I had to say goodbye to my beloved 11 yr old Lab, Keno, two days ago. In the last four months, we learned Keno had a brain tumor. As the tumor grew, his health and quality of life was deteriorating. After an agonizing day last Sunday, when he had four seizures, my husband and I made the decision it was time. I am so sad, and cry several times a day. I don’t want to get up in the morning. I have no reason to start my day; I have no one to care for. I carry Keno’s collar in my pocket. I sleep with it under my pillow. I can’t wash his blanket because it smells of him. I “see” Keno everywhere in the house...but he’s not there. My husband is lucky, he has a job he goes to every day to occupy his mind. But I just look around the house, and grieve my missing dog. The pain is so paralyzing I can’t go about my daily routines. I’ve never felt such a hole in my heart as I have now. Is this normal? When will the pain go away? I ache for my boy, and want another dog, but my husband’s not ready. I need to fill the hole in my heart. How do I get through this heart-wrenching grief?
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Hi Sandy,
I know the grief is terrible! You spent so much time with Keno and he was so much a part of everything you did. It's a devastating loss!! I felt the same way when I lost our dog, Bailey. I looked for him everywhere so I understand. I don't think it's something we ever truly get over but it will get easier with time. I think in time you will take comfort from the fact that you set your Keno free from suffering.
I found that working on little projects for Bailey helped. I picked out a Christmas picture and had copies run off to send out in our Christmas cards. I also got a journal and wrote notes to him and dated them. I also wrote down things that I never wanted to forget like little nicknames we had given him.
I know the pain right now is so unbearable but unfortunately mourning is a part of the healing process. It took me a long time because I was numb a lot of the time in the beginning. Eventually we did adopt another little rescue dog but as tempting as it is to go out and get one now I honestly think it would be better to wait. I had heard 6 months and I found that was a good amount of time. I think that if we had done it sooner I would have been comparing a new dog to Bailey. Perhaps there is a shelter nearby where you could volunteer to walk dogs? or perhaps cuddle cats? Your vet might be able to recommend a place. This would give you a purpose as many of these poor animals have never known kindness and meanwhile you could still have some private time to mourn your beloved Keno. I am so sorry for your loss! Sending hugs,
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Sandy, my condolences on the loss of your beloved Keno. You have a huge hole in your heart and in your daily life now and that is very hard for you. As MJ said I think it would be very good if you arrange to do some part time volunteering at an animal shelter whenever you are up to it of course. Are you able to talk to your husband when he is at home about how deeply this has affected you? I think he must be grieving also but may not show it so if you could talk together and share this grief I think it would be beneficial for you both.
Good luck and hoping you find some peace,
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So sorry for your loss of Keno. All your feeelings are normal.

You can never replace Keno so getting a new pet is an addition not a replacement.
We all grieve differently and in a family everyone has a different bond with the pet. We all love but there is a different degree of love for some of us and the pain may be deeper for you than your husband.
I was Williams primary caretaker and he was my boy. My husband loved William and had a major role in his life but it was no where near equivalent to my role as his mother. I knew every different breath or bark or silence meant something. I was in tune to every part of his being.

I have two blankets I will never wash. They still have his smell and some days I just pick those up and hug them.

Follow your heart as far as thinking about s new pet or volunteering. Your heart will tell you.

For myself I will never get another. I can't go through the pain of loss again. It's too hard. William was my one and only. He brought such joy to my life. I know there are many many pets out there that would love a home. I just know for me it will never happen.

Time will heal the acute raw pain. Let yourself cry and grieve it's all normal.
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You are in the right place here. As the wonderful replies you've received on your post so far have said - what you are feeling is totally normal. I've read people describe it as "gut-wrenching", "empty", "lost", "completely numb", "heartbroken" and "aching". All of this adjectives, and so many more, are completely true. It's been almost 4 weeks since I lost my Norman. Like you, I had to make the difficult choice to end his suffering, and I do take some comfort in that, as you should too. It was the most loving and selfless thing you could do for Keno. But now the heartbreaking journey without him begins. For me, the first few days were simply unbearable. I wanted to crawl out of my own skin and scream at the unfairness of it all. Then there was numbness. And now I just feel gutted. I don't know if "easier" is the right word, but you do get more accustomed to it as the weeks go on. The happier memories start to poke their way through as some time passes. I've found it really helpful to write about Norm here on this forum and in a journal as MJ suggested, and I've also found comfort in reading the stories of others. Certain phrases and memories in the posts of others really resonate with me and help me to feel not so alone in my grief. I hope you will find the same. 
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Thank you all for your kind words. I thought I was the only one feeling such a terrible sadness over the loss of a dog. MJ, I took your advice and started a journal to Keno. Being able to write down my feelings the way I talked to my Keno helps to get through the sad moments. Kim, thanks for sharing that you also have your dogs unwashed blanket. (I know it sounds gross, but it’s a comforting doggy smell.). Normsmom, it helps me to know that the numbness I feel is normal and that it will get easier. I wish I could push a fast-forward button to skip past the next few weeks, and not have to go through this pain. Sam, I’m trying to get my husband to open up about his grief, I know he feels the same. I’m glad I found this forum. I don’t feel so alone with my feelings.
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