TRIPAWDS: Home to 13087 Members and 1145 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » FACEBOOK » TWITTER » RANDOM BLOG

Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend. | Coping with Loss

JUMP TO FORUMS

Join The Discussion

Learn about life on three legs in the forums below. Browse and search as a guest or register for free to take advantage of member benefits:

  • Instant post approval.
  • Private messages to members.
  • Subscribe to favorite topics.
  • Join the Live Chat and more!

free tripawds account tripawds member log in

K9 Immunity Plus — Hope For Dogs With Cancer

Get help with Dr. Dressler's Dog Cancer Kit

Tripawds Rule!TripawdsBandannas

 

Name your price for a Tripawds Bandanna, and help keep this community online!



A A A

Please consider registering
Guest

Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon-c
Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend.
sp_NewPost Add Reply sp_NewTopic Add Topic
Member
Forum Posts: 101
Member Since:
31 December 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
10 March 2017 - 9:46 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Yesterday I was thinking about how devastating it will be when Otis is gone.   I told my doctor that I feel it's going to be the most devasting loss I have had in my life.  She could tell I felt kind of embarrassed to say such a thing. She then told me about studies and how dogs are so much a member of the family. How sometimes we misname A family member - like Billy, Bob - I mean Joe -  kind of thing - that we often add the dog's name to that group.

Later I was thinking about that and I came to the realization that a dog is like a toddler that never grows up.  They will never grow up to be independent, they always need us for the most basic things. We feed, water, medicate, walk them,  nurse them back to health, go for car rides, tell them our secrets, cuddle, play with them and smooch them.   They give us such unconditional love and loyalty.  They worship us and miss us if we go outside to check the mail.  They know when we are feeling happy or sad - they even lick our tears away when we cry.  

We wake to them nuzzling us out of bed so they can go outside.  We feed them and then if it's a work day - we get the - no please don't go to work today look.   One of my favorite parts of the day is coming home from a mentally draining day to find Otis at the door so excited and happy to see me. On days off we cuddle and eat breakfast in bed.

The rest of the day we are followed around because they love to be close to us.  At night we make sure to take them out potty before we go to sleep.  Our days revolve around our dogs from sunrise to bedtime. Everything we do will remind us of our fur babies.

Then when they get horribly sick, we spend even more time with them.   More car rides to the vet's office, Oncologist, PT and Dunkin Donuts drive thru, for munchkins because they were so good at their PT or Chemo appointment. 

This relationship between dog and human is so much more than can ever be put into words. 

I just ran across this and part of it talks about the study my doctor mentioned about how we may call our family members by the dog's name or vice versa.

http://theconve.....iend-68207

Otis is my family, my child, my world and I will no longer care if anyone thinks I'm being too emotional about what they call - "just a dog".

Otis - 125 lb Great Dane - English Mastiff X.  Started limping on 12/24/16.  Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 1/28 - amputation of front left leg on 1/6/17.  Stitches out and 1st round of Chemo on 1/19/17.   

Virginia
Member


Forum Posts: 12402
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
10 March 2017 - 10:23 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Such a beautiful ppst. Your words are straight from your heart. Nice, very nice.heart

I've read most of the link and couldn't agree more. Gonna go back and read all the links withinn the article later.

Right now though I need to put my tavlet down. I need to get out of my chair. I need to go over to the sofa where Frankie and Merry Myrtle are snuggling. I need to get on the sofa and snuggle with them. They see me coming and both start wagging and stretching out to make room for me. Yeah, after reading your beautiful words and this great article, I need to go be with my family for a snuggle festheart

Back later..........

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!

Member
Forum Posts: 1751
Member Since:
14 February 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
11 March 2017 - 7:57 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

I think part of it is, when a person passes, you can talk about it and your feelings freely.  While I think many people feel the loss of a pet just as deeply, we can't talk about it as much.  You can mention it the day of the loss, but after that, people seem to wonder why you aren't over it.  While I hope your Otis lives a very long time, this community is a wonderful place to share grief because we have all been there and we all grieve whenever one of our tripawds passes.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

Member
Forum Posts: 160
Member Since:
15 July 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
11 March 2017 - 9:23 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

How timely.  On one of my commutes this past week, when I was having one of those complicated conversations with myself in my head (you know.... I'm not alone...others do it, too...), I was thinking about this very topic.  I was trying to explain why losing a dog hurts so much, and in some ways so much harder than more meaningful deaths.  I think I cried more over the loss of Milo than I did over the loss of my dad.  To be clear, I miss my dad more than Milo -- it's been 18 years and I'll always miss him.  If I had a way to choose, I would pick my dad a zillion times over Milo.  I will always be Daddy's Little Girl.  But that said, I cried more for Milo.  Why?

This article comes to some of the same conclusions I did.  I've always said having a dog is like having a forever toddler.  Milo was absolutely dependent on me.  And when he was sick, I spent so much physical, mental, and emotional energy on him.  If I wasn't cooking for him, or feeding him, or taking him outside to potty, or helping him up and down the stairs, I was taking his temperature, checking his breathing, reading articles on cancer, and fretting and petting and loving him.  Then he was gone.  I had so much free time!  So much time to think about him!  It was like hitting a wall.

I suspect for people on the Tripawds forum, it's worse.  We found this forum because we are the type of personalities that want to "fix" things.  We found this forum in searches of what to do about our dogs and cats.  We are the personalities that use that emotional and mental energy on our dogs.  As a result, we hit that wall hard at the end of the battle.  But we are blessed in that we do have this forum, and as a result, we do have people we can talk to and who can understand that crying more for the loss of your dog than for the loss of your dad does not make you a bad person.  

Thank you for the links that helped me finish that conversation in my head.  And thank you to Renee and Jim and all the others that make this forum and "Tripawds Family" available.

Peace,

-Jenifer & Milo 

Virginia
Member


Forum Posts: 12402
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
11 March 2017 - 9:41 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Well said Jennifer, very well said.heart

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!

London, UK
Member
Forum Posts: 835
Member Since:
15 December 2015
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
6
11 March 2017 - 10:11 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

I lost my beloved Billie and my Dad within three weeks of each other and, extraordinarily, both from the same thing (a brain tumour). It was a horrendous time. I needed each to help me with the loss of the other and neither was there. I agree with everyone above. I certainly found the way people assumed that the loss of my dog was nothing, shouldn't even be mentioned alongside the loss of my Dad, difficult to deal with. The fact was that my day to day life - in terms of how I spent my time - was more impacted by the loss of my dog. She was woven into every minute. I worked from home. We were seldom apart. To have her suddenly ripped out of my life was devastating. The terrible space where my Billie should have been. 

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
The Rainbow Bridge

Forum Posts: 21238
Member Since:
25 April 2007
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
12 March 2017 - 6:49 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

What a great conversation. Thank you for starting it. And thank you also for your kind words, Jenifer.

I couldn't agree more when it comes to the critters we share our lives with. The unconditional love of our animals is like nothing else we have with fellow humans. Cats and dogs don't bicker with us, have expectations or assumptions. All they want is to be by our side and share the beauty of this world with us. When that love is gone, it hurts like hell and leaves us with a feeling of being very, very alone. 

We've always been a single dog family. When Jerry passed, it hit us so hard. The loss of routine, the happy, non-judgemental love that we received every single day from him. Suddenly the world was very, very cold and gray. It took Jim and I many months to fill our hearts with more gratitude for Jerry's life in the first place, than sorrow about losing him. 

When people don't get these feelings, I feel sorry for them. I'm grateful that everyone in this community has a no-judgement place to talk and find comfort with others who understand what it's like to grieve over an animal. I still have both my parents but I have no doubt that losing a soul mate animal is a harder process than losing a human relative.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Germany
Member
Forum Posts: 200
Member Since:
14 December 2016
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
8
13 March 2017 - 4:05 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

I've been reading these posts and I wasn't really going to add anything because I have not lost my dog yet and I kinda feel it's not my place to comment here.

And then I went away to Berlin this weekend.

As a very quick background: I lost both my parents at a very young age (if I talk about my mom on this site it's my stepmother) so I know loss. And grief.

Manni stayed at my mom's this weekend, Berlin is kind of like NYC, not the greatest place for dogs. She takes care of him whenever I can't and he loves her (and vice versa), so all is good.

On the way back yesterday on the Autobahn I saw a vertical rainbow (I'm sure it was just a piece of one and I just couldn't see the curve and the rest of it, but still) for miles and miles. A vertical piece of a rainbow straight ahead, the direction in where my dog was waiting for me. Now, those here that already went through all this would, I assume, see this as a good sign, probably. Maybe even as a message.

Now I am not superstitious, I don't believe in signs and I am not prone to read stuff into things. But this, honestly, made me feel devastated out of the blue. I have been feeling that our time is running out, being 15 months post amp. and, to come back to all of your posts, I feel like I have been grieving this entire time if that makes any sense, even though I have a perfectly alive dog. I have been trying to make his life as good as is in my power. I have been trying to be positive for him, to smile through my tears, to be thankful. I have failed miserably. I have tried to stay away from this part of the forums because crying in the office doesn't go over too well.

I did not talk about my feelings when we were driving towards that piece of rainbow because the people I was in the car with wouldn't have understood. Nobody really understands. I have been grieving this whole time and I can not imagine what will happen if I actually have reason to grieve. I already lost my parents so I obviously don't know what the relationship with them would be like today. But my dog is the one that always accompanies me, that is there for me in his own way every single day and that's why I try to give him my all because he is my greatest responsibility.

You are all so right in saying that this is partly because we go to such lenghts to care for them, especially with this disease. And I also think that Jenifer is right in that this site, of course, primarily attracts those of us that try to give their all for their pets. So I guess the most devastating thing is that giving our all will never be enough to save them. I am still trying to find a way to make peace with that.

I am hoping very much that this rainbow was not a sign that we're nearing this end, but I will leave you with a picture of it anyway (after rambling for so long...)

Image Enlarger

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

Member
Forum Posts: 189
Member Since:
2 December 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
13 March 2017 - 6:40 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

This is a terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE thing to say but....Once, when I was talking with a local who wants to support animal rescue, we mentioned that animals are just so vulnerable. She said that in regards to people her father had this saying. " We are just one funeral away from perfect!"

Meaning that humans can and do develop into responsible beings. While animals are always vulnerable. I do not think that anyone here is here without the highest regard for their vulnerable child. But given the state of the world right now, I have to say, I do like her father's saying...Some folks are just plain mean, or ignorant, or negligent, and do not understand that all sentient beings are worthy of love. Let alone care. And that those who do love and care for the vulnerable are somehow not "right". 

And this, above all else, is why I am extremely thankful for TriPawds Nation! 

Virginia
Member


Forum Posts: 12402
Member Since:
22 February 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
13 March 2017 - 9:55 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Tina, just want to thank you for sharing your thoughts here (here, where your thoughts are understood!) and for the lovely picture.

Maybe help you redirect your focus back to the NOW.....or maybe not!!

Being as active and supportive in the site as you jave been can definitely be a "double edged sword". Trying to stay positive and living in the moment is NOT easy when we see our family members head to the Bridge. It is NOT easy when we see our family members get devasting news of the piece of crap spreading. And when someone is as caring as you, and everyone here, you/we feel their grief soooo deeply for them and ith them. It is painful. It is gutwrenching over and over.

And yet it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful lives of these dogs and cats. It gives us the opportunity to confirm how much their lives snd their presence here on earth means to us. And it gives us the opportunity to help our human family members by "loving them through" this sad time. They know we u understand like nomothers can.

It gives us the opportunity to share "success" stories with new members who are ready to fight this pkece kf crap disease head-on. Stories like Manni give others hope. Stories like Manni give people the coursge to proceed on this jour ey and give their dogs and cats a chance.

HOWEVER, when being on your own individual journey and trying to make every moment count, trying to stay in the NOW....being nere can cause "anticipatory grief" and that is NOT beneficial at all! To anticipate and "feel" the loss ahead of time, to worry about how in the world we could possibly get through that horrible sadness even before it happens, deprives us of the happiness of the times we ARE together! We must not ever let that happen!!! ,THAT would be the worst regret of sll...to waste the time we DO have by grieving when they are right by our side!

Many, many, many people just post during the recovery and periodically after that because get on with living their lives to the fullest with their dogs and cats. To stay here sometimes is not the best situation for everyone on this journey. Either path is the RIGHT one!!

And my goodness missy, you are NOT a failure and we CANNOT ever let you say that again!!! You are our friend a d we axore you for all the @ove AND fun you share here!! We adore you for giving Manni THE best life a y dog could have! We adore you for having the courage to be here and share all of the victories Manni is having so others can feel hopeful too! YOU ARE ONE OF OUR BEST SUCCESS STORIES on soooo many levels!!!! OKAY????? OKAY!!!!!!!

I have gotten waaaaaaay off base!!!! It's just that you have been so brave and courageous in expressing your thoughts and you jave mentioned many times about feeling like the "end" is near, I just felt like I wanted to reach out somehow and try and help you redirect your focus. To point out also how being on the site can feed into "anticipatory grief" sometimes and that makes it really, really hard to stay focused on everything that is right about your journey in the now!

And one more rambling. I think seeing the rainbow pointing to Manni was a BEAUTIFUL reminder that Manni is here with you NOW!!! Yes, pointing over in Manni's direction happily waiting for you to join him in the present..........beautiful reminder!!! 🙂

Love to all

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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!

Los Angeles, CA
Member


Forum Posts: 3314
Member Since:
13 June 2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
13 March 2017 - 10:25 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Thank you for this conversation... as someone who lost her first "child" and the true love of her life - a soul mate if you will. I can definitely attest to it being 10 times harder than losing a friend. I lost my father at age 22 and when Shelby passed many, many years later... it was as devastating - if not more. And I think for the pure reason that as a single person, I was her only caregiver. She was my life and I was hers. In and out of hospitals. My life completely put on hold without even realizing until she was gone. And then... I felt lost. What do I do with the time? It is a paralyzing feeling and one that has taken close to 3 years to full recover and I am not sure I will ever be whole again. I am not the same sad person but I am definitely a changed person.

Which makes me wonder why I even thought to go down this road, journey, again with Jasper ... because my house was not a home without a fur-baby. Because there was a little dog that was desperate to be rescued and find her fur-ever home and live her best life. And because it was what Shelby would have wanted.

For me to smile, to laugh, to feel joy...

And like, when I lost my father - (I am also an only child so I was his little girl - always). I was lost, scared, alone (I do have a wonderful mother) but through the tears and grief, I realized he would want me to smile, feel joy and be happy again. So while 20 years have passed since he became an angel, I still miss him every day but I know that he and Shelby are together.

So yes... losing a pet is so much more than just a pet .. they are a family member. And the processing of it is personal and there is no limit on grief. I appreciate this community so much that allowed me to mourn Shelby in a personal way that worked for me where others have judged (no one here - ever).

Much love to you all!  

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

Germany
Member
Forum Posts: 200
Member Since:
14 December 2016
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
12
13 March 2017 - 10:31 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Sally,

in case you don't know this (which I can't really imagine, by the way):

you are so elementary to this site, I cannot thank you enough. I (and I am sure many others) have felt welcomed by everyone here but especially by you. You have the amazing and very enviable ability to turn even the most dour of outlooks (that would be mine 🙂 ) into something positive and honest and in my opinion you are a saint.

Thank you so so much for everything that you do. I mean it.

Totally off topic, sorry, but this had to be said.

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or is it the other way 'round?

Manni was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Dec '15 and immediately had his right front leg amputated, followed by 5 rounds of chemo. Manni's real name is Manfred and he turns 10 on Jan 28 2017. So far we are mets-free...

London, UK
Member
Forum Posts: 835
Member Since:
15 December 2015
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
13
13 March 2017 - 10:37 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

Well said, Tina. Couldn't agree more ❤️ 

Meg, Mutt, aged around 8, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Elsie Pie, & Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR
Maputo, Mozambique
Member
Forum Posts: 37
Member Since:
4 March 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14
13 March 2017 - 6:18 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

tinsch said
Sally,

in case you don't know this (which I can't really imagine, by the way):

you are so elementary to this site, I cannot thank you enough. I (and I am sure many others) have felt welcomed by everyone here but especially by you. You have the amazing and very enviable ability to turn even the most dour of outlooks (that would be mine 🙂 ) into something positive and honest and in my opinion you are a saint.

Thank you so so much for everything that you do. I mean it.

Totally off topic, sorry, but this had to be said.  

I second that!!

Santa Fe, NM
Member
Forum Posts: 71
Member Since:
19 July 2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15
14 March 2017 - 4:11 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_NewPost sp_QuotePost

First and foremost, I'm adding my vote for Sally's canonization. I don't know how you do it Sally but none of us would be the same without you. big-grinbig-grinbig-grinBless you.

I read this thread twice yesterday, then printed it and took it home and read it again. Then started writing and crying and crying and writing. And I still don't what it is I feel the need to say or not entirely.

Sally, I understand what you're saying about anticipatory grief getting in the way of being more dog and supporting our fur-babies. You're are absolutely correct of course. We can only spread our attention so far. But for me it served a purpose: I believe Isa's transition would have been even harder for me without it. For that matter my shrink seemed to think it was good thing but she looks out for me before anything else. Still maybe not ideal.

On the up side, such as it is, I know "watching" others go through this with their dogs allowed me to be much braver when the time came for Isa. I was able to make the decision(s) necessary and be completely there for her then and there. I suspect otherwise I would have second-guessed myself far more than I did. Those couple of days aside, I was less dog than I needed and wanted to be for her the rest of the time. Not something I will forgive myself for anytime soon.

Tina, I completely understand your thought process - more or less identical to what mine was several months ago. I wish you much, much more time with your Manni. I am one of his biggest fans! Go snuggle with him for me!

peace

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

Forum Timezone: America/Denver

Most Users Ever Online: 597

Currently Online: midnighter94, megstamum, tinsch, MarleyWorm
69 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Devices Used: Desktop (62), Phone (11)

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 936

Members: 9481

Moderators: 2

Admins: 3

Forum Stats:

Groups: 4

Forums: 23

Topics: 13354

Posts: 183428

Administrators: jerry, admin, jim

Moderators: tazziedog, krun15

Tripawds Blogs is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » FACEBOOK » TWITTER » RANDOM BLOG