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Dealing with the Death of your Dog

Updated on June 21, 2014

Me and Poppy

Getting over the death of a dog

I had never owned a dog or any kind of pet before. Then my son left for college. I was experiencing the empty nest syndrome when a friend took me too a pet store. Even after he left for college I had reservations about getting a pet. I wasn't sure what was involved and didn't know if I wanted the added responsibility since I had just been relieved of all responsibility after my son had gone. Nevertheless, the second time I visited the pet store with my good friend Wendy was the clincher. Even though my head said no, no, no my heart would not let go of this irresistible Pomeranian puppy. I must of sat there with him for over an hour hosting the argument inside my head for and against this little entity. Even after I bought him I had second thoughts and tried to return him the next day. The pet store refused to take him back so he was mine no matter what.

The days went by and I learned how to take care of him, how to house-train him, bath him, discipline him and eventually he wormed his way into my heart, into my bed and into almost every area of my life. I was surprised to feel the intense love I felt for this little animal, it was very similar to the love I had felt for my son. Even when I eventually moved to Manhattan where I knew having a dog would be a pain in the ass! I still could not bring myself to part from him. Every decision was made with him in mind. I paid an extra deposit for the apartment, I specifically sought an apartment next to Central Park (so that he could walk there) and I got an apartment with a little terrace so that he could go outside whenever he wanted. I refused jobs that would require overtime or travel.

What I didn't realize until after his untimely death was how much joy he had given me. He died suddenly after 5 years, pretty young for a Pomeranian. The aftermath of his death still bothers me. I went through a terrible depression and even felt like I was experiencing an identity crisis. I was no longer Poppy's mother. I was no longer the woman who walked the beautiful Pomeranian in the park, no longer did children come up and ask if they could pet him.

The pain of his death was worse than most human deaths. I was severely depressed for about 6 months, unable to work or even leave my apartment. Most of my experience with death came from older relatives dying. They were supposed to die, they were older and I didn't live with them, they didn't greet me happily every morning and evening nor did my identity come from living with them. I bought books on how to deal with the death of a beloved pet. They helped a little. I even tried anti-depressives for awhile, but they didn't work. Eventually, a friend's comments started the healing process. She said "you must have received a lot of joy from Poppy to be so sad at his passing, how wonderful that you had that in your life". This began my healing process. Instead of missing him I started thinking how lucky I was to experience the love of a dog, the love of my companion, unconditional, joyful, completely loyal and unforgettable. How lucky I am to have had him for 5 beautiful years.

Gratitude is what helped me to overcome the loss of my companion. I think gratitude is a gift that is underestimated. When we are grateful for something or someone it allows us to realize that every good thing in our lives are gifts to be received and to eventually relinquish. We come to know that life is transitory, good will come as will evil and to be happy for whatever good we have in our lives because we never know when that will be removed. Instead of grieving for the loss of my dog I was grateful for the joy I experienced when he was with me.

Gratitude made all the difference in the world.

Cute Pomeranian Puppies

How long did it take you to get over the death of your dog or pet?

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    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks Tami, it's been 4 years and I still miss him.

    • Tami Fite profile image

      Tami Fite 5 years ago

      To love much is to hurt much.... so sorry about the loss of your wonderful dog. I remember the pain of losing my own animals growing up, and now I have a 11 year old Yorkie and I dread the day she would not be in my life .... God heals the pain, but we never forget them. Voted up!

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan

      As I mentioned in my article he died some time ago. I was lucky to have him while I did. Thanks for writing.

    • cheerfulnuts profile image

      cheerfulnuts 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Brie, you are lucky to have your dog, and he is also lucky to have you. Great hub. :)

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks, I wrote that hub almost 3 years ago...and I still miss my dog and if I think about it will cry..still.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I know how much it hurts to get over the death of a loved furry companion. As you say in many ways it is worse than losing a relative. I think that is because we learn that we can not help the loss of human life, but in many cases we have control over whether or not our beloved pet lives or dies. My feelings are with you, such a heart rending Hub.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      It's been over 2 years now for me and I still have a hard time. They are our little angels on earth.

    • profile image

      Paul A. 7 years ago

      Yes it is so very painful, I too lost my blk- sheperd that was so intelligent , he would know my mood just by my face . Still fighting to over -come the severe depr...........GOOD LUCK.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      I know, he was the cutest dog in all of Manhattan!

    • hurdon2000 profile image

      hurdon2000 7 years ago from Arkansas

      I know how you feel its been 2 years with my Ginger in October,I will always miss her.Poppy was so very pretty.Take Care God Bless.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks hurdon2000, it's been over 2 years and I still miss my Poppy...tears me up just to think about him.

    • hurdon2000 profile image

      hurdon2000 7 years ago from Arkansas

      What a beautiful story.It is so sad, having to lose the animals,and people we love in life.Life seems to be just a memory,and sometimes it hurts alot.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks Shiba mom

    • profile image

      shiba mom 8 years ago

      It hurts to lose our furry companions before their time is lived. I lost a little Shiba boy just before his third birthday due to sudden heart failure. Had I known about the defect prior, who knows, maybe I could have had it fixed and saved him. I devote my time to my other Shiba, his companion, a little female, now seven. I rescued a special needs American Eskimo who passed away last year from cancer. She had been given up in very bad shape. I live with the satisfaction that she lived her last three and a half years as a loved, pampered and adored pooch. I recently rescued another Shiba. She is only a little over a year old, but already has won our hearts. I will treasure her every bit as much as I have the rest. I also do volunteer work that is pet related. The more I learn about breeders, abandonment of pets and abuse of animals in general the more I devote myself to trying to be a voice for them. I am not a PETA person, or someone of a violent nature of any sort...but some of us have to speak up and I am doing just that. It helps heal the hole left by my little angel Shiba and I know your little Pom is at the Rainbow Bridge, looking down, smiling and telling the world how much you are loved too. Find your center and know that as long as they are with us in our hearts, they never leave us. Cry as much as you need to and look for a way to make a difference in your own life, and that of another little dog or cat. You will see that you CAN make a difference and the love you feel for your pet will never go away, it will simply be a stronger bond.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 9 years ago from Manhattan

      Thanks ReuVera as soon as I am able I will get another dog.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 9 years ago from USA

      I understand you completely. I had a dog as a child and when she died at 12 years old, I was not crushed as my mother was. I was too young and busy with tons of other activities, but my mother was absolutely sad, even ended in a neurology department in the hospital for a couple of days. Now I have a little doggy, adopted from the street which I took for my son mostly. She is 11 years old and getting old. I even don't want to think that soon we'll have to say her good bye.

      You've chosen the right way to deal with your loss. Remember the joy. Some people say that the best cure is to take another pet immediately after your loss, but of a different kind. I don't know about it. But judging by my neighbors it helped them... When their big lab was still sick, they took a little yorky, they are very happy they did it.


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