nbc57
Thank you to all who have shared here.  This forum has been so helpful to me in the past few weeks since we lost our sweet Cally.  She was a 14-year old lab/shepherd mix who we adopted from the local shelter at 3 months.  She was a stray- actually had green spray paint on her...and a fear of men which we helped her work through in her early years. She was most certainly part of our family-and especially "my girl". She would come running whenever I came home and often would start eating when i was settled home-like "life is good now". She saw us through so many ups and downs, helping "raise" our daughters through middle and high school and me through the empty nest and death of my dad. She could read my emotions and often came with kisses when I was sad or stressed. She was such a good girl...she left us without one accident in the house, except one day when she obviously had diarrhea and literally tore at the door shade to get out while we were not home.  She was a bit "prissy" - did not like storms or rain...but also such a fighter, overcoming ACL surgery and lots of lump removal which is common for labs. She liked to sneak up on couches and could amuse herself with squeaky toys...even into her later years  In thinking about her now, she evened out the rough edges in our lives and was a calming, constant presence of love and loyalty.

Early this year, she began showing evidence of cognitive decline...lots of evening pacing, circling and eventual loss of interest in all the things she loved including chasing squirrels, resting in her favorite spot outside, greeting us at the door and playing with her toys. She has so much arthritis in her legs and getting up and down was a struggle. I felt like she often looked at me like "Mom, what am I supposed to be doing?" Early this month, she showed more confusion and lack of interest in eating despite lots of added chicken and beef! We tried a variety of anti-pain and anti-anxiety meds but she was literally worn out from the repetitive pacing. My husband slept on the first floor with her for months so that she was never alone.

We made the agonizing decision to end her pain on June 7th.  Her regular vet and tech came to our home, we had a special morning of goodbyes/prayer and her bed, favorite toys and rubbed her belly and head while we said goodbye.  She had the softest fur ever-like a rabbit. While the vet was explaining the procedure, Cally literally came into the room and lay down in the middle of us. I like to think she was saying "i'm ready-thank you". She was more at peace than I've seen her in along time. We had her cremated and had the ashes back in 24 hours which helped me a great deal. I am having a planter custom painted and will include some ashes and place in her favorite spot in the yard. We participated in the Monday service and created an album of photos. I am journaling in a special pet memorial journal and found some books that have been helpful.

I knew the loss would be hard, but it has been so heartbreaking.  I cried for days and still feel an emptiness in my heart and home.  I certainly don't miss the pain that she was in her last days, but more her presence in my life.  I wonder when I will not be sad coming home...when will being in my home feel joyful again? It is so hard that our world does not understand...a few Facebook posts and friends move on.  My family has been supportive in keeping me busy and listening, yet even they seem to be saying "you have to move on". I know I do and will, but this is grief pure and simple. I miss her.

One friend said that she couldn't comprehend the courage and love it took to put Cally's needs ahead of our own. That helped me. Thank you for listening and allowing me to share.




Nancy Costello
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Tankie12
Nancy I am so very sorry, what a heartbreaking loss. What a wonderful girl Cally sounds like. They do add soo much love and joy to our lives and the loss can’t be measured or expressed in words as it’s felt so deep inside but you were able to paint your life with her so well and I cry for you and your family. This is such a painful journey, grief can’t be denied and you can’t hope for everyone to come close to that understanding. But your grief is yours and forever how long, no one else can determine that for you. It’s sad that not everyone has felt the unconditional love of a dog (pet), they are our family, the grief for many is even stronger than the death of a family member. They are our child that never went through the “I don’t like you stage” or the “I don’t need you stage” they listened to our problems, heartache, and didn’t mind if we were not in the nicest mood. The just loved us, and we them. I’m happy I read you prayed about this. I don’t believe the spirit dies with the body, it’s impossible so much love and laughter and joy are gone, as if they never existed, they did. I also believe when the time is right you’ll see your precious Cally, I believe I’ll see my beautiful Tankie and that gives me strength. This is a place full of caring wonderful people who like you are in their own grief but will reach out with comforting words and advice to help go through it. Write as often as you wish,,,,,be kind to yourself
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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dachsiemom
How beautifully you have written here about your beloved Cally.  I read your post with tears in my eyes, grieving with you and remembering the loss of my dachshund boy, Brandon, almost 3 months ago.  It is obvious that Cally was a special dog and that she had a wonderful life with you and your husband.  I could really relate when you said that you knew it would be hard but that is has been so heartbreaking.  That is exactly how I felt when I had to say goodbye to Brandon.  I no longer feel sad walking into my house, although I did for weeks.  I also had trouble sleeping at night, but that too has passed.  Right now it is probably difficult to imagine being really happy again, especially when you are at home with the memories all around you.  The silence in my house really bothered me after Brandon died, and I realized that the sound I was missing was the sound of my own voice as I talked and sang to him constantly.  I am sorry that you are experiencing this same sadness.  -Dachsiemom
Moira - remembering Brandon
"Better lo'ed ye canna be. Will ye no' come back again?"
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Purzel
Your story is so loving and moved me deeply. I am sorry you lost sweet Cally and my heart goes out to you. Your story is very similar to mine - I lost my beloved Max this January. I smiled and I had tears come to my eyes reading about Cally and all the love and joy she brought into your lives. To say good bye is heartbreaking and I can relate so much to what you wrote there. They were so much a part of our lives that there is almost nothing we did without them. I understand very well how empty the house feels now because all this joy and laughter is simply missing. I am sure we all understand and it certainly does take time. Just like Moira wrote, I also sang to Max all the time... and I still do whilst I imagine Max' joy and happiness when I sang to him.

My good thoughts are with you
Silvia (with Max forever in my heart)

[hundi]


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nbc57
Thank you for these heartfelt and compassionate responses. Each of you has added to my journey in some way.  Lynn, I take strength in your belief that you will see your precious Tankie again-I believe that as well.  My faith has been critical in these difficult days. I remember that we have a source of unconditional love that will last forever. Moira, your affirmation that time heals some pain is helpful. I hope you are able to remember Brandon with a smile these days.  Silvia, I love the image of you singing to your dear Max. I still talk to Cally and feel her presence urging me to keep going with joy and strength as she did.

This grief has aroused other times of grief in my life which I see others have experienced as well. Tears, though painful are needed. I recall learning that "grief tears" are unique in their composition and actually have special healing components.  I go for a period-then the pain hits again and I am overcome with tears. Yes, sleep is difficult.  Yesterday, we had a bad storm and I immediately thought of how afraid she might be-headed to the laundry room...so many memories that catch me off guard. I keep thinking I have to take care of her...so many reminders of her daily schedule. I want to take some treats to our vet's office to thank them but don't feel I am quite ready.  Journaling has been helpful-I want to remember every detail of her special life with us. The forever part of goodbye is so heartbreaking. This is such a safe place to share...I am grateful. Blessing to all of you on this journey toward healing!
Nancy Costello
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dachsiemom
Nancy-  I have also read about grief tears being different, that they are the body's way of ridding itself of toxins and regaining equilibrium.  Right after Brandon died I had many "good cries" after which I did feel a sense of relief.  It took a while but now I find that I can talk about it without breaking down.  That's progress.  I will be thinking of you and wishing you peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.  -Moira 
Moira - remembering Brandon
"Better lo'ed ye canna be. Will ye no' come back again?"
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Karensmith
Oh I can so relate to your feelings. My big boy died suddenly at home June 16th and it’s still very raw. Our vet suspects either cardiomyopthy or a stroke based on his symptoms. We will never know for sure. Coming into the house is difficult and sad because I don’t get his big enthusiastic greeting with an occasional offering (toy, raw hide) and the most unique toothy grin. A grin so unusual In a dog. I left work today a little later knowing the house would be empty. My husband and teenager wouldn’t be home so I saw no reason to rush home to the sad empty house. It really feels empty. I know in time this will change but the days and nights seem so long right now.
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nbc57
Karen,
I'm so sorry for your loss, especially the sudden nature which didn't give you and your family time to prepare.  It also sounds like your dog was still quite energetic...so that must be extra difficult.  Allow yourself to cry...you need it and he deserves it. It is certainly grief for a family member. Yes, each day gets a bit easier but the reminders still jar you and ask to be noticed! Be good to yourself...one day at a time.

Nancy 
Nancy Costello
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