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Life without Darla | Coping with Loss


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Life without Darla
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Oshkosh, WI
Forum Posts: 17
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16 February 2017
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9 May 2017 - 7:22 pm
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I know some people that have had their heart ripped out of their body through their stomach, have sworn off another canine, that won't be me. I've been a Pawrent my whole life, well since I've been 18 years old, just a kid. Never married, no children, there's always been a cat or dog in my life, sometimes mutilple. There was a period of time without a permanent resident dog, there was always guest, I was a surrogate pawrent to many families on vacation. One golden lab for 2.5 months, while his permanent Pawrent recovered from illness. I've always been good with animals, not so much children under 5YO, it's easy for me to bond with canines/felines quickly, maybe it's because we're about the same IQ level. 🙂   My GF had 2 Great Danes (that have now crossed the bridge), one of them hated males, she didn't trust us guys. In 5 minutes of meeting her, she was over sniffing me out, after a very short time, she would about knock other people over to get to me, when I walked in her door. I'm animal person, dogs, cats, horses, animals, all of them, doesn't matter. When I was about 8, I nursed some baby Robins, their parents had somehow died. I dug up worms, sliced them up, and feed them 4 times a day. Only one, of the 3 survived, without their Mama,  but I was hooked after that experience, I loved caring for animals.  So I'm an animal person, at least one should be in my life, until I am no longer able to care for them. Darla spent 8 years of her life with me, she knew that all the neighborhood dogs were welcome on my property. She's worried right now, that there's another canine out there that needs to be rescued, that needs a furever home soon.  She will find me another canine to take care of me, Darla knows that I'm better, my life is better, when I'm watching over a pet. When they are watching over me.

Honestly, I was thinking about the difference in mourning between losing a human, and a pet, before I read this thread:    http://tripawds.....or-friend/

My thoughts mirrored with many thoughts of the esteemed authors, I've mourned animals in my life passing, differently than the humans in my life. My Father, and two insanely close friends have passed, but they had their own lives. My father relied on me for the last 6 months of his life, but my two close friends didn't. They had their own homes, wives, children, work concerns, their own aspirations. They weren't in my thoughts every day, or hour, Darla was. She relied on me to take care of her, to keep from harms way, and to watch over her. Other than (if you have) your children, no one else is that dependant on you. And in a lot of cases, you are dependent on them. Perhaps losing a spouse, is similar or worse, I can't know that.

I love my girlfriend like no other, if I lost her, I'd be emotionally ruined. But she doesn't live with me, she isn't waiting for me to get home, she isn't wanting to be with me every minute of her life.  Spring/summer is when Dar and I were together 24/7, whether I was mowing, plowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, or napping. 🙂 🙂 A part of me missing, and I'll never get that part back, but it'll never be forgotten.

By now, you've gathered that I'm just rambling on and on, but it helps. Long ago, I heard that if you needed to get something off your mind, write it down in a letter form, but don't mail it. Just 'talking' about it, helps. I know that those that frequent this board, will listen.

Green Bay, WI

Forum Posts: 726
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9 May 2017 - 8:26 pm
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Not rambling, well said. I have not yet lost my heart-dog, my Dobe, Nitro, but do think about it sometimes.  I try not to, but sometimes my mind goes there. I can only imagine the huge hole that will be left; not and hour (or half-hour) goes by that I don't think of him during the day. He's been a Tripawd for almost 3 years, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into this journey. He's 11 1/2 years old, has kidney failure and worsening arthritis, but still chases the tennis balls or laser light as if he were years younger. I love him almost more than life itself, and know his death will be harder on me than my own parents. I, too, have had a dog in my life since I was born, and don't think I can be without one, but boy, will he be a tough act to follow.

Stay in touch with this awesome family, for you will always be family here. Take care, and be kind to yourself.

Paula and Nitro

Nitro 11 1/2  yr old Doberman; right front amp June 2014. Had 6 doses carboplatin, followed by metronomic therapy. Rocked it on 3 legs for over 3 years! My Warrior beat cancer, but couldn't beat old age. He crossed the Bridge peacefully on July 25, 2017, with dignity and on his terms.  Follow his blog entitled "Doberman's journey"

"Be good, mama loves you" free my beautiful Warrior

Forum Posts: 1377
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2 April 2013
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9 May 2017 - 9:50 pm
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I can not think of a time in my life that hasn't included animals.  Growing up we always had dogs, never cats, and bunnies.  When I moved out of my dad's house, I adopted 2 kittens - I knew nothing about cats lol, but I learned fast.  Then my dad sold his house & I got the family dog, who had to learn about cats!  Like Paula, I think about what hole will be left in my heart when we lose Murphy.  We've been travelling this journey for 4 years now, much longer than what was expected when he was diagnosed.  And as time goes on, our girl Cassie gets older, too.  Which means we could be facing 2 losses fairly close together.  It's also something I've worried about for a little while now.  Cassie is 12 1/2 and was just diagnosed with some bulging discs in her back.  Cassie & Murphy fell in love the day they met - it will be difficult when Murphy goes.  But for now, Murphy bounces around, and Cassie dances heartKent, I'm so very sorry that Darla had a short journey with you.  Please don't ever regret giving her a chance at life!  We never know how much time we're going to get.  Darla knew how very much you loved her.  And she obviously loved you back.  And it brought you here, to us.  Maybe that was part of the plan, too.  I think that Murphy has had a purpose, and that is to spread awareness of canine cancer.  He has participated in 2 Bark for Life walks and a PuppyUp walk and raised money.  You now know more about amputations, surgery, medications than you did before ...this is knowledge that you might need some day in the future.


Donna, Glenn & Murphy

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  


Los Angeles, CA
Forum Posts: 3552
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10 May 2017 - 10:16 am
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(((hugs)))) ..... I get it. Shelby was my heart dog ... the true love of my life and when she passed, my life was so empty. I live alone. Never had kids. Was single at the time. It was just a void that could not be filled. I stopped living my life while she was ill because every second of every day went into thinking what Shelby needed or wanted.  We became even closer (if that was possible as she was always by my side for over 13 years). Through every break-up, every move, every life change. 

Quite simply put - I did not see a path to go on without her so I went through the motions.

It has been three years. I rescued Jasper 2 months after Shelby passed and while it felt soon, it was the right move for me. I needed to be a caregiver again. I needed to be a dog mom. BUT in all that ... I over-compensated in the opposite way ... I made Jasper my life. I still wasn't living my life but living the life I thought Jasper wanted.

Just in the past 5 months or so... I have slowly started taking my life back. I am able to leave Jasper for vacations. I am able to leave her with others. I still back track from time to time but mostly, I am moving on with the life that I want to live.

Will it hurt when Jasper dies? Hell yeah!!! But she is a young healthy dog. Will it be worse than Shelby? Perhaps ... I am older and wiser now and better understand that dogs don't live forever (I really believed Shelby would live forever ... ). 

So I get it... losing a dog (and I have lost a parent) was the hardest thing I have done / been through as an adult. And I still have my moments ... but as time has gone on, I am better able to see the gift that was my life with Shelby ... the love and lessons she taught me. Each day I try and be more "Shelby" and embrace life to the fullest. It is the greatest gift she gave me. 


Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart (and little Jasper too) 

Shelby Lynne; Jack Russell/Shiba Inu mix. Proud member of the April Angels of 2014.

October 15, 2000 to April 8, 2014

Our story: Broke rear leg in June 2013 - non-conclusive results for cancer so leg was plated and pinned. Enlarged spleen in September 2013 and had it removed and was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and started chemotherapy. Became a Tripawd January 8th, 2014 and definitive Hemangiosarcoma diagnosis. Three major surgeries in 7 months and Shelby took them all like a champ only to lose her battle to cancer in her brain. We had 8 amazing extra months together and no regrets. #shelbystrong #loveofmylife

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11 May 2017 - 2:24 am
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I am with Paula and Nitro on that I haven't lost Manni yet and I am trying (though not succeeding) to push any thoughts of this to the back of my mind. What you wrote resonates well here. There is no one closer to me than my dog -neither animal nor human. That loss will be incredible.

I am so sorry for what you went through with Darla. I always thought that this would be the worst, to go through with that decision and then not get any time. Well, I did get time, I was one of the "lucky ones". Still, if faced with the decision again: I would have to think twice because I know there are NO guarantees whatsoever. However, just like you did, they deserve every chance there is and you just DON'T have a crystal ball, do you? You did everything right. Never doubt that. I am sure that Darla is saying the same thing right now.



Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

Schofield, WI
Forum Posts: 1388
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11 May 2017 - 10:10 am
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Kent I'm so glad you came back and posted!  You are a wise man to know that having a furface in your life is important to you.  This cancer journey indeed sears our heart and soul and leaves scars for sure.  Your beautiful Darla knows how well she was loved and knows you need to share that love with another deserving pup.  Max was my sons dog but they recovered for the first month here as I had just retired and was able to be with him 24/7.  All 3 of us bonded to a new level.  We lost Max in January of 2016.  In December Bob brought home a new GS puppy.  He brings him over Monday through Friday to Grandma sit while he works.  It's been healing for us both.  Hank puppy can't replace Max nor should he but he has shown us our hearts are capable of sharing the love.  Darla knows what you need and how lucky this new dog will be to share in your love.  It'll be interesting to see who she picks out for you sometimes their sense of humor comes out as they guide that pick 😉.  Please let us know which lucky pup she decides to "share" with you.

Linda & Spirit Mighty Max


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11 May 2017 - 10:16 pm
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Kent, you jave just articulated words straight from your heart beautifully. And everyone has responded with theor own beautiful words straight from their heart. You jave done a wonderful service by posting your thoughts. No, not rambling, rather very quided insight from a very wise Soul. Darla had her paw on your hand as you typed every word.

Yes, our pets make us better human beings. They certainly bring out the best in us.

I read once we can't lose what's never left us. Darla is still with you in your heart and in every single memory the two of you created together.

And Darla absolutely has someone picked out for you so you can have joy back in your life. There is another dog who needs to be loved and who needs to let you love again. We love every dog for who they are. No dog every replaces another, they just add to their legacy of love they had with us. We love each dog differently and the same.

As you already know, once you've had the privilege of having a dog like Darla share your life, you could never NOT have a dog by your side!

From your childhood when you saved that baby Robin, to yiur experience with the Great Dane who allowed herself to be charmed by always knew you jad a special relationship with animals. Such a gift.

Please stay connecte. Let us know when Darla sends you some signs AND when she picks a doggy for you to love...and to love you back!

Surrounding you with Darla's love and kisses

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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