just SO hard - there is nothing that can describe it or make the pain go away until it's ready to be eased. I did try the thought that he was needed somewhere else and that kind of persuades me to fantasize that he is not really gone - he is helping someone else with all that love and joy.

      I did write my book too because obviously this article did not turn off my tears. That was my way of figuring out how to deal with the grief that seemed like it was a bottomless pit. Doing collages of him, even printing off pictures of him and making greeting cards - I've tried everything under the sun. It does get easier with time but he will always be 'top dog' in my heart and the hole he left behind a gaping canyon sometimes. I do dream about him and he is healthy and running and that makes me somehow feel better. I hated seeing him suffer even though it was a short period of time but it was just unbearable to me.

      I'll be thinking of you - and again, I am so very sorry you had to lose Honey that way. That is just negligence on the part of that dog owner and I would have a terrible time dealing with that. Take care and sending you virtual hugs. We were at a restaurant once with Griff when he was a puppy - sitting outside - and a Corgi went by in the basket of someone's bike and started barking crazily at him. It was hysterical. He jumped up and starting howling at it as it whizzed by on the path by the restaurant. Everyone was laughing. I will think of Honey riding in a basket and Griffin baying at her to wait up. I can only hope and pray they are romping somewhere happy as clams.

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      Kristin 

      11 months ago

      Thank you for writing this. I felt the same way about my Honey, my little corgi who I knew was my soulmate from the second I saw her in the shelter. My love for her was (and is) absolutely immense, she was perfect to me in every way. She brought more joy into my life than I can describe. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful dog.

      On December 8th, a large dog attacked and killed her. My Mom, brother, and brother's girlfriend took her and our other two dogs on a quick evening walk in front of the park near our house, and one of the park's employees had his huge, aggressive dog off leash. I am thankful at the very least that I wasn't there when it happened--I don't know if I could have lived with the trauma--but the fact that it happened at all is beyond heartbreaking. I don't know how to get through losing her the way I did. I'm not suicidal, but part of me doesn't even want to live without her. I feel so lost, and it almost feels like I have two losses to deal with--the fact that she's gone so suddenly, and the traumatic way she passed.

      She just had major eye surgery a few months ago and her eye was healing so beautifully, which makes the loss even more heartbreaking. Her eye injury was such a stressful and difficult ordeal, and it was a huge relief when everything turned out okay in the end. Then she was cruelly snatched away from life a few months later... I feel so broken.

      I feel like my reality has shifted permanently. The world seems much more empty now that she's not in it. I don't think I've even fully accepted her death yet, it feels too big and too horrible to understand, but I cry frequently. I've been sick ever since it happened. I feel like half of my soul and will to live went with her. I wish more than anything that I could rewind time and stop that walk from happening. I am trying to believe that, if it was fate that we met, maybe this was fate, too, but it's almost too horrible to bear no matter what outlook I try to take on it.

      I just wish her death could have been what I always envisioned, which was that she would live to be very old and I would sit by her side as she was put to sleep. I know euthanasia is awful in its own way, too, I have lost dogs and cats and other animals that way, too, but at least it is peaceful, and you know it's just their time to go. The death she had leaves me little space to comfort myself and feels like a nightmare. It's just not fair. She was the sweetest, most wonderful dog, who brought joy to everyone she met.

      Anyway, I just wanted to vent some of my heartbreak. I don't know how I'm going to get through it in the months and years ahead. It's extremely hard to find peace with this horrible reality.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      12 months ago from Washington

      You are most welcome, FastLemur - will think of your new pup running and frolicking and having a WONDERFULLY long life. If only they could stay with us forever....I would of course then have 5000 dogs probably! Take care!

    • profile image

      FastLemur 

      12 months ago

      Thank you so much! I do understand that larger dogs are more prone to some things, but I'm really in need of a friend right now hehe. And same here, of all the dogs I've had the only adult that we had to put down was a husky that was used for breeding (it wasn't us, a breeder gave her to us when they couldn't use her anymore) and the poor thing was very old and worn out and she got really bad hip dysplasia so we decided to let her go... But other than her and the two puppies, all our dogs have lived great, long lives. But I will definitely ask the breeder about family problems to try and cross those out... Also we usually never get pure breeds, we try to rescue as much as we can, but this time I said that I'm going to try a malamute because I think I'm finally getting better with doggy leadership and frustration (I used to never be able to train anything cuz I was way too soft and wavering..) and we're moving to a place with tons of space and snow so she should be happy...

      Again thank you so much for the awesome articles!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      12 months ago from Washington

      Hi FastLemur

      I would not say that long-haired malamutes are more prone to cancer or disease, but some folks argue that they are "inferior" in some ways to "regular" malamutes. At least that is what I have read. I really just do not know if that is true. I do know that any large breed dog is going to be more prone to cancers and other maladies like bloat, etc. than smaller dogs. That is just a painful fact.

      I'm so sorry for your loss of the puppy - that is tragic. I actually have some experience with that as our 2 lab puppies years and years ago both had parvo and we almost lost both of them. We were actually on our way to say goodbye to one of them at the vet's and when we got there, she saw us and perked up. It was a miracle for sure that both of them survived. One of them (Mariah) got cancer (just like Griffin) when she was 6 years old and the other sister lived to be 14-1/2 years old. There is sometimes just no rhyme or reason to it but they could not have been loved more.

      Back to the malamutes, I would say that you could consult with a breeder. As it turns out, there was another malamute in Griffin's line (on the father's side) that did have cancer and perhaps that was the tell sign there. I don't know. All I know is that it is a horribly painful thing to watch your young dog succumb to but then there are a lot of other things (like parvo, etc) that are just as cruel on our blessed dogs. I would always try and just get the "cleanest" dog (breeding line) you can and check it out, do your homework, but even then - nothing is for sure. It is all not up to us and in someone else's hands I guess as to who lives on into long doggie years and who does not! Sad but true. I honestly have had rescued dogs that all lived to be 16 or 17 years old. They were happy campers for sure and they came through time and time again through the craziest of illnesses and in all cases, just collapsed more or less on the day that they died and that was it. Griffin was the first purebred dog we ever owned - ironic. He was just so special though - I would have done it all over again in a heartbeat.

      Take care, and again, I'm so sorry for your loss also. When I read all of you folks' stories, it always makes me cry for your losses. It also makes me feel not so alone in my inability to get over losing Griffin completely. I think we are all good support for each other. Good luck and DO get another dog. We can be as careful as we want to be, but it is sometimes just the 'luck of the draw' I have found. I do believe that somehow these dogs pick us and even if it ends in tragedy before we know it or something we never saw coming, they needed us and we needed them for those moments in time. I'll be thinking of you and getting started again with another little girl or guy. The continuity of it all and life moving on does heal even the most broken of hearts. Peace be with you.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      12 months ago from Washington

      Hi DivaDoodles - I am assuming that is not your name but a tribute to your beautiful Diva? I'm so very sorry for your loss. I think that is the worst thing that can happen - when they die unexpectedly and we did not "plan" on that happening. We are all hopeful when we love these dogs (or any pet really) that much. We feel like we just didn't see it coming and we could have, should have done this or that. I beat myself up pretty good for not realizing that Griffin had cancer and then how I took him to the vet and the x-raying broke his leg. He might have lasted a few more months without that. I think we can all second guess what we have done but please remember this MOST OF ALL...you loved your Diva just as much as your heart could possibly hold love - to the moon and back. That is how much I loved my Griffin. They knew that - to their dying breaths. It is just unfortunate that they had to leave us before we were ready to let go. That's about the only thing I can rationalize even 3 years later. I was just simply not prepared or willing to let him go. I wanted him to be with me forever. In truth though, he is with me forever and will always be. It doesn't help much and it is not quite the same as having him here with me to make me laugh and smile, but the only thing I can think of after it has been over and done - he is not suffering anymore. You could not see the future. You could not save Diva no matter what. I think it is the hardest thing in the world to say goodbye and then not to blame ourselves. Please don't do that. She would not want that - and I know now that Griff would not have wanted me to do that either. Honor her and remember her but do not let it break your heart - or maybe just let it break it a little bit. They say a broken heart holds more love and I guess I believe that now. I have been grieving over losing Griffin for so long that I can't believe it - but it does get easier with time. Having Max and Gabby has helped tremendously and knowing that they need me is key to my survival and has been all along. It doesn't mean that we won't miss them every day of our lives going on without them - but it will get easier in time. I totally understand your feelings of guilt and tragedy and I'm again, so sorry.We can't live in "if only" though because we can't go backward - only forward. Take care and know I'm thinking of you. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss of Diva. She sounds like a wonderful girl!

    • profile image

      FastLemur 

      12 months ago

      Thank you so much for this article, even though it was hard to read since I just lost my dog last month. Totally true what you say about some dogs just being extra special. I've had 10 other dogs, and none of them compared to her, the whole family felt it. Sadly she was only 4 months old when she passed, but she took a bit of all of our hearts with her... Another puppy (a stunning Czech wolf dog) died the same week as her, so it was extra tragic. The Czech came with parvo and infected the other one as well, and despite our 24/7 treatments they didn't make it...

      Also, you mention that you think Griffin might have been more disposed to cancer because of his long hair? I'm getting a malamute puppy in January if all goes well, but should I not get a long hair if that's the case? We're just so afraid of losing more pups that I'm trying to be extra careful...

      Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Divadoodles 

      12 months ago

      I lost my 8 year old baby 3 days ago.

      Yorkie baby girl Diva was from Korea and we bought our 2 yorkie babies to South Africa with us.

      Diva was my heart and soul, I think I loved that dog more than anything in the entire world.

      She got me through some dark times.

      I spoke to her , she listened , she watched tv and growled and barked at it, she yelled at me for snacks, showed me her nails and did high five .

      Beginning of the year she was diagnosed with CHF.

      Went on usual meds and was ok.

      Last few months her breathing was off , went to a new vet on a Sunday who took her on.

      She then suddenly got pyometra and had to have an emergency spay and recovered like a trooper .

      All was well for a few weeks and then her breathing went off again.

      Back and forth we went to the vet and he then decided to do ultrasound and diagnostics, she was distended by then short of breath and uncomfortable .

      Took 2 days for sedation from ultrasound to wear off.

      Finally got results pointing to cardiac insufficiency leading to liver enlargement.

      Vet adjusted meds and added liver support.

      Came home that night and she got diarrhea .

      By next morning it was bloody diarrhea , I asked vet about starting her on metronidazole which I had and he said go again.

      Went out came back and stool was watery with blood. Messaged vet and asked what to do as I didn’t want her to dehydrate.

      No response .

      I tried stringing glucose water into her mouth . Went out again and my son mashed me saying he thought she needed to go on a drip. Came back to check and was going to go back to the vet at 5. I picked her up , she looked at me took one last breath and was gone.

      I’m devastated as I feel I could have saved her had she gone on a drip to replace fluids.

      Day before hubby asked vet if she was going to die and he said def not.

      Now he says it was liver failure. I don’t believe it, and now she’s gone and I’m grief stricken as well as guilt stricken as I’ve been to the vet every other day but when I should have been there urgently I didn’t get there in time.

      I don’t know how I am going to carry on.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      12 months ago from Washington

      I'm sorry for your loss, too, Debbie - ah yes - the walks!!! Griffin was so good at those - we called him Sir Prance-a-Lot - he just had a way about him that said I love life and I'm out here just prancing to the beat of my own happy drum. His name was Mr. Moonlight (kennel name) and he certainly made you smile as he strutted along. It is good to remember our favorite moments with them, for sure. Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. Hugs to you. Never easy saying goodbye.

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      Debbie 

      12 months ago

      It’s horrible losing a pet. I lost my berty last dec and not over him . I’m so sorry for your loss. We think of the fun times we had and their favourite things and walks .

      Take care

      Debbie

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      12 months ago from Washington

      Hi Hayden

      I'm sorry for your loss as well. It is never, never long enough. I grieve my Griffey every day and can't believe it was such a short time that he was with me. I had been hoping it would be longer, as I have mentioned a lot of times. However, if I had had him even longer, the pain probably would have been even worse at losing him. I truly hope and pray that they are all running somewhere happy and free from stress or pain and we will get to reunite with them one day. Take care and know that I do understand completely.

    • profile image

      Hayden 

      12 months ago

      I am sorry for your loss.

      I lost my Reginald Jack Sausage 30 Sept 17 so its nearly a year and today is one of those challenging bad days.

      He was 9 months at adoption and I said goodbye after having him just over 15 and a half years.

      I cannot comprehend he has gone.

      Hayden

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      13 months ago from Washington

      I'm so sorry for your loss, too, luvs2dance. I know it was so hard to lose Griff after only 6 short years but now I wonder how hard it would have been after 15. I don't think I would have ever been able to endure it no matter what the time frame - it is all just a horrible loss for us when we love them that much. I'm so glad Indiana was a part of your life, too - it sounds like he had a wonderful time, just as Griffin did. People just used to flock to him no matter where we took him so I'm glad for all that pampering he got from the world "at large' as well as his family and friends. These special ones will live with us forever in our heart, but I know what you mean - saying goodbye is the worst part. When they broke Griff's leg with the x-ray it just wasn't tolerable to either one of us to see him in that much pain. I am grateful though for the days leading up to all that where I got to just spend time with him. I'm glad you got that chance as well. Take care, and again, I'm so sorry for your recent loss. I'm hoping Indiana is frolicking with my Griffey and having a wonderful time where there is no cancer and no more pain. Bless them all.

    • profile image

      luvs2dance 

      13 months ago

      Wow. Thank you so much for posting this story. We lost our standard schnauzer of almost 15 years just a few weeks ago. Like Griffin, for us, Indiana was special - he truly was our Indiana Jones...always up for whatever crazy adventure we worked up for him. We travelled with our dogs too - Indiana had travelled from Canada to Florida 4 times! We were halfway done another one of those drives when we discovered a large cancerous mass in his chest. We had no idea it was there. They told us we had 1 week, so we turned around and came home. We got 9 beautiful days to say goodbye before his suffering became too great. I think about him every day. I'm so grateful to have had him in my life and will always cherish all the joy he brought me, but it has been very difficult to say goodbye.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      13 months ago from Washington

      You too, Ken. Take care and keep an eye out for someone who is out there just waiting for you. I know it will happen when the time is right. I'm so sorry for Blackie as well. Every time I have lost a dog, I say never again. Somehow they just grab us with their paws around our heart and will not let go. I just know though there will be someone "like" Sam that will come to visit you and it will help - not completely ever heal it - but it will help. Max makes me laugh every day and Gabby just shakes her head at him. It is good to smile when you thought you never could again. Will be thinking of you!

    • profile image

      Ken Suter 

      13 months ago

      Dear Audrey, Thank you so very much for posting my story and responding to me. I have purchased your book, and I will have a box of tissues nearby when I read it. I am so glad you have Max to help you with your loss, I have 2 dogs, Blackie, a lab who came as a stray six months after we got Sam, and Katie, a Beagle that I rescued from the neighbor's six years ago, she was emaciated badly and neglected, I called the same humane society I got Sam from and they are two sweet dogs. But they always took a back seat to Sam, he too talked constantly and controlled us and the entire house. I called him King Brown Crap and he knew his nickname well! He loved every person and animal he ever met, and he especially loved cats. He loved going to the Veterinarians ironically, he would try to make friends with all the cats. He was like having a four year old toddler his whole life, I talked to him constantly and he was highly intelligent, more human I think than dog. Unfortunately, I will be dealing with losing Blackie in the near future, he has an aggressive cancer. I am trying to give Blackie as much love as I can, but he's not a cuddler like Sam, and Sam is stealing the spotlight in my heart even after his death. I look forward to reading your book, reading it and talking to you will certainly help me immensely in dealing with my grief. Thanks again and I wish you only the best

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      13 months ago from Washington

      Oh Ken - that is so sad - it definitely has me crying trying to type this reply! I so hope that Griff has met up with Sam and that they are frolicking and swapping parent stories!!! I know they will be great ones. I have no doubt that Sam picked you - just like my Griffin picked me to love with all his heart and soul. He loved other people - he was a people magnet - but there was just that special thing between us that was so hard to lose. I totally understand your grief especially when something happens so suddenly. When you just do not expect it or "see it coming" I think it is 5 times harder to accept or get over. I am glad you have come to the conclusion that another dog is out there - he or she truly is - and he or she will find you and love you. I know Max is not the exact same as my Griffey but surprisingly, he knows just what to "say" to me every day to make me grateful for him and for Gabby. He comes bursting into my office - he is not a smooth talker/smooth walker like Griffin was - and is full of zest and energy all the time! He will just trot up to me, put his head on my knee and look at me and start talking. I know he is telling me things like - be happy today - I love you - Griffin loved you - have a nice day, mom!!! He will greet me at night when I come downstairs after a long day of working and start chattering at me again - and then come and lay right beside me. He is my husband's dog "mostly" but he is so sweet to me -it is amazing. I feel like maybe Griff is in there somewhere trying to soothe me still and make me know all is okay. It is still painful to think about - after 3 years! I am amazed that a heart can hurt for that long but it was a deep affection for sure I felt for that beautiful boy - I totally understand your grief over Sam. I ended up writing a book because obviously this article did not "end" my grief but think it all is therapeutic - whatever we need to do to express that sadness we feel is okay. Please take care of you - and I will be imaging another dog "finding you" because he or she will... When the time is right, you will find a dog again and I would almost bet that you will all of a sudden look at him or her and catch a gleam in his or her eye and wonder just for a minute if you are looking at Sam. I've felt that several times with Max and it has given me peace. Wishing you that most of all. I know we cannot change what happened and it must have happened for "some reason" though it escapes me altogether, but we will survive and our pups would have wanted that most of all for us. Thanks for sharing your story about Sam and I am so very sorry for your loss also. May they both be happy today wherever they are and I hope and pray one day I get to see my boy again and you yours!

    • profile image

      Ken Suter 

      13 months ago

      Dear Audrey, As I started my day this morning, I told myself that this was going to be a better day, as I haven't seen really any good days in nearly a year. And then I read your story about your amazing Griffin. And I cried. I cried for you and the immense pain you have been suffering through, and I cried for me, because I lost my adopted four legged son Sam 11 months ago. Nearly every word of your story was mine, as if you were able to somehow get into my mind and tell my story. The only real difference in our losses was the breed of dogs, Sam was a Schnauzer Terrier mix. What I really was amazed at was when you talked about Griffin's eyes. That was Sam. He had the same eyes. When I first met him, at the mall, the humane society was trying to adopt out seven puppies, I had no intention of getting one, even though I had several dogs growing up, but as I stood there with my wife watching the group, one dog in particular was sitting quietly to the side. I kept looking at him from a distance, and he stared at me the whole time, and then he walked up to me and, those eyes, I couldn't believe how his eyes latched on to me like a magnet. He then turned around and laid on my foot, and the humane officers all ran over to me, saying that he picked me, I must take him. I got uncomfortable and told my wife that we must go, and I pulled my foot out from under him, and he let out a signature groan/moan as I walked away. We went about 20 feet, my wife said "will you stop and look at that dog?" I did, and those eyes, they pierced my heart like a laser, as he stood looking like he was going to cry. I said "we'll take him!"That was the single best thing I ever did in my life. For just over 11 years, I had the honor of being his Dad, I had a bond with him that I don't think I have ever had with any human, including my wife, if that is possible. I literally worshipped the ground this sweet, gentle, highly intelligent dog walked on, I considered waking up to him every day as essential as breathing oxygen. Never did that dog ever lick me, but he certainly kissed me a million times with his eyes, and he engraved his being into my heart that will be there forever. And then the worst day of my life came when his full of energy body jumped into the air, excited about going for a walk, when he landed on his feet, he screamed for what seemed like an eternity, I looked at him in horror, he stood motionless for about 5 seconds, and fell over on his side. That was the last sounds he would ever make. He obviously paralyzed himself, and in less than a half hour at the vet's my precious jewel died. How? How did I not know he had a spine problem? I had my hands on this beautiful boy a hundred times a day! I know how your Griffin passed away has created a lot of guilt for you, but you did the right thing, there was no miracle that could help him. The suddenness of losing Sam has devastated me, to the point of going into a state of immense depression for nearly a year. I call it emotional torture. A few days ago, I told myself that I have two choices, one, I can commit suicide and be with him hopefully, but I certainly don't have the guts to do that, or I can pick myself up and live, and that is exactly what I plan on doing, because Sam would want me to, he loved every minute of his life. Some day, another dog will find me, and need me as much as I need it. And if it is a quarter of the dog my Sam was, and obviously your Griffin, I will have hit the jackpot again. My heart truly aches for you, I will forever think of you and your loss when I think of Sam.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      13 months ago from Washington

      Thanks, Sugarplum - wishing you peace. It will eventually come. You will always miss your sweet princess though and I'm there with you. Take care! Thank you for YOUR kind words. It is good to know we have friends out there who understand.

    • profile image

      Sugerplum 

      13 months ago

      Dear Audrey, many thanks for your kind words, when I read about your heartbreaking experience with your beautiful boy Griffin I was in tears, he was so young and in his prime, grief is a lonely place. When I wrote to you I could hardly see for crying. It felt like someone understood how I felt day to day without her. I wear a locket with a photo of her looking like a little princess, that does give me comfort, I know it will get easier, as time passes, I'm so grateful Mollie was in my life, as you were with your sweet Griff. Many thanks you are truly kind, virtual hugs to you, and all who those are missing their cherished doggy friends x

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      13 months ago from Washington

      Hi Sugarplum

      How heartbreaking and I'm so sorry for your loss also. A dog living 16 years seems like a lot but it is never enough to tell the truth. I had a Molly - though different spelling - and she was my first heartbreak for special dogs. She lived to be 14-1/2 years old after having grade IV hip dysplasia and having a hip replacement and then a hip nailing on the other side. It was still not long enough so I know your sorrow. I'm sorry she was in so much pain and know the agony of watching that in your sweet baby. It does not seem right and know you did the right thing to ease her suffering, though it caused your own. That is just the hardest thing of all - making that decision to end their life. However, I think in all fairness to them, it is the right thing to do as they do not deserve pain after they have given us their hearts and souls. I'm so sorry again for your loss and for your family's loss. Do know that she loved you to the moon and back - there is no doubt. She knew you needed her when you did and she was there for you - and you were there for her in the end. Take care and know that she will always know your love - and you will always have hers to carry in your heart. It does get easier with time - though some of them - we simply can never, ever forget, no matter how we lose them or when we lose them. I think that is a gift - despite the pain it causes us for their loss. Virtual hugs to you.

    • profile image

      Sugarplum 

      13 months ago

      Hi, I've just read your wonderful article about your gorgeous boy. We lost our darling Mollie a few months ago aged 16, see was more than a dog to me, she was my best friend and companion, truly beautiful inside and out. She never left my side when I was very ill 5 years ago, her beautiful brown eyes and feeling her warm weight led on the bed next to helped my recovery. I was able to do the same for her in return, arthritis has taken its toll on her little body, she was on so many pain meds, but she also developed dementia which was heartbreaking to watch. I would sit up with her all night so she wasn't afraid to be left alone, my sweet beautiful little girl was in so much pain at the end we took the the decision to part with her. Our vet was so kind he made her comfortable so we could say our goodbyes. My heart was broken. In the months that have followed I'm finding it very hard not to see her everyday, feel her soft but wirey coat run through my fingers. She is greatly missed by all of our family who love her as she loved them.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      14 months ago from Washington

      I'm so sorry for your loss, too, Andrea. That is sad. I know sometimes it seems unfair that we can't be with them when they die. I had that happen also with a border collie who was aggressive toward our other 3 dogs. We had to give her away to preserve some kind of sanity in the house. She had a good life but we were never with her when she died and I felt badly about that. She was such a fierce dog. They do know we love them I think though and we will always carry them in our hearts. Don't feel too guilty over it - unfortunately that is easier said than done. They just are not with us long enough - ever. Take care.

    • profile image

      Andrea Mazurek 

      14 months ago

      Thank You so much for this. I had to rehome my dog because he was agressive only to my husband. Then he became agressive to others and recently he attacked his new owners and they put him down and called after. I feel really guilty because I had him since a puppy and I would of been there with him. Although I guess he wasn't my dog anymore. To me he was and I feel like I let him down. But thank you for your story.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      14 months ago from Washington

      Oh Juan, truly your pain makes me cry as well. I know most of what that feels like and I'm so sorry for Ziggy and for your loss as well. I do know though just with the experience with Griffin, it is NOT our faults. There is nothing we can do to save them, bless them to the bottom of their furry hearts. We loved them and they loved us way beyond what we could even imagine. They would forgive us anything. It was not intentional - it was just one of those stupid quirks of medical science I think. I had a lab who was 14-1/2 years old who died of that same twist of the stomach. I was heart broken as well because I felt that if I hadn't taken her to the kennel (she would get so nervous) that it never would have happened. We were too far away to get home in time to be with her when they had to put her to sleep and that took me a long time to forgive myself for. However, I did come to the conclusion that it couldn't have been prevented - it was sad, sad, sad and broke my heart as it happened right before Christmas - what an awful gift that was! Yet, I think she left because she wanted me to get Denaya - our first rescued malamute - that is what I told myself anyway. Here was a dog that was going to be put to sleep from starvation at only 1 year old and no one wanted her because she had too many issues. We had her until she was 16 or 17 years old and died right before Griffin. I always feel that these things (as HORRIBLE as they are and how they break us) are meant for some reason. All I can say is try and think of Ziggy running free and free of pain, which is most important. He is young again - and he is meeting up with Griff and saying - hey - your mom wrote a story about you - and my dad wrote a story about me. Isn't that the coolest thing ever? They LOVED us man - with all their hearts and even though they miss us - we are still in their hearts. How cool is that, dude? (I used to always call Griffin 'dude' - too funny I just thought of that). It illustrates though that they are ALWAYS with us - they will never go away. The pain gets better just with time...she says wiping her tears. It truly does. Maxwell has helped us redirect some of our grief into making him into someone Griff would have adored also. I think that is what has saved me anyway. He cannot replace my beautiful boy - but he is a wonderful distraction and another dog to love. I'm hoping Ziggy sends you someone to love and maybe that will help Zoe as well. It saved Gabby's life to be honest. Take care - virtual hugs and will think of Ziggy bounding over bushes and rolling in delight in a heavenly meadow - it just has to be so! They deserve all that and more. You might be surprised to 'see him' in some other dog along the way also - just winking back at you - hey dad - here I am! I catch a glimpse just every now and again from Max of Griffey stopping in to say hi.

    • profile image

      Juan Tremillo 

      14 months ago

      We lost our half Chow half Shepard, Ziggy 2 weeks ago, sep 7. Our beautiful spoiled boy was 14 1/2 years old. He would've been 15 in December. I continue to live the day in my head where I could have told the vet and my wife NO to the new meds they were going to give him. He was in pain for arthritis all over his body, he could barely walk, but overall he was still getting up to eat lightly, wanting to continue to come to bed with us, wanting to finish his walks even though he could not walk much, but we let him rest at every driveway. I had a bad feeling about the meds, but I was just wanting for my wife to ease her mind that I was in this to help him too because I loved him so much. Ive always hated to watch Ziggy go under for sedation for any type of procedure, so when the vet recommended a small dose of morphine like med to help ease the arthritis so we could get im to eat again, it sent an alarm to me, but again, I trusted the vet and wanted for my wife to have this, to make Ziggy feel better. 2 hours later, he was choking on his phlem, couldn't breath. Vet didn't know why that happened, believed that the meds caused his intestines to twist, or whatever. I tried yo help him breath and relax by rocking him back and forth on my lap and arms. he finally relaxed and started breathing normally, but then he got too relaxed and silently fell asleep. i felt his breathing go lighter then my wife said he stopped breathing, i said he was just sleeping and then meds were finally relaxing him. But no, he was dying in my arms, i moved him to his mattress and tried to help him breath, but he had passed on. I have never experienced this type of pain before, other than my fathers passing. I constantly replay his trust in me when i took him to the vet, that dad would not let anything happen to him. The look in his eyes that he always trusted me, that he wanted me to just take him home. I feel so guilty for allowing the new meds when i could have told my wife and vet to just leave him, i know he's old, but he's happy with us. I miss him everyday, and it does not go away. I just recently allowed myself to smile for a brief moment. what is even harder is watching our other dog, Zoe, who was his partner for 12 1/2 years, miss him too. When he passed, she knew it, she layed next to him for a while, before we asked the vet to pick him up to have him cremated and have the ashes back to us. Me and my wife have approached this differently. She wants to remember the good, but I am constantly stuck on the day he passed. It hurts so much because he was my roaddog, my sleep pillow, he slept at feet or had to be touching my leg for 14 1/2 years. He would ride with me in my truck and was always the navigator by standing on the console. I believe he was like a child to us, but he was also my therapy dog because he always made me so happy no matter how bad of a day i had. always forced me to walk him. Its left such a hole in my life and in my heart. I just hope that this pain gets a little less, but I feel so guilty in trying to move on. I cant or dont want to move on, because i felt i could have saved him and given him a few more months or another year. I just hope if he is in dog heaven, that he forgives me for what happened, because I know I will never forgive myself for not fighting for him.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      14 months ago from Washington

      Oh Liz - I'm so sorry for your loss of Gomez. That is so difficult when something like that happens and we always, always blame ourselves. I knew a young fellow in Oregon who had a 3-year-old rottweiler and somehow she got into the antifreeze. I don't think I've ever seen anyone cry harder or longer. I felt SO bad for him. It isn't our fault, truly it isn't. Things just happen sometimes. I have to believe that our beautiful therapy dogs are meant to be somewhere else and maybe Gomez was needed for someone right then. There just has to be an explanation as to why we have to lose our (as you said almost like a person) dogs who are just giving us everything we need. We are upset (nauseated, can't get out of bed, depressed, tearful for hours on end) because we are going through a horrible poisoning ourselves of our heart. We can't accept the reality of them being gone and I think that is quite normal - especially given the short time that you've been dealing with this and the circumstance. I felt terrible because we had been on vacation with Griffin - and I should have taken him to a vet there - I should have done this - I should have noticed that he had cancer. We can't beat ourselves up for any of this. It is just what it is unfortunately - a tragic, tragic loss. It takes a long while to get over and I can attest to that. Know that I'm thinking of you and wishing you peace of mind. We can't always block the bad things that can happen and that's a sad reality to face sometimes. However, do know - Gomez loved you to the moon and back - he would not want you to grieve but you will. I never have any doubts that my Griffin had a wonderful life and that he loved us all heart and soul. That is comforting even through the loss. I'm so sorry for you all. Sending you virtual hugs as well. We'll think of Gomez finding Griffin and rolling in the grass and howling up a storm. They will be waiting for us on the other side.

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      Liz 

      14 months ago

      I lost my sweet boy Gomez this past Friday. We just got back from a three week vacation and the boys that were watching him said he wasn’t eating much. He was very skinny but otherwise seemed okay. We were jet-lagged but I knew something wasn’t right and waited a couple days before I brought him to the vet. He had injested poison somehow which is odd because he isn’t interested in dead mice, trash, etc. He died a few hours later. The guilt is literally paralyzing me and I am constantly nauseated. This article comforts me somehow because Gomez was so special, crazy and one of a kind and just to know that someone has gone through this too brings some peace. He was almost like a person and was always by my side. He was my therapy dog, too and I am heartbroken. It will be hard but I really pray I can forgive myself and move forward soon. Thank you for writing this- it will help and has helped me already. Peace, Liz

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      14 months ago from Washington

      After doing the math - it is actually 1109 days since I've seen our beloved Griffin. It feels like at least 1500 days. The point is - no matter how long they are gone - it aches like a hole in your heart. Math has never been my strongest suit!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      14 months ago from Washington

      Ah Charlie - you said it quite beautifully and eloquently. They are the sum total of all the dogs that we have loved these special ones that set themselves apart. My daughter always said that I loved all my dogs equally but she would be incorrect there. There are just some that put a print on you that is unexplained and quite remarkable. Griffin was that supreme one. There were others before him but no one has broken my heart quite like my little boy leaving me behind. However, as you say - they come back at us in the strangest ways - that is my theory anyway and I'm sticking with it!

      What a beautiful name - Willow! Did she really live to be 23?? Oh my - I'm so jealous! I actually have been so blessed with those that lived to be 15-17 so I think that is why I was so upset that I should lose not 1 dog but 2 of them at age 6 to cancer. That seems unfair - but hey - life is rarely fair. It is meant for some reason I suppose and I like to think Griff was needed somewhere else.

      I will think of Willow too finding Griffin and running like mad through the meadows though Griff will probably stop to take a lie-about if I know him! He was such a sweet, sweet dog - but aren't they all? They love us madly and it is very, very hard not to love them in kind the same way.

      Max has stolen a bit of my heart as well. I see those Griffin 'moments' in Max and it does warm my heart. I do not understand how such broken hearts can live and breathe again as it seems like the whole world has ended when you have such a loss - and that a broken heart can't open up and love something or someone again - but it is quite so. Griff (and Willow) would want it that way.

      Have fun with your lovely bundle of fur and love - they are just remarkable creatures that they make us feel so complete. I am sorry for your loss as well, just a few months after Griffin died. I can't believe that I have been without my beautiful boy for 1500+ days. I did not think I would make it past 1 day. It is truly the hardest thing we have to do for them but unfortunately what we must do when they are suffering.

      Hugs to you.

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      Charlie 

      14 months ago

      Like you I have had many dogs and they have all been special and I have loved each and every single one but some have somehow shined brighter.

      I lost my beautiful dog of 23 year old fog willow on November the 5th 2015 a date thats burned into my head for all the wrong reasons. It is also my late fathers birthday and was the same day as a friends funeral. To make matters worse its a big deal in the uk as its when we celebrate bonfire/guy fawkes night by setting off a lot of fireworks, so its hard to forget.

      Beautiful Willow had cancer she had had tumours removed from her mouth but they had regrown and further treatment options were cruel especially at her age, so we managed to keep her as pain free as possible and she was happy for several months, then one day she stopped eating, i think she was telling us it was time. We made the unenviable choice to put her to sleep and it broke my heart. I cry about her regularly and I miss her so very much.

      I remember her in so many ways and try to smile last year i made my wedding invites from a book she had chewed that id put in a draw and forgotten about, when i found it i decided it would be a nice way to invlude her.

      I thought no dog could fill her space and they can't but at the time my partner worked away a lot and working from home like i do was lonely so we ended up Bringing Rogal home. He is half Mallamute half labrador and he has taken a whole new part of my heart. He is just the right ammount of dog and human and absoloutley my therapy dog, he knows me better than I know myself. He is just a giant hairy bundle of love and I want his attention just as much as he wants mine. I sometimes think he has the souls of all the dogs I've loved before in his heart. He is my world.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Hi Elena

      What a wonderful story about Abbey and I'm so sorry for your loss as well. I think that Griffin wanted to be a chihuahua actually - he was afraid of his own shadow sometimes. He was definitely the most comical dog I have ever owned. The stories - we both have them don't we?

      Please do not beat yourself up over her passing though. It is just one of those things that we can't control - any more than I could control poor Griff getting cancer. We can't pick the time or the place I guess is the lesson there. No matter how they die though, we will probably always wonder what if - could I have done this or that "better" - and in all truth, there is nothing we could have done better. They loved us exactly how we were/are and they will always love us - no matter where they are. I don't think there is any easy way to lose your favorite dog or your best friend that is for sure. I will always miss him no matter how many dogs I had before or have after him. I know that you will feel the same way. I guess that just means that they were extra, extra special. They must have felt that love from the tip of their nose to the end of their tail. They gave it back in spades. Sending you virtual hugs and thanks for telling me about Abbey - I know she is with Griff and they are whole and hearty, just waiting for a day when they can greet us with all that love. Abbey will always know you treasured her, just as my Griffin will. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss, too. It is good to know that other people loved their pets as much as I did. Take care.

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      Elena 

      15 months ago

      Your beloved Griffin was gorgeous and yes apparently incredible in so many ways!!! So sorry for your loss and sorry Griffin was only 6 years old. It sounds like Griffin packed in 26 years of living and loving , in his 6 years! I lost my Chihuahua, Abbey, in May. She was 12 and it happened over a day & a half- she had an embolism or aneurysm of the heart. I didn’t have time to say goodbye, and came home from work, and she was gone. I threw myself on her tiny body (so opposite of Griffin’s 95 pound size!) - and sobbed inconsolably for 20 minutes over her body. Then I called my vet and he said to bring her over there and they would “help me with the body.” They kept saying how sorry they were and were so nice and kind to me, but I’m not sure if I heard all of their words- I was blind with tears and felt as though I could not hear clearly either. I had her cremated. I kept thinking is this my fault? Did I miss something? Not see something? And I was so guilty that she died alone in the apartment because she was always by my side. Had and still have such a hard time with that. My sister had 2 beautiful canvasses made from pictures of her and on one canvass, I wrote a poem to her, that is beautifully printed on the canvas. And of course I have videos as well. It was 4 months ago, and I cry every day thinking of her. I know I will still cry in 4 years from now, snd 14 years from now. She’s was the only dog I had, as a single/divorced woman , living on my own. I think it’s awesome that you have so many dogs of this beautiful breed such a wonderful home!! But like you said, I also laugh at how silly and funny, and fiesty she was. And yes, she too comes to me in my dreams. I have to tell you that I read MANY posts on the loss of a dog, but yours was the most profound and comforting to me. So glad I came across it. Griffin sure was absolutely gorgeous and incredibly special. We have to take comfort in knowing that Griffin and Abbey are in a much more beautuful place and are whole again! And we will one day be with them AGAIN, for certain! God bless you and thanks SO much for sharing that!!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Oh gosh, John - thanks for writing to me about Mitzi. She sounds like a Griffin spirit as well. I have to believe that they are romping together and are fast friends. It is so hard at first. I remember every day the first thing I woke up and remembered for a very, very long time was that Griffin was gone and I didn't want to get up and move on at all. I cried and cried - everything made me cry. Just reading about Mitzi and your loss made me cry. Three years September 1st for me, and I still cry over missing him. I have Gabby and I have Max, but no one animal can replace that crazy dog and how I felt about him. I totally understand too that you grieve more than over a person because our dogs that we love - they are selfless. There is no end to the love they have for us and it totally shows. Take care and I'm so sorry for your recent loss. It does get better with time. My writing about it helped - first this article and then finally the book I wrote as well about it - that I cried through every page on. I think it is therapeutic though so that is good. Remembering them is therapeutic, even though it hurts. Every once in a while I go to talk about him and find myself starting to cry and I feel a little embarrassed but then I think no - he was THAT special. I won't be sad that it still hurts or feel silly because I still feel the pain of losing him. Virtual hugs to you as well. Visions of them tearing through the fields makes me smile. They will never be forgotten.

    • profile image

      Jon 

      15 months ago

      I am at the same place as you. I know exactly how you feel and hope you can find some peace inside one day. We never get over them, we just learn how to deal with their absence.

      I lost my soul mate and second dearest friend “Mitzi” 3 weeks ago who I love second to only my wife Linda, who is my 1st dearest friend and soul mate.

      I don’t know if I will ever heal from Mitzi’s passing. I cry every day, several times a day because she touched my soul and stole a piece my heart that can not be replaced. I hope to see her again one day ( Rainbow Bridge)because she was more human than 99% of most people I meet.

      She showed me love every day and followed me around everywhere. I couldn’t turn around without finding her at my side, until now, and wo7ld make me smileShe is gone physically but not spiritually in my mind and heart.

      I miss her more than family members who have passed on and I am not ashamed to admit that because no one EVER gave me as much love as Mitzi Girl my “Sweet BaBoo”, for all you Charlie Brown fans you know what I mean.

      John Morgan

      Please note this is a correction to my previous post

    • profile image

      John 

      15 months ago

      PS

      Audrey, Griff is running freely and pain free with other dogs waiting for you on the other side of Rainbow Bridge and one day he and you will join together and cross that bridge to get enter Rainbow Heaven. We will one day all be with our pets forever. I can’t wait to hug and kiss my Mitzi Girl again one day.

      John Morgan

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Hi Asya - I think that is something you will have to decide for yourself and then maybe speak with a vet and/or a trainer or a breeder. Just try and make sure that the pup is healthy for sure because I don't want you to have to go through another loss. There are just no guarantees though and all we can do is our very best. I do always think that it helps to get another dog but then I also believe sometimes we have to heal a bit first. In the meantime, you can always talk to professionals and/or even join a pet support group. They have them in real life and also online and that can be calming and reassuring also. I think you will know if you are supposed to get one and when. It has always worked that way for me.

    • profile image

      Asya111 

      15 months ago

      And I wish the same for you too. Do you think I should get another puppy after a few months?

    • profile image

      Asya111 

      15 months ago

      Thank you so much. A virtual hug for you

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Thank you, Asya - he so was. I truly never fell quite that in love with a dog and he will be missed forever. Thank you for YOUR kind words and please take care. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you peace.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      I totally understand Asya. When it happens, it is a severe trauma to your system. We had Griffin put to sleep in our SUV because he was in too much pain to keep trying to transport him. We should have probably put him to sleep at home but my husband couldn't bear it. It was so hard to get it out of our heads for months so that is not unusual. You have to do what is best for them so that they will not suffer. It is the hardest decision we ever have to make. Take care and know that in time, it will get better. Never forgotten - just easier to deal with sometimes. I did write a book about this - it is on Amazon. It is not a very big book but my pain led me to do that as well. It's called Mourning the Loss of Your Favorite Dog. It helped me to write about it so maybe trying some ways to deal with grief would be helpful for you as well. It is just hard - there is no other way to explain it and your feelings are completely normal. They are never 'just dogs' for those of us who love them with our whole heart. Take care and again - I'm so very sorry.

    • profile image

      Asya111 

      15 months ago

      Thank you so much Audrey, this made me feel a little better. It’s just that without him around the house feels so empty and I don’t want to be around anyone and nothing makes that feeling go away. I wish I could get him back. I can't get the sight of his last moments from my head. The amount of pain he was in i wish I could’ve taken that pain away from him. I just really miss him a lot ❤️ I am going to get another puppy in few months and I really hope this time it works out or else I will be heart broken and I don’t think that after that I will be able to get another pet in my life because I don’t want to get the life of these precious things in danger just to make myself happy.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Hi Asya

      I'm so very sorry for your loss of Leo. That is just tragic. And your other pup Archie as well. I honestly don't know how these things happen, but please believe you are not the curse and you are not at fault. Sometimes even puppies get sick and die and they should not - they just should not. I actually had 2 black lab puppies that we rescued literally off a 4-lane road when they were 6 weeks old. We found the owner, took them back - not once but twice. The owner just said I don't want them - what don't you understand about that? He let them go again...so this time, we took them home - in my son's baseball bag. They were so tiny. We took them to the vet and while we were there, there was a puppy who later died of parvo and that puppy somehow infected our 2 puppies! One of them almost died. They were both SO ill - it took weeks for Mariah to get back to normal but she made it. I was sure she was going to die because they were doing all kinds of things for her - IV fluids, medication - and nothing was helping. My husband went to be with her when they put her to sleep and she miraculously got better. It is just the most horrid thing though and when they do die, it is the worst thing that can ever happen to you.That I can easily testify too. My heart breaks for your losses. Please do not take on the extra burden though of blaming yourself. Sometimes just bad things happen and who knows why. Sending you virtual hugs - please don't give up on animals. Just be sure and always have them examined by a vet and/or make sure you get the healthiest dog you possibly can get. Even that being said though - there are no guarantees. It is all just a matter of luck and good fortune I think.

    • profile image

      Asya111 

      15 months ago

      On 29th August 2018 I lost my 4 month lab puppy Leo to liver failure and I was there at the vet in his last moments. His temperature had gotten so down that nothing could get it back to normal. He waited for me till I arrived, even though he was unconscious but when he heard my voice he moved his mouth and eyes and after he knew I was there that’s when he breathed his last. I can’t get that sight out of my head and I miss him so much . Day before he had his LFT test and he seemed to be getting better but the next day suddenly I got a call from the vet about his critical condition. I can’t stop crying and I don’t know what to do I feel like my world is coming crashing down. I love him so much. few months earlier I lost another lab puppy Archie who was 3 months old to destemper but I tried again and got another puppy but now he died too. I don’t know what is it that I’m doing wrong as long as I remember even if I noticed a slight problem I took both of them straight to the vet but even then they died and now I feel absolutely terrible. I feel like I’m cursed and now I’m really scared to get another one because I don’t want it to die because of my curse. I love you so much Leo, you were a fighter ❤️

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Gosh, Elle - again, I'm so sorry for your loss that way. That would be so hard! It is never easy no matter how we lose them but knowing it could have been prevented would be the worst ever. Take care. I think I have said that at least 2 or 3 times now - that I never want to go through this kind of grief and pain ever again and then I end up with another friend for life. I try not to get involved with them or love them 'that much' again but it is strange how they just embrace you with their paws and draw you in. IF you ever decide to try again, I'll wish you peace and happiness though it will never take away the pain that you feel/felt over losing Sam. It just doesn't work that way. Sending you virtual hugs and wishing you peace in all things eventually. Take care.

    • profile image

      Elle 

      15 months ago

      Thanks so much for your quick response. To be honest, that depresses me even more, the fact you had all these dogs without having this experience, and I have one and it ends like this, at age 7.

      I am certain I am not going to have another dog (I couldn't possilby go through something like this again), so that was my entire experience with having a dog.

      As for the malpractice; that is a certainty, as I submitted his case to about forty experts and started a disciplinary board case. All necessary steps, but as the cliche goes, it doesn't bring you your dog back.

      But the problem is it takes much more; your trust in people, your social life, the whole fabric of your life. At least that's how I experience it now...

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Oh gosh, Elle - I'm so sorry for your loss. I haven't had experience with that to be honest although my mother felt that her dog died due to misdiagnosis. He was 14 years old though so I felt like that might not have been avoidable and he had cancer. Off the top of my head, I would recommend asking other vets or medical personnel about it, and/or even joining a pet grief therapy group, as I know sometimes things happen that are horribly tragic with our pets, just like people, and we are left feeling the pain of what if or why did that have to happen? It is so hard losing a pet anyway but if it was preventable in some way, that is even worse. My heart goes out to you. Please everyone - if you have advice for Elle I'd love to hear it as well. Take care, Elle and again, I'm so sorry for your loss of Sam.

    • profile image

      Elle 

      15 months ago

      My precious basset hound Sam died as a result of medical malpractice, and the anger or rather rage combined with the enormous grief is almost too much to bear. I wonder if someone has advice to share on this particular cause/circumstance.My entire life has changed, it affected my relationship with my boyfriend, my work, everything. I can't smile anymore and just feel these people have truly ruined my life. I hope it will get better with time...

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      I did, Carolina! Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      Carolina 

      15 months ago

      Hi Audrey,

      I sent you an email with some information I hope you received it.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Hi Carolina

      You can email me privately if you would like - akirchner@pmt-inc.net. You certainly have a wonderful talent!

    • profile image

      Carolina 

      15 months ago

      Hi Audrey,

      I hope I will love the puppy he is so bouncy and playful already and my family love him.

      I’m sure all the doggies we’ve lost are playing in a safer beautiful place.

      Thank you so much I put my everything in that drawing for my baby and I even did one for my boyfriend’s dog that passed away years ago. It made me feel better and happy to see I could give so much to my family and him through that. If you are really interested it would be a pleasure for me to draw Griffin. :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      PS Carolina - your drawing is EXQUISITE! I would definitely frame that if not try and do something with that. Absolutely beautiful! I wish I had such a sketch of my Griffey boy!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      15 months ago from Washington

      Hi Carolina

      That is an awesome point to make! Painting or drawing our beloved lost pets can be a tremendous way to cope as well! I do it with photos - you do it with talent that you have and I think that is absolutely marvelous! The thing is about grief (I've found anyway) - it has no time table. As soon as I think I'm over it, I look at something or see his picture and start to cry. It's not that I don't love Gabby and Max (I adore them!!!) - I just miss my Griffin. He was one of a kind and it is so hard to imagine life without him. I do think though that Max and Gabby need me and they need me to be 'present' and in the moment with them. That is what I try my hardest to focus on though some days it is very hard. I feel cheated because Griff was way too young to die and such a tragic death. But it is not for me to decide and I have come to terms with that. I think giving Blacky a memorial is awesome and now wish I had done something like that - or that I had had his ashes put into something. Yet, on the other hand, I have my canvases of him and SO many photos, greeting cards I made, videos, etc - he will never, ever be forgotten. I talk about him all the time so he is always with me. I love to remember what he did to make us laugh and feel good - and I do the same with Gabs and Max. Anyway - virtual hugs to you - I'm hoping you fall head-over-heels in love with the new puppy as he will be looking to you probably for comfort and also with love. Dogs sense when we are hurting. Max was SO sweet with me when we got him and as much as I tried NOT to love him - it was impossible. I met him and fell in love with him as well. They do not have to be replacements - they can just be companions that we need instead when our special friend passes on. I've come to realize I guess that it is a circle of life and I just have to stay in that moment and hopefully I will feel better. I do - and I'm hoping that you have the same experience. Hugs to you! "Tell" Blacky to say hi and hug my Griffin for me, would you?

    • profile image

      Carolina 

      15 months ago

      Hello Audrey,

      I left a comment in your page a few months ago after my childhood dog Blacky passed away far away from me. Next week after 9 months faraway from home and almost 6 months since her dead I will go back. The thing is I am still deeply grieving, it happens so spontaneously I just remember her and I can’t stop from having so many feelings. Last month my family decided to get a new dog, and while I know he is not a replacement and that they all have coped with the lose of Blacky in our home and I am the only one still in denial because I haven’t been there I want to accept the new puppy. He has made my other dog so so happy, he was miserable and depressed without someone to play. And I’m so greatful, all I want is for my remaining baby to be happy, but I feel it’ll be hard for me to accept that my Blacky is not home and a new puppy is.

      Something that helped me cope a bit was drawing her and when I get home we will frame it and put it next to her stuff. We are having a ceremony to plant a tree and spread her ashes and I hope then I can let go of all this guilt and sadness and remember her just with loads of happiness.

      I’ll leave you a link of the drawing in case you would like to see it.

      https://instagram.com/p/BliIYl0jy7_/

      I hope you are well, reading your posts about Griffith always make me feel better.

    • profile image

      Gine Oquendo 

      16 months ago

      Hi while I'm reading this I remember my beloved Tagger who passed away 5 months ago and for 15 years we've been together and now he's gone I don't know how to start my life without him. Until now still painful and it's killing me. Thank you to our friends and who sent their sympathy and to pet cremation Hampton Roads, thank you for giving Tagger a great service.

      Please refer to this link: https://thepetlosscenter.com

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      16 months ago from Washington

      Oh Val, I'm so very sorry. I think that would be so very difficult. I have a kind of similar experience though not quite. I had 4 dogs at the time, 2 of them labs. My daughter for some reason thought I needed a cockatoo (I never asked for one nor did I really think that was a good idea with 4 dogs). I went out for my anniversary dinner with my husband only to get a hysterical phone call (understandably) from my daughter. She had left the labs downstairs with the bird and he got out - and the dogs killed him. She was devastated as well. My point though is that with dogs (or any animals), it is sometimes about instinct. I worry about that a lot with my malamutes because it is very easy to trigger a "prey" instinct in certain breeds of dogs. If a small animal moves too fast - or in the case of my labs - their natural instinct to go after birds kicks in - it is just so awful! I cannot imagine your pain and I'm so sorry for your loss. I am sure you loved Nickee and she loved you every moment that you had with her. I hope that you will be able to forgive yourself as you did all you could to save her - and she knew you loved her. Again, I'm so sorry. If you can find some ways to positively remember her, I hope it will get easier with time. Take care.

    • profile image

      Val Gregg 

      16 months ago

      My big dog killed my little Chi (4.5 lbs) on Sunday 7/15... the guilt and the pain that I feel is unsurmountable... I cry every day... if only we had crated the big dogs... I took her to emergency vet and ultimately had to put her to sleep... So sweet.. my little Nickee... she would climb into my lap and rub her little face against mine. I miss that...I miss her.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      17 months ago from Washington

      Hi "Lovecouldbeanything"

      You are welcome to share your memories here.

    • profile image

      Lovecouldbeanything 

      17 months ago

      I lost my baby, I am feeling so overwhelmed, want to share these memories with someone.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      17 months ago from Washington

      Gosh, Emma - thank you and I agree with you. They get cancer and it is so horrible to think of them suffering like that. It does not seem fair as they never did anything but love us. I felt terribly guilty and I still do sometimes if I let myself - why didn't I KNOW he had cancer or sense it? I just didn't. We had just the same amount of time with Griffin - that is strange, isn't it? He was diagnosed on Monday and we had to put him to sleep on Wednesday and I held him in my arms as well. I just could not stand to see him suffering that much as they broke his leg when they x-rayed him. There was no fixing it except to medicate him to the hilt, and even with that, he was crying the entire time. We couldn't bear it. I guess we have to just try and remember all those unique Willie and Griffin moments - and if someone did ask me would I do it if I knew the outcome - I would say yes!!!! I would give anything to have those memories even though the loss seems unbearable at times. I have learned to go on with Max and Gabby as they need me - but gosh - he'll never be far from my thoughts or from my heart. I totally understand. Thanks again and take care. Thinking positive thoughts for you to heal and you will - it just takes time.

    • Emma7777 profile image

      Emma7777 

      17 months ago from canada

      Dear Audrey,

      Thank you for your wonderful words. I just want to say you are beautiful person. I had to read your reply for a few times and I have to say as well, that I agree with you, our dogs were flawless. I have been disappointed in people way too many times to even care to count, but Willie have never ever hurt me. He had died in my arms, he locked his eyes with mine and took one last breath. The world just stopped.He was diagnosed with cancer on Monday and died on Wednesday. I only had 48 hours with him. I feel like someone just took him from me, it was so sudden. This picture is in front of my eyes, feeling powerless...I was his mom but yet I couldn't do a thing to save him. But I was there and the rest of the fam thank God.This little doggie got cancer thanks to our polluted world, and there was nothing I could've done. So much guilt...All he did his whole life was loving us.But reading about your love for your beautiful boy Griff, I am happy I had Willie for as long as I did. Griff deserved to have a longer life, but unfortunately he didn't. I just want to say one more time, thank you Audrey.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      17 months ago from Washington

      Hi Emma

      I'm so sorry for your loss of Willie. A lifetime happens loving a dog for 16 years and what a treasure! I can't imagine how that must feel because I think the longer we have them if we love them that much - the harder it is going to be to let go. I think if Griff had lived to be 16 I'd be in a padded room. I have so many memories for just 6 short years with him I can't imagine having 10 more. I'm so sorry for you and it makes me cry reading your beautiful words as well. I think that is the healing process - when we know we are NOT alone and that they were not "just" dogs. I would rather think of people as "just" people because to be frank, most of the people I have known have been flawed and some very much so! Dogs are not flawed - they love us no matter what we do. They do not betray us, they do not lie to us - they just love us. That is I think why we miss them SO much when we have to say goodbye. I would rather have "just" a dog rather than many of the people that I have known!!! I think that is terrible to say but it is the truth. People can hurt us so badly but a dog - well - they can't hurt us as it is not in their nature. They can only support us, be there for us through thick and thin and then the worst part of all is we have to give them up. I am still coming to terms with my terrible loss and it has been over 2 years. I think he will always be in my heart and soul but I will always, always miss him and treasure every single moment I had with that beautiful creature. I'm sure Willie hated to leave you and I hope and pray we get to see them "on the other side" some day. I hope they will see us and come running to us and be hale and hearty once more. Thank you for sharing your sorrow with me and again, I'm so sorry for your loss, too. Virtual hugs!

    • Emma7777 profile image

      Emma7777 

      17 months ago from canada

      Thank you for such a wonderful read. It brought tears to my eyes... I have recently lost my dog Willie. He had passed away on Jun 13th 2018, and nothing and I mean absolutely nothing could've prepared me for this kind of pain. Some people think I am crazy, some people even say oh cheer up, he was just a dog. I hate when people don't understand how difficult this is. Willie was my best friend for 16 years. He was my best friend and I have known him longer than most of my human friends. I feel like my insides were hollowed out, I feel so empty without him. I miss this beautiful creature. I was in search for comfort and found your read and I took time to say thank you so much I feel so much better after reading it. I am glad I am not alone in this. I think I will be missing Willie until the day I die.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      17 months ago from Washington

      Hi Nancy

      I'm glad it helps a little - and to be honest with you, even though it is such a tragedy when other people lose their pets, you bring ME comfort as well because I know I'm not alone either. I have felt so conflicted about grieving for Griffin for so long and now I realize that it is just one of those things. Some of us get over our loss easier and some of us - it just takes more time. Nothing wrong with that - and to me, that just means that he (and all the other dogs that you folks have lost) were special in the most profound sort of way. Why wouldn't we be grieving them and missing them?

      I am currently working on a book that I hope to publish on Amazon about grieving your dog's loss. I thought I would be crying less writing that since I'd written this - turns out I guess I'm not done crying over it...but again, that's okay. It makes me remember him and gives me peace of a certain kind just knowing he isn't suffering anymore. That was the hardest part for me. Hopefully I will get it finished one day soon. It is another step (I feel) in my own healing process though I'll never be over Griffin just as you won't be over Shasta soon. That is just how it goes when we have one that is super special. They are all super special to me but I think we have seen how one of them can just be a standout amongst the others. That has to be why it hurts so much to say goodbye to them. Take care and thank YOU for your kind, kind words!

    • profile image

      Nancy Hoelscher 

      17 months ago

      Hi Audrey,

      Thank you so much for responding to me. It brought tears to my eyes that you cared enough to reply about my special girl. I keep hoping the pain will get easier but it doesn’t seem to be lessening quite yet. I too hope all the pets we’ve loved are somewhere happy until we can see them again! Hugs to you!

      * are there any others writings you’ve done about pet loss? You are a very talented writer

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      17 months ago from Washington

      Hi Nancy

      I'm so glad that it helped you! I wrote it as a healing step for myself and it has brought me even more healing hearing from kind people just like you who have felt the pain of loss and feel the same way. That helps me as well. I'm so sorry for your loss of Shasta. There has to be a place where all our beloved pets are running and romping and getting to know each other - free from pain and misery and exactly as we remember them in all their goodness and glory. I only hope we get to meet up with them one day. Like you, I will miss my Griffin boy until the day I die also. Hugs to you and thanks so much for writing!

    • profile image

      Nancy Hoelscher 

      17 months ago

      Hi Audrey,

      I loved reading what you wrote! I lost my chihuahua Shasta a few months ago and the pain is awful! It’s comforting to know other people also feel so much love for their dogs that have passed...

      My “girl” also was like a therapy dog to me and I think I’ll miss her until the day I die! Your words brought me comfort that I’m not alone! God Bless

    • profile image

      Doug 

      18 months ago

      Hi Audrey

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response, your words continue to comfort us in this time of terrible loss.

      My wife and burst with emotion when we read....

      " I only hope I get to see him truly one day and that in the meantime, he is somewhere where the good and pure of heart go - blessing someone else with his sense of humor and his beautiful style.I hope he is there with Henry and that they are best buds. It sounds like they were cut from the same "angel" cloth. Virtual hugs to you both."

      Today, in my mind's eye, I am dreaming of them together happy, healthy and free of pain.

      Here is my own words...they came to me while reading your response...

      "Only good and wonderful dogs take ownership of good and wonderful people"

      once again, God bless.

      P.S. I hope i didn't send this twice, if so, sorry.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      18 months ago from Washington

      Oh Doug, that is so very beautiful! Thank you for writing! Even though it makes me cry, it's okay. We loved them that much...and we always will. Take care. Thinking of you both.

    • profile image

      Doug Andersen 

      18 months ago

      Hi Audrey

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response, your words continue to comfort us in this time of terrible loss.

      My wife and burst with emotion when we read....

      " I only hope I get to see him truly one day and that in the meantime, he is somewhere where the good and pure of heart go - blessing someone else with his sense of humor and his beautiful style.I hope he is there with Henry and that they are best buds. It sounds like they were cut from the same "angel" cloth. Virtual hugs to you both."

      Today, in my mind's eye, I am dreaming of them together happy, healthy and free of pain.

      Here is my own words...they came to me while reading your response...

      "Only good and wonderful dogs take ownership of good and wonderful people"

      once again, God bless.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      18 months ago from Washington

      Hi Doug

      Well, I always think I can eventually not cry but reading your beautiful description of Henry, I'm sobbing myself. What a wonderful boy he sounds like! He definitely sounds like Griffin in every way possible.

      I completely understand your description as well - if we knew what we knew when we had gotten them, would we have gone through it - of course we would because there was something about them that touched our very soul. I'm so sorry for your loss - both you and your wife and know how that goes. Bob and I still cry over Griffey and we have Gabby and Max with us. That seems 'bad' on many levels and we feel guilty almost - but we just loved Griffin so much and he was just the diamond in our lives when it came to our dogs. Max and Gabby give us great pleasure though, and I try and just be grateful for THEM every day that I have them. In fact, Gabby had a frightening vet appointment today and I was in tears feeling guilty because maybe I had thought too much about Griffin - guilt is a powerful thing if we let it be. Thankfully, she is okay and it is "just" her thyroid and not cancer but anything that happens to these dogs that we love is truly enough to make you old in 5 minutes!

      I dream about Griffin quite often and I have a lot of people who keep saying that it is a bad thing - I should let go - yada yada yada - but I don't want to let go. He was one of a kind - an angel sent here to help us and love us - and I want to remember him always. I know you will feel the same about Henry. Every once in a while, if I turn quickly and see Max out of the corner of my eye, I think for a moment Griffin is standing there and I 'saw him' in every place we had ever gone with him. The hole is huge sometimes in our hearts but I truly would give anything just to have that boy with us again and go through it - no matter what the outcome.

      I do believe that things always happen for some reason and it is a stepping stone in our lives for a reason. I have to believe that though it has been one of the hardest things I've ever coped with. I don't know how that little guy got so deep in my heart but again, it was worth every moment of those short 6 years I had with him. Again, I am so sorry for your beautiful Henry - but I do think we did the right thing. I could not imagine keeping Griff alive and making him suffer. I only hope I get to see him truly one day and that in the meantime, he is somewhere where the good and pure of heart go - blessing someone else with his sense of humor and his beautiful style. I hope he is there with Henry and that they are best buds. It sounds like they were cut from the same "angel" cloth. Virtual hugs to you both. It does get "better" with time I have found, though the rawness of it will always be there I'm afraid just because I adored him/we adored him. In the meantime, give yourself time to grieve and know Henry loved you just as much as you loved him - and probably then some. That is how they seemed to work and why we felt so close to them.

    • profile image

      Doug 

      18 months ago

      Hi Audrey

      Just four days ago we let go our extra large chocolate lab, Henry.

      he had wobblers' disease and the results were to the point of bad days outnumbering the good days.

      My wife and I are overcome with grief, in spite of knowing we chose our beloveds' well being over ours.

      What i find amazing is that after praying that God would show us a sign that would comfort us regarding his passing...I found this article of yours...your description of Griff is ours of Henry verbatim!

      Your thoughts and wondering of his purpose in your life...our thoughts exactly, down to every word and point you expressed.

      Many days since the day we welcomed 4 month, 55 pound Henry into our lives...we literally thanked God for the angel he blessed us with...his character was unsurpassed in both the canine and human world, he displayed the fruits of the spirit in every situation, every manner.

      He was a truly gentle giant, even as an intact 120# male, he NEVER acted aggressive to a single dog challenge or attack, and there was many. He would stand aside for the smallest of dogs to steal attention or to eat or drink before him, yet had the courage and confidence of a lion.

      He understood just about every spoken or unspoken word, he faithfully looked you directly in the eyes everyday and communicated his love for you, regardless of his pain.

      I have had many dogs during my life and several labs, none were like Henry.

      When the end was near and the sorrow was approaching my wife and I asked ourselves....

      If Henry came to us and told us..."I am only going to have 7 1/2 years with you and then my pain will surpass my joy and you will need to do the right thing for me...I will give you everything I have but i need you to give back....Do you still want me?"

      The answer without question (even in hindsight) would be YES!

      We see him everywhere, we think of him everyday and cry.

      Thank you for sharing your story, your honesty, your humility and your articulate expressions of love, they are a real blessing and answer to prayer.

      God Bless.

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