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Zeke1_

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Reply with quote  #1 
I can't open my heart to new dog because I am still grieving my beloved Zeke. It has been 47 days since I had to make the most horrible decision in my life to put him to sleep. My wife and I could not stand the empty house and silence anymore and got what is a new wonderful smart dog in all respects but I just go through the motions throwing ball or playing with him. I try to really engage but just can't stop thinking how much I miss Zeke and start comparing how much more wonderful he was. I know it is completely irrational and this dog deserves better but I can not help myself. I am writing this in tears and it is only recently that I can even function through a workday. I know you all are experiencing this gut wrenching and emptiness and do not know where to turn. I upset my wife who I know is also still grieving but I don't know if we made a mistake getting another dog so soon. I find myself still looking at adoption sites trying to find a dog with more similar traits. I know this is irrational too but I feel compelled to and utterly helpless. I grieve Zeke more than any family member or the 15 dogs in my lifetime before him and I don't understand why this one has such a hold on me. Not sure why I am even writing this other than to reach out for advise on the new dog and maybe not feel so alone in my thoughts.
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Memories_of_Marmalade

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Reply with quote  #2 



Zeke was your "Spirit Animal." So you had a very unique bond. Eventually your new dog will also develop a unique bond with you, as every dog is unique in it's own way. Having had 15 dogs, you already know this.

Just be gentle with yourself. And try and not overthink, or over analyze all of your emotions during these difficult times. Grief is like the tides of the ocean. At times it is a small swell, that will ebb around you, at other times it will almost consume you, rise up to your neck, make you panic, and then at other times it will completely overwhelm you and almost drown you ( in sadness.) The trick is to just "go with the flow" and not try and fight the negative energy of grief. Tread water when necessary, swim gently when necessary, or hold your breath, until you can breath easily again. Don't panic. Stay calm. Stay at peace. 

I am sorry for your loss of your beloved Zeke. He must have been a very special dog to have impacted you so deeply. That just shows the depth of the love you had for one another, and thus...the depth of your current grief.

"This too shall pass."


Kind regards and my sincerest condolences,
James

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brady

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Reply with quote  #3 
Zeke,

I'm not sure if I can offer the best advice.  However, I CAN tell you that you are not alone.

I lost my dog, Bo, about a year and a half ago.  I still have days when it feels like I lost him just yesterday.  He was abandoned as a puppy and took to me right away when we met.  He was my buddy for 16 years.  Losing him was terribly difficult.  I have said since then...and still do...that I will have never have another dog.  It's just too hard to deal with losing them.

My wife, ex now, (however, it was a very amicable split...at least THAT went well) said we should focus on the good times we have with them and the great lives they have while they are with us.  I think she is right, to a degree.  Everyone is different though... 

I ended up with one of the 5 cats that we had together... Max is the most puppy-like cat I've ever known.  Much like Bo, he took to me immediately.  I can see myself having a similar reaction like you did with Zeke...I will always compare every dog to Bo and every cat to Max.

Don't beat yourself up over not warming up to the new dog.  Especially so soon after losing one that you had such a bond with.  There is always the fear of "getting a dog to soon"...not fully grieving our loss and putting our focus on bonding over the new dog.  Personally, I think that cuts short the grieving process.  

Like you, I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing here either.  I hope I'm helping though.  I will say I think the best thing you can do is to talk to each other about your feelings.  To go back to my divorce for a second, that was one of the (many) things that drifted us apart.  Thankfully, we are better off as friends.  We had a talk a while back about how devastating losing Bo was for us, yet we grieved alone and didn't share all that much about what we were processing.  For a childless couple, it was very much like losing a son.  Had we had a stronger bond, it might have drawn us closer.

With that said, I don't think we ever really "get over" losing a pet we are so close to. Keep their memory alive and enjoy your new dog if that is what helps you.  Don't think it diminishes what Zeke meant to you though.  Hang in there...it does get better.  




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Zeke1_

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thank you James. I know all you said is true, but you have a lovely way of expressing it. Right now I am feeling "consumed" and it is comforting to read your kind words. I am sorry to hear of your loss of Marmalade also, the photo is adorable. Yes this will pass, but you are right that Zeke was my spirit animal - he was "the one." At this point I don,t think the new dog, Bravo will ever be that close but he will certainly be given a loving home and hopefully help pull me out of this funk. Thank you again for responding --take care.
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Zeke1_

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you Brady. I appreciate the candor of your post and glad there are two of us not knowing why we are posting. I do not believe I will ever stop grieving completely but I do know that some day hopefully I may think of him and smile instead of breaking down crying. I am sorry to hear about Bo and Max. Zeke was also a rescue (stray on a construction site) that we could not find the owner. It appeared he was dumped and it was his last day before being taken to a kill pound by the contractor. I was there as an inspector for the final building inspection and I opened up my car door to get my phone to call my wife about him and he jumped in and sat in the passenger seat and looked at me like let's go. I never did make the call as I took it as a sign. He adopted me and taught me how to be a better human. Take care.
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nosunshine36

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Reply with quote  #6 
I get where you are! My co-workers talked me into getting a new dog after I lost my Sunny. I was super happy at first but pretty soon the realization that he wasn’t my Sunny and never would be started to sink in. It took a while for me to start to see his personality. He is very different and I have come to love him for who he is while still loving Sunny. It’s walking a bit of a fine line. I was panicking thinking: “What did I do?” because my new dog, Charlie, had already been rehomed once before and I knew I couldn’t do that to him again so for a long time I did exactly as you describe: I went through the motions but grieved desperately for Sunny. I have come to love Charlie but it took time for us to bond. I think I did allow myself to be talked into getting him too quickly but now I wouldn’t ever let him go. I will say that there are still times when I cry for Sunny but I’m so happy that I have Charlie and somewhere along the way, I realized that I wasn’t being disloyal and I don’t have to let go of Sunny’s memory ever but I still enjoy my time with Charlie and have been able to give my heart to him.
I think it will work out. As James said, be gentle with yourself and don’t expect too much. I would only suggest to look for the unique things about your new dog and it will be the things that set him apart from Zeke that believe it or not you will come to love. You can love them both in time. I hope this might help.
Your story of how you first got Zeke was so beautiful! My deepest sympathy on your loss!
Blessings,
Sharon
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Jan_H

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Reply with quote  #7 
That's such a sweet story about how you and Zeke adopted each other.

Jagger was my special pet and I miss him a lot. I love my other boy and will be devastated when he leaves me too. But at times I feel guilty for not feeling the same for him. I have a special bond with him but still it does not feel the same and I feel guilty that maybe I don't love him enough.

I think in time you will grow to love your new dog. He won't replace your Zeke and you may not have that same special bond but I'm sure you will grow very attached to him over time.

Jan
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Memories_of_Marmalade

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Reply with quote  #8 


I concur Jan. I have known many cats over the years, but Marmalade shined so brightly. I think I mentioned there were 7 or 8 cats in his colony in New Mexico, but he and I had a very special and unique bond. I've only known a few cats that I have felt so close to. Dusty, Cosmos, Hogan and Mitten. But that was over many decades.

James
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Zeke1_

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Reply with quote  #9 
It seems like a long time since I posted this but it is only 6 days ago. I am now on day 53 of my Zeke's passing and it seems longer. I see this is a common thread here to have time warped and don't know if that is some sort of mental protection. I also have responded to a few posts and see some are wondering when to get a new dog. I still have my new dog Bravo and he is such a sweet dog.... but he is nothing personality wise as my beloved Zeke. I still cry for him everyday although it is more manageable now. I can function at work and feel that some day I may have a better bond with Bravo but I am still just going through the motions at work and in interacting with Bravo. What I do feel is that Zeke is and will always be "the one" and I do not feel I will ever have that sort of bond with Bravo. My wife and I still grieve but she feels I should interact better and let the new dog into my heart. It is something she gets mad at me about. It is not a matter of not wanting too.. he is a sweet sweet dog but there is no connection the way from the first moment that Zeke and I shared a special bond immediately and a love that just grew stronger until we were spiritually connected. Bravo will have a great home and I will come to love him someday but just not right now. He does make the house not feel empty but right now I look at him and just wish it was my beloved Zeke instead. I do not know if it helps or not to share this and I know everyone is different but what is not different is the intense and over whelming grief we all share at this forum. I would certainly get another dog but the timing is something that is individual, you do have something that demands your attention which at times that is good and at others not as much. I am not sure timing would matter much to me in how I feel but I do know my kind hearted Zeke would expect me to rescue another dog and give him a good home. I believe the difference is that Zeke had rescued and "picked" me. Thank you all on this forum for being here, it makes me cry to hear others stories and makes me cry seeing how similar our stories and grief is but I do know I would have a much worse time if I felt alone in my grief. I hope my rambling words are helpful to others in that sense also. --Ted
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Mysweetsimba

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Reply with quote  #10 
Bravo will never, ever be Zeke. He will never be any other dog, except for being him. Try to remember that Bravo is not a replacement.
It must be hard having the loss of one pet, and having another one needing your love and presence.
I think don't be hard on your self, just take your time to get to know Bravo. Along the way you will find your way of adding him to your heart, with Zeke having a big ol' patch in there already.
My thoughts are with you.
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