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How do you come to terms with the loss of a pet?


chimpmaster

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I can see that this issue has been raised with regards to the loss of relatives and friends (human ones) so I have created a separate thread as this is both a sensitive issue to some and not so sensitive for others.

Two days ago, I walked into my yard and caught my two boxer pups shaking Betty, one of my chickens. 

I smacked the dogs and they backed off.  My wife picked up betty and her neck was broken  and she was dead. 

We both really loved betty. Of our three chickens she was the adventurous one, but also so very gentle.

My wife burst into tears and so did I in the end.  I then proceeded to dig a grave and bury the poor chick.

You see for us, the chickens werent just layers, they were our pets.  I can understand now why farmers dont develop relationships with their stock.

Whats really hard is that not everyone understands.  My mum rang and I told her I couldnt talk as I was digging a grave, and she just said, "its only a chicken".  But to us she was much more than that.

I plan to plant bush tomatos over her grave in a couple of weeks so that she can be at one with the earth and once again something beautiful.  Fortunately we have photos to help remember her by.

Just wondering if anyone else has had similiar experiences and if so, how did you deal with them.

I have also lost a cat (when I was young, broke my heart), 3 grand parents (I loved them) and a brother (he was 25 I was 17 - fucked me up for a few years), but this isnt about severity of loss, just sharing loss of pets with each other for support.

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aww chimpmaster, I'm sorry.

I'd be bawling right along with you if I were there. I don't have any advice on how to deal with it, tho I know I'd find it hard to not become attached to any animals I had.

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Well, I'm a fellow chicken-lover and let's keep that quiet because there aren't too many of us, chimpmaster.

I started with banties, the small chickens that come in all colors and shapes.  My favorite was a little gray hen not much bigger than a dove.  Her name was "Miss Gray"---not very original--but she was a gentle little thing and would fly to my shoulder and perch when I went into the coop to feed the chickens.

I had her for 3 or 4 years, and was VERY upset when a raccoon broke into the run and killed several of the chickens, including Miss Gray.

I don't think there's anything wrong with mourning a chicken, or a parrot or a cat, or any other pet that you have fed and loved.  My husband has always buried our chickens in our vegetable garden, and I think that's fitting for a farm animal.  My cats and dogs are buried next to our pond, and I sometimes sit there and think about them.

Mourn all of your animals, but remember the qualities you liked and the companionship they gave you.  Animals can be the best salve for a broken heart, no doubt about it.  But you can't stop having them because you're afraid to risk another sad time.

You need to train your dogs, or keep the chickens in a secure run.  (I hope I'm not insulting you here, if you have already tried to train them.)  I tell my neighbors whose dogs have killed some of my chickens, that, to a dog, a chicken is the ultimate squeaky toy.  They don't know that they're being bad when they grab them.  I just got a dog a few months ago and he gets a firm "NO" when he goes anywhere near my chickens.

I'm so sorry about Betty.  Don't be ashamed that you and your wife loved this animal.  I think you will find a lot of sympathy among the CB community.

olga

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Losing a pet is a real tough one.  We had our golden retriever (smartest dog I ever owned) for 13  years.  She hung in there till she couldn't make it any more.  She died 7 months after I lost my father of cancer.  It's like a whirlwind came and took them both away and you're never quite right after it.  Really puts the reality in growing older and people and pets just don't last forever.  Can really put ya into the dumps big time.  I have now just started to come out of my mourning for my father - been 5 years this month since he's died.  I realized it was not gonna bring him back.  Death certainly is a strange thing.  My thoughts go out to you.  Kris.

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chimpmaster:

I'm so sorry at your and your wife's loss of your beloved Betty.

Here are some websites that offer help and information on pet loss and grief:

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/petloss/Emotions.htm

http://www.vet.purdue.edu/chab/loss.htm - List of resources re: Pet Loss and Grief

http://www.vet.purdue.edu/chab/hotlines.htm - List of Pet Loss and Grief Hotlines

I wish you both the best,

revlow

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Rabbit:  You just brought back the nicest memory--some years ago an acquaintance of mine asked if she could have a couple dozen eggs because her class wanted to hatch them and she couldn't find fertilized eggs anywhere.  Of course I gave them to her, and for several years afterwards. 

I always liked the idea that all of those children were watching those hatching chicks and seeing something that has passed out of normal experience for most of us.  If the children couldn't take all of the chicks home, I always took back any extras and added them to my flock.

14 years!  THAT was some healthy rooster!!

olga

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Chimpy,

I am realy sorry to hear about Betty. Pets are members of our family. All kind sof people have all sorts of pets, the species doesn't matter.

My friend who is a goddess when it comes to pet rescue -- she has taken two trips to New Orleans now spending weeks rescueing animals and bringing them back to her home which is about as far away as a home can be from NO and still be in the lower 48.

To the point: she has dogs and cats and snakes, and rabbits, and has had a goose, and everything else in her care. Her dogs and cats all lived happily together in the house. Her cats were indoor/outdoor cats. When the cats were let outside she usually was at home. One day she came home to find that one of her cats had sneaked out of the house into the backyard and the dogs killed the cat. She was devasted. She had lost a cat she loved very much and her own dogs killed the cat. But she couldn't be mad at the dogs because they were just being dogs and a cat came into the fenced yard, the dogs' yard, and even though it was a cat they knew and lived with, they killed it.

Losing pets is gut wrenching. In November I sobbed for hours when I remembered it was just about a year ago that I had to have my male basset put down. He was suffering, I know. He was a rescue dog and I know that his last few years spent with me were good and happy years. At the time and in November, and even now this makes me want to cry and kick myself. I only had enough money to put my big boy out of his misery. I did not have enough money to bury him and I couldn't bury him in the yard because I rent the house, it is against the law to do so within city limits, and even if I did bring him home and bury him I was afraid some other animal(s) may come and try to dig him up.

I hate myself for this. But I had no income at all, couldn't work, and was not yet on disability. I still feel like a jerk because I could not give my boy a decent burial.

So, treat Betty's grave with the attention and loving care she desrves.

Again, I am sorry.

Erika

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Chimpmaster,

Sorry about your chicken.  What kind was it?

For me the consolation to losing a pet it the fact that because their lives are so much shorter than ours, we have the priviledge of having so many of them in our lives.  And even when you have two or pets of the same breed with similar mannerisms, they each have their own personality.

My folk used to keep ducks, and had a small wire enclosure for them.  Their farm has lots of wild life and the owls kept picking off the ducks individually during the day when out of the pen.  Periodically the bobcats would come around a night, tear the door of its hinges and take all the ducks.

You've gotta build a pretty strong enclosure to keep out bobcat, so they gave up on the fowl.

Regards,

A.M.

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I'm really glad this thread is here, because I just returned from the vet with my 16 year old English Springer Spaniel.  He's on a last ditch course of antibiotics and Prednisone in the hopes that it will shrink his prostate enough for him to stay longer.  If he's not improved by Monday, the vet said to make plans to euthanize him.

He's half my family.  That's all I have, him and my mom.  I brought him home from the shelter 8 years ago, because they were going to put him to sleep since he was so "old."  He followed so close to me, he even tried to get in the shower.  We have more pictures of our dog than we do of ourselves.  Over the years, he lost his hearing completely, ate a bunch of my ma's Bipolar friend's meds (Pet Emergency Clinic), ate a bag of Hershey's kisses (Pet Emergency Clinic), knocked over the garbage and ate all the chicken bones (Pet Emergency Clinic now on speed dial), took over the entire bed to the point where I fall off on a regular basis, and has finally let the bird land on his head for a ride.

He's the only one who has been continuously with me for the past 4 years of this horrible Bipolar shit, and has never judged me or asked anything in return.  When I'm depressed he stays right next to me, and when I'm crazy manic he's running around, too.  When I'm suicidal and crying, he hits my hand with his nose and snuggles in.

Oh god, what am I going to do?

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I had my cat treated in the #1 vet clinic in the US, only to hold him in my arms as he received his final injection, the result of a rare birth defect.

You can't get over it. Like the death of a close family member it stays and stays. I have his pawprint in claw and his urn.. people think I'm weird for having my cat's ashes! LOL Mourn in your way. Don't listen when people are insensitive. If you want your pet's ashes then get them.

you could also get another pet. The new one will never replace the old one, but will add to your pet family and will comfort you as well. I love all the cats and dogs I';ve had. They've all been swell during my MI>

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revlow,

thank you for your words. I know I gave my boy a good home. I knwo that al he wanted was to live out the rest of his years with someone who loved him and I loved the crazy boy!

Jbella,

knowing that the time will come is so hard. But when the time came I could see it on my dog's face, it was like he was saying Please! It did not lessen my pain but it did his. Have you thought about getting another dog? Is it possible for you to get another dog before you have to let your boy go? New puppy/dog can't replace your very special friend but may help with the transition. Fostering a dog is also a good way to help yourself and a pet without a home. All the breeds have rescue groups. Maybe look into a English Springer group in your state or in your area.

Erika

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JBella:

I am so sorry to hear what you and your dog are going through. I hope that Monday brings good news.

If not, you will get through it. As painful as it is, you will. Losing your friend will be a tremendous loss, but you will -- eventually -- be able to accept it, remember his wonderful spirit and gain strength from it.

I agree with Erika. When the time came, each of my animals -- in their own way -- let me know. Here's something I read at a site I found from one of the lists of links I posted above:

Remember, no one knows your pet better than you do.  You have spent a great deal of time learning to communicate with your pet by reading his/her body language.  Attend to what your pet may be trying to communicate.  And trust what your heart tells you.

It's never easy. It is a blessing that we do have this option, a peaceful and painless death, for our companion animals.

You may want to check out the links above; the 2nd and 3rd are lists of resources. There's a wealth of information and help available.

Lastly, though this thread deals with the loss of a grandfather, the issues are very much related: http://www.crazyboards.org/index.php?showtopic=8829

Best,

revlow

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Chimpmaster,

I am very very sorry for your loss.  Many years ago we had a dog die suddenly (stupid ex-husbands fault) when my mother called to tell me about a pair of shoes she bought and I was crying so hard I could barely talk.  She said "Good lord, are you CRYING ??  It was only a dog!"

I have a 14 year old large breed dog that I expect to go at any time.  When I wake up each day, if he is alive I am thankful.  This dog has been with me from my twenties, thru my thirties and into my forties.  He has seen my son from starting kindergarden to starting college.

The only way I see myself coping with this dog death is a week off of work and a gallon of Wild Turkey 101.

kane

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A poem I have known of for some time

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...

And a site for folks who have lost their furry friendsRainbowsBridge

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thank you Chimpmaster for starting this thread, thank you everyone for your resources and words of wisdom, and my heartful condolences for every loss.

loved ones are loved ones, whether human or furry or feathered.

unless the world blows up, some soulmates (i use the term loosely but seriously) outlive each other.

all we can do is love and do our best for our dear friends and family while they are alive, and in how they live on.

my mom and my cat of 15 years died one day apart. they are both still with me, all i have to do is think of them. more and more it's for their wisdom. of course at first it was more for tears. grief happens in stages and takes time.

one of the things that helps, with pets, is getting a new one. they won't replace the other, but they'll bring and accept love, and in time a strong bond will grow.

also when possible having multiple pets is a good thing, and getting a new one when one passes so everyone has new bonds.

loved ones die but love lives on.

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My heart thanks everyone for your replies and goes out to all who have lost a beloved one.

The spaniel seems to be pulling through for the time being.  I keep my fingers crossed, because he doesn't seem ready to go yet.  There's still food on the table. 

I love that Rainbow Bridge poem.  When I die, I am going to be assaulted by a mob of dogs, birds, gerbils, rabbits, and hamsters.  So many hamsters.

RIP Isadora the Collegiate Hamster, smarter than all of us

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loved ones are loved ones, whether human or furry or feathered.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Truer words have never been said. Amen.

One thing I would add: everyone is different, and we all grief and move on in our own way. For some people, getting a new companion animal soon after the death of another makes sense. For others it doesn't. You need to do what is right for you and to move at your own pace.

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One thing I would add: everyone is different, and we all grief and move on in our own way. For some people, getting a new companion animal soon after the death of another makes sense. For others it doesn't. You need to do what is right for you and to move at your own pace.

I don't think there's ever been a time - ever - in my life when I didn't have at least one pet. My way has been to acquire a puppy/kitten/bird as the first one grows older. We have a 13 yo dog... 2 years ago we bought a toy fox terrier. First time I've ever bought a dog, other than the rescue center. Yes, there will be grief when our beagle/bassett passes on, my hope is that the terrier will help us through that. And we were "found" by a stray puppy last year as well, so our hands are now full. Of love, I might add. We also have a 15yo cat, I've noticed she's growing deaf, and is continuing to sleep more and more. I'm afraid her time will be soon.

I've had my share of grief with pets, too much to share now.

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