General Question

amazingme's avatar

My dog just died, how do I cope?

Asked by amazingme (1825 points ) January 29th, 2013

I knew this day was coming for a while now. I got my her when she was around 2 or 3 while I was in kindergarten. I am now about to come up on my 20th birthday. We booked her an appt about 2 weeks ago to have her evaluated, but since then she stopped eating and drinking. When we drove to the vet today I held her in my lap. I miss her so much already, but I feel so angry. Not angry because she died, but angry because for some reason, my sister’s husband came with us. I do not like this man, I haven’t since I met him when I was 12. I know it sounds selfish, but his presence and him trying to not have me look although I chose to stay in the room with her,pissed me off. I was trying to watch my dog peacefully die because I felt like i had to and I know i wanted to. I did not need to hear him or him telling me what to do…. I guess I got a little off, but how can I cope when I am so angry that I was robbed of being peacefully with my dog as she died? I am angry and I am also frustrated with myself that I let him bother me. I don’t know how to feel.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

66 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
njnyjobs's avatar

Cherish the memories of your dog… but you have to move on… Get a new pet or hobby if need be. No sense in dwelling on the negative aspect of your dog’s passing. . . If it really bothers you, express your feelings directly to your brother-in-law and make it known to them that you did not like the way you were treated and expect to be treated better in the future.

redhen4's avatar

I am so sorry for your loss, @amazingme . My dogs are like kids to me.

I understand how you feel, your brother-in-law intruded on your time with your dog, who you’ve had for what, 17 years? That is a LONG time. So your grief is understandable to me. I can’t give you any advice, except the old adage “it takes time”.

augustlan's avatar

I’m so sorry for your loss, @amazingme. Losing a beloved pet is just awful, I know.

As to your feelings about your BIL, eventually you should try to separate them from your feelings about the loss. Right now, that will be very difficult for you, so at the moment go ahead and be angry! Cry and scream, if you need to, by all means. Nobody has the right to tell you how you should feel right now. As time passes, I hope the anger and sadness become less overwhelming for you.

serenityNOW's avatar

@HolographicUniverse – Whoa! Losing a pet can be like losing a family member. Add to that, @amazingme had her since she was in Kindergarten; I’m so sorry for your loss.

Bellatrix's avatar

Our pets are part of our family. It’s natural to grieve when they die. Allow yourself the time to grieve.

As to your brother-in-law, I think you have to detach your dislike of him from the process of grieving for your dog. They are two separate things. He probably thought he was being helpful and saving you pain by suggesting you should not be in the room. You knew what was best for you and acted upon it.

When you are calm, if you feel his attempts to interfere in your life and your decisions are becoming invasive, tell him or tell your sister to ask him to keep his opinions to himself.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Pachy's avatar

I’m so sorry, @amazingme. Ive been through it and truly understand how you feel. Besides feeling sad, are angry and frustrated, and you have every reason to feel all those emotions. No “advice” you get in this thread will stop you from feeling better—only the passing of time will soften the blow of the loss—but hopefully, being able to express it here among pet-loving friends will help a tiny bit. And maybe there’s a new puppy in your future?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
livelaughlove21's avatar

Sorry about your dog, but it just seems like you’re looking for someone to be angry with and blaming this guy in the process, perhaps in an unconscious attempt to mask the pain of losing a pet you loved.

Dogs don’t live forever. Most of us lose many pets over a lifetime. How to cope? Depends. But blaming your brother-in-law won’t bring your dog back.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Ignore everything that @HolographicUniverse said. Please.

I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my 16 year old dog, three months ago. I had him since he was a pup. Luckily for me, my partner went in with him. I just couldn’t do it.

Just think of the wonderful life that you gave her! She was so lucky to have you. Give yourself time..

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
mallei's avatar

You are in a lot of pain, so try not to focus on the sideline issues. If you have photos of your beloved pet, why not go through them and find the ones you’d like to make into a collage. Direct your energy towards showing the love you have/had for your dog.

HolographicUniverse's avatar

Look

My posts have been moderated and I apologize for appearing insensitive but what you are being told is inaccurate and unhealthy.

The loss of a dog is tragic but is should not be taken severely, a proper period of grievance is acceptable but emotional fixation, like you are displaying here, is unnecessary. You did not lose a human companion, the loss does not impact your life but losing something sentimental to your childhood… Life moves on, if you can barely manage to accept the death of a pet, how will you cope with the death of actual family?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@amazingme I’m so sorry to hear about your poor dog; I recently lost one too. It hurts, and it sucks. Try to forget about your brother-in-law and just remember all the good times you had with your pooch. And after you’ve had some time to heal, maybe you’ll want to give a loving home to a doggy orphan. (((hugs)))

janbb's avatar

I am sorry for your loss; I had experienced one too some years ago. All i can say is that eventually it hurts less. You may want to express your anger to your BIL or you may not but either would be appropriate.

amazingme's avatar

Thank you guys.
I was a little angry when I wrote this question earlier.
@HolographicUniverse
Look
I am not asking advice on how I should feel, I am asking how to cope with the feelings that I do have. The reason why my feelings seem to be ‘unnecessary’ is because I am human. I found companionship in animal when I couldn’t find that in a human. Why? Because it’s only the natural thing to do. Do not try to tell me how I should feel about a situation. That’s why I angrily wrote this question in the first place, because someone wanted to make up their mind for me. Yes, I will get over my dog dying; in a way I already have, but I will always be saddened by the empty space on the kitchen floor.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

^^ Exactly that. I’m still sad when I see the empty space in my bedroom where her crate used to be.

janbb's avatar

@amazingme That’s exactly what I missed – the space by my floor where he used to lie. It took a while.

HolographicUniverse's avatar

@amazingme

You asked how to cope with it, as well as the situation with your brother in law, my answer was a necessary period of grieving but realizing that it is only a dog. You see your behavior is unhealthy in relation to coping with it’s death.

I am biased because I never understood how someone could be this emotionally attached to an easily replaceable pet but I also feel that this bias is from rationality. You seem to neglect the reality that it’s not as big of a loss as you feel that it is, once you reach that revelation it will be easier to get past the loss, and even easier to forgive your brother in law. I apologize for telling you how you should feel/thinking but that’s my only advice for managing the death of your pet

janbb's avatar

Edit: meant “the space on the floor by my chair.”

Ela's avatar

@HolographicUniverse pets are as individual as the people who have them. They are not simply “replaceable” imo.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@HolographicUniverse You seem to “neglect the reality” that a lot of people are incredibly attached to their beloved animals. You seem to “neglect the reality” that for a lot of people, dogs and cats are like family, and are not “easily replaceable pets.”

Who are you to say that it’s “not as big of a loss as you feel that it is?” I had to put my dog down last October, and I still miss her. I still expect to hear her nails tapping across the floor. I still expect to see her out of the corner of my eye. I still stare at the place where her crate used to be.

Maybe losing a pet wouldn’t be that big a deal to you, but it is for some people, and you’re callous and arrogant to insinuate that the OP is ridiculous for feeling the way she does. PLUS, she’d had that dog for 15 years. If she hadn’t gotten attached in 15 years, THAT would be weird.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
serenityNOW's avatar

@amazingme – It may be a little consolation that maybe she’s in a better place now? Not so much pain? I’m just shooting that out there. I feel bad that some of the people here talk about still missing their deceased pets. I wouldn’t want you to think day-after-day, for many eons you will have to endure sadness and emptiness. You won’t. It changes. But the immediate impact can feel unbearable. That’s okay.
So, to answer your question – “How Do I Cope?” I guess it’s different for everyone, but if you’re religious, prayer may help. A Buddhist would believe that she was reincarnated. If so, she’s a little pup again, racing around with boundless energy. If none of those work, don’t fret. Maybe write a poem about her, if you’re so inclined. Or scream. Or eat 3 pints of ice cream. Or all of the above. It gets easier, but you’re grieving right now. Just let it out. You’re entitled to that right now.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
amazingme's avatar

@HolographicUniverse
If you don’t understand how someone could be emotionally attached to a ‘replaceable’ pet, then why did you even bother clicking on the question?
And who are you to say that my attachment to a pet is unhealthy?

@serenityNOW
Ice cream sounds like a good idea. ha ha ha.
She was in a lot of pain before she died. She couldn’t see and she was practically deaf. Her sense of smell was great though. Every time I’d take any sort of meat out of a package- frozen or otherwise- she was there are my feet, smiling.

Bellatrix's avatar

@amazingme if your attachment to your pet is unhealthy, given the majority of responses in this thread, you have a lot of company. I’m glad she is out of pain and you loved her enough to let her go when it was time.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
serenityNOW's avatar

@amazingme – I tried to cut and paste what you said about your doggie smiling, but some people around here know I’ve been having keyboard issues. Anyway, thinking of times like that – in my opinion – may sting right now, but they’re cathartic. Remember the good times! (Although I’m a cat person, doggie smiles are the best!)

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Jillysback's avatar

Oh my, all this psycho-babble..whatever! The poor girl lost her pet, her lifelong companion, someone who greeted her every time she came in the door, and was happy to see her no matter what! He didn’t argue, or analyze, or criticize, or demoralize. He kept her company when she was alone, and was ready to go play whenever she was. Sometimes a dog is a better companion than a human!! There is a genuine hole in your life and your heart. Feel whatever you feel, honey…I cried for a week after my dog died, and I missed him greeting me at the door for a lot longer!

HolographicUniverse's avatar

I concede… I accept defeat, I have never had a life long pet therefore I cant relate, im just trying to let you see things through a logical perspective… All those qualities in that pet will be present in another, that’s why a human loss is far more appropriate for this reaction

wundayatta's avatar

Emotions have a different logic than conceptual logic has. You get emotionally tied to pets and there is plenty of evidence in the scientific literature that pets are very important for mental health. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

As to coping—well, it’s the old grieving process. Maybe there’s anger (sounds like you have some). Maybe there’s bargaining and denial and acceptance. I don’t remember what order they are supposed to come in. What I do know is that they take time.

What a lot of people like to do is tell stories about their loved one. They remember things. They miss things about them. So find friends you can talk to who will listen. Maybe just tell them you want to talk and you want them to listen, and nothing more. No advice. Just sympathy. Try to spread it out among friends so you don’t make them tired of your grieving.

You could ask questions here. Dog questions. Remember something about your dog, something your dog did, and then ask other pet owners if their dogs did anything similar. Or just ask a general question to ask people to remember pets from the past.

But know this will take time. Allow yourself time to grieve. Don’t pressure yourself to get over it. It will be over when it is over, and if you pressure yourself, it will take longer and it will be harder because you will be trying to stuff it down and you just can’t do that.

I feel some sympathy for you, even if I don’t have my own pets. I know it is hard. I wish you good grieving, if that makes sense. Let yourself grieve. Do what feels right. Indulge yourself in your grief. That’s the best way to get through it. And ignore people, both here and in real life who tell you you have no right to feel what you feel.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
longgone's avatar

Can you think of the last time you felt close to her? Preferably one when your brother-in-law was nowhere near. Try to think of that moment as the moment you said goodbye. So sorry for your loss!!

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please take the side discussion (what feelings are or are not appropriate when losing a pet) elsewhere.

Response moderated (Spam)
KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss, I’m a dog mom too and just put my old dog down before New Years.

In answer to your question on how to cope, just think that your dog is now healthy and happy as a puppy in doggy heaven. We don’t want them here suffering just to be with us, it’s not right and not fair to them. Treasure the time you had and realize that we all end, no one gets out alive, maybe even think a little bit about mortality since you’re at the dangerous age of 20 when life starts getting crazy and fun. Peace to you.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would probably stay pissed at my bil for a good long time. I had a similar situation where a dog I loved died and I wanted to spend some time alone with him grieving and was not allowed because of a possibly well meaning but seriously misguided relative. I still regret not telling him to get the fuck out and let me alone! But I didn’t want to go to jail so I didn’t murder him with an axe and eventually the pain and anger subsided. I think time is really the only thing that helps. In the meantime as long as you are not murdering him with an axe, you are indeed coping whether you realize it or not.

delilah75's avatar

Look at photos and have good memories to think about. Sometimes saving the pets favorite toy and having a shrine helps. Lighting candles and talk to people who are willing to listen to your memories or your animal. In time adopting a new animal helps fill the void and your helping a animal that had no home. All feelings are appropriate, to grieve you will feel anger,sadness. Joy if your animal is not suffering anymore, you may feel depression, even suicidal thoughts enter a persons mind, but don’t do any self harm talk to someone about it. A pet is like a human attachment yet deeper and unconditional. You may feel guilt and remorse. In reality that animal knew it was loved. It gets easier in time. I have had to put cats down at the vet because they got old and sick, it is heart breaking but in time all wounds heal. Sorry for your loss!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther