July 2, 2008
I just went through one of the hardest experiences ever! Putting down my dog of 16 years. While the experience is still fresh in my thoughts I want to get it out to help others who will go through this.

First of all, people always say “You’ll know when it’s the right time” and you do, to a point. For me the right time was when my little girl could no longer walk on her own. I could see in her eyes that she had enough. I still had thoughts in the back of my mind like “I can get wheels for her back legs…” “I can use something on her backside to hold her up…” And, if she was a younger dog I probably would have done something like that but she had gone blind & deaf 2 years prior & it took us a while to adjust to that & then a few months ago her back legs starting going. She went on for some time, with loving care from me.

This is a very individual decision and no one can tell you what to do. You need to figure it out on your own. But, you do need support from family & friends. That is what ultimately got me through this difficult time. I also recommend, you go to the vet with one or two family members or close friends – it helps to have someone else there as a buffer. I went in to the vet’s office deciding ahead of time that I was going to have my little girl cremated because I wanted to keep a bit of her close to me & also spread some of her ashes on the special places we had been to together. With guidance from my sister, I ended up not cremating her because it was the right thing to do. I thought it would be strange to have my dog’s body and I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it but it gave me one last time to hold her & say goodbye. I am fortunate because I have a wonderful, caring family…my sisters came with me to the vet & helped me through the experience and my brother gave Chia a proper burial. Chia is buried on my parents land next to other passed pets. She has a wooden cross with her name on it & I'm going to plant some wildflowers over her grave.

July 8, 2008
The days of grieving ahead… Give yourself time to grieve. Talk about your feelings and cry when you feel you need to. You may hear a particular song on the radio that makes you sad or you may walk past where the dog bed used to be & feel a pang. This is all normal & it will take time. One thing that we decided to do is have a celebration in honor of my dog & make it an annual event. Dogs are a very important part of the family & should be remembered & cherished.

It’s been @ 2 weeks now since Chia left this world…
We celebrated “Chia Fest 2008” last night (7/12/08). We set up a memory wall with all sorts of photos of Chia in many stages of her life. We also set up a “Chia Tree” with many Chia photos hanging from it. I had people write down their Chia Memories in a journal & later in the evening we all sat around a fire & did “Chia Blessings”… People wrote down good wishes to Chia & then offered them to the fire. I was so happy with the turnout. We ate, drank & shared memories of Chia. The next morning I woke up a bit sad that Chia is not here with me in body but I also know it was time to release her of her pain. It’s a process that will take time & the memories live on forever.

July 16, 2008
This experience has been especially hard since Chia was my one & only dog and I do not have any children. And, right now my boyfriend is away during the week for work & is only home on weekends so I have plenty of time to miss Chia.

People at work have been asking me when will I be getting another dog & I say I need time. I don’t think it would be right to just run out and get another dog and my boyfriend says “Oh no, don’t get another dog because we won’t be able to do anything.” Believe me, when it’s time, a dog will find me, they always do, and regardless of what the boyfriend says, I will someday have another dog & love it!

I hope reading some of this was helpful for anyone going thru just losing a dog or dealing with a sick dog. I know it helped me by writing down my thoughts.
-Sarah
May Chia Rest In Peace – 10/11/92 – 6/30/08

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Sarah, I 've been thinking of you. How are you coping? As for me I'm trying to be busy with my little Oliver. Everyday I think of Rio - I smile and sometimes I get teary eyed. I miss my little Rio very much. But, I thank God he is not suffering anymore. The doggie alzehmiers really took its toll on Rio. Its such a dreadful illness. I should be receiving Rio's granite stone soon and will place it on his grave along with the ceramic figurine of St. Francis of Assisi. Even as I write this I can't believe Rio is gone but not gone from my heart. Oliver is here with me at work : ) He seems to be doing so much better now. People keep asking me when I will get another Maltese ( a friend for Oliver). To be honest I haven't thought about it. I know I want a companion for Oliver but not yet. I'm still grieving Rio. To get another Maltese right now makes me feel like I'm replacing Rio and forgetting about him. I have so many emotions that run through my head. At first I thought yes I should get another Maltese - one that looks identical to Rio etc. I need to focus on Oliver right now....and we our comforting each other. Take Care and know that my thoughts are with you.
Hi Elsa,
Do you ever watch that show "The Dog Whisperer with Ceaser Milan"? I saw an episode the other day about this family who lost their beloved dog of 12 years & they had another younger dog too. The younger dog left behind did grieve for a couple of weeks & Ceaser recommended getting another dog (not to replace the passed pet but to help with the grieving process of the pet left behind) And he said that the hardest of the grieving for the humans is during the first 4 weeks and that of course, we never, ever forget them.
Give yourself time to grieve right now & in time you will know when the right time will be to get another dog.
As far as me, I keep getting these anxious feelings, like I have to get home to take care of Chia or like yesterday when we were out for the day in this town where I would always stop by the Pet Cafe & get Chia her favorite Liver Treat - I had this feeling that I had to get Chia her treat and then I realized right away that Chia is no longer with me in body & is in a better place. But these feelings don't just automatically go away, we need time to grieve & adjust.
Take time & stay in touch.
My thoughts are with you.
-Sarah
Iam so sorry you had to loose your little girl..It is so hard..I look at my dog who is 15 and doing ok..But we see small changes in him. I hate to think of the day..Our dog has been with us through 3 job losses, 3 relocations, the death of many loved ones and the amputation of my leg...5 years ago..When I came home from the hospital he jumped on the couch and laid his head on my stump and would not leave my side..He still watches over me like a angle..He is so sweet.
Hi Karin,
Thank you for your kind words concerning my little girl, Chia.
I am sending good thoughts to your little guy right now.
My girl was with me through so much too…Many relationships & moves & so many adventures! It's hard to believe she is gone but I am glad for the time we had together.
We just have to cherish them while they are here & when it is time to let them go, we need to let them go gracefully.
Good luck with you & your guy & stay in touch.
-Sarah
Thanks Sarah! I can imagine how awful the loss is. She sounds like she was such a sweet little girl. You were very lucky to have her as long as you did. Altho it may not seem long enough...I wish dogs did not age so fast.I love my Rusty so much he is so sweet but aging..slowing down a little and gets confused ocassionally..it breaks my heart but I alwys shower him with plenty of hugs and kissed which he loves.

Karin
Hi Karin,
Just keep loving, kissing & hugging Rusty while he's here & try not to think about when he's gone because they are gone way before we are ready for it. :(
Now that Rusty is getting older, make sure to give him plenty of good supplements, like glucosomine if he's having a harder time getting around - that stuff really works! :)
And if you're not already giving him filtered water, that helps too.
I spoiled my little girl when she was on this earth & I really think she lived at least a couple years more because of the supplements & loving care I gave to her.
Good luck with your old guy!
-Sarah
Hi Sarah, I've watched the show a couple of times. Thank you for letting me know about this certain episode. : ) Yes, like you I forget that Rio is no longer here. I have so many Rio habits that are difficult to fluff off. Rio was taking medication in the am / pm and its hard for me to remember that I don't have to do that anymore. I had night lights all over the place because I wanted to make sure Rio could see at night.......I'm barely removing those lights....night lights will always remind me of Rio. He used to love Pupperoni......and would run to me when I would open the bad. Oliver likes those treats but he doesn't go wild like little Rio did. For a long time I would awaken at 1am to check on Rio....like clock work I still do. Now, that Oliver is going to doggie day care.....I noticed that I will tell Ollie....we need to hurry home for Rio........aahhhh.....then I remember Rio is not here. It will take time.....I think we will do just fine. I'm very glad I found a friend like you Sarah.....it helps. Elsa
Hi Elsa,
I'm glad I found a friend like you too!
And, right now all those things that remind us of our little dogs tug at our heartstrings & makes us sad & miss them even more but in time these things will make us smile.
Yesterday was a particularly hard day because it was my day off work & of course my thoughts go right to Chia. I've been working so much & so hard since Chia's passing that I haven't had much time with my thoughts. Even though it was a very emotional day yesterday I do believe we need this time to ourselves to go through our feelings.
Rio was very lucky to have a mom like you - It takes a special person to give such love to a dog! :)
And don't worry about thinking you need to get to the gym right now - When you are ready you will know. Sometimes you just need some down-time to do a whole lot of nothing.
-Sarah
Sarah, I am very thankful we found each other. It was a blessing in disguise. Today, I decided that I needed to start doing things to keep my mind distracted. I had a moment last night where I was looking at a picture of Rio when he was so full of life.....and I started crying. I see how he was and what the alzehmiers did to him. To be honest it really gets me angry. I guess I'm going through the motions. Well, I am off to a long lunch today, running some errands, will visit Oliver at home for about an hour...and then head back to work. Our plan for Wednesday is me going to the gym bright & early, taking Oliver to daycare and then pick him up at noon and go home for lunch. It seems that when I have my days planned out like that its easier......just me and Ollie ! I should be receiving the granite stone marker this week and it will make Rio's grave complete. Then I will plant flowers, I want lots and lots of colorful flowers. Sarah, do you find yourself saying goodnight to Chia? I find myself saying goodnight, goodmorning and Hi Rio.....until next time......: )
Hi Elsa,
Yes, I do find myself saying "Good Morning Chia!" & while I'm in the bathroom getting ready in the morning I yell out "How's my girl doing & I'll be out in a minute to check on you" And at night I say "Good night Chia." And just little things, like cooking chicken…(I'm a very fussy eater & I have had a dog most of my adult life)… so back to the cooking chicken…I always cut off the fatty stuff & cook it up separate for Chia & when I make eggs in the morning I cut off the yoke & give it to Chia. For now, I'll need to find some other lucky dog for these treats because I don't want to just waste it.
It's really a whole new way of living when you lose a dog. :(
I'm right there with you with on all this weird stuff! :)
Take Care,
-Sarah
Sarah, yes it seems everything we do from waking, cooking and running errands reminds us Chia & Rio. Looks like we will be okay. We have beautiful memories of them that we will always cherish forever. We were good Moms.....and we should look forward to being good Moms when we decide to get another pooch. I suppose we need to comfort ourselves by remembering how much we spoiled our kids and gave back that unconditional love they gave us. Our pets were very lucky to have us in their lives just like you and I were extremely lucky to have Chia and Rio in our lives. Sarah we were great Moms and always remember that ! You take it easy and if you need to open up....well you know I am here for you. I smile when I get an email from you. Its like therapy for me - it sincerely helps. Super happy we are here for each other. Have a good evening. Elsa
Good Morning Elsa,
I too smile (and sometimes cry, which is needed) when I get an email from you! :)
I'm off to another day at work filled with wonderful distractions!
Anytime you need to talk about Rio, I'm here.
Enjoy your day!
-Sarah

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