Help me grieve for my pug
February 27, 2008 3:32 PM   Subscribe

I had to put my 13 year old pug to sleep last night. I'm just devastated.

I know it's really soon but I did have some time to think about it all since she had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure in November. Reba was my best friend and I'd really like to DO something, anything to honor her memory and maybe somehow make me feel a little better. I know there are a lot of pet lovers here, what things helped you get through this situation? I opted to not have her ashes returned to me so that's out but otherwise, I'm just...lost.
posted by yodelingisfun to Pets & Animals (46 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Do something with her possessions. When my friend's dog was killed, he gave me her collar, and my Sheltie wore it around for another five years or so. When he was put to sleep we gave the collar to someone else. I don't know why it made us feel better, but it did.
posted by svolix at 3:38 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm really sorry. I know how awful it is.

Years ago, when my family's cat had to be put down - and it was all very sudden and traumatic - we found out later that our vet had given a donation in Freud's name (he was a cat, long story about why we named him Freud) to a particular research area at the Cornell Vet school (which was also her alma mater, I think). It was lovely and very comforting to know this. Think about giving a donation to an organization in Reba's name - the SPCA, a local pug rescue group, something like Rocket Dog Rescue, or maybe a group in your area that helps maintain dog parks.

I'm in deep denial about how soon I'm probably going to have to confront this issue with my cat Linus. I'm not looking forward to the devastation. I'm sending you much much sympathy.
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on February 27, 2008

I've had little funerals for dead pets. Donating some money to a chosen animal rescue in her name is also an option.

Allow yourself to cry and grieve. People who say "It's just a dog" have never had a dog.
posted by Anonymous at 3:42 PM on February 27, 2008

Listen, take a couple days and just do your routine, keep busy, talk to people, just grind it out. Then if you want to take a toy and bury it or something, with a little pomp you could do that. I have to tell you though, I'd just hang out, don't avoid missing your dog or feeling sad, but just plow on, it's going to hurt and it takes a while to go away. Give some money to a rescue shelter. Maybe in a six months to a year (you'll know) get a new dog (please from a shelter) and love the holy hell out of it, like you loved Reba. That's about as much as I can see that will help. You loved your dog, you did good by her, that's what your dog wanted in her life.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:44 PM on February 27, 2008

I'm so sorry for your loss, yodelingisfun. I work in an emergency veterinary hospital, so I see people in your situation more often than I'd like to. The AAHA has a nice little page about dealing with the loss of a pet. One thing I might personally suggest is to make some kind of a donation (if you can't donate cash, you can volunteer, or donate old blankets and towels) to an animal shelter or charity. In my area, for instance, there is a fund that helps pay for veterinary care for folks that can't afford it.

Take care. My thoughts will be with you.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:45 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

sorry about your loss. it is never easy.

when my beloved akita died, i took some solace in knowing she had died peacefully, lived a long life, and knew lots of love. in the final analysis and my humble opinion, that is the best most livings beings can hope for.

we chose to have her ashes returned to us. i placed the plain wooden box containing her ashes near one of her favorite sleeping spots in the house. 8 years later, it's still in the same place. i think it has served as a soothing, subtle sort of memorial that she is always in our hearts.
posted by gnutron at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Donations are definitely a good way to go. Our local SPCA has a memorial brick walkway leading up to it's doors that you can purchase a lasting tribute on. Maybe a donation to the Colorado Pug Rescue?

Last time I had to deal with this (and mercifully, it's been almost six and a half years), I kind of treated it like a bad breakup. That night, I hung out with a friend and drank. After that, I just kind of had to distract myself for a week or two until the feelings weren't *so damn strong*. Lots of time with people. Exercise. Reading. etc.

If you're having an incredibly difficult time with it, it may be worth calling a Pet Grief Hotline. There's a number of them listed on this page. I can't recommend a specific one, but it may help you.

posted by Ufez Jones at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2008

Don't just jump into a relationship with another dog ... but do, do, do make a plan and a goal to rescue a dog in the future. Time varies for people -- a few days, a few weeks, a few months, whatever. But know that it's a goal for you will help mend things. Nothing cures a broken dog-loving heart like meeting another dog and loving it just as much as you loved the previous one, if not more.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:50 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry for your loss. You very clearly loved your dog and it might help to remember that other animals everywhere live loveless and painful lives and aren't valued in the slightest. You can be proud of the life you provided for your dog and hopefully gain some comfort just remembering the time you spent with your pet.
posted by fire&wings at 3:50 PM on February 27, 2008

I'll also provide you with my favorite quotation that we sometimes give to our grieving clients. I find it a nice alternative to Rainbow Bridge and The Last Battle.
The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.

Henry Beston, The Outermost House
posted by Rock Steady at 3:51 PM on February 27, 2008 [60 favorites]

Response by poster: I have a question Rock Steady, I was holding her when they put the injection in her cath and (maybe unfortunately??) I was staring down into her eyes. I saw them dilate almost immediately and it just really freaked me out. I suspect it's just the side effect of dying but it LOOKED like she got really scared. I keep replaying it in my head and I don't know, I guess I just want some assurance that she wasn't actually scared....
posted by yodelingisfun at 3:53 PM on February 27, 2008

So very sorry about your loss. If is any consolation, I have always regretted not putting my Pip to sleep: she died in such pain.
posted by francesca too at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Aww, she's super cute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Make an altar with Reba's collar, bowl, photos, etc., and keep a candle burning there for a month. (Rationalists can scoff at the woo quotient all they want, but stuff like that is comforting.)

Write a eulogy with all the stories about why Reba was so dear to you. Illustrate it with photos, and read it to a friend if you like.

Wear her tag on a chain, or keep it on your keys for a while.

Throw a party in her honor with people versions of her favorite food.

Do some volunteer work or make a donation in her honor at the local shelter.

Above all, be gentle and kind with yourself, especially if the mean little voices in your head (or outside of it) say "Get over it, it's just a dog." Grief is grief, and loss is loss, and anyone who's never shed a tear over an animal has a heart of cement.

My sweet old cat has CFS, and I know I'll be utterly wrecked when he dies.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:59 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can you foster or volunteer as a dog walker for the Humane Society? Dogsit for a friend for a while? You'll get to help someone out and still get the benefits of having a dog version of a rebound boyfriend. Plus you'll get to hang out with a dog (sure, a dog who's not your best friend, but a dog nevertheless, and dog hugs are good for sadness)

It sucks so, SO hard, and I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by stefanie at 4:04 PM on February 27, 2008

Well, I'm not a vet or a tech, but my understanding of the procedure is that heart and brain activity are stopped so quickly that there is little chance for the animal to actually feel anything, especially when the drug is delivered intravenously. There is a vet/vet tech here on MeFi, I think (biscotti), but if you can't get in touch with her, I can ask my wife, who has been a vet tech for over 12 years.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:06 PM on February 27, 2008

Actually, I just had a phone call from my wife and I asked her about it. She said the drug they administer is basically a severe overdose of sedative, so they literally fall asleep before their heart simply stops. It is about as peaceful as taking a nap.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:14 PM on February 27, 2008

When my kitten Sebastian died suddenly, I went out for dinner with a close family member, and just kept to myself for a few days. I listened to sad music, I didn't talk much.

After a couple of days, I entered back into the world. I kept a couple of his half eaten toy mice, which I carried around with me, and I put away his things.

I haven't got a new cat yet, but that's been due to other circumstances. I will get one soon, I hope.

My condolences on your loss.
posted by jonathanstrange at 4:16 PM on February 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you, that's comforting. Sleeping was on her top 5 list of favorite activities, behind eating and conning me into giving her more treats.
posted by yodelingisfun at 4:16 PM on February 27, 2008

Best answer: The pupil dilation is a known side effect of pentobarbital, which is the anaesthetic used for euthanasing animals. Pentobarbitol suppresses the CNS and along the way removes the nerve impulses which are keeping the pupillary dilator muscles contracted, so these relax and the pupil opens. It's a good thing, means the anaesthetic was working quickly and as expected. One reference I found backing this up is here (in the discussion), but it's written for a technical audience and pretty hard to read.

The main thing is you have to know you made the right decision, which you did. Your vet also did the right thing in how they carried out the euthanasia, you have nothing to worry about there. Your pup really didn't suffer and hard as this was, it would have been a lot harder if you had dragged it out and let her do so. Definitely honour her memory as she was an important part of your life. Just please don't second guess yourself.
posted by shelleycat at 4:19 PM on February 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

I'll just say, having seen you with Reba, that there was never a dog more loved. You took care of her through some serious and messy health problems with the same affection you always had for her and without complaint. Because of your care she was a such a happy and loving old girl even when she was so sick, and you made the right choice to spare her from serious pain. You are feeling the pain instead.

So please, honey, take comfort from the fact that you were as good a friend to her as she was to you. Mourn all you need to. I like the idea of donating money or time to the Humane Society or even Pug Rescue in her name. That's one way of making sure the love you feel for her is memorialized. Another is to remember that you are her memorial -- you are a kinder and better person for having loved and been loved by her.

I am just so sorry for your loss.
posted by melissa may at 4:30 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Grieve. When I put my beloved Hot-dog down I knew where she'd be buried (in the garden, between two young walnut trees on a sunny slope). The whole time I was digging the hole my face was slick-wet with tears.

Hot-dog had a funny trait: when she experienced something good (for example she'd see me starting a fire in the fireplace) she made a "buzz buzz" inhaling noise. When the vet pushed the piston to put her down, she said "buzz buzz" and then her pupils did that instant-dilation thing. She never made that noise unless she was enjoying something or anticipating enjoyment.

I'm sorry you had to put Reba down, it does make a big hole in your life and no dog will ever replace her, just as none can replace Hot-dog for me.
posted by jet_silver at 4:35 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think the idea of donating to Pug Rescue is a good one. It's awful when we lose a beloved pet, and helping other pets find homes may help you through your grief.

I also think a scrapbook of Reba---photos, little pieces of toys she loved--would be a way for you to process your grief (picking out the photos and items that meant the most) while creating a lasting memory of her. If you are handy with needles and thread, you could make a quilt or a dog bed from her dog blanket that could be passed on to another pet if you decide to have another once time has passed.

I'm really sorry for your loss. There is no love like the unconditional love of your pet.
posted by misha at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2008

Awwww, I'm SO sorry. :( I've had to put two of my Frenchies down, and it's one the most horrible things I've ever had to deal with. My first Frenchie, Willy, who will always be "The One", was cremated, and I have his ashes (I know you said you chose not to collect Reba's). But I have one of his tags on my keychain, so it's always with me. But then I have his collar (with his nametag still attached) put aside to be placed in a shadowbox. The shadowbox will then be hung someplace - probably the living room. Honestly, I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. I have the collar, I even have a small patch of his fur (he was dark brown with a bright white patch. The portion I have is some of the white fur). To people that have never had animals, I'm sure the thought is pretty sick, but to me, that's the 'bib' I rubbed every night, while he snorted and snuffled and fell asleep, happy as a clam... Godspeed Reba, and hugs to you.
posted by dancinglamb at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2008

I'm sorry, too. I've been there (or somewhere similar). Hurts!

I actually recommend getting another pet (if you're planning on it) sooner rather than later. It doesn't take away the pain but gives you a lot of joy at the same time. You sound like a sweet pet owner and deserve to have another friend around, not as a replacement but to keep you company. The rescuing suggestion above is excellent, IMO.

I'm getting teared up, I'm such a baby about pets. Sometimes I wonder why we let ourselves get so attached, when it hurts so much! </verklempt>
posted by theredpen at 4:43 PM on February 27, 2008

A response to your comment about "replaying" the moment of euthenasia -- when I lost my dog last year, I kept "replaying" the moment I found him in the midst of having a seizure, which led to a diagnosis of cancer and, after a few short weeks, necessary and merciful euthanasia. In addition to finding ways to reminisce and memorialize my pet (as suggested above), I found it helpful to select a happy memory of the pup (in my case, it was that moment when we would get to the park, and he'd jump out of the car and sniff the air), and literally replace the seizure image with that one. I don't know if you necessarily want to replace the image you've been replaying, but thought I'd mention it.
posted by dreamphone at 4:54 PM on February 27, 2008

Re my comment about "literally replacing" the image - what I mean is that when I'd find myself replaying the seizure, I would "replace" it with the happier memory. Hope it makes sense.
posted by dreamphone at 4:55 PM on February 27, 2008

I once had a cat named Zippy. She disappeared when I was away on vacation and a cat-sitter was looking after her. I searched and searched and never found her. Of course I imagined all sorts of horrible things that could have happened to her and felt sick about her fate. Then, while on my next vacation (in Hawaii), we drove by a place called Zippy's Family Restaurant. I decided that Zippy had moved to Hawaii, and that in between sun-tanning and napping sessions, she was running this great little restaurant and serving fresh fish, steak, and other good things for all the departed pets. Maybe Reba's there too. There's lots of camaraderie, and it's pain free. Yes it's silly, but I like the mental image.

You could plant a rose bush or some other appropriate plant/tree in Reba's memory. I've done this and find it comforting.

Losing a beloved pet is really, really hard. I'm so sorry.
posted by lunaazul at 5:01 PM on February 27, 2008

When our bird died many years ago, we buried him under a rock which was ever after known as Billy's Rock. When our dog died two years ago, we had the vet take care of the ashes (they called it a "country burial") but I bought a memorial rock and put it in a spot in the garden where it wasn't obvious but I would see it often. It worked for me. (If you google on "pet memorial marker" you will get a lot of options.)

By the way, I planned to wait to get another dog but within three months I missed the companionship so much I was ready for a new one. (Although it was important that the new dog was a different color because I wanted it to very clear that he was his own self - not a replacement.)
posted by metahawk at 5:09 PM on February 27, 2008

I lost my beloved Loie (cat) at the end of November. Several things I did and am still doing to bring myself through the grieving process:

1. Surrounded myself with people I truly love. This helped more than I imagined. The people in my life who knew and loved Loie came out in spades. And, they let me talk about it ad naseum.

2. This worked for me and may not work for you, I spent time and watched cats whenever I could.

3. I adotped two cats that really needed homes.

4. I put up an online memorial. I did this two months after her passing. I forwarded it to everyone I knew a few weeks later(I'd be happy to email the website to you in you're interested.)

5. I keep pictures of her around and still talk about her.

6. I continue to grieve and cry whenever it comes up. It's less and less now which worried me because I felt that maybe I was forgetting her. But, I am not, I'm just transitioning to a new place in the grieving process. She will forever occupy a placei n my heart and I am ok with that. Accetpin g that has made abig difference.

I am sorry for your loss, I wish you space to cry, grieve and express your love for your best friend.
posted by Hydrofiend at 5:12 PM on February 27, 2008

Losing a dog is hard. I've got a pug, and I got him here

They are in desperate need of homes AND donations, so making one in Reba's name is sure to carry far in the pug world. From one pug to another.
posted by AsRuinsAreToRome at 5:16 PM on February 27, 2008

My condolences. It hurts a lot, and you keep seeing them out of the corner of your eye, and then remembering the sad truth. It takes a while to get over this, just like it does with people. If I may make so bold, there is a thread over on MonkeyFilter that is full of the joys and sorrows of living with pets, and although it takes a while to load because of lots of photos, I think you will find it a worthy distraction and perhaps discover one or two bits of useful poetry, silliness, and philosophy to lighten your load, and maybe just enjoy hearing from some kindred spirits.

Also, what about finding a starving art college student to make you a painting from a photo? Win-win!
posted by fish tick at 5:24 PM on February 27, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you everyone, I knew somehow that I'd feel less "silly" for being so upset over my dog here. I really wish that I felt that I 100% ok with the decision but of course, I do not. The Banfield vets kept telling me that we could try different drugs that maybe would help and I should put in the hospital on oxygen and take her to a cardiologist and on and on...All the while my adorable sassy dog was unable to walk, eat or poop and couldn't be held or picked up by me since it made her cough so bad. I'm so relieved to hear that the eyes dilating didn't mean she was scared but let me tell you, she was in no way happy to be there. She kept trying to crawl into my arms and through my neck until the vet actually pushed the plunger. I would LOVE to be able to replace that particular image with a happier one and I so hope that with time I will be able to. I think I've found a shelter that will take her medications and supplies, so that was a great suggestion. Next time I'm in Portland, I will go to Dove Lewis and get her a memorial brick, she had no ties to Denver really so it doesn't feel right to get her something out here. Seriously though, just hearing every one else's stories is super comforting, making me cry even more but still comforting. Thank you Melissa, Reba was my big fat pugsly poo head and I would do all of it over again in a second. For now, I'm going to go a head and be a blubbering mess with no apologies and trick the neighbor's dogs into coming over so I can at least get some hugs.
posted by yodelingisfun at 5:25 PM on February 27, 2008

oh, i'm so sorry. i've lost some sweet old kitties that way, and it's just terrible. even though you know you're doing the right thing, it's terrible. i'm so sorry. but it was the greatest act of love you could do for her. truly, it was. i would hope someone i loved would do the same for me one day, if it came to that.

i really believe pets are people too. let yourself grieve her death. take the rest of the week off work if you can afford to, and gather your thoughts. scatter her ashes somewhere, have a funeral, or at least a wake.

my condolences. you obviously loved her a lot. she was lucky to have you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:32 PM on February 27, 2008

Write about it, this has helped me enormously when I've gone through this.

I'm so sorry, but try to take some comfort in knowing you did the right thing for your little puglet.
posted by biscotti at 6:46 PM on February 27, 2008

No question at all that you did the right thing for her. Several years ago, friends had to put down their dog and they told me that they realized they'd held on too long. They really regretted that—it felt like they'd been selfish, not wanting to let him go when that was the most loving thing they could do for him. I kept that in mind when my own much-beloved dog entered the last stages of his illness.

Be prepared for sudden floods of tears. Most people will understand; those who don't, won't and can't so don't worry about it. Involvement with a shelter or other organization is very therapeutic. Another thing that helped me was having a kind of wake: dinner at my place with a bunch of friends who'd especially liked him. I asked people to bring a picture of him, if they had one, and write a few sentences about him; I still have everything in a scrapbook. We had pizza and wine and everybody cried a lot and laughed more.

Of course, he died just over four years ago and I still cried when I read your post. That's their only real failing, these dogs; they just don't live long enough.
posted by dogrose at 6:50 PM on February 27, 2008

I am so sorry for your loss. Whatever you do, give yourself permission to cry, sleep in, eat the whole pint of ice cream, soak in the bath.

If you haven't already, let your friends and family know. I told a few people on the morning I lost my cat and the news spread quickly. Like Hydrofiend, I found that people came out of the woodwork to support me. I could talk if I wanted. I could sit silently for hours. Coworkers stepped in to pick up the slack or head off the boss. Chocolate magically appeared on my desk. No one batted an eye when I burst into tears for no apparent reason.

I waited a while before going through his things and, in the end, decided to keep his favorite toy. I had slept with the toy under my pillow for the first week after he died. It lives in the drawer of my bedside table at the moment. The permanent home of the toy and his photo will probably be a shelf in the cozy reading corner of my den.

I wrote and rewrote and keep rewriting a eulogy of sorts with the idea that I will post it to my blog someday. I don't know that I will ever post it, but the act of writing it has been cathartic. It has helped me work through my feelings and preserve my memories.

I got involved with a feral cat colony in the area to keep caring for cats without owning one. Sure, I ended up adopting a feral-born kitten, but that wasn't the original intent. Down the road, if you are able to volunteer with a shelter or rescue group that may be helpful. I know that my local SPCA is always looking for volunteers to walk and play with dogs. It will give you the ability to interact with dogs and, when the time is right, you just might meet that next special someone.
posted by weebil at 7:04 PM on February 27, 2008

I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is always terrible, even though you know you were doing the right thing by your doggie--and you most definitely were.

My first instinct was to suggest that you spend a little time with some friends' dogs if it didn't make you feel too sad (now I see in your last post that you are going to be with your neighbours' dogs).

When my childhood cats died, we put stones in the backyard with their names painted on them. I could always go sit out there and think about them out among the flowers and trees. It was comforting.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:11 PM on February 27, 2008

So this totally came to me in an email forward, but as someone who likes dogs more than people, I thought I'd share it, because it meant a lot to me. I am truly sorry---but I like to remember that we can only be crushed because we love, and because we are loved. Be glad that he chose to live his life with you, and be honored at that fact.

(sorry, it's sorta long, but I <3>
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old
Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa,
and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and
they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family
we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the
euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would
be good for four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt
Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's
family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for
the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy
seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or

We sat together for a while after Belker's death,wondering aloud
about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next
stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good
life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'
The four-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that,
so they don't have to stay as long.'
posted by TomMelee at 7:22 PM on February 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

I am so, so, so sorry for your loss. I'm sitting right here with my pug next to me, and I'm crying for you. Knowing that you did the right thing doesn't make it any easier.

I don't know what your religious proclivities are, but where I live there are several churches that do a "Blessing of the Animals" service for the St. Francis of Assissi "saints day" -- early October, I think, but I don't remember exactly when. I've seen folks bring collars and leashes to be blessed for pets who have passed on.

Of course, it's a long time between now and October, and I hope your grief will have moderated by then, but that's one idea of a way you could honor Reba.

I'll be thinking about you both.
posted by mccxxiii at 7:55 PM on February 27, 2008

Best answer: I'm sorry for your loss.

Perhaps this will be some comfort to you since you are replaying losing her. You saw a very different event than your dog did. Reba saw you looking into her eyes. She saw the person she loved the most, being 100% focused on her. Then she fell asleep and was gone.

Losing a pet is difficult. When my beloved Elijah died, it took me a year before I could think of adopting another pet. Give yourself time to grieve.
posted by 26.2 at 10:33 PM on February 27, 2008 [8 favorites]

ditto little angels pug rescue; just bought one of their 'iPug' shirts.
They grow on ya, don't they? Pugs are good for reminding us that even the weird-looking need love and can give so much back in return.
My condolences and prayers are with you.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 10:48 PM on February 27, 2008

My condolences.

I was devastated when I had to put my feisty Tonkinese cat, Qu'Appelle, down a couple of years ago due to a rare kitty cancer. I didn't elect to get her ashes, but I did keep her collar, and the vet sent me a copy of her medical records.

Qu'Appelle was also a shelter cat I adopted, and she lived with me for 12 years. I haven't gotten another cat, and my current roommates are allergic to furred animals. So, to get my cat fix in, I volunteer at the local animal shelter once a week in the Cat Room, playing with and taking care of the shelter cats there. Sort of giving back for when someone did the same for Qu'Appelle when she was in the shelter.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:18 PM on February 27, 2008

My condolences. I managed a kennel for 3 years and saw many families lose their loved ones due to age and disease. One beloved lab that boarded with us many many times and was considered as much a part of our family as the actual owners. Buck was a beloved member of the community. A week or two after he passed his mom and dad had a wake for him at a local bar. Many of his friends and their friends came to his wake and we sat around telling Buck stories. His parents told of how they rescued this little brown puppy on the side of the interstate and his adventures with them on tour (they were musicians). We told stories about our experiences with him at the kennel. His parents brought pictures of him at different stages of his life ( I only knew him his last 3 years). It was sad but also a celebration as well. We toasted his long good life at the end.

Some of our clients gave memorial money to rescue groups, some just donated their time. Our kennel worked with several rescue groups giving them a place to play and board when they were short foster homes. One in particular that I remember couldn't volunteer with the breed rescue that her dog was because when she saw those dogs it reminded her of her late friend. She volunteered with different breeds. She would sit with those homeless dogs and pet them and hug them and talk to them about her dog. Those dogs needed someone to love on them til they found their new homes and she needed a furry shoulder to cry on.

After a few months of mourning she found a new friend when she was ready. The dogs she worked with were adopted into new forever families and she helped fill in the love they needed in between.
posted by meeshell at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2008

Don't feel silly for grieving.
posted by speedo at 8:57 AM on February 28, 2008

My family had to put down our beloved 11-year miniature pinscher last month. We are still grieving. They plan to rescue (only rescue) two puppies come summertime.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2008

Poor Reba.

Poor Yodeling.

Sleep helps. While it sounds weird, so will drinking water. Crying and stress are dehydrating.

It is indeed a hard time.

My own decision in this regard was much simpler, though probably not easier. My old friend's sudden turn in health left him not much resembling the animal who had been my companion for so many years. To have made any other decision would have been unmerciful and uncompassionate.

The moments following were some of the most anguishing I have ever experienced, but interestingly, it is not those I remember.

The overnight vet at the animal hospital was leaving as we were. I don't know if it was an accident of shift, but I like to think that he'd held out to make things easier for us -- it'd been his prognosis, he'd been the admitting doctor. His demeanor during the euthanasia process and sad wave he gave me in the parking lot stay with me more than the moment my old friend did.

I composed an e-mail to all of Chianti's other human friends to let them know and to let it out a little. That was painful, but it helped. Many friends had nice things to say about our mutual friend.

Our vets, both our regular vets and those who'd dealt with Chianti at the hospital sent condolence cards. That was painful and helpful as well.

Its awful that the most recent memories won't be overwritten by good. new ones, but believe that there are a mountain of better ones that will crowd out these past few horrible months.

They will be bittersweet at first.

They will get better.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:27 AM on March 4, 2008

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