yesterday my dog and best friend of 8 years Cash passed away after a long battle with congestive heart failure. this was somewhat expected but he had been doing well recently. i've lost pet chickens and ducks in the past but this the first time i've lost a dog, or any pet that i've had for such a long time. i can't help but feeling guilty about it. he passed while no one was home and i hadn't seen him for 2 weeks because i'm at college. it looked as if he just went to sleep and didn't wake up but i have a terrible feeing that he was scared or missing me at the time it happened. i've been beating myself up over this and i haven't been able to sleep the past two nights. it's like i can't find joy in anything right now; not my other pets or the good times me and Cash shared. i really need some advice or kind words.
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Indiana. He is such a cutie. Look, although we really dont know what did happen, chances are he was dreaming and of you and your good times as he closed his eyes. He was comfortable in his own surroundings, he recognized the smells, and quietly passed. Let yourself grieve over his passing, but there was nothing you could have done, as you were away. You can believe that God came down, covered him with his wings and gently lifted him up. He is at peace , running , playing. Be gentle to yourself. 

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Dear Indiana, 

I am very sorrowful to read of your recent loss of your beloved "Cash." He certainly was a handsome lad. Thank you for sharing that wonderful image of him and some of your story. Now we know of "Cash" too and will remember him.

I will share with you something that I thought of that provided me with some comfort and others here on the Rainbow Bridge Pet Grief Support Forum:

When my cat Marmalade (my best friend, son, brother, amigo, comrade in arms, love and light) and I were living together in a warehouse loft, before he departed this world, I used to have to occasionally go out for food & supplies etc. And I would have to leave my boy behind. He would walk me to the gate entrance area of the warehouse and quite often await my return. He would sit at the gate patiently keeping an eye on the outside world.

I often felt guilty about leaving Marmalade alone and wondered where he must have thought that I was going without him. I surmised after giving it some thought, that he knew that I would return on occasion with his canned cat food and deli meats and remove them from grocery bags. So as a "pack" of 2, in his eyes, Marmalade most likely just assumed I was out "hunting" for he and I to be able to eat. And for some reason it was too dangerous for him to accompany me. Pets due realize that the outside surroundings are more dangerous, than being inside a locked and secure area. 

As an advances species, we are also mythical creatures to our pets. They don't understand all that we do and are involved in. They look at cars for instance and don't understand them. They just accept that we are doing what we humans do when we drive in our cars. So when we leave our pets, they must just assume that we are going out "hunting" or on some kind of a "walk-about", as the Aussies have dubbed it. Doing what we mysterious humans do.

Therefore when you were away at college, your pup "Cash" most likely just assumed you were on a long hunt or out on walk-about. As the Doctor so wisely posted above, your pup may have missed you, but he was not thinking ill of you. If you are kind and compassionate to your pets, they don't hold grudges and think ill of us. They provide us with unconditional love as we all know. Thus was most likely the case with your "Cash." And being at home, was a positive thing, not a negative. Your home was his home too. We should all be so fortunate when we depart.

My sincere condolences, and kind regards,
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James, so why cant I stop crying. You know I am a doc, and have decided to give up my work at the university I teach, I am hoping my wife and I can reach a place of strength and happiness. Everything we do, see, smell in the house was Dino. I was unable to speak to patients without getting misty eyed. 
I know I will recover, but  this love of our fur babies has to be different from other love. Our sig others, family, etc. I feel like its a piece of my heart that has been taken out. How long does one wait before trying to grow that part of the heart. 
I have to tell you, that I have read some of the most compassionate,loving insigttful things I have ever seen in medical literature etc., psych literature etc. 

Thanks for listening.

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Hi Doc,

It will be around 6 months for me next week. And yet I cried again last night for the loss of my boy and missing him so.

I do think because our pets love is so pure and conditional, it many ways it is the greatest form of love we can experience. They don't judge us, insult us, argue with us, betray us, use us, lie to us, and they give back as much as we give them.

And they do become our spirit animals if we are blessed. Which makes their love even greater.

My loss of my cat Marmalade is now probably one of it not THE biggest losses of my life. Its gigantic. Which is surprising as he was not so big. But he had a big heart and big love in him.  

Time. That's the only cure from what I have read and researched. The passage of time. We will never be the same, that is true, but it does become more bearable as you know.

God bless, take care and just continue to travel through time. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, night by night, week by week, month by month and yes, if necessary year by year.

All best,
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