Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few days ago I received a phone call from a friend who was crying and quite despondent. When I asked her what was wrong, in between sobs, she said her beloved golden retriever had passed away that morning . Having gone through this same journey with our golden retriever Belle in 2004 this news brought back a flood of emotions.  The news of Missy's passing reopened wounds that I had been able to suppress over the past seven years.

Our sweet Belle was diagnosed with cancer in November 2003. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. One day she just quit eating and within days started losing weight. We had noticed her activity was not like it was, but she was ten years old so she no longer had the vim and vigor of a puppy. We were shocked to hear the diagnosis. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought dogs got cancer. She lived another three months before we had to make the toughest decision in our lives and that was to put her quietly out of her suffering. Let me tell you it was the most difficult part of the whole journey, but our vet was the best. She allowed us to stay with our beloved Belle until she took her final breath. To go home with just a collar and leash was devastating. In fact it was just a few months ago that I was finally able to let go of her collar and leash and surprisingly it still had her smell emanating from the purple 'necklace' she wore for years.

For those of you who are pet lovers and have ever lost a pet you understand the emotional toll this can have on your life. Losing a pet can be just as emotionally crippling to one's life as losing a family member or friend. Belle gave us unconditional love. We used to say that if anyone came to rob our home, Belle would be more than eager to help, but first they had to play her favorite game of toss and fetch. She loved life and she taught me how to love life.

And for those who say, "she was just a dog" I beg to differ. Belle was more than a dog. She was friend and a companion but most importantly she was a member of our family for over ten years. No one would ever think twice to say to someone who lost a loved one, "oh he was just your Dad" or "she was just your sister."

Grieving is a part of the process. For some it comes gradually over time and for others it can be quite intense, but we should never feel ashamed or guilty for the emotions we are feeling. It's OK to feel sad, angry, even depressed, especially when the death comes suddenly.

There is no time limit on going through these emotions either. I remember our first Christmas after Belle passed away. It had been ten months since she died and we were putting up the tree when I came across an ornament with Belle's photo on it when she was a puppy. The emotions surfaced and yes, tears were shed. I quietly found a special place on the tree to hang her ornament and to this day we still put that ornament on the tree as a reminder to us that she was and will remain in our hearts forever.

For those of you who are walking through the journey, know that you are never alone. Sharing your stories of your beloved pet won't make the pain go away, but don't let anyone ever tell you to get over it. Allow yourself to cry, if need be, and know that while time heals some of the sadness, you will always have the memories of your pet to hold close to your heart.

Have you ever lost a pet? Did you receive sympathy from your family and friends?

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I recently loss my 21 year old Cat. She also was the best pet I have ever owned, grew up with my kids and their friends, it was amazing when I put a little notice on facebook how many of these people texted they remember my little pet. Remember the blessing and joys all animals give to us. They never seek better food, or lodging they only seek unconditional love. Be good to all animals! Report
Sorry about the loss of everybody's pets! My friends were really supportive and understanding following our dogs' deaths. (4 in 44 years) They are not forgotten, as they were integral parts of our family.

Thanks, Coach Nancy! Report
Lost our beloved Mattie Mae in March and I realized she really was my child. Everything I did she was a part of and sometimes I still talk to her like she was laying in the floor while I cooked. It has been the saddest thing I have had to deal with in my Adult life. Report
We just found out that my beloved boy cat, Willow, has a mass in his abdomen. We're going through ultrasounds, trying to figure out if surgery is even possible, and spending every moment with him we can. He's my joy and my support - I've cried in his fur, slept on him (he's a part Maine Coon - *very* big cat), and he tries to take care of us as best he can. (He slept on my partner most of the time she was in chemo).

The prospect of losing him is horrific. It doesn't matter that he's 15 years old - it will never be long enough to have him in our lives. To anyone who says he's just a pet, I say this: pick anyone you've had in your life for 15 years, day in and day out, your constant "BFF" who is always there to support you with a kind word and love.

Now imagine losing them. Yeah, it's like that. Report
My mom just had to say good bye to her beloved Muffin last night, she was 17 years old. It is quite a loss as she was her best friend and companion. She is so grief stricken and she doesn't want to be in her room because that is where Muffin always was, laying in the middle of the bed ready to greet her. My aunt kinda understands as she does have pets but my grandmother is a very cold person. We are going to avoid telling her for as long as possible. She has dementia and we know she won't remember what we tell her know and it'll keep reopening up wounds so we are going to avoid that conversation. Her sister my baby Sassy is hanging in there anddoing well thnkfully. I am sorry for your loss it is something that we never forget and will always love them. Report
I lost my baby girl about five years ago and the picture attached to this articale reminds alot of her. It is a difficult time for anyone who truly loved there pet. I will say it is easier to get over than losing a parent, but difficult to say the least. Report
One of the steps that lead to our divorce was the fact that when our dog was lost through his carelessness, and I was crying, my former husband laughed at me. He told other people as though it was a big joke. He was always at the door to greet me, ate happily what I gave him and was faithful and loving. To bad I could never say that my former husband had those traits. Report
So sorry to hear about your loss, just reading these stories have brought tears to my eyes and memories of my dearly departed Dillinger, he was a special dog brought into my life with two littermates, the 3 survivors of a litter of 9 that my ex rescued as the mother had no milk and the puppies were all dying. It was Thanksgiving weekend when he brought those puppies home and I called the no kill shelters and was told, they had no room, but they gave me instructions on what to do and I spent my entire weekend bottle and eyedropper feeding them.

Dillinger was the sickest of the 3 and so I would sneak him into work in a cloth backpack and keep him in a box under my desk, of course, people knew he was there and a co-worker wanted to know if she could have him, I said as soon as I knew he was out of the woods and so when he was 3 months old she took him home, 11 months later I got a call from her saying that she had been hospitalized 6x and the dog was the problem, she could not get past her allergies and could I find a home for him, as she had not been able, I took her address and went to pick him up and he came running to me like 'where you been' by the time we got the car, I knew he was not going anywhere else and because he was a Rottweiler, when I got divorced I purchased a house so I could keep him because they have such bad raps, hard to buy a condo or coop that allows the breed.

We had a long wonderful life together and in December 2008 I saw Marley and Me and went home and hugged my then 12 yo boy, who at that point was still going strong, 2 months later I got a call from my roommate that something was terribly wrong and I raced home, we rushed him to the vet, I did not hesitate to do what I could to make sure he got help, as when I arrived home that night, he tried to greet me and fell down and looked up at me with eyes that said, Mommie please help me, after surgery, it was wait for the pathology report and a rough two days, where at one point his heart went into arthythmia, but I went to see him, thinking I was going to put in to sleep and he had rallied and got up and wagged his stumpy when I got there. I was truly grateful to those doctors and when the diagnosis came, it was an aggressive form of cancer, they told me he had 1 to 3 months and I took him home and slept on an air mattress in our living room for the 2 weeks he took to recover, giving him pain pills to make sure he was comfortable, he recovered and every day I was grateful for another day to have him and he responded to my love and care, as well as all who know and loved him and there were many who took a different look at the breed because of him, 9 months later, the vet suspected that the pathology report was wrong because she had never seen a dog survive with the form of cancer he had been diagnosed with but a tumor on his foot that had to be removed proved that he did have the cancer and so two weeks after his 13th birthday, on what had been a very rare beautiful Sunday where we had been able to sit on the back porch where Dillinger loved to sun himself, I came back from a visit to my grandchildren to cheer myself up, as something inside me told me the time was coming, he did not greet me at the door and I found him in my master bathroom, he had gotten ill and was lying there looking up at me this time was a face that said, please let me go now and so I called a good friend and we drove him to the vet's office and I held him in my arms as he took that last breath of life.

My heart was never broken in that way before, I went home and for days I cried myself to sleep, my boyfriend and roommate were also heartbroken and some people understood and others not so much. Whenever I went home from someplace, I could not go through my front door because that was where he always greeted me. Today he greets anyone coming in that door, his ashes, in a beautiful box, and a picture of him at 15 months are on a shelf near the front door, along with his chain and tags.

This story has a happy ending, as the Friday after I lost him I went on, just to see what Rottie's they had and after talking over with my roommate and boyfriend, who encouraged my thought process on the idea of getting another dog, and a month later I brought home an almost 3 year old beauty that came out of rescue, Roxie (a/k/a Foxie Roxie or Bossy Bitch) she has become the Queen to what was once Dillinger's kingdom and because of him I was able to open my heart and home to the kind of love that cannot be had anywhere else.

Just as a point of irony here, Dillinger's birthday was 11/15, Roxie's birthday is 1/15, she was put into the shelter on the exact date of his passing over the rainbow bridge. I know I did the right thing, I still cry over his loss, but I know that the thing that kept him with me for 6 months longer than I was told, was his absolute love for me and mine for him. Thanks for your story (everyone else's) and thanks for giving me a place to remember that every dark cloud, does indeed have it's silver lining if you look for it.
Pets are family since they live with us and share their lives with us. We care for them and in a way, they care for us too.

It is perfectly natural and correct to grieve for them - but, as with our family members, life goes on. It is hard to say good bye, but we have to do it - remember, "all dogs go to heaven"... Report
Oh I know this feeling all to well.
I had to put many of my babies to sleep over the years.
It's something that never gets easier.
The hardest was when I had to put my Crystal to sleep and 4 days later my beloved Prince. They were around the same age and grew up together. My poor Buddy was left alone. Something that hurt more then losing them myself. Buddy was the baby of the pack and he loved Crystal & Prince. He was so depressed I couldn't stand watching it. We recused Daisy from a puppymill for Buddy. The change was good for him! Only then could I mourn the loss of my two babies. I'm still going through it. I'm crying now as I type this. It's been two yrs. and the pain and heartache is still raw.
Since all this happened we added Ginger from a puppymill, and also Mimi from a shelter. They bring us joy but no dog can ever replace the ones who are no longer with us.
I'm sorry for you and your friend. I know the pain all to well. There were a few others before Crystal & Prince that I still miss to this day.
Hugs to all of you who have gone through this. Report
Just to say, I understand the depth of your grief, Nancy.
Nancy,aka Archiemitchell Report
We had to put our family dog down last week- it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. :( Sorry again for your loss. Report
I had a cocker spaniel for 14 1/2 years. She came into our lives during a very difficult time, and was such a power of healing for me and my children. As she aged, and became increasingly ill, I asked everyone I came across "How do you know when is the time to put them "down"? I received the same answer over and over, "you just know." Truth be told, I was holding on longer than she was. I woke one morning and just knew the time had come. We had the vet come to the house and she was surrounded by the entire family. The family she helped heal during such a trying time was going to help ease her into her final resting place. It was the least we could do for a dog that had done so much for us. She is buried in the back yard. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I went over a year dog-free, but now and the proud and happy owner of a bouncing golden retriever! Report
It is hard for me to even think about now that my sweet mutt is entering her golden years but articles like this motivate me to take extra time out of the day to show her how much she is loved. Thank you. Report
When we lost our seven yr. old golden retriever in 2002, we came home from the vets to many of our neighbors waiting with open arms, literally. They were wonderful. As was our vet.
We still have Sammies collar hanging on our coat tree. Report
We had a little boston terrier named Tara. Had her for 15 years...We buired her behind our house and even got her a little tome stone....and buired her with her favorite blanky.. Report
I lost my dog about 15 years ago when she was hit by a car and my family was very supportive. Report
When I had to put my beloved Winston to sleep several years ago I thought I would never get over it. To this day (5 years later) I still miss him. I've had many pets over the years but there is always that one special one that steals your heart. It's a hard time for everyone. Thanks for sharing. Report
We lost our dog Louie last month to cancer. My husband and I both felt we waited too long to put him down. He was suffering, but hanging on for some reason. We both told him it was okay for him to go and be with his brothers and sisters in heaven. His ashes are on my mantel along with his cat sisters Maggie and Tilla. His dog brothers Odie and Max's urns are also sitting on a German wall unit in our living room. People do not understand a pet owner's grief. My mother asked me recently why we keep all their cremains. I told her because I loved them all and I miss them dearly.

We have been devastated and it has been so hard to come home and not see Louie asleep by the sofa or on our bed. Last night my son, husband and I were looking at digital photos of Louie and we were all crying.

We had planned to wait several months to a year before adopting another pet. We adopted a sweet female rescue dog from the humane society on Monday. Ginger is helping us heal. Louie will always be missed as we have missed all our cats and dogs. To us he was our "Blue Eyed Baby Boy" and we always referred to him as "your brother" to our sons.

Reading your blog and the comments from all the other Sparkpeople has reassured me we needed to adopt Ginger. Her people lost or abandoned her. I can tell she is sad at times. She is learning her new name and is very well behaved and very loving. Report
This is a timely blog for me. We said Goodbye to our Susie Dawg back on July 25th. And don't forget cats. We said Goobye to my precious cat with the improbable name of Booger seven years ago, and I grieved horribly for a long time. Report
Thank you for this blog. I lost my sweet Max in June; it was devastating. I've had dogs (and pets) before but this loving Maltese lived only to be near me, all the time. I miss him so much - it's wonderful to know that I am not alone. Report
An amazing blog that my husband & I would have loved to have had last August when we finally made the decision to say goodbye to our beloved Labrador, Sally. We have loved and lost many treasured companions, but this one hit us so very badly - just like having to say goodbye to a family member or friend.

To be absolutely honest, we should have made the terrible decision a while before we did, but couldn't as my husband was in total bits at life without her even more than I was. However, we had the Vet come to us and finally did it, but it was awful and so hard to get back from.

Yes, we have another gorgeous Labrador/cherished friend and some day it'll all happen again! Whyever do we do it? Because they give us so very much more than words can say.

Thanks for the blog and thank you to ALL those members here who have contributed their experiences.

Bless all of you still hurting terribly, and always remember that you too were a marvellous part of your beloved friend's life......and he/she is NEVER far away from you, but is happy in God's animal Kingdom beyond our eyes.

Be happy that he or she is pain-free, but just as in living here - is still beside you!

Sue xxx

PS. Sorry, but yes, friends and family cared, especially our Son who had to say goodbye to his beloved Murphy a month before our treasure, but they're up there together. Bless his heart, he even came and dug our dear Sally's grave and cried all the time, but he wouldn't let is Dad help him. I think it did do him good and helped him to grieve in a totally different way as he could give vent to all the hurt with each spade of soil Report
My family has had many pets through the years. Everytime,we had to let the vet put one to sleep it was a hard thing to do. Right now, I have a cockapoo that I will have to let the vet put to sleep when the time comes. He has a brother who he is very close to. So he might not live long
after he goes. So when it comes down to it I will probably lose both of them within
a short time frame. They are more than dogs in my family. My children call them brother. It will be a hard time for my whole family when this happens. There isn't a day when they cannot pull me out of the sadness I sometimes find myself in. They both bring me laughter and joy. when the time comes, I will cry. I will miss them both and think of them always. Report
Reading this blog brought tears to my eyes. We lost our funny old dog Sam last April. He had a hard life before we got him; he was adopted as a puppy and lived with that owner and four litter mates for 9 years. His owner had to go to assisted living and her children found homes for 3 of the dogs but two were brought to the local humane society. Sam was at the shelter for over a year and although he was adopted out once he was returned to the shelter. When we adopted him he was close to 11. We had him for over 3 years. He followed us everywhere when we were home and did many things that made us laugh and some. He was a beagle and loved to eat. So many good memories . It will be a while before I stop grieving for him and will always remember him. Report
Yes they are a family member - our children. We become so attached and they touch our hearts in so many ways. I lost 2 dogs over the past 10 years and it was the hardest thing in the world to go through. Sometimes moments will happen where I think of them and tears will come to my eyes. Like when I eat yogurt, my Rawley (Australian Shephard) loved it so much, he would salivate at your feet watching you eat it-so I would have to let him lick it clean for me. It was so funny to see this big 70 pound dog with his nose stuck way down in the yogurt container! I could go on and on-sure do miss them! Report
My first dog was a boxer/springer mix named Chica. She was the funniest looking dog. She had a boxers body with Springer colors and ears. She also had the droopiest, red-rimmed eyes I've ever seen. We used to say she constantly looked stoned. I brought her home when she was 6 weeks old and she was my best friend from that point forward. When I was pregnant with my daughter, she had a sympathy pregnancy (she was fixed) complete with swollen teats. She would lay with her head on my stomach for hours listening to her "baby". After my daughter was born, she become her self professed guard dog and wouldn't never be out of my daughter's sight. She also tolerated just about anything my daughter would do from sitting on her to pulling her funny ears. I have pictures of her with my daughter sitting on top of her. Her look says, do I really have to put up with this?

She didn't start slowing down or stop acting like a puppy until she was ten. When she was nearly 15, she got sick and started rapidly to lose weight. During the last 3 months she had no control over her bladder and had to be carried everywhere. A day after she turned 15, we finally decided to end her suffering. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done but she was a shadow of the dog I knew.

I have four dogs now and have fallen in love with each of them but Chica will always be my first baby. Report
This is such a beautifully written blog, from one pet lover to so many others who have lost a furry family member. I've lost a few in my life but will never forget any one of them. I'm so glad you pointed out that people sometimes say insensitive things to pet owners who lose their pets. My own sister made a remark when I lost my cat, "People who can't handle it when a pet dies shouldn't have pets." I wonder if she would say that to someone who lost a human child ... I think not. Report
I lost my dog 3 years ago and I still get sad when I hear about someones pet passing away and the pain comes back because we have not been able to move on and get another dog feeling we are replacing him, we had him for 18 years so my kids grew up with him, my kids took him to the vet and had to make the hard decision to put him down so he won't have any more pain, it broke their heart and it broke my heart seeing them like that. Report
Beautifully stated. Thank you for putting what is in so many of our hearts to pen and paper.

Stephanie Report
A few July 4ths have gone by since our beloved family member Mr.Pete passed away,he was a golden retriever and the best human like dog in the world.We miss him dearly and remember the days where all he wanted to do was fetch anything that was thrown and he even retrieved rocks,against our wishes.It was just so instinctive for him to fetch sticks,balls,rocks or just about anything.He will always have a special place in my and families hearts for ever.Thank you for posting such a heartfelt humane and touching story of your own personal experience with your own family member Bella.My condolences to you and your family,I completely understand your feelings and know we all miss our beloved pets! HUGS,Diana Report
I am so touched by all the comments left for this blog.The love that everyone has for their furry companions is evident and makes me feel close to all of you. We lost our dear Tico, a Lab/Greyhound mix, to cancer last August at age 7-1/2, and my husband and I were devastated. He became sick quite suddenly, and went downhill in the space of a week. He died at home with us by his side. We have no children but I tell you, our dogs are like our children. He was the first of our dogs that died, and friends tell us the loss gets no easier. But our furry friends bring such unconditional love to our lives that I think we'll never be without a canine companion (or 2, or 3!) as long as we live. Animals are such innocent, loving creatures and we as human beings are fortunate to have them in our lives. Report
our cat, Frisky, died in 1976. It is as if a family member has passed away. We had her for many years and she was certainly a part of our family. We grieved for years over losing her to cancer. Report
Thank you for sharing. I am still grieving the loss of my dog and although I have just gotten another little puppy who is helping heal, I still remember my little Bella every day and I miss her very much. She was stolen from me and I still keep hoping one day I'l get her back.

Thank you.

Glad to see I wasn't the "only" cat lover - I miss all my toms terribly and even the 1 female cat we had for a short while. I still miss my beautiful red tabby tom Malcolm even after being gone for 3 years ( died in his sleep on his favourite chair) Report
Glad to see I wasn't the "only" cat lover - I miss all my toms terribly and even the 1 female cat we had for a short while. I still miss my beautiful red tabby tom Malcolm even after being gone for 3 years ( died in his sleep on his favourite chair) Report
If you have pets who become a part of your family, you have to go through this sooner or later. Sadly I've lost a number of pets through the years. The decision was always very hard, full of guilt and even full of fear. Fear of being judged for putting a pet down.

Late last year we put down our Mongo (kitty). We had 14 years together. We knew his health had been failing for sometime, but he seemed happy and in no obvious sign of pain, so we enjoyed the time we had. One night he could no longer walk and was crying in distress. I had to wait until morning and for the clinic to open to have him put down. That night was so hard.
Earlier this year we noticed our 17 year old Kiki (kitty) showing some of the same early signs that Mongo had. The one that got to me was the crying. At first I wasn't sure if it was pain or loneliness. We watched and waited and wondered. The last couple months, we knew the end was growing closer. The question was do we wait for the end that Mongo reached, or put her down early. After long talks, husband and I decided to have Kiki put to sleep on Friday (the 5th). It was a hard decision. I'm sad but at peace.
The best way to describe it is by what my husband said this evening. We put her down while we had happy memories of our time together, instead of the shock and trauma of what Mongo went through.

Friends and family have been very supportive. A couple are a little surprised I'm not more upset. I think that's because we've been preparing for the moment for months. Instead of being in shock, I'm able to find peace.
I am still sad, but that's to be expected. Report
I am not much of a pet person but I know love. Love is still love whether its for your pet or a person in your life. It comes from the heart. Report
This brought back memories & tears to my eyes. We lost our sweet Pug "Katie Belle" 2 years ago last Christmas. She had Pug Encephalitis. It hit us hard & took a long time for us to get to the point of not crying at the thought of our loss. But now we try to think of the funny things she did & how sweet of a soul she was. I still have her favorite toy on a shelf w/her photo. It was well loved & chewed :-), and I will cherish it always. Report
Our Barley died nine years ago August 2 from complications of hemolytic anemia. It always feels like yesterday. He was a lab/spitz mix with the heart of an angel. I was so blessed to have him for nine years. I always wondered how I got so lucky to find him at the shelter... Report
I have lost 4 dogs in my lifetime the one that hurt the most was our cocker spaniel Rufus of cancer a couple years back, he was my shadow. My husband and I adopted all three of our dogs and I will adopt again when the time comes almost did it a couple weeks back but I swore we wouldn't do 3 dogs again, but if money wasnt so tight I would have probably done it :) Report
He was abandoned on a couch in an empty lot for several days before he was rescued and put up for adoption we were LUCKY to adopt LUCKY after a few years his Cardiac problems gave us no choice but to assist him over the Rainbow Bridge with the help of our vet. We cried so much for days ,everything reminded us of LUCKY so we decided to Just go "Look" at the local shelter.... that day we came home with LEMON . It's been 4 1/2 years of pure love with our Yellow Labradore but now we find that He has cancer and soon will be going over the Rainbow Bridge himself . My husband says NO MORE PETS, It is just too hard to lose them. but I remind him that there are many other rescue pets waiting for OUR love, and our home so when the time comes for LEMON to go although we grieve we can also know the joy of getting to know and love another pet. Life IS full of hurts but it can also be full of JOYS. To all who have loved and lost may you each know the joy of finding another pet to give of yourself and to receive the love that they can give you . Report
We had to put down our 5 year old Shephard, Allis, due to psoriasis of the liver. It was a painful decision but we knew she would no longer be in pain. The sadness is still there as I'm wiping away tears before they hit the keyboard. We have another 13 year old furbaby that is beginning to show her age and we will do what we can to make her comfortable, until the final decision has to be made. I thought I was past the loss of Allis but I realize, I'm not. Report
I'm so sorry for your loss and your friends loss. I have had pets when I was younger die and man it is tough to deal with especially because other people can be so unsympathetic to that kind of loss. My first pet as a grown up is my cat Meowshine and I always say I will be a friggen mess when he dies. He is my baby and been the one with me through some of the toughest times in my life (the death of my best friend who helped pick him out, going through a divorce and starting all over again, an accident that almost killed my dad, just to name a few). I will be so lost without him. But I hopefully will have some more good years with him and I look forward to every minute I have with him. Thank you for sharing your story. Report
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on losing a pet. We had lost our less than 2 yoa Boston Terrrier, Gus to a type of aggressive cancer that settled into his face/mouth. We spent more money that I ever thought to try and save him. After the cancer came back, the Doctor was asking us who we were keeping the dog alive for, us or him (the dog). I look back now at his pictures and he looked so sad and I think I realized we just didn't want to let go. Our second B.T., Petey, who was 10 yoa ended up with seizures at and 106 temp and never regained consciousness. It doesn't get any easier that's for sure. But I am thankful to have our 14 yoa Boston, Evey (Petey's sister) who has had Leukemia for over a year and has had a very successful non aggressive treatment and still acts like a puppy sometimes. Pets, they really do grow on you and have a special place in our hearts. Report
Thank you so much for this husband and I just had our cat Harley put down this weekend. It was the most awful, gut-wrenching decision I've ever had to make. Harley was diagnosed with cancer in January, and we were told that while it was aggessive, he had as long as a few weeks to several years. Harley went for his check-up in June, and the cancer had spread like wild-fire - you could feel the lumps of cancer under the skin when you pet him. They said less than 12-months, and I was absolutely devestated, as Harley was only 5 at the time (he was 4-1/2 at his diagnosis). Only a few days later, and it's slowly getting easier, so I tell myself, mostly b/c we did know in advance that it was coming. He just stopped eating and drinking, and could hardly walk - it was time. We stayed with him through the end, and were given a few minutes with him afterwards to say good-bye. I will always miss him. Report
Just two weeks ago I had to quickly make the decision to end my 14 yr old cat's suffering. I miss him terribly and feel in a depressed state for part of my day. I know that it will pass eventually but right now it just feels so hard to deal with. I look at the places he used to sleep and he's not there anymore and I cry with a picture in mind that he should still be there. He wasn't just a cat.... he was Jaymie cat with a wonderful "catanality".

Just wanted to add that my profile picture is not Jaymie, but his sister Allie. I got them both at the same time and she has become my precious pretty princess kitty. She misses him too and she now spends more time than she ever did before looking for love from me, and I do the same to her. :) Report
It took me months to get over the loss of a cat I had over12 years.
I just got a new one after 5 years and even then I was hesitant to get one.
But I adore him and he is soo different than the last!
It is hard my family couldn't understand my heavy feelings until they had a family pet and the oldest kid took it hard Report
Oh Nancy, the pain is still raw. Bitie - my sweetheart in my photo was my main man. He gave me more affection than my "wasband" ever did. He'd hug me with both paws around my neck, when he'd give me kisses, sometimes his teeth came first on my chin, all I'd have to say is "lips Bitie, not teeth" and I got lip kisses on my chin. When I would have different friends come to do repair work - replace the faucet in the kitchen, work on the furnace or replace the front door -my little man supervised the process - to make sure it was done right! He started getting sick last fall. The vet, my friend tried a number of different avenues. She said we could get a test to see if it was cancer, but said the treatment would be pretty much the same as we were doing, I said skip the test. We got to testing his blood for different levels of his white/red blood cells weekly. I was constantly texting her any variations in his behavior (guess it comes from being a special ed teacher).The last medication he was on was something that I couldn't handle without rubber gloves. She helped me find the least expensive pharmacy to purchase it at. But in the end it wasn't meant to be. I could tell the end was near. Talked to her and asked if he was in pain after describing all that was going on. She said no. We went all day - I dropped everything to focus on him. At one point he disappeared. I found him in the bathroom and told him that it wasn't going to happen in a cold bathroom. The last picture I have is of him alive is him stretched out at the feet of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. I picked him up a short while later and held him and told him it was ok, he could go if he saw an angel or Jesus or even my mom he could go with them, but I told him to remember - "lips, not teeth" I told him I loved him and he was gone. My vet met me the next morning and I gave him to her, she took him to be cremated. She gave me his ashes back, along with a cast of his paw print in a gift bag, that I have not been able to take from where I placed it when I brought him back home, I haven't even been able to look at it. I have a five by seven picture of me holding him just a year earlier, but looking oh so healthy. I still miss him so - it'll be 6 months on Friday. I didn't realize that till right now. The pain is still there, the hole in my heart is as big as ever even though I still have his mother and sister. They are not nearly as loving as he - they are more typical cats. Contact me if you would like me to send you what helped(s) me at times. We all know about the poem the rainbow bridge - well the same week my mother passed away, in her newspaper was something called "post cards from the rainbow bridge". I contacted the editor and he emailed it to me - notes "written" by a pet in heaven to it's owner to ease the pain. It brings good tears to your eyes. Report
Two weeks ago I lost my soul mate and once in a lifetime horse of 31 years. I had her since she was a baby and the loss hit me hard. I had her cremated and spread her ashes in all of our favorite riding spots and barns. I then kept some of the ashes so that my kids will spread them with my ashes, someday. It has been very difficult.

I got my mare as a weanling when I was 13 years old. She was there for my teenage years, middle school, high school, college, picked my husband, and taught all four of my kids to ride. She gave one the "horse bug" so that I have someone to share my passion for horses with. I have good days and bad days.
Her memorial stone is on it's way so I'm sure that will be another difficult day.

My friends and colleges have been great! I've received many comments of sympathy, cards, e-mails, and other trinkets. I received a frame with pictures from "an amiga" that I boarded with for 15 years. It's been a real blessing.

I'm still lost without my beloved mare and can't imagine getting on another horse, yet. I guess when two energies share their lives for over 30 years, they still have that connection even when one is in a different realm. I have no doubt that I'll see my girl again and it will be a day of celebration! Report
I lost my first dog, Minnie, around the same time that you lost Belle. I can completely relate to what you are describing. Another friend of mine who lost a dog around that time still hasn't really recovered. Some people were more supportive than others. People who have never had pets just don't understand. They may try, but they don't understand. Minnie had been infected with Lyme disease, and it wasn't diagnosed correctly until after it had damaged her joints and made her lame. She was 13 when we had to let her go. We won't forget. Now we have Babe. She is the same kind of dog, and has the same coloring, but a very different personality. Minnie didn't like getting fussed over (just throw the tennis ball, please!), but Babe just can't get enough. She loves to have her ears scratched and her tummy stroked. She brightened our lives and quickly won us over with her charming ways. We haven't forgotten Minnie; we just fell in love again. Report