Oct 102008
grieving pets death

Our dog, Georgie, is almost 3 years old. We’re cherishing every minute of her life.

Two veterinarians describe how they coped with their pet’s death; their experience may help you say good-bye and grieve your pet’s death.

Pet loss involves stages of mourning, just like losing a loved family member or friend. With pet death, however, you may also be coming to terms with your decision to put your pet to sleep.

“Death…is not more than passing from one room into another,” said Helen Keller. “But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room, I shall be able to see.”

Imagine that your beloved pet can see now, is healed now, and is happy and even waiting for you now….let that comfort you.

Help Coping With Your Pet’s Death

The following stories about pet loss are from veterinarians who know what you’re going through.

A Veterinarian Shares How He Coped When His Dog Died

I remember losing our family German Shepherd as a 11 year old. I was devastated and it really was like losing a family member. The loss of a pet should not be taken lightly and it is not something most people get over quickly or easily – although many may think there is a social stigma not to grieve for animals as we do for humans. The fact is that the bond that is formed between people and their pets is in many cases even stronger than some of the bonds between people. Since losing our German Shepherd, I have lost two cats also – one was an elderly girl that had to be put down due to deteriorating health, whilst the other a couple of years later was sadly run over.

Each pet loss had a different effect on me, depending on the bond I had shared with each animal. I was particularly saddened by the death of our German Shepherd because I had grown up with her and because she had always been very close to me in my childhood. ~ From Veterinarian Mark Edwards

An important way to cope with pet death is to focus on you pet’s life rather than the death (regardless of the circumstances in which they died). As for humans, grief is a five step process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally the last stage – acceptance. Once you accept your pet’s death, it is not unreasonable to consider getting a new pet. This is definitely not something you should feel guilty about.

Getting your pet cremated can be a good way to remember him or her. You can chose to have their ashes given back to you in a wooden casket or an urn and can even have a picture and plaque put on this. Do give yourself plenty of time for the grieving process; you may even want to take time off work. You may be surprised how much the death of your animal affects you when it does finally happen.

If you feel guilty about pet loss, you might find Coping With Guilty Feelings After Your Pet Dies helpful.

A Veterinarian Describes Losing Her Pets Through Euthanasia

I’ve lost five dogs over the years; the last dog I lost was in April 2007. None died naturally, I had to euthanize them, and all but one had cancer. The other was euthanized as the result of a bad fall and was only 4 ½ years old.

I’m still sad, particularly about my “very best dog of all time.” She was euthanized 6 years ago, and I still miss her. We did everything together: she came to work with me, we camped together, and I haven’t had a dog like her since. Coping with grief because of your dog’s death takes time. Losing a pet is like losing a family member. You always feel a degree of sadness, but after a while it doesn’t hurt so much.

Some people like to get a new pet straight away because the loss of the old pet leaves such a hole. If you’ve always had a dog around the house, and then all of a sudden there isn’t one that can exacerbate the great sense of loss. In that case, a new pet can give you something to love and hug while you grieve the loss of the old pet. However, people need to be very careful not to compare the new pet to the old pet, as it will never measure up. ~ Veterinarian Rosie Brown.

Should you get another pet to help you cope with your pet’s death? If you have to put your cat or dog to sleep, it’s normal to go through the normal stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, guilt… I think denial and guilt are the two biggies when you have to say good-bye to your dog or cat. Many people feel guilt about choosing to “kill” their pet but it’s not like that at all. If it comes to euthanasia, then you and your vet are at the point where your pet’s quality of life will not be good, there’s nothing that can be done to make it better. You’re actually doing them a great kindness to end their suffering.

After your dog or cat has been put to sleep, be very kind to yourself and allow yourself to cope when your dog or cat dies. Take as long as you need to. Surround yourself with friends and family who understand what your pet meant to you, and who will listen to you and support you. The worst thing you can hear is “it’s only a dog, you can get another one”. Avoid people with that attitude, because it will only make you feel worse.

If you’re struggling with grief and guilty feelings because of the circumstances surrounding your dog or cat’s death, read Letting Go of an Animal You Love: 75 Ways to Survive Pet Loss.

I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog or cat, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with their pet’s death in sometimes surprising ways.

Are you coping with your pet’s death? I invite you to share below; describing your dog or cat’s life and death can help you heal.

About Me

quips tips love relationshipsI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.

  360 Responses to “How to Cope With Your Pet’s Death – A Veterinarian’s Help”

  1. Thank you for sharing about you’re pet’s death here. My heart goes out to you, and I know your experience will help others cope with their loss.

    Dear Sandy,

    It sounds like it’s affecting you in a profound way. There’s something about a pet’s death that can trigger deeper, more emotional issues about grief, pain, or loss. I don’t know why your Aggie’s death is having such a major effect on your life, but I do encourage you to talk to a counselor.

    It’s normal to grieve a dog’s death, but when a reaction is this extreme, there might be something else going on. I think it would be very healthy and good for you to talk to a counselor about your response to your dog’s death.

    Your kids may surprise you with their resilience. Kids sometimes cope with death easier than adults; they seem to be able to flow with it a bit better. I suppose it depends on how the adults are coping, though.

    Will you call a counselor, and talk it through with him or her?


  2. We got “Ajay” about 9 years ago when he was just a puppy. I had never had a dog growing up and my wife and I never felt we could have one in our working years since we felt leaving a dog alone most of the day while we worked would not be right. But when I went into semi-retirement a decade ago, we started to talk about getting one.

    The plan was to go to a bunch of venues to look at a whole bunch of dogs and get an idea of what we might want. Didn’t quite work out that way. We went to our first one – a rescue dog event run by the local animal shelter – and met Ajay. Ten minutes later, he was in the back of our car going home.

    Ajay was a mixed breed about 8 months old at that time. We learned he was probably a mixture of Sheppard, Doberman, and maybe some Rottweiler.

    Ajay always looked younger that he actual age. Many persons were amazed that he was over 9 years old, thinking he was still more of a puppy. In fact the nickname we used for him was “puppy.” Even recently, he would often race around the yard a thousand miles an hour and spent hours chasing and treeing squirrels around our wooded property, barking at the tree base for a long time.

    When we traveled we tried to take him along with us whenever possible. He had been to the Canadian Rockies, Seattle, Tucson, Austin, Ft Myers, and many times to northern Michigan. He enjoyed traveling with us in the car. However, there were many trips my wife and I took that we could not take him. For those times we boarded him at the local “Camp Bow-Wow,” a franchise doggie day-care / boarding facility.

    Ajay always displayed a fair amount of separation anxiety when he would be away from us, whether at home alone or at Camp Bow-Wow. He always seemed to want to be with us. Whenever we would drop him off at Camp Bow-Wow, Ajay would initially be excited to go, but could see him on the on-line web cameras waiting by the pen gate alone, hoping he would be picked up soon while the other dogs had fun playing. It was always hard for me to drop him off there knowing this was the case.

    Dave, the franchise owner, was very understanding, knowing Ajay had this separation anxiety condition and would take Ajay for rides in his car often during long boarding stays just to give Ajay a break.

    My wife and I took a Caribbean Cruise the week of March 31. We dropped Ajay off at Camp Bow-Wow on Mar 29, driving to our departure city of New Orleans. We had no access to voicemail or email until April 7.

    April 7 was the worst day of my life. When the cruise ended that morning in New Orleans I received a voicemail from our vet that said “Ajay was brought in yesterday, but I am sorry he has died.”

    Dave had noticed Ajay was not doing well on Apr 6 and put him in his car to take him to the vet. Ajay died before he got there. Apparently, he suffered from “bloat” which caused his stomach to “twist” cutting off blood flow to vital organs. We have later learned that this is a condition common to dogs of his breed. We have also learned that STRESS/ANXIETY is something that can enhance this condition.

    I feel so guilty I was not there to comfort him as he died. He was my buddy, my best friend, and he trusted me to always take care of him. I feel so guilty that I took him to a place where his stress and anxiety may have helped kill him.

    My wife and I cried for most of the 16 hour drive back to Michigan. We said goodbye to him at the vet’s office the next morning saying how sorry we were that we were not there to comfort him during his last moments here on earth.

    The decision to put an old pet down is indeed a gut wrenching time, but losing one that is healthy and full of life so suddenly is something I am having trouble dealing with. And being a thousand miles away when it happened is something I feel so guilty about.

    I wish I could tell him:
    “Ajay, I am so sorry I was not there when you died. I hope you were not scared.”
    “Ajay, I miss you so much.”
    “Ajay, you are my buddy, and will always be my buddy.”
    “Ajay, I hope you are now in a happy place, free from your anxiety, free from your scratching, and are playing with a lot of other dogs and chasing a million squirrels.”

    We get his ashes this weekend and plan to spread them around various favorite parts of our property, and keeping a portion to take with us wherever we may live in the future.

    I know that time heals all wounds. But I know this wound is large.

  3. I lost my precious boxer baby Ronnie on the 18/3/13 to cancer. He was just 12 days past his 6th birthday. We first found out he had cancer when he had just turned 3. The tumor was supposed to have been successfully removed but it came back 1 year later. We were told it was in his glands and even with chemo we could only expect 3-6 months but he lived for 2 more years. I cant say i feel grateful for the extra time i got to spend with him because i fell deprived. He was my world and its killing me inside, I cry all the time and feel so depressed. He was the most loving funny and beautiful boy in the world and he was taken from me. I have now gone and rescued a little boxer who has had a terrible start in life, she has been neglected. I thought this would make me feel better, and she is a lovely pup, but all honestly its made me feel worse. I know this little girl needs a lovely home, but all i want is my boy back. He is on my mind every second to the point its un-healthy, i just dont think i will ever get over this.

  4. I have, had, two dogs. I am a married woman with three beautiful children. We got our first dog, Aggie, a Westie five years ago when my youngest was 2 years old. We moved out to the country when Aggie was just one. She loved it out here. We were immediately warned about the danger of coyotes. We always took precautions, never letting her out alone at or after sunset, or before sunrise which was quite a pain in the wintertime but we endured. We got aggie because she was little and relatively clean. A year ago, Harriet came into our lives. She was a stray BEARDED COLLIE! She is completely the opposidte of Aggie – huge and hairy!! The two dogs loved each other and played often! This past Monday, Aggie enjoyed basking in the sun on our driveway. It was a beautiful day. Aggie loves being outside. My husband grilled at 6pm on our deck and doesn’t recall seeing Aggie. We ate dinner at 7pm. A little before 9pm we didn’t see Aggie anywhere. The neighborhood joined in on our search in the dark with flashlights. It has been two days and we know in our hearts that Aggie was taken by coyotes. She was only 13 lbs. We have many acres and our house borders on the woods. I am beyond consoling. I can’t stop crying. I am haunted by Aggie’s last moments, and the fact that I didn’t let her inside. I was home all day Monday as was my husband. My kids seem to be more upset that I am so sad, than the fact that Aggie is gone. I was the primary caregiver and Aggie slept with my husband and I nuzzling with me. Its been two days now, and my husband is getting annoyed with me. He reminded me this morning that it wasn’t a kid, it was just a dog. I can’t stop crying. I realized there have are far greater losses…but I can’t stop. What is wrong with me and what should I tell my kids? I stormed through the woods with a golf club in hand this morning. I have 5 acres as do my 30+neighbors. Everywhere I turn I see my sweet Aggie. Is it harmful for my children 8, 10, 12 to see my so upset. I can’t stop crying and my husband is getting mad at me. Please help. Sandy :(

  5. I am glad to find this website. It has been so painful since the death of my beloved dog Saturday morning. I had her for almost fifteen years. I have never had a dog with such a wonderful loving temperament. She was my friend, truly my companion. I have never had the the death of a pet to affect me so. It is so painful. They are not meant to live forever and I treasure the years I had with her. But it does not lessen this immediate huge sense of loss in my life. I know letting her go was the best thing for her, but I’d give anything to hold her one more time.

  6. My husband ran over our dog this morning by mistake. He was only a year and a half old. I feel so guilty because we moved out to the country and we were letting him run around free outside, which he loved…but I wish I would have been more dilagent about getting him inside or having something in place outside for him that would be safer for him. I miss him so much and am so torn up inside over this. I feel like old age would bring me some comfort, but the fact that he was so young just makes it that much harder. The letter I wrote to my boy Petey is on my blog.


  7. We just learned Sat our 6 year old Golden has Osteosarcomia. There is only the hope of a year survival time if we opt to amputate her leg. I know this type of cancer is very painful and cannot imagine putting her through that surgery. So we will cherish her for the time we have left, it is the most gut wrenching decision ever! Thank you for your blog, I will be thinking of her waiting for me, that’s really such a great thought !

  8. Thank you for sharing about your pet’s death. My heart breaks for you; I know how hard it is to survive this type of loss. It’s awful.

  9. Jen, Oct. 2012
    Is the burden in your heart a bit better now? Two days ago I put my beloved Callie cat down too, and like you I question myself. I miss her terribly and cry all the time, and feel like I am surrounded by a grey shroud. It is an atrocious time.

  10. i just lost my dog she was a mixed breed she was showing all the sighns of parvo she started getting sick sat morning by sunday i knew that she was gonna die i brought her to the vet they said it was gonna be about 800 dollars for her to stay there so i worked out a plan where i can treat her from home well im sad to say we didnt make it home with her she died in my arms on the way home from the vet and i dont think ill ever get over it she was my best friend and a good dog she was only 7 months old and i cant stop crying every time someone says her name or i think of her or i see something that belonged to her i just want to curl up and cry this isnt fun at all i hate this feeling

  11. I feel like I am at the lowest point in my life. My 12 year old Maltese, chuckle was my best friend. He was always there for me, just his presence could make me feel happy and relaxed. 4 days ago he was jumping around and barking and running in the yard…then all of a sudden he was lethargic and limp. We took him to our vet who said his immune system was attacking his red blood cells, and the little guy needed an immediate blood transfusion. We rushed him to the emergency vet who did the procedure without even taking to us and finding out his medical history (he was epileptic, but it was under control). He pulled through and things were looking good, but suddenly he took a turn and a blood clot went into his brain…the vet through so much science verbiage at us it was difficult to know what was even happening, but when I saw him I knew it was over. He died in my moms arms before they could even give him the needle. It’s so awful, I just feel like I was punched in the gut, my friend since 4th grade (I’m now 23) is gone and I hate it.

  12. My husband and I lost our only child, Moon, our 2 and a 1/2 years old English Cocker Spaniel beauty, 10 days ago – on 04 Nov 12. She fell sick on 1st nov and was gone on 4th Nov. We didnt get much reaction time, and not sure if the vet gave her the right medicines. Our vet hadn’t given us any notice on her death, and she died just all of a sudden. I am not able to get out of the denial stage, i am not able to sleep and i wake up with a heavy head with no will to get up and start the day. My family doesn’t really understand the pain that i’m experiencing till now. Only my husband and I know what we are going through. Each and every response,reaction , expression of her face..are crossing my mind all the time, and i feel like she is watching us over. I’ m so so sorry Moon…u loved your life so much and loved ur mommy and daddy so much and wanted to be with them all the time, and i couldn’t give you a longer life. We love u more than anything else in this world. Your selflessness in giving us love has left us blank about our future lives without you baby…hope you are happier than you were with us..wherever you are my baby…my Moon…mun mun

  13. Dear Nancy,

    I’m sorry you lost your husband and your cat in such a short time period. It’s so difficult saying good-bye to our loved ones. I’m glad you’re sharing your home with other creatures who need it – those new cats will be so grateful to be with you!

    I think you can still honour Sparky, even though new cats have moved in. You’ll always have Sparky in your heart, mind, and soul — and you’re spreading your love to other cats. I think Sparky would approve wholeheartedly. After all, you’re taking care of his kin — and he knows he’ll always be number one in your heart.


  14. On August 9, my husband passed away. On November 9th we had to put our beloved Sparky to sleep. Sparky was an 18 1/2 year old tabby cat we got from the Humane Society when he was 7 months old. He always slept with me and loved playing with our daughter. He was harness trained and spent many hours outside with us. I am now going through all the stages of grief again and just don’t know how many times I can cope with this. I have been offerred 2 2yr. old cats all fixed, declawed, shots etc. free as the man wants them to go to a good home where they will have lots of love as he has started his own business and not home much. I feel guilty not honouring Sparky longer, but they are available now and I know I need their comfort.

  15. Thank you for this article. I’ve lost a few of my animal family members before, but I’m having a terrible time dealing with the recent loss of my cat. Tigger was 16 1/2 years old and I’ve had him since I was 5 years old. He was my very best friend and I love him more than anyone or anything. He passed away at our home on 11/7 from old age. He wasn’t sick, but had been sleeping more and acting very tired. Right now, I don’t feel like I’ll ever be okay again.

  16. We lost our precious Bailey, a Yorkiepoo, who we only had for 2 years. Bailey was our little girl perfect in every way. My husband and I are grieving her and having a hard time with it. She loved being free but she died tragically in front of me. Please pray for me and I will pray for your loss.

  17. I have what I think is the best dog in the world. Lucky, she is a 13 yr old Sheltie-Collie mix and currently she has congestive heart failure and her kidneys are shutting down. I am going to have to let her go but it is soo hard to think of my life without her. I got her from the humane society when I moved to Nashville. She was living with a couple in an apartment that could not keep her because it was against their contract and so they brought her in. She had some puppies but they were never found. From the moment I saw her I fell in love, she is so sweet! For the last 12 years she has been there when I had great days (when I met and married my wife) and through the worst days of my life (my dad passing away). She is so loving and would do everything she could to make me happy and now I can see the pain she is in and it KILLS me. I have cried more than enough and I just don’t know what’s going to happen when she is actually gone. We have another pup, Lucey, and she can see that Lucky is not doing well and she has began to grieve. I feel so sick that I am about to lose my best friend and and I am concerned for Lucey and how it will affect her once Lucky passes on to be with my dad. Have any of you that have lost a beloved pet actually gone in and stayed while they were put down? I am considering it as I want to be the last one she sees before she goes to heaven but then I think that it will pain me to see her drift off and not wake up again. Thank you in advance for your replies…. I Love you Lucky Bull!!!!!!!!!

  18. Just reading all thoes story it is starting to help me. Just today Nov 3/0212 we had to put our dog down hector he was 12yrs old. Hector is a westie white. It all started with a bad cough,took him to vet had to leave him over night. Next day the vet phone and said he had tumours and he only had two weeks,but he lasted another two months. Hector was such a great dog part of the family. He would all ways meet us at the door when we came home. One thing he didn’t like us going out,we had put a lot of things up. Right now this is very hard for me too write and it is going to take time to get over it. I will miss Hector every day. I keep looking for him.

  19. Unfortunately we had to let go of our 11 year old springer spaniel Roxi a few days ago. We got her when i was going through an extremely bad run of events in my life, when every day seemed to bring more heartache onto the family. My loving wife decided to drag me along to see Roxi to try and to get me out of the house and get me back to full health. Well the minute I walked through that door to see her, she bounded round the corner and jumped up on me. Love at first sight, I couldnt stop smiling “When can we take her” I asked the lady.”Now” was her reply. Within weeks i was back at work and probably the happiest i had been for a year. I have been dreading this day all year but Hopefully I have helped you now Roxie, as much as you have helped me.I know you will be happy once more doing doggy circles in heaven. Thank you my loyal companion. Till we meet again xxx

  20. I just put my kitty down yesterday. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do. She was sick on the inside, but acted and looked fine on the outside. I always question myself if I did the right thing or not. I feel like I let her down. I miss her so much. She was the most cuddly cat,who NEVER left my side. She was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last when I went to bed at night. I am just heartbroken. I don’t have any children of my own…just my kitties. I still have her sister, but she wants no part of me. All I want to do is grab and hold and pet and kiss her, and she wants no part of it, which makes this even harder. I want to show her love, and she just runs away from me. Should have I tried everything in my power to save her? Does she hate me? Will I see her again? Is she happy? Will this hurt ever go away?

  21. to all of you who have lost your pet. We lost Duchess our beloved dog who we had for over 12 yrs. she died of heart failure Aug 18-12. I still miss her & at times I think of her & dream of her. I have prayed & cried & I do believe the Lord takes our pets to Him. I am very sorry for all your losses, I hurt with you. We now have Lucy, that we got at the pound. She is not Duchess, another dog will not take Duchess’s place but Lucy is filling that void & she needed love & a home. Let yourself grieve you have lost a “loved” one. Remember you are only human & we all make mistakes,I pray your hearts will be healed from your lost. God bless you & please check your local pound, there are a lot of animals that need our love. Paula

  22. I lost my precious sweet innocent 9 year old pug, Andy, October 12,2012. He was attacked and killed in my 6foot high fenced in back yard. He was outside literally less than5 minutes. The images are haunting me, I’m sobbing uncontrollably and just want the pain to stop. I’ve never felt a hurting pain like this one before. Can someone who has had their baby taken from them offer me a few words of advice to get me through this? I just want to get through this so I can look back and not be haunted, but comforted on the fact I had him as long as I did. I’m just not ready to be optimistic yet. I’m still wanting to be angry and sad and mad. Anything would help as long as its a step forward and nothing hateful or mean. Thank you to anyone taking the time to read and respond. Xoxo

  23. I caused my beloved cat’s death because I didn’t give him his antibiotics for renal failure. I just want to die and be with him now. I can’t stand myself for what I did.

    I tried to save him with liquids, we didn’t really know if he had an infection as the doc did not do a blood test for that. He supposedly had renal failure with very high numbers, but that renal failure could have been form an infection!

    I asked to the antibiotics myself as the doctor did not offer it. Can you believe this? Then I thought the antibiotics might harm his kidney’s even more, so did not give them.

    He seemed to rally on the liquids at first, but then went downhill. At the end they think he died of an underlying infection. Why did the vet not know he had an infection until he died? And how can I live with myself? I am just beside myself over this horrifying outcome for my dear little pet.

  24. I would just like to add a follow up on my story, time does help so much, at first it is all u think about. Every morning I awoke and the first thing I thought was Shadow is gone but it is 3 weeks today and I am still sad and of course miss him so much but have accepted that he is now gone and in heaven waiting for me. Things my family and I did was make photo albems of Shadow and we all have him as our cover pic on our computers, it just helps I don’t know why. I also found that talking about him helped both my family and me and not keep it bottoled up. At first I couldn’t even consider ever getting another dog but now I understand that Shadow would not want us to live in the past and to move on. God made us to take chances and give our heart and love each other and our pets not to just never love another dog because of the loss of one that was beloved. Yes it will be a big chance but for the life and love that my Shadow gave me I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I remember him now as he was healthy and happy his whole life execpt the last couple of months that he was sick. I refuse to feel any guilt as I know I took the best of care of him and loved him fiercly. I hope this helps other people that have lost their pets

  25. My 18 yr old kitty is being put to sleep tomorrow morning and I feel so numb and so sad

    Bo has been my companion and such a great handsome orange tabby kitty for the last 18 yrs it is hard to say goodbye.

    His kidney’s have failed and he is blind now, he is suffering badly and I know I am doing the right thing but I can’t imagine my life without him

    I am trying to remember all of the good and crazy times, I have had him since he was 12 weeks old and I keep telling myself logically I am doing the right thing since he is in so much pain but my heart
    hurts and I don’t know how to stop it from hurting

    Thanks fr letting me express my sorrow

  26. My miniature poodle died sadly two weeks ago, he lived an incredible life, the best life a dog can ask for and certainly the best companion a person could ever have had, its so painful realizing that this individual is forever gone and that there will never be anyone like him again. For 9 years he led a near perfect life with a near perfect health, at least as much as we all witnessed, even on the last day before he got gravely ill he still had the energy of a newborn puppy and barely showed any signs of slowing down. He fell ill suddenly under circumstances that may never be 100% clear, and in a 48 hour time period he was in and out of the hospital 3 times, they did what they needed, drugged him heavily, and as he began showing slow but sure signs of improvement things went downhill from there and upon his final visit to the hospital he died of internal bleeding.

    The most painful part for me that had me in tears for the first time in a long while is the fact that all he ever did was give and receive love his whole life, and that he absolutely did not deserve the violent and painful ending he endured for 2 days. For the first couple of days following his passing, I could not come to terms with why mother nature had to be so cruel to even its purest of inhabitants and souls, and began to blindly question whether his beautiful life was really all worth it if it meant such an horrible fate, one cannot possibly take a moment to clearly reflect on his/her life when in such agony. The most difficult part for me was to prepare mentally and emotionally for his passing before it happened, upon realizing that his condition took a sharp turn for the worse I had already felt that he probably wouldnt make it without a great miracle, and as my brother and I gently carried him into our parents car, I leaned in to say my goodbyes and then continued to look into the window at him as his eyes locked with mine until the car drove away and out of sight. Watching him suffer for two days like that was painful, but I maintained my faith in his recovery while he was showing signs for it, but when things worsened and reality appeared to severely outweigh my faith and hope, I had to make the tough decision to not resist or get deseparate in the hopes of fulfilling my wishes and subsequently sinking myself into a deep depression, after all this is the way of the world, everyone dies. At that moment, the main thing I wanted for him was to not suffer anymore. Of course nobody in my family, myself included, could sleep peacefully that night, but the following day I prepared a family BBQ and we ate and drank to his memory.

    I’ve been able to move on with my life, of course not a day goes by without me thinking about him, and every time I get home I still find myself anticipating him to come and greet me at the door, or have him lay on me when I take my nap on the couch, or see him follow my mom everywhere she goes. Slowly but surely I know that the memory of his agony will fade and I will only remember him for the beauty that he was, and I know that this is what he would like to have seen from everyone of us, to see us all live our lives to the fullest. Rest in peace Lucky.

  27. Thank you all for your experiences. They really help. Duncan was the best friend I had in life, a 12 year-old yellow Lab who still thought he was 5. Three days ago we made the difficult decision to let him go after battling cancer for 18 months. It hardly seemed to affect him at all until two days before the end. He had trouble getting up without my help and I could tell by the heavy panting and the look in his eyes that he was in pain. We took him to the vet that day and he had trouble moving his back legs, and after returning to the exam room following x-rays, he lay on the floor and didn’t want to move, even when offered the promise of ice cream, his favorite. We had to make the painful decision so suddenly, and since then I can’t stop the tears, even as I write this. I can’t believe that my friend won’t wake me up anymore with his mouth full of socks or demand I supply him with chewsticks during the most interesting part of a movie, or chase a frisbee across a field and snatch it in his mouth. We had a private cremation and plan on scattering some of his ashes on his favorite playspots when we receive. I hope this will somehow lead to healing. Thanks for letting me vent.

  28. My sweet little silkie terrier Shadow died yesterday evening, he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and we had him on medicine and thought he would be okay. I got home from work and could see how sick he had gotten so my 15 year old daughter and me was on the way to the vet and we didn’t get 5 miles down the road and he died in her lap. It was horriable and she was screaming and I pulled over and even tried to do cpr on him but he was just gone. He was only 10 years old. I just don’t know how I will be able to go on without him. My husband and all three of my children are devistated and I just can’t stop crying. You see his name said it all he was my little shadow every step I took he was right there beside me. We never went anywhere without him he even went with us on vacation. How am I ever going to get over this???

  29. Buck was the best dog I ever had. He was a big Golden Retriever and as playful at age nine (when he died) as he was when I got him, at about age 2.
    Buck was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I elected to euthanize him so as to avoid further suffering for my friend.
    It was one hell of a tough choice; a letter from the veterinarian has helped me a great deal.
    I got Buck’s ashes today, and it is hard for me to believe that that is all I’ll ever see of my beautiful boy again.
    I just wish that I could hold him one more time.

  30. Hi,
    On Sunday, at 5:15pm, my little Puppy-Girl, Nancy died in my arms. In November she’d have turned 13. She was so precious to me, and she suffered long and hard before her passing. I’m trying to cope, but I’m not doing a good job of it. The grief is tearing me up inside. I’ve looked for understanding and support and found none. People seem to dismiss it, like I shouldn’t be mourning…she was just a dog. That attitude makes it even harder for me. I also have nothing of her’s to hold onto…nothing tangible – no blanket, no toy, nothing. She was buried with her blanket, and she didn’t have toys because she no longer played as she once had. The cataracts made it difficult for her to see properly. I know where she’s buried – and I want to fetch her, hold her, talk to her…she was always so eager to do what I wanted that I think that maybe, if I make her see that I’m not OK with her death, she’ll return. It’s stupid, it’s irrational, it makes no sense…I know this. I can’t let go.

    Scott…I get it. My sincerest (I mean that by the way) sympathies to you and your wife.

    In fact, my sincerest sympathies to everyone who has lost an animal. Isn’t it weird, wonderful, amazing, special, heartwarming, incredible, awesome, and miraculous? This bond that we can share with animals? Think about it, in their natural habitat and lives they don’t do the things that they do when they’re with us. They don’t grab each other, hug each other, kiss each other…but we grab them, hug them, kiss them, tease them, play with them, LOVE them…and they understand and respond in kind.

    My heart goes out to each of you who are feeling the pain and loss that I’m feeling right now. Together we can know that we’re not pariahs, that what we feel is REAL! We ARE NOT ridiculous!

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