Again, dogs' lives are dedicated to make us happy, so in order to honor your dog's memory, do your best to find happiness and peace again!
I'll be here for you, just be patient cause I'm also trying to cope with this and after some days in denial, it's finally sinking in, which makes me happy because my grief is finally going in the right direction. Lots of love.
Thank you Alexa for bringing this thought to the front of my mind, it helps to try and focus on that. Thank you also for all your suggestions, I'll look those up for sure.
I guess for me I feel like I have an option with dogs (and the other animals I have) as to how close I get to them, and there is probably a point beyond which it only benefits me while they are alive and then comes back to bite me when I lose them. I do love the new dog we got, and I give him just as much of my time and attention as my other dog who I have had from before my old dog died. But I just don't want to feel the same depth of connection to the new guy, because I know there is a limit to how much pain I can stand I guess.
For me the depth of connection I have with a dog comes from the training I do with them, with my old dog I did obedience and agility training, and after 10 years of that we knew everything about each other, what every move of every muscle meant, every expression, every hesitation, every noise, everything. The big dog I still have now is a livestock guarding breed, she has 2 modes - squidgy snuggle cushion and unstoppable death machine. Training her compared to training "normal" breeds is like trying to train a donkey to dance, so I have had to learn her in great detail in order to make it possible for her to live the life I needed her to. The little new guy is just a harmless scrappy mixed breed, and my partner has trained him the basics he needed, our life is a lot more static these days so he needs to learn a lot less.
I can understand the whole range I guess, from people who literally have 1 dog and then never again to people who can never live without a dog so they never have to experience the total absence of that connection.
Maybe for me this depth of connection is only something I want to make with a human or an animal who lives a really long time!
Another thing I worry about is what it would be like when my big dog dies if I have had a child by then. When my old dog died the only things I were able to achieve was what my big dog needed from me, and being a dog and not a kid in reality that wasn't a huge amount. It nearly cost me my relationship and I'm afraid that I wouldn't be able to give my child what they needed while processing my own grief. I guess I kind of trust my mama instincts to get me through, no matter what happens my animals always get the care they need from me, but it still worries me.
I hope you still feel like you are making progress, hugs xx