I MISS MY DOG – GRIEVING LOSS

By Thursday, May 19, 2016 40 Permalink

Earlier this week while I was chatting with a friend, she asked me what was wrong.

I whispered ever so softly – “I miss my dog”…

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I whispered because it’s been two years since Leo’s sudden passing and I thought I should have been further along in this process. #Iamnot

Sunday would have been (or is it still?) Leo’s 6th birthday.

At 4 years old he was already close to 100 lbs…

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If he was still here, would he have –

  • gotten taller?
  • out grown his Wilson soccer ball?
  • remained shy around strangers?

These questions (and others) house way too much real estate in my head. I rarely talk about it – because…

…well I don’t know. Maybe because I’m secretly worried people will think I’m strange. #amI?

Many people (especially ones w/o dogs) don’t understand the real grief you feel when you’ve lost a dog.

Of course their condolences are sincere when it happens, but do they realize the pain continues as time goes on? Are they able to connect the dots that this is why you’re still crying, irritable, or just “not yourself” at times.

THEY SAY –

When your coping with a pets death, you should –

  • Give yourself time AND permission to grieveIt’s extremely important to remind ourselves that “love is love” and loving a pet is no different from loving a person #aintthatthetruth
  • Avoid those “He was just a pet” people: You know the type. The ones who never really understood the bond between you and your pet. Believe it or not – they’re genuinely trying when they say things like – “it was only a dog” or “just get another one right away.” They really mean well #forgivethem
  •  Seek out support: Find some pet loving people who will understand what you’re going through.

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE –

“Only by giving my loss expression will I begin to heal.”

So that’s what I’m doing.

When the grief becomes overwhelming, I’m re-teaching myself to –

  • Ride the wave of emotions: No I’m not hysterically screaming and crying out loud in public. But if I start to feel sad or melancholy – I go with it
  • Talk to friends: no more steering clear of any loving, comical Leo stories. I embrace them and share openly in the memory
  • Talk to strangers: when I’m asked questions about the breed, there’s always an opportunity to mention Leo and now I do.

I’m learning to accept the fact that Leo has left my life and I will never be the same…

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But bit by bit, more and more, I’m also learning to express myself in ways that are uniquely me!

And I’m doing it more often, doing it the best way I know how – with feeling ❤️

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                                   Some Angels Choose Fur Instead of Wings…

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Sources:

Your Not Crazy – You’re Grieving

Coping with a Pets Death

Rainbowsbridge.com

 

 

40 Comments
  • Emma
    May 20, 2016

    My mom lost her Trine eleven years ago. It has gotten a bit easier with time, but she still has times where she tears up over her. She was ten years old and had cancer. From the day she was diagnosed to the day she passed was just a week. We have her photos around the house. Mom says it’s no different than losing a beloved human. You will always grieve, sometimes more than others. We still are sad your Leo left so young, but his paw prints will forever be in your heart and in your life.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Emma, you always know just the right things to say to a Doodle Mom when her heart’s a little heavy. Tell your mom I said hello and I’d love to see photos of Trine one of these days!

  • Hera's mom
    May 20, 2016

    They live forever in our hearts. I was thinking that my Bosco and your Leo are friends in heaven.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Yep! Bosco’s chasing Leo trying to get to Wilson! Fond memories of OTPR!

  • The Daily Pip
    May 20, 2016

    Leo sounds like a lovely boy and I understand why you miss him so much. I lost my dog Pip on October 19, 2013 to heart disease and I still miss him everyday. There are so many moments and experiences that make me think of him and miss him and I too have just learned to ride the way of emotion when that happens …

    I started the blog with Pip way back in 2011. After he passed, I took a break from blogging and only returned in 2015. I thought about changing the name for Ruby, our new dog, but decided to keep the original name in honor of Pip. Although it may confuse some (who didn’t know Pip), it helps me.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      I am so happy you didn’t change your blog name. I struggled with the same dilemma because mine refers to plural doodles and there was only one. Well before I thought of another, I decided to leave the name “as is” because I knew I would refer back to Leo from time to time. The only thing I knew I had to do was re-vamp the website and logo. It was so painful to see the original. Couldn’t do it. So glad you decided to honor Pip – that makes it all the more special. #toyouandtome

  • Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom
    May 20, 2016

    Oh Cathy, I certainly understand what you’re going through. I’ve had to “re-program” myself to let me be me, too.

    Next week will be nine months since we let Callie go to Heaven. And I still cry at times. Hubby says things like “you have to let her go”, so when I feel the tears coming, I just go outside or to my private space in the house until the tears stop flowing. Callie is always with me in spirit. It’s her earthly self that I miss so much. I just have to “go with the flow” so it doesn’t resurface in some inappropriate way at a later time.

    Any time you need to talk to someone about Leo, just pm me on Facebook.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Re-program, now that’s a really great word for our situations! I think about you and Callie a great deal. I empathize with you because I’m on the same journey – just a few clicks ahead of you. I too am here should you want to talk my friend. Together we will make it. I promise!

  • Lindsay
    May 20, 2016

    Oven often thought to ask the how and whys but never have out of respect. I didn’t realize he was so young when he passed. I think that makes it sting a bit more, especially when we lose the young, vibrant ones. Was he sick?

    Sending big hugs to you my dear. The loss will dull but you never completely get over or forget them. I think they take a piece of us with them when they leave us.

    xoxo

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      It’s okay Lindsay. I don’t mind you asking. Leo contracted a viral infection (i believe it was from another dog playing ball) at an open park event we were invited to attend by one of our sponsors. It was aggressive, and the vets believe it had strains of the canine virus. Symptoms started to show on a Sat. I took him in on Mon. He passed on Thurs. I no longer accept appearances for the Boys around other dogs anymore. Will not risk it – ever again – not for anyone. It’s been tough, probably because I play the “what if” game a lot. But I’m dealing with it – I’m getting better 🙂 Have a great weekend – hugs to the babies for me!

      • Lindsay
        May 20, 2016

        Ah Jeez, that makes my heart heavy. So quick, and young. My.
        That’s quite sad. I can’t understand your apprehensive and reasons why. That must’ve been hard to watch and then deal with the loss so quickly and trying to wrap your head around it all.
        *hugs*
        The boys send their love xoxo 😉

        • Cathy Bennett
          May 20, 2016

          Lindsay – it’s been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to go through. But God, doodles and good friends have helped me climb out of the rabbit hole.

          • Emmy Scammahorn
            May 21, 2016

            Did you know how my hamster Honey passed? She’d been under the weather, then more sick for two nights. The vet trimmed her overgrown teeth and gave her a B-12 shot. She seemed fine, but on the drive home she died. The vet said maybe she was sicker than we realized. A vet tech friend said she may have been older than I thought. I was devastated. Did I cause her death by taking her to the vet? I had to come to terms with that. I believe if I hadn’t taken her to the vet she would have died. Even though trimming teeth can stress hams, it had to be done. The B-12 shot could have been skipped, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. What I’m saying is that we can’t blame ourselves for decisions we make in our pets’ best interest. You and I and everyone in our circle always does the right thing by our pets. I have to believe that, but it’s hard when things happen.

          • Cathy Bennett
            May 21, 2016

            I never “blamed” myself Emmy. I just miss him so much – still. Sorry to hear about Honey. From what you shared, there is no reason for you to blame yourself – I hope you know that. Take care my friend.

  • Mayra Ruiz-McPherson
    May 20, 2016

    This was lovingly shared and deeply reflective. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Thank you “Caesar” for starting me on my way!

  • Dedra D Kuhn
    May 20, 2016

    I’m missing my sweet Bogey every single day. I lost him on April 18. We had 11 wonderful years together but it’s so hard! Love to you and yours.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      I love that name – Bogey! Young or old – they never seem to live as long as we’d like. It’s a gut ripping experience, but I couldn’t imagine not taking that risk so I could spend time with these four legged angels. Together we can keep their memories alive. Have a beautiful weekend 🙂

  • Pedro and Alessandra
    May 20, 2016

    Dear Cathy, thank you for posting this. I teared up looking at Leo’s photos and it made me sad to realize that he passed away so young. But truth is, whether young or old, our pups are family, not “like” family and most definitely not “just dogs” and grieving their loss is healthy and a true way to honour the unconditional love they gave us.
    We lost our terrier cross Renata that moved from Mexico to Canada with us and had a wonderful bond with my Mom. It’s been 8 years since she passed and my Mom misses her every day. We cry when we remember her, but we smile thinking of how she would keep my parents westie, Mateo and my sweet Pedro in check. She was that kind of pup!
    Again thank you for this and thank you for continuing to share memories of Leo and the new adventures of Harley and Jax!
    Loving paws always!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Thanks Pedro! We cannot even begin to think of “Groovy Goldendoodles” w/o mentioning Leo from time to time. Harley was my first, but Leo’s presence inspired the blog. He will forever live on this website as well in the hearts of many – like yours. Thank you so much for your online friendship – it means a great deal to us.

      • Lindsay
        May 20, 2016

        How did Harley deal with the loss? How long did you wait until beautiful Jax?

        • Cathy Bennett
          May 20, 2016

          It was difficult for the entire family. To be honest with you – I wasn’t thinking about another doodle until Leo’s breeder called me regarding Jaxson. He was born 6 months after Leo passed. When Leo’s breeder saw Jax she said she instantly thought of me 🙂 She said he was loving and super sweet like Leo. I agreed to come “see” and well – you know the rest…

          • Lindsay
            May 21, 2016

            😉 that’s teslly wonderful. He came to you at a time in need. xoxo

          • Cathy Bennett
            May 21, 2016

            Yes Lindsay – he certainly did. He looks a lot like him too!

          • Lindsay
            May 21, 2016

            *really

  • Monika & Sam
    May 20, 2016

    Having recently acknowledged a 5 year anniversary of the loss of my OES, I KNOW exactly what you’re going through. I think of that pill of a dog nearly every day. No doubt those thoughts are prompted by her incessant pawing of my leg. Now it’s just emotional pawing to remind me of a great fur-iend. Embrace those thoughts of Leo, it’s his way of staying connected and watching over you.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      I like those sentiments Monika – I will try to remember. Thank you.

  • Tiffany Bennett Cuartero
    May 20, 2016

    I miss Leo everyday too❤️ Awesome post Mommy.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      Thanks baby!

  • Kimberly Gauthier
    May 20, 2016

    I still miss Blue. Every single day. Today, I sent images of him to my new designer for my rebranding. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with using him as inspiration.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2016

      That is a wonderful idea Kimberly. Blue had such striking features. I can’t wait either! Hugs my friend….

  • Caren Gittleman
    May 20, 2016

    (((hugs)))) my cat passed 9 years ago and I can still cry just as hard about it as I did when it happened, if I let myself.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 21, 2016

      Such small creatures come into our lives, steal our hearts and then leave before we’re ready. But we love them just the same! Hugs back to you!

  • JeanneP of bichonpawz
    May 21, 2016

    My heart goes out to you…our Big Guy passed several years ago now, but I still miss him Every. Single. Day.

    I have had many dogs in my life but he was such a special guy. I swear he could read my mind. He taught Chloe so very much.

    I certainly do understand when you say you are grieving…I still am and it has been many years now.

    Hugs to you!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 21, 2016

      Thanks Jeanne P. Hugs to you as well. It’s never easy at any age or circumstance.

  • Jan K
    May 21, 2016

    You just never know when that grief is going to hit you again, and I do think it’s important to go with it and not to try to tamp down the emotions. I can still tear up over our Maggie who we lost almost 12 years ago in a tragic accident. Since she was only 5 I still wonder what the rest of her life would have been like.
    It was nice to see those photos of Leo, and I’m glad you shared them with us. ♥

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 21, 2016

      Thank you my friend! It was lethargic to write that post. I needed to share my emotions with people who would understand and comfort me #justlikeyou #hugs

  • Slimdoggy
    May 21, 2016

    The hurt never really goes away – I miss all of my dogs.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 22, 2016

      I’m finding that out Slim #gutwrenching

  • Barbara Rivers
    May 22, 2016

    You have ever right in the world to miss your Leo pup. I’m still a first -time dog owner and have not yet had to cope with the loss of my pups (although as a dog walker, I have experienced the loss of several client dogs, and that’s tough), but I have no doubt in my mind that they will take a piece of my heart with them once they live on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

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