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

Updated on October 1, 2017
akirchner profile image

Audrey has owned and trained dogs for decades. She has experience with many breeds and their maladies as well as training issues.

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.

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

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!

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 4 puppies (2 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 2 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

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 2 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 at his favorite sport - watching TV

Griffin Gallery - Some of Thousands

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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.

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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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.

  • 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 1 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.

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 2 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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Audrey Kirchner

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      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 24 hours ago from Washington

        Hi Ash

        Essays are OKAY when it comes to losing our best friends! I completely understand your feelings and your pain. At the present time, I have Max and Gabs but I don't know if I can truly ever go through it again. Losing Griffin just tore such a huge hole in my heart that I have to seriously think about it. I went on with Max because I felt that I owed Gabby that much. She adored Griffin and I could not bear to see her die as well, and I am convinced she just would have given up. Just know that Roxy knew how much you loved her - there is no doubt in my mind that these pets that we love so much do not feel it right back!!! I know just from looking at the pictures I have of Griff that he adored me as much as I loved him. It is just so sad that we have such short times with them - whether it's 6 years or 13-1/2....it is all the same grief. I'm sorry for your loss. If you ever do get to the point where you decide to get another dog, don't think of it as a replacement...though I have many, many times been upset with myself for comparing Max to Griff. They are just a reminder perhaps though of what we did have - and they are all SO easy to love. I adore Maxwell - not in the same exact ways but he has grown on me! He adores me and that seems to be all it takes! Someone to love us unconditionally. Wishing you peace over your loss - and you will decide if it is ever time or not to get another companion. No matter what we decide, it is okay to grieve and it is okay to keep missing someone who meant so much to us. Hugs!

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        Ash 26 hours ago

        Reading your article has helped me realise my grieving is normal too! I had to get my German shepherd Roxy put down year and a half ago and I still cry most days. I had her from a puppy until she was 13.5 years old! She was such a beautiful ginger dog with such a quirky personality! She was so intelligent aswell! She came into my life during a real rough patch and was there to cuddle and talk to through all my life dramas. I genuinely thought of her as my baby and would of given my life for her, which I no sounds stupid to some.

        I've thought about getting another dog but no dog could ever compare to Roxy plus I don't think I could go through this heartbreak again!

        Sorry for the essay!

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 4 weeks ago from Washington

        Oh Michele - it makes me cry just reading your beautiful words and I'm sending you virtual hugs. I TOTALLY get it. Two and a half years later, I still cry about it and think what could I have done differently. I don't think there was anything in reality but it is because we just loved them so much. Having Max is not quite the same because he is so different from Griffin, but I can tell you, he has healed both of us just because we are busy with him and he does make us laugh most days. Then I look up to the sky and say 'ah - there you are my sweet Griffin - thanks for visiting me again and reminding me to cherish Max while I have him.' I think of him and it somehow makes it better. It takes a long, long time to grieve though - for people and I think for our pets because they just love us SO unconditionally. I've thought so much about it and still think about it. I think it is so 'unfair' the way these particular pets had to die and it was such a shock that perhaps that makes it even worse. I also tell myself Griff would come and lay his head on my hip or put his head in my laugh and give me his longest most soulful look and say "Mom, don't cry - I will always love you and I loved, loved, loved the time I had with you. Thank you for being my friend and being so good to me." You are right - there will never be another Teddy - and I'll never have another Griffey boy but we have to somehow go on and try really hard to think how lucky we were. It is that old saying - life is too short. I'll miss him until the day I die but I do find it a little easier as time goes on. Again, I think Max (and Gabby too) are distractions in a way from the grief part and that is a good thing. Hugs to you and I'm so very sorry for your loss. He sounds like a magnificent dog!!!

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        Michele 4 weeks ago

        Audrey,

        You literally explained exactly how I feel. I'm so heartbroken. I was so happy, thankful, grateful and so in love with my Teddy, as a dog. He was a talker too. Just my all around black shadow, that we took everywhere with us. We planned trips around him, we took trips that we knew he'd love. Just as part of our family, everyone of our friends just loved him to death. He was our toy, we were his. He was our pack and we were his. He was our family, and we were his.

        I feel so guilty. Like why I didn't notice him changing earlier. And I am angry. I just thought he was getting a little older. I just took him for an ordinary visit because they said he needed a vaccine, and the next thing they tell me is he has bone cancer. WHAT?? no blood work, no nothing. It was such a nightmare. He might have had liver cancer, we only did a ultrasound. No biopsy. No bone cancer either. All I know is he got a vaccine and went totally downhill after that. I felt so helpless. He kept looking at me as to help him. Teddy just turned 10. He passed away a couple weeks later, in my arms with me yelling that I loved him in his ear, and that I was so sorry I couldn't save him. He started to breath again, and then stopped. It was horrible. He died in his own home, with me holding all 90 pounds of him. I miss every single day. I look out the window every morning and tell him good morning! Every night, I say it's time to go nite nite Teddy. I know I could get another dog. There will never in my lifetime, be another Teddy. And it still feels like he was just here 5 minutes ago, like you said. He was my beautiful black soft curly straight furry Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. So beautiful. To me anyway. Thank you so much for sharing your story about Griffin. And about how you felt. Somehow, the pain you felt, didn't make me feel so alone on how I felt. I go over and over in my mind, how I could have done things differently. I took such good care of him, and in the end, it didn't really matter. because he died way to soon. I know if I ever do get another dog, I will do things a little differently as far as vet care and vaccines go. Thank you again for your wonderful heartfelt writtings.

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 5 weeks ago from Washington

        Ah Anonymous - my heart goes out to you. It just seems so unfair and I completely get your pain as well. I dream about Griffey every now and again and I think that is weird but also helps me in some strange, comforting way. Even though I adore Gabby and Max now and they are constant companions, there was no one more special than my Griffin or at least it feels that way still. When I dream of him, he is whole and healthy and that is just such a gift! Like you, I hope to see him one day again and be able to hug him crazily! He was one of a kind for sure and I was SO blessed to have had him. That is the gift I guess and have to try and remember that. Hugs to you and so sorry for your tragic loss.

        Jody - you are right - it is so hard to forgive ourselves! I kept saying for months 'why didn't I see that' - but what difference would it have made in the end? Not much at all. I would have known for longer but it would have hurt just the same. Griffin would not have wanted me to grieve and I do know that - he was the craziest, most comical dog on the planet and he just wanted everyone to be happy and love him - and give him treats! He would not have been one to want people crying over him I imagine (if he could think or talk about it!!!). I know how much he adored me/all of us - and I know how much we all loved him so that has to be enough. It was a gift as I said above and one I can never be grateful enough for - even though it has been the hardest pet loss I have ever suffered and there were many. He will live on in my heart though - and apparently my dreams! That is a kind of cool thing I think and I don't mind the visitations at all. Thanks for your kind comments and I'm so sorry for your devastating loss as well. I tend to think of him always with a tear and a smile - it will probably get better with time. I 'see him' still in Max and that is also a good thing. He reminds me of what I need to do and how much to enjoy ever precious moment we have with them. Take care.

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        Jody 5 weeks ago

        You need to forgive yourself. I went thought the same thing 4 years ago. It absolutely devastate me. I did the best I could do at the time. I also learned a lot as well. They are great teachers, unfortunately in death as well. I still cry every once in a while but I know I'll see again.

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        Anonymous uk 5 weeks ago

        Hi, first of all thank you for putting your thoughts on the net, put a real lump in my throat. In my 30's now and I've just lost my 2 year old dog to a hit and run... in front of me

        In the past I've buried 3 dogs before all of them hurt the same and yes you do move on... but I always had big dogs ( labs/staffs... but my 2 year old was a chihuahua cross - small fluffy and white dog

        And I tell you he has been gone 2 weeks and 2 days and I have never felt like this ever - he was special to me in a way I can't even describe x your not on your own in this world and all I can say is it was a pleasure to have had him in my life and one day I hope I do see him again xx

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 6 weeks ago from Washington

        Hi Melissa - I can just imagine how your heart must hurt as it is indeed just a moment ago that you lost your buddy. I remember that feeling well and send you virtual hugs. It is so hard to lose them and all I can say is that it gets a little easier with time though I still 'see him' when I think of something that reminds me of him so I think they are always with us, those extra, extra special ones. Just know that he knew you adored him and that it will get better with time.

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        Melissa 6 weeks ago

        I appreciate your post and hope that time has helped. Your Griffin sounds like he was a special guy! I too lost my dearest friend, Finnegan, a 9.5 year old golden retriever, a month ago today. I have had a very hard time adjusting as he was such a part of my life and such a loyal and true blue friend. I think I will always miss him. He gave me so much comfort and peace in my heart and I miss him dearly. Your words gave me comfort - thank you.

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 7 weeks ago from Washington

        Hi Luann - that isn't so long ago so I feel your pain. That is pretty fresh grief and I am so sorry for your loss. They just aren't with us long enough and I guess my only hope and prayer is that I do get to see them all again someday - but especially my Griffin. Bless you for rescuing Harley as that is the greatest gift you could have given him and loving him all the way to the end.

      • LuannJohnson profile image

        Luann 7 weeks ago from New York

        My dog Harley passed away on October 1, 2017. I rescued him over 11 years before he passed and wasn't sure of his age. I started to cry again after looking at a video of him. My heart hurts but I try to focus that I did the best that I could for him at the end and didn't want him in pain & confused about what was happening to him. He had liver disease and going blind. One day he seemed he had enough and could not even sit comfortably. I was with him till the end but still feel I wish I could have done more for him. He got sick and got bad really fast and all the meds seemed to make him sicker. anyway he was my heart and soul and I will always be sad until we meet again! I needed to vent, don't want to get family or friends down any longer...thank you!

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 2 months ago from Washington

        Hi Hugh - I completely agree with you - it is the unconditional love part that gets us and keeps us in their debt. I don't think I'll ever love a dog quite as much as my Griffey but again, he was just such a gift. I have to remember that every time I get upset that he's gone and remember the good and try and forget the bad. I'm so glad you have had the blessings of so many healing dogs in your life. I have had so many GREAT dogs - all of them in fact - it was just/it is just that Griffin was beyond special. I do think he was an angel - and if that is true, he will always be with me. Take care. I encourage you to put your experiences to use as well!!!

      • akirchner profile image
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        Audrey Kirchner 2 months ago from Washington

        Hi Drew - I'm so sorry for your loss. I think we love them so much that it just really is the hardest thing ever to lose them because they love us no matter who we are - it's that unconditional love thing. Griffin just had a way about him that I will never, ever forget but I try and think now how very lucky I was to have had him! It was just the best 6 years I can ever imagine. Unfortunately it wasn't enough but it is better than no time with him I suppose.

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        Drew Petrie 2 months ago

        I lost my dog this year. His name was Woody, and my parents owned him since before I was born. He had a therapy dog in his blood so he was naturally soft and sweet. I will miss him forever. I didn’t cry at first when I lost him, but I am thinking about him now and it hurts way more than it ever has to lose him.

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        Hugh Perriman 2 months ago

        I've had dogs for the last 40 years, each and everyone stole my heart. You may have come across a book or film called a Dog's Purpose, a nice story about dogs and very touching. For me, I got a sense of why I have had these creatures in my life, they were, without me knowing, my therapy dogs.

        I had some extremely horrific trauma when I was very young and for some unknown reason I had dogs that were there for me and pulled me through the dark times, and kept me going. There is no rime or reason for it, and without them, I know I would not have survived.

        My journey is not finished and there are a few more pages to write,and I will always need a dog by my side. In writing those pages though it occurs to me that maybe my life I'm living, has a different purpose than I think, passing something on to help others as you have done by writing about Griff and your loss has helped me immensely, and brought me closer to my own grief and gratitude for the unconditional love given to me by such wonderful aminals. That is perhaps the best part of having a dog in our lives. We are given the example of unconditional love. Hopefully one day we learn to do that for our own species and live our lives in service to others.

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        Audrey Kirchner 6 months ago from Washington

        Hi Freya - so glad to see you as well! It has been a very long time. I kind of got caught up in raising my beautiful malamute puppies and life got a bit crazy. You are right though, any time we have with our beloved pets is worth the ride and it is always too short in terms of OUR time I find. I have loved so many and lost so many and not sure why this one hit me so hard but he was just special. I'm so sorry for your losses. That's what I tell myself all the time - people lose pets a lot younger than I lost Griff and to tragedies and just plain senselessness, like people kidnapping your pet. Heartbreaking! I will think good thoughts about your baby out there living a good life - and I still hope and pray that Griffin is running somewhere waiting for me 'on the other side' one of these days. If not, I have so many happy memories and you are right - even through tears, he still makes me smile every single time! Hugs to you and best wishes!

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        Freya Cesare 6 months ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

        Hello, Audrey. It's been a long time. How are you there? Your Griffin sounds amazing. He was lucky to able to meet you and loved by you. And you were lucky that you able to had him in your life.

        This story I can relate. I lost 3 cats along the way. 1 from an accident at only 1 year old. The other one from sickness at 7 months old only. And the last one just got kidnapped along with her best friend a few months ago at the age of 5. I'm still grieving. I already lost all hope to be able to find her, but in my thought, I keep saying, it's fortunate she still alive somewhere if it still able to be considered as luck.

        Grieve all we want, in the end, they will never stay for a long time. In the end, enjoy every day we have with them to the fullest is the best thing we can do. so the sweetest memories of them will stay even when they were gone.

        From one pet lover to another one pet lover, I hope you already able to smile brightly than crying sadly everytime you miss Griffin. The beauty of his memories worth ton of loving smile, even one with wet eyes.

        I hope you have a great day there, Audrey. I miss everyone here, but it seems many have closed their account. So sad.

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        Audrey Kirchner 7 months ago from Washington

        True, true, Adrienne. Always a horrible thing for a dog to have to suffer and in my own experience, the horrific part is you have them 1 minute and are enjoying life and then the next they are doomed. It is almost always too late to even treat, let alone cure. Thanks so much for your comment - and he will always be with me that is for sure. I was blessed to have had him for 6 years and I have to remind myself of that.

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        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

        I am so sorry, reading this has brought tears to my eyes. Bone cancer is such a cruel condition. Losing a pet hurts and it hurts a whole lot. Only time can ease a bit the suffering, but they will always be missed.

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        Audrey Kirchner 7 months ago from Washington

        Randy - oh I have missed all the snake talk as I'm so 'fond' of them! Maxwell actually got a snake the other day and I was completely freaked out! We left Central Oregon and rattlesnake country so I am grateful for that at least!

        Seriously though - I had several dogs (at least 3 or 4) that lived to be 14-17+ years old and dang - they were the fighters - they were the ones that were blessed - and we were too! I had a labrador, a whippet/collie, the most butt ugly dog you ever saw (basset hound and lab mix) and then our abused malamute that we rescued who was almost put down at 1 year of age because she was starved and hobbled.

        You can feel it because you are there with me. These dogs have been there forever with you and you can't imagine your life without them. How did they survive all that time and you cannot imagine life without them?

        I don't know which is worse - saying goodbye to a dog you have had for so long and thought would just keep on going forever - or losing one that 'should not' have died so young. NONE of it is okay - and none of it is easy. It is kind of like life unfortunately.

        I had (prior to Griffin) always believed that my dog died so that another one would be put there in his or her place with the same personality or characteristics to ease my pain - and it happened every time - except this time. Griff was one in a million for sure and I don't think I've been rocked this hard ever. I treasure all my "oldies but goodies" because they did give me such joy and I know how LUCKY I was that they lived that long. That is why I think I feel so guilty that I feel so badly or deeply about Griff but the heart has a funny way of reacting without our consent. We love who we love most and our dogs or pets are no exception.

        There is no rhyme or reason to loving our dogs (or pets of any kind). I will hope and pray that Ally gets to stay for a LONG, long time yet...and don't send Beth with her. I have always found that getting another dog does 'help' and it always has for us. Even this time with Max - I love him to the moon and back. This particular time, he can't replace what I lost but maybe that's okay. Maybe that pain was okay and just means that I had the best of the best for me for now. I don't mind "as much" if that is the case. I would much rather have had Griff and loved him and had all that joy for whatever short (or long) time I had him - than not to have ever known him and loved him that much.

        Thanks for stopping in and for loving Ally - that is never a bad thing!

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        Audrey Kirchner 7 months ago from Washington

        Oh Gordon - I am sitting here with tears running down MY cheeks as not only did you lose your mother for heaven's sake but you lost Robbie. It is so hard - and that is why I think I needed to write this. I could not get the pain out no matter what I've tried to do. I read somewhere where having a 'sort of shrine' to your dog can help you. I have so many pictures of Griff that it is probably insane but he was so photogenic - he just could not help it. They do help - but they still make me cry. But is crying such a bad thing? I've come to realize probably not - I lost my stepfather a few months ago and my mom now has dementia and she is in a retirement center - and all these things are just plain hard! They all make us cry and grieve - so that was what I was thinking as well. Maybe grieving Griffin was helping me in some way grieve for my other losses that we experienced. I do not know. All I know is that I was blessed and cursed all in the same breath....but to have not loved him or had him in my life - it would not have been the same without him. I'm so sorry for your loss of Robbie...cancer is an ugly thing and my vet told us that the tiniest little seed planted is usually just too late. I think Griff's had spread to his lungs by the time we knew it and it would never have served him to put him through all that. I called him Sir Prance-a-lot - and many other affectionate names. He just deserved so much better, and so did you and your mom's Robbie. You did remarkably well in your situation so all I can say is I hope you know that and do not beat yourself up as I have done. It was nothing I could fix and all we can both say is that we did our very best!

        I did save Griff's fur - I have a ton of it as it is as soft as angora from all the grooming. I am going to spin it and knit it into a forever hat and scarf - one of these days when I can. I have watched a few videos now 2 years out and do LOVE hearing his 'voice' as that was so much a part of him.

        I again am so sorry for YOUR losses. My very best wishes to you, Gordon. Thanks for the friendship of loss. Sometimes that can be the greatest blessing of all - someone who understands.

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        Gordon Hamilton 7 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

        Hello, Audrey

        I am so sorry for your loss and I understand so completely. I too have experienced the loss of several beloved dogs over the years but it was the similarity in your story to what happened to me earlier this year that probably had the tears running down my face as I read more and more of your article.

        These past few years, I had been back living with my Mum due to unfortunate circumstances in my own life. As well as my Mum, I shared her little house with Robbie, her incredible, wonderfully natured dog, of a type so special I had truly never before experienced. He was everything you describe of your Griff, loved by all who encountered him and especially adored by my Mum.

        In late 2015, Robbie's back legs started to fail (common problem with German Shepherds) but he was only six. Nonetheless, both back legs had to have steel plates inserted to give him balance and full mobility, meaning he was restricted in many ways in what he could do and particularly what he could be allowed to do. Just as he was improving, my Mum started to rapidly deteriorate, losing the power of speech and her ability to swallow. She had to be tube fed at home and I found myself caring both for my Mum and Robbie to the best of my ability, with the aid of the wonderful nurses who attended my Mum at least twice a day.

        On March 2nd this year, my Mum took a massive stroke and passed away on March 9th, without regaining consciousness. Two days after her funeral, my brother called in to the house as he often did and was playing with Robbie. He asked me what the lump was on Robbie's front paw, about the size of a golf ball cut in half. I was amazed I hadn't noticed it but we got him to the vet next day, thinking it was an insect bite. The vet shook her head ominously and said she'd have to refer him to an oncologist at one of the veterinary hospitals in Glasgow.

        We were lucky at least to have him seen within a couple of weeks but the news was horrific. A biopsy confirmed it was the most virulent form of bone cancer and the vet gave him 4 to 6 weeks without treatment. He offered chemotherapy, radiotherapy and more but we couldn't face putting him through the described side effects. Amputation of his front leg wasn't an option due to the weaknesses in both his back legs. He was on painkillers and I nursed him best I could.

        Robbie deteriorated rapidly and I got the effective, "I can't do no more for him, Jim," speech from his vet 5 weeks later. My brother and I held him and petted him from either side as the vet did what we all knew had to be done.

        I got Robbie cremated and his ashes now sit in pride of place in my living room, on top of his favourite blanket, with my Mum's favourite photo of him on top. I continue to miss him as well as my Mum every day but do try to focus on the wonderful memories of times and years gone by. They do help but I haven't yet been able to look at the many videos I have of him I have as I fear the pain remains too raw and it would hurt too much. One thing I am particularly grateful for is that my Mum didn't have to witness the deterioration and passing of her beloved dog from down here among us mortals.

        I really hope that while you continue to enjoy your wonderful memories of Griff, the pain will progressively dull over time. We both know the sense of loss can never be extinguished but coping is probably the key and - again, as we both know - that does become more manageable with the passage of time.

        Best wishes to you, Gordon

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        Randy Godwin 7 months ago from Southern Georgia

        Your grief is very understandable, Audrey. Being reared on a farm we had many dogs that never lasted enough to become beloved pets. What with the rattlesnakes and them not understanding a vehicle would kill them or a farm combine would thresh them, I never became particularly close to a dog.

        But then came Ally, a long haired, sort legged Jack Russel which stole both mine and my wife's hearts. She'll be 17 years old before long and she spent many days riding with me on a tractor. When she goes I may have to send Beth with her...

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        Audrey Kirchner 7 months ago from Washington

        Thanks so much, Jaye - he was so much a part of my writing that it has been so hard for me to think of writing again but on the other hand....it seemed the best way to help heal myself. I do not think I will ever get over the loss but as I said, I really try and count my blessings so to speak. To have been blessed with such a special gem and such a fellow, I cannot ever let go of those positives. Thanks so much for your caring and your kindness. I will miss my 'fur angel' forever but he left me with so many good memories that I have to believe it was all for some reason. Bless you, too, dear!

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        Jaye Denman 7 months ago from Deep South, USA

        Such a beautiful tribute to your beautiful boy, Griffin, but also heartbreaking, Audrey. Bless you. Jaye

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