Let me just start right off and say this: you just might not ever get over losing your dog.
It can be that painful, and even after years of time have passed, the pain may be just as sharp and cutting as the day your dog died. I have met people that had experienced over ten years of loss, and they are still in grief over the passing of their dog.
Why is that?
Because dogs are wonderful!!! They love you unconditionally.
When something loves you that much, then that goes away, it’s so hard to live without that love.
I’m writing this to help other people struggling to deal with the loss of a dog or pet. I hope to provide some tips and avenues to alleviate the pain and start healing.
I Just Lost My Dog
It has been three months since losing my dog at the time of writing this. His name was Ishi, a Shiba Inu. We usually called him Eesch for short or Ishi-boy. He had just turned two years old when we had to put him down due to multiple issues.
One day he was the picture of health and the next day he was having seizures and syncope (a form of fainting). After many trips to three vets, we found out he had IMHA (a form of anemia). Then later on from the medication he developed a severe case of pancreatitis and also a tumor in his chest cavity.
I truly felt I wanted a dog in my life to add more love into my life. I put aside a lot, including this website to raise a dog. I got Ishi as a puppy and spent a lot of time with him, training him and playing.
Despite feeding him the best food and water we could afford and giving him two one-hour walks a day, he still got sick so young. We are still in shock over this. I had a real connection with him.
I waited for almost 30 years to get a dog of my own, and I lose him in two years. This wasn’t enough time, and I feel cheated somehow.
He was my boy!
He was a true friend!
He loved me and I him!
Fighting The Universe To Save Him
We were driving two hours to get the best vet we could. The vet around where I lived barely helped.
My wife and I spent thousands of dollars and late nights with little sleep trying to get him better. We did this because of how young he was, and we loved him. Trying to defeat destiny, but after three months of struggling, we ended his suffering.
Pain of The Loss
I wasn’t ready for loss. I wasn’t ready for the raw pain.
Who is? I’m pretty sure nobody is.
When I was alone, I would immediately start wailing. I could put up a good front at work and around friends, but when a moment by myself came, I cried and grieved. I still cry, feel angry, and a real sense of loss. The first two months were the worst for me personally.
Like I said earlier, I sometimes don’t think you get over losing a dog. But there are things you can do to lessen the blow of losing a dog.
What Might Help
The Passage Of Time
It’s true and we have all heard it, but it bears repeating. The pain will slowly get less and less with each passing day.
A sense of loss I think will never be gone, but time does ease the pain.
I find myself getting sad lately, but I don’t want to remember my dog that way, so I try to think of a specific happy time I had with him. Instead of focusing on my personal loss.
Scream Crying Into A Pillow
I did this in my deepest grief. I would scream/cry into a pillow my grief. So the neighbors wouldn’t call the police or whatever. This gets a lot of the rawness out as it allows an avenue for the anger to get out.
Join A Facebook Pet Loss & Grief Group
For me personally, this was the most healing. I highly recommend if you are struggling with the loss of your pet to join at least one group.
The grief of a pet isn’t given as much support as the grief of a family member, and sometimes you don’t get the support you need. Pet loss is often looked at as lesser, but oftentimes, losing a pet can feel a much deeper sense of loss. This is where a grief group comes in, people that are going through the same thing as you are.
This is the best and the most positive thing about Facebook, in my opinion. People will leave heartfelt messages, as well as share stories with you.
People will also pray for you. I mean how wonderful is that. The advice you get will be amazing as these people have also gone through what you been through.
This also makes you see you’re not the only one dealing with this and specific feelings that come with a loss, like grief, guilt, and depression.
Some Facebook Groups To Join
- The Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss and Grief Support – This is the one I joined, and it really helped my wife and me. Very positive and supportive!
- Rainbow Bridge
- Pet Loss Grief Support
Write About Your Dog
You can write on a simple note or enter into a journal about your grief, sense of loss, and the love for your dog.
My wife and I each wrote down separately what we miss about our dog, funny situations, habits, names of dog friends from the neighborhood, likes and dislikes, and memorable stuff. We must have filled half a notebook. This helps us remember more about our dog that we would forget as the years go by. It also honors our beloved boy.
We often pull out the notebook and add another memory, a little detail here and there that we had forgotten.
Talk To Your Deceased Pet
Talk to your pet in your head or when you are alone out loud. Tell them how much you miss them. Tell them about your feelings. Like for example, I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to save you.
I often tell my dog I miss him so much, and I love him all the time.
Schedule An Appointment With A Pet Psychic
I know, I know. This one is a bit out there. There are a lot of phony psychics willing to take your money and tell you what you want to hear. But there are great psychics; the trouble is finding a good one.
So, what is a Pet Psychic? Pet psychics claim to talk to living or deceased pets.
Just be careful. Check their credibility by looking at their website and watching videos on YouTube.
Quotes + Gratitude
In all things, give thanks. This is an especially hard one to practice, but I really feel myself pushing my boundaries and spirituality when I say and practice this one.
You need to come to a place of gratitude. Where you find the good and give thanks. This is a real switch turner for grief, it’ll get you progressing through it faster.
Eventually, Maybe Get Another Pet
When you are ready and you will know when that time is, get another pet.
I believe in fully grieving your pet before getting another pet. Allow some time to take place before getting another pet. Don’t let anyone tell you what the right amount of time is that should pass. Everyone is different. Some people may never want to get another pet again; others may feel the pull after a few months.
A new pet will help you greatly in moving forward. As your grieving needs to eventually stop or slow down, you need to continue to love and be happy living in the present.
Use A Linking Object
This is where you take a part of your friend and carry it around yourself. Like for example some of your dog fur, or its dog tags on your keychain. I do both of these, as I put Ishi’s fur in my wallet so I always have it on me and I had two dog tags for Ishi, one was buried with him and one is on my keychain.
Or if you had your pet cremated you can wear a pendant around your neck with some of your pet’s remains inside it.
When I am feeling really low, I pull out the fur and think of him. I believe it still carries some of his good vibes. This really helps.
Make A Donation
You can in your pet’s name donate money to a program, shelter, animal hospital or worthy cause. This is very rewarding as well.
This helps in so many ways and is so beneficial to both your physical health as well as mental health.
For me my wife and I stopped walking for 2 months prior to my dog passing. As we walked him all the time when he was healthy but I started exercising when he was sick. I started a bodyweight program and this has helped me deal with a lot of stuff. Giving me something to do is probably the most important and to keep me moving.
Blow Up A Favorite Picture
Take some of your best pictures that live on your phone and get them printed and hang them in the house. Walgreens is a good place to get them printed online and have them delivered to your house. Whether one or a bunch of them. This honors your pal and brings him back in a little way for you to see every day.
You can also start a scrapbook or a photo album together with all of your pictures.
The Trails End
I hope this helps someone find some solace over the passing of their dog or pet. I would like to restate to join a pet grief Facebook group as a place to find others that feel like you do and to connect and share experiences.
Do you have any helpful ideas for getting over grieving your dog, I would love to hear them. Please feel free to share ideas or a picture of your dog.Share This:
6 thoughts on “How To Get Over Losing A Dog”
I used to have a dog back in 2011. It was actually a stray puppy dog and we took him in. He was fun to play with, very obedient. And this was my first time having a pet dog. Alas, after about 1.5 years, he ran out of my gate one day and never came back. He used to come back every time he goes out to play. We tried to search for it but no matter how we tried, we could never find it. I was very sad as he was like my son. Those time spent, teaching him, playing with him, showering him, feeding him…. till now, I have his photo on my phone and in my FB album.
So sorry for your loss, it must be hard. It sounds like you really miss him as you guys had a lot of fun together. Thanks for sharing Richard.
Oh my god. I just had to put my dog down. But, before that, some 10 years ago, my sister lost my dog. I can say that the pain is different depending on how you lose your dog. Just my own experience. But when Jack was sick, I know he was going to die or that I’d have to put him to sleep at some point. So I was ready. When I put him down, I took your suggestions. But first and foremost, I had someone meet me at the vet to put him down so that I wasn’t alone. What I wouldn’t do was continue to spend thousands of dollars trying to keep him around, when it was inevitable that he was in pain. To me, that was a merciful act. Afterwards, I cried, and screamed into my pillow. I allowed myself to feel the pain. It got easier over time.
I would agree with you Shalisha about the pain is different from how you lose your dog. That is a good idea to have someone with you when you put your pet down. Thanks for your tips.
Hello Dan, Thanks alot for sharing this beautiful piece of information. It’s so sad that at a point in time your dog might die. My friend has faced this same issue. It is generally very sad when after all the money spent and all the time enjoyed with your dog, It is not easy to get over it. Thanks alot for your tips on this.
Your welcome, I just had to honor my dog somehow on my website, and what a better way to do this than trying to help other people.