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Overcoming Adversity: Dealing With The Sudden Death Of Our Dog

Updated on June 18, 2012

What Is Adversity?

Adversity, as defined in the dictionary, is “a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.”

We all have adversity. There are people who are wondering where their next meal will come from. There are people who have lost family or property to natural disaster. Children battle life threatening conditions.

But, I look back at my last week and I can say that I had a tough week. I had some adversity to overcome.

Our healthy puppy, Annie, died unexpectedly. I introduced the cyber world to Annie when she was 5 months old. She was a perfect family pet. The outpouring of support after she passed away was beyond expectations or words. However, there was a void in my life, in my house and next to me on the couch. save

What were my steps to overcoming our adversity? How was I going to feel better about Annie’s passing?

I chose to do four things:

  • Potty train our two year old to distract myself
  • Consider buying a new puppy
  • Review the necropsy to have official closure
  • Open our hearts to our new puppy

Potty Training

I guess the Ipad really has replaced the newspaper!
I guess the Ipad really has replaced the newspaper! | Source

Step One: Potty Train Our Two Year Old?

I noticed the absence of Annie and I needed to refocus my attention.

Those who know me well can call me crazy. Those who know me really well have! I am a little crazy and this is OK. What did I do to overcome the void and adversity brought on by our puppy suddenly dying? I potty trained our two year old.

He is just twenty-six months, so he is ‘new two’. There is nothing I dislike more than potty training. I have waited until three years old for our other children. However, we have two sets of twins. This is our first singleton. This was my first pass through potty training with only one participant!

What made decide to potty train? Perhaps I just enjoy stress?

I potty train boot camp style. We don’t wear pull ups. We don’t leave the house and the first day is 100% full of accidents. By day two we are having some successes. By day three, we are having only an accident or two.

I decided to potty train because I was going to be so distracted by my two year old, that I was not going to notice the missing puppy! I was going to be consumed with:

  • rushing him to the potty
  • not having accidents on the floor
  • making sure there were still some clean underpants
  • doing laundry

About six days have passed since we started. My two year old is nearly day trained. He is going to the ‘potty’ on his own multiple times a day. He is so proud of himself.

I would not say he is potty trained, but I am shocked at his progress. I guess he really was ready! I am so proud of him! He is doing awesome.

Welcome Ruby!

Still wet from a bath. Welcome Ruby!
Still wet from a bath. Welcome Ruby! | Source

Step Two: Get A New Puppy?

Some say that we moved on too quickly. I will tell you that we have not moved on, we are just moving forward. But, I can talk about Annie now without choking up. We are making progress. But, my kids loved Annie. I thought long and hard. My kids were very excited about the prospect of a new puppy. They agreed that we were not replacing Annie. They reminded me, “You can’t replace Annie. We loved her! But, she would want us to be happy. She is happy is Dog Heaven.” My husband and I agreed, we would look for a puppy right away.

We found another cockapoo that was ready for pick up over the weekend. We picked her up on Saturday. We had already named her Ruby, after Max and Ruby, a children’s show my children adore. When we picked her up, she was redder than the pictures I had seen. Ruby was even a more perfect name than I expected!

Ruby has some big paws to fill but she is already so loved. It is tough not to compare Ruby to Annie. Ruby was less shaky when she got home and fit into the mix right away. Annie was definitely more timid. But, the biggest difference is in how they look. First of all, Ruby has a tail. Annie had a nub. But, if Annie was Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks, Ruby is Theodore. She is definitely the rounder and furrier version of Annie.

Ruby is truly a gem!

Step 3: Review the Necropsy?

Initially, I was not going to do an necropsy. Then we changed our minds. I think we needed some closure. I think I really wanted the answer to my previously posed question, “How did our healthy puppy die?”

One week after Annie’s death, the results were in. I was nervous clicking on the word document. Now that I was going to know the cause, I was going to know who to blame. I say blame loosely. But, there would be a finger that could be pointed if we so chose.

I open the results and I quote the results themselves, “Based on gross post mortem examination, the cause of the dog’s death has not been determined. Common causes of sudden death in dogs such as cavitary hemorrhage, trauma, cardiopulmonary disease, neoplasia, or congenital abnormalities were not apparent.”

A sense of calm came over me. Annie did not have a congenital issue. Good for the breeder! Annie did not die from any issues resulting from being recently spayed. Good for the vet! No signs of hemorrhage which means our post spay care was up to par. Good for us!

Ruby: Get Ready To Be Loved!

We Love Ruby!
We Love Ruby! | Source

Step 4: Open Our Hearts? Welcoming a New Puppy

No, I don’t know the cause and tissue pathology is still being conducted. But, I do know this, we all did everything would could for Annie. The breeder gave us a healthy dog. The vet performed his well care and surgery as expected. We were properly caring for Annie.

Maybe Annie had already done her job. Maybe she made us all love her so quickly that she was on to bigger and better things in Dog Heaven. Maybe her job was to open our hearts up big and fast! She needed us to get ready for our new puppy.

Maybe Annie was the opening act. Maybe Ruby is the show!

Welcome, Ruby!

We love you both.

© 2012 Karen Lackey

Dog Heaven: An Amazing Book Dealing with the Death of a Pet


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    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Janis, I just copied and pasted the copyright symbol. I didn't actually copyright it. But, I did have 2 hubs taken by the bigezine ordeal so I thought the statement (regardless of being official) might deter people. I guess it is like having the sign that we have an alarm on our house, but we really don't. :)

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      I went back to re-read, and I notice your hub is copyrighted, twinstimes2. How did you manage that, and how is it working for you?

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Janis! A 22 year old pet! That would be tough to part with for sure. You are correct though. Our love has not gone away. It has changed. The kids still talk about Annie all the time and they are happy that Ruby has joined the family. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      thanks for sharing your story and pictures, twinstimes2. I have always had cats, and having a pet die is losing a beloved family member. The new one never replaces the previous one, but there is always room for more love in our hearts. I buried my 22 year old friend Bugs in my garden under the snowdrops, and every spring I sit with her presence and know the love has not died, but changed into a new form.

      It is hard for kids to meet death so young, yet it is also a really good experience for them to share grieving for the old friend, and loving the new one.

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Kashmir! Ruby is already a part of the family. Thanks for the kind words. And, I still smile everytime I see your dog with goggles (not quite sure if that is what your picture is!) Thanks!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi twinstimes2,a very wonderful and well written hub on how to move forward when your beloved pet dies . Your new puppy Rudy is a very beautiful pup and i hope it will bring you and your family much love and happiness.

      Vote up and more !!!

    • twinstimes2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Lackey 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the heartfelt reply, Kathy! You are too kind. We have been thru quite a bit this week and we are coming thru it! I am sure I will write more about Ruby! Thanks again, kathy!

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Beautifully written story. Touches my heart and I am very sorry that your family lost your doggy companion, Annie. This is so difficult for everyone; specially children. You covered all the necessary steps and questions; some things are just not able to be explained. I know the hurt and sorrow when a pet passes away. There really is nothing like it because, sometimes, the understanding is not equal to that when a fellow human dies. However, you are among those who cherish and value our companion animals...they are family. Up Useful Beautiful Awesome and Interesting. Many good wishes to you and your family and new puppy, Ruby. Your friend, kathy


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