Letting go.. How do you cope with loss of a dear friend

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by IntuneJune, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    Today we are letting our dear friend, protector go....... She is a 13 year old German Shepherd who was diagnosed with cancer in December. The cancer is growing around her neck and head.

    Three weeks ago, we brought her for another evaluation and she was given three to six months. The vet discussed with us the "gift" of "letting her go" when we thought it would be in her best interest. This dear one, big as she is, shivered from head to tail when she knew in the car after taking just two turns on the road where she was going. Knowing that trip would be her last thought, I told the vet I could NOT bring her in. She said she would come to the house.

    Well, not months but two weeks later, it was overnight, her condition dramatically declined. We were shocked

    Long story short, we have a call into the vet to come out tonight.

    My husband is at work. I sat down next to my friend to pat her, she was asleep, but I needed to pat her and she woke up. She is much more comfortable sleeping.... that was selfish on my part I realized after she woke.

    So now, she is back to sleep, so I came here.

    "Letting go" hurts. Emotionally I am not 100% in favor of this, intellectually, it makes sense. (I think I am composed of more emotion than brains.)

    I have thanked her for being such a dear friend, thanked her for protecting us. She has taken the job of guarding our property, home and us VERY seriously.

    All our other pets passed naturally... this is different. We don't want her to suffer but right now it does not feel like a "gift."

    How do you cope? Thanks, June

  2. fibromickster

    fibromickster New Member

    I am so so so sorry for you. That is one of the hardest things to have to do, but you are doing the right thing for your baby, no more hurting and pain.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, because it is going to be so hard for you. I cannot even imagine losing my Jack (5 yr old yellow lab). He is my best friend and has been so loyal to me, like you doggy.

    Love you!!!!

  3. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    Thank you for your kind words. She just woke up a few minutes ago, looked around, and went back to sleep.

    I am refraining from stroking her as she wakes, even though that is what I need to be doing.

    Our pets are so important. We have a lot to learn from them.

    Love, June
  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I have been where you are twice. The first time I really thought it would kill me. I think we cope by doing just what you are doing. We cope one moment at a time. We cope by letting our hearts break just a little, or a lot... it does mend again. We cope by being brave even when we cannot be strong.

    The second time I had to do what you now face, I was comforted by the knowledge that good dogs always come when called. Transitioning into the pre-born place has not stopped the spirits of my dogs from coming when my heart calls them.

    I'm so very, very sorry. It is sometimes so horribly painful to be so very kind.

    Peace to you,
  5. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    of Wisdom but I don't. I recently had to say goodbye to my beloved cat, Asa. One minute he was tearing around the house the next he made a horrible cry and was lying on the floor. He had a brain hemorrhage or a blood clot to the heart.

    All you can do is just give 'em lots of love and know you are doing what is right for your baby. This is my favorite poem that the vet sent to me along with a little plaque with the name Asa and a paw print, it was so sweet. Lots of hugs and prayers will be sent to you during this difficult time.....I'm so very sorry.


    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...

  6. victoria

    victoria New Member

    they all ended up with bone cancer, apparently common in big dogs, all within a 3 year period; I am glad I was able to be there talking to them as they passed tho along with various other family members, they trusted me/us and they were relaxed even the ones at the vet.

    the last one we were able to have the vet, whom he knew, come to our house, and it is definitely the best way... in his case he'd been awake all night for some reason even tho I gave him a major painkiller (he couldn't put his head down and I sat up with him petting him and giving him water as needed)...

    The best thing, as with people, is to have one's family there, I think, reassuring them everything's okay. But it's still one of the hardest things to do.

    So sorry... take your time to grieve...

    all the best,

  7. 4everkid

    4everkid New Member

    I am so sorry June. This is one of the hardest things we have to go through in life, when our beloved companions become fatally ill. And I know from personal experience, that your 13-year-old is more than a pet, she is one of the family.

    Just recently, when my elderly cat became so ill that we knew it was time to let him go, I went through this same struggle, wondering if it was the right thing to do. While visiting this site, I came across the Ten Commandments for Pet Owners, posted by Marta608. Number 10 had a strong effect on me at that time:

    10. When I am very old, when I no longer enjoy good health, please do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having fun. Just see to it that my trusting life is taken gently. And be with me on that difficult journey when it is time to say "goodbye". Never say, "I can't bear to watch." Everything is easier for me when you are there. I will leave this earth knowing with my last breath that my fate was always safest in your hands. Remember - I love you.

    At that point I realized it was the right thing to do, for him. That it was MY duty to be with him when his time came, and not hide and wallow in my own sorrow. Even though my son was going to take Skippy to the vet and spare me the pain, I realized now Skippy NEEDED ME to be there too. It was shortly after that that God spared us ALL that final trip to the vet, and took Skippy for us.

    So don't be afraid to stroke and comfort your beloved friend in her final hours. She knows her time is is near, and it comforts her to have you at her side.

    How will you cope? It will be very hard and things will seem empty for a while. But you will realize that you did the right thing for her when you decided to relieve her of her suffering. The pain you feel is your own grief. But remember this: she will be in a better place, free of pain, romping and frolicking in the green fields of Heaven. And she will be there to greet you when you arrive in Heaven some day.

    So don't think of it as a final goodbye, think of it as a rough transition until you can be reunited again.

    I am so sorry for the pain you have to endure now. Be thankful that your vet is willing to come to your home. Your dear friend and companion will be able to gently drift off to sleep in her own home with her beloved family at her side.

    My thoughts will be with you on this very sad day.
  8. frosty77

    frosty77 New Member

    So sorry - that's the hardest thing to do. But, it's better than having her suffer, not that that is any consolation now.
  9. doloresf1

    doloresf1 New Member

    And it breaks our heart to see them suffer. You're doing the right thing. It's a very hard thing, but the right thing. I know you don't want your friend to suffer one moment longer than necessary. Your dog is so lucky to have had someone who has been so compassionate and loving, even to the very end.

    My thoughts are with you.

  10. budmickl

    budmickl New Member

    I put my Mick down 2/15/08. There is a thread here called <B>MICK IS GONE</B> that I wrote and received so much love and comfort for everyone. Please read it if you are up to it

    The one thing that makes me get up in the morning is knowing I did everything possible to make him well, then to make him comfortable. When I couldn't do that any longer, I had to let him go.

    My daughter put her dog down this past Monday because she bit me Saturday. It brings back all the raw feelings of hurt, sadness, guilt, anger, just like it was yesterday that Mick was put down.

    I just keep telling myself he is playing with his brother, step-sister and an older brother he never knew, And they will <u>ALL</u> be waiting for me when I get there.

    You are in my heart and well wishes. I wish there were words of comfort but right now, you don't want to hear them. You want to keep her a little longer.

  11. ckball

    ckball New Member

    Sometimes the right thing is not always the easiest. You are giving her her peace back.

    May god be with you and give you strengh to help her cross over Rainbow Bridge-Carla[This Message was Edited on 04/03/2008]
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I am so sorry. This is one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. I waited too long with my beloved cat, Mr. Big, and ended up having to do it on a Sunday morning at the animal ER. It's better to do it before it gets to that point.

    I think it is essential to be there and hold the pet when it is done. It is very, very fast, almost instantaneous. None of my pets ever acted afraid but rather trusting that I would only do my best for them. It is only afterwards that we can look back and know we did what was best.

    Still, it's so very hard to lose a loved one. My pain has always been worse for the beloved animals we have lost than for the humans. It's not that we love them more but that their love for us is so pure.

    Here is a poem someone gave me just after I lost Mr. Big. It will probably make you cry, as it did me, but tears are helpful at such times.

    Farewell Friend, yet not farewell.
    where I go, ye too, shall dwell.
    I am gone, before your face,
    a moments time a little space.
    when ye have gone where I have stepped,
    ye will wonder, why ye wept.

    Love, Mikie
  13. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    How unselfish of you . I know it hurts you so badly but you don't want her to suffer. So sorry you had to do this but you did what was best and in HER interests.
    God bless you and your dear friend. I am sure she wIll always be in youR HEARTS.

    Blessings and hugs,
  14. tonakay

    tonakay New Member

    I could have writen most of your post. Last September my Maggie girl of 14 had to be put down. Like you I had the Vet come to my house and it's is by FAR the hardest thing I have ever done! She followed me everywhere and slept with me every night. Her collar lays on her pillow on my bed and I had her cremated so she is still in my bedroom with me.

    I still find myself looking for her after all these months and still cry over her daily. Her dad took her for her last ride earlier that day and that picture is my computer wallpaper.

    My heart bleeds for you!
  15. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    It's rainy here in Rhode Island. Her grave is right outside my office window although I cannot see it while I am at my computer. She is with our other pets Snow and Loki,our two kitties who were 19 and 20; and Fritz our German Shephard who was 15.

    I said I would NEVER get another dog when Fritz passed away, my heart was so broken. But after a year and a half, found myself following the dogs in the neighborhood around (not an easy task in our town, we are rural and homes are not close together in our immediate area).

    Gradually, I realized it was time to adopt a "dog in need." So we combed the shelters. Never made a connection until one shelter called us about a dog who was on their waiting list to get INTO the pound.

    Sea-Ra had separation anxiety and all the behavoir that goes along with that. It was hard initially, but we did fall into a routine that worked for us all. She repayed us by taking very good care us, protecting us at all times (maybe a little over the top).

    When we were both home, she shephered us together, she preferred I not be on the computer (at one end of the house) while my husband watched TV (at the other). So she would start her herding until I got the message to take my place in the family room with hubby, and she would then make a sound of satisfaction and settle on her "chair" a dog bed completing our positions forming the letter "U" in front of the tv.

    When it was bed time, she announced it so and would start the process of nudging hubby to let her out for her "last trip"

    When one of us were not home, she perched herself in front of the sliding glass door and waited, all day if that is what it took.

    She was there, most of the time (except night time tv time) watching, announcing if a car came down the long dirt road to our house or the house in back of us.

    I never worried about the occasional stranger at the door, she took care of that. (Many different scenariors played out depending on the fear level of that person, or if Sea-Ra felt that person could be or NOT be trusted). I felt very protected, she was such a comfort.

    Was it my selfishness I did not want to let her go?? Could I not see how she must have been suffering? We worried we might be sending her too soon, but in retrospect, we did probably waited too long.

    One consolation was she was still eating up big.

    The vet was wonderful. She brought chocolate..... Hershey kisses.

    The first step was to give her anesthesia to relax her and when she felt asleep, the final injection. We got her comfortable by her perch at the sliding glass door. She got her anesthesia, and while it did make her legs so wobbly she could not stand, it did not make her relax, in fact, I am afraid it made her anxious, she continued to guard at that door. The vet remarked at how committed she was. She re-evaluated her weight versus mg. dose to be sure she had given her enough, and she had, but Sea-Ra would not let go.

    Previously I told Sea-Ra what a good job she had done protecting us, how much we loved her and it was OK to go, and now during this process, I repeated everything, but her head would move from side to side to get a better view of the outide, forever protecting us. The vet gave her more anesthesia. Finally, she fell asleep. The final injection the vet said she did not feel.

    Our warm home suddenly transformed to an empty shell of a house. It seems to have lost all its spirit. We have never been without pets, the first just after we were married the with kids, the kids moved out, hubby's mother for five years with Alzheimers moved in, always a busy house..... AND always a pet.

    Although we have had three Shepherds, Sea-Ra took her job as protector to the limits. Now, I feel lonely, vunerable. (Selfish again?)

    Yesterday, my huband was at work, my sons were at work, the friends I might call were working. And my best friend who lives out of State, the go-to person in these situations, just lost her husband not long ago so I did not want to lay my burdeon down at her feet.

    Therefore I came here to lay my burdeon down. I hesitated, as we are all stressed and need not more, but I needed to "talk." I cannot tell you how much your words meant to me. And during the times Sea-Ra slept, I came to look.

    You helped me in spades! Fibromickster, Julie, Rafiki, Monica33flowers, Victoria, 4everkid, Nancy, Frosty77, Mustluvdogs, Doloresf1, Budmiki, Ckball, Mikie, Granni, Tona, thank you. Yes I cried reading the posts, but it was so comforting to know others understood. I thank you, it helped me to help our dear Sea-Ra. Your gift was passed on.

    Love, June

    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2008]
  16. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    the positive is that we are so fornate that we can humanly do this to our animals and not have the suffer like us humans have to do.

    be proud you gave you friend a good life and will be in a better life after the vet takes care of your friend...


  17. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    Some one pointed out to me before making my decision that it is a blessing we can choose to shorten the suffering of our dear pets, and they thought how inhumane we cannot do that for our human friends.

    At some time, I will feel better about my decision, it just hurts all over right now.

    Thank you for sharing with me, it does help so much. Thank you for your time.

    Love, June
  18. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    How do you cope with the loss of one of the few beings who ever loved you unconditionally?

    I think we cope by mourning until we're mourned out - and even then we'll find ourselves continuing to mourn years later when we're reminded of them.

    As you said, you know intellectually that you did the most loving thing. She lived up to her end of your unwritten bargain by being a wonderful friend and you lived up to your end of the bargain that we all assume when we adopt an animal friend. You loved her and gave her the best life possible - and when good life was no longer possible, you sacrificed your need for her and let her go.

    My heart aches for you.

    BIG ENORMOUS hugs,