trishaleighkc
Hi, everyone. I just lost Yoda, my very first dog, a week ago. We had over 15 years together but what I wouldn't give for one more good day.

I miss him terribly - like so many of you have expressed, the house just feels wrong, somehow, even with my other dog still around to demand attention and make a fair bit of noise. Yoda was just part of me (a soulmate, I think) in a way the second dog isn't. We "got" each other. We were everything to each other. 

He started to decline, health-wise, a couple of years ago. He lost his hearing. Cataracts arrived. His back hurt and he started taking medicine. Sometime this past year he started having incontinence issues and trouble standing on hardwood floors first thing in the morning. He slept a lot. He ate less. I know in my heart that he was ready to lay down his burdens, and even though my heart just feels ripped in two, I feel good about being able to release him.


That said, I can't stop obsessing over the ways that I failed him in his final months. I had my first human child in late January and he was a handful the first 4 months. I cared for the dogs physical needs but things changed, abruptly, and Yoda certainly didn't get the attention he once did. The dogs didn't get fed until bedtime. Once the baby started moving I had to pick up the water dish during the day. 

Did he feel ignored? Was he hungry and thirsty and confused, and I wasn't always understanding in my sleep-deprived, frazzled new-mom state? I feel like the answer has to be yes, and it breaks my heart to think that I broke his. That he thought I didn't care anymore or didn't love him the way I used to. 

It's not true. Things changed because of a demanding baby, but I was just getting back to myself and having more time to devote to other things when it became clear that he just couldn't go on anymore. If I would have known time was running short, I would have spent more time petting him. I would have made sure he had kibble any time he wanted to eat it. I would have had more patience when I was at the end of my rope with everything and everyone. I would have just sat with him, because in the end, his dementia was so bad that I was the only thing or person in the world that he recognized on some level. The only thing that gave him comfort. And what makes me cry harder than anything is the idea that after 15 years of friendship, I failed him in his final days. 

Anyway. Thanks for listening. No one in my life really understands. They just tell me "he had a great life with you, you loved him so much, etc" like I'm being silly. But the guilt persists... 11215150_10205401170440978_7506540233304973498_n.jpg  26055666_10212315965146524_1158197613318074118_n.jpg
Trisha
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PeppermintPatty
I think we all have regrets if we think about things in hindsight. The fact that your little angel lived to be 15 years old is a testament to how much you loved him. I don't think you broke his heart. Piling on the guilt just adds to the excruciating grief you are going through. Life happens and he was with you throughout. Try to ease up on yourself and know that he knew he was loved. After all, you were the only one he recognized in the end. That says a lot right there. Take care.
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trishaleighkc
Thank you for your kind words. I know that you're right, and there's no point in thinking about all of the things I would do differently had I know our time was so short. It's hard. Maybe it's a normal part of the grieving process, I don't know. 

But thank you for reading and responding. 
Trisha
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PeppermintPatty
If it's any consolation, after the initial shock of losing my kitty, I am now going through the guilt process as well.

On 11/10/17, she had to have two teeth extracted. My long-time cat doctor, whom I trust, gave me pain meds for her. I followed the recommended dosage. The problem is, it said to administer every 8 hours, or as needed. Well, how do you know about the "as needed" part? They cannot correspond. I just assumed that she had to be in pain after this procedure and having sutures. So I administered it every 8 hours until it was gone (about 4 dosages), and am now wondering if I, and it, contributed to her demise. I've been doing research which is inconclusive about this, but it is driving me crazy in the process.

The horrible state of grief takes you back to all of the things you think you did wrong instead of focusing on everything that you did right. In the long run, there are so many precious creatures who have the misfortune of not having good homes. We did all we could for ours, and I have to believe that they crossed that bridge and are happily scampering together knowing that they were truly cared for on this earth. The fact that we are all on this site lamenting about losing them only proves what an important bond we established with them. We have to remember that their love was unconditional.

I hope you are doing the best you can in light of the circumstances. This is hard, I know.
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Havanesefan
Honey! Don't beat yourself up. Yoda had a wonderful life. He loved you and you were a fabulous Mom. If Yoda could talk he would say "Mom, snap out of this. You have a new baby to enjoy and another dog to love. We will always be soul mates and we will meet again. I am watching over you from Heaven." I lost my fur baby and what helped me heal is creating a memorial on Pet Memories. I lit a candle whenever I missed her and wrote down the cute memories of the sweet and funny things she did. It is free and very comforting. My "Other" dog that was always second fiddle has become my new soul mate and it is as if my first dog (and first love) kept saying "Give him the love you would have given me." He is such a comfort to me now and he deserves to be loved best for a change. He is a transformed dog. Everyone comments on how changed he is. I hope this brings you comfort. Honey. Let your second dog heal your soul. That is why he is there. You can still tell Yoda how much you miss him and love him. I'm sure he hears you. Much love to you!
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CK
I’m so sorry for your loss. Yoda looks like he was a gorgeous little dog and very much loved by you.

I lost my little dog Hobo in August, he was 17 and such a joyful little dog. I understand your guilt because once I had my baby I had so much less time for him and I felt terrible about it too. My sone was 5 when Hobo died and he never got the same attention as before I was a Mum but I never loved him any less. I wished I’d taken him for more walks and cuddled him and patted him more but I had a lot of years of loving him. But he was a clever and loving little dog - he loved my son so much and had accepted him as part of our family. Dogs are smart and they know we still love and adore them but that we have to take care of babies and ourselves and I’m sure Yoda knew too. He would’ve just been happy to be with you and your family.

And he would’ve been so very greatful that you were with him until the end and that you loved him and gave him a beautiful life.

I know how much you’re hurting and I really know the guilt too but I also know it will get better in time and you’ll be able to remember the joy he brought you and the loving times you had together. A few months of being busy with baby is nothing compared to the 15 years of love and attention he got from you. xx
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trishaleighkc
Thank you for this. It really does help so much to know there are people who understand. I know that the guilt is part of the grieving process but I can't wait to get to the place where my memories are mostly of the good times.

I hope you're right and that they know that just because things have changed it doesn't mean our feelings or our love did. Yoda was old and my son is still too young to always play nicely, but Yoda really seemed to have an affection for him. Always nearby. 

I wish he had been around longer, but I'm also glad that he's not suffering anymore. Time. Never enough of it, then suddenly too much when we're waiting to feel a bit better. 

I'm sorry about your Hobo, but happy for us both that we got so many years. 
Trisha
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trishaleighkc
Ha! Yoda probably would cuddle me but then he would have gotten weary of my wallowing and brought me a ball to throw - at least, he would have in his prime. In the later years, he would have just fallen asleep pressed up against me!

I love and relate to what you said about my "other" dog, as we've never been as close or connected as Yoda and I were. But maybe she just hasn't been given the chance she needs to foster that connection. I will do my best to see her potential through my grief and maybe things will become an unexpected blessing.







Havanesefan wrote:
Honey! Don't beat yourself up. Yoda had a wonderful life. He loved you and you were a fabulous Mom. If Yoda could talk he would say "Mom, snap out of this. You have a new baby to enjoy and another dog to love. We will always be soul mates and we will meet again. I am watching over you from Heaven." I lost my fur baby and what helped me heal is creating a memorial on Pet Memories. I lit a candle whenever I missed her and wrote down the cute memories of the sweet and funny things she did. It is free and very comforting. My "Other" dog that was always second fiddle has become my new soul mate and it is as if my first dog (and first love) kept saying "Give him the love you would have given me." He is such a comfort to me now and he deserves to be loved best for a change. He is a transformed dog. Everyone comments on how changed he is. I hope this brings you comfort. Honey. Let your second dog heal your soul. That is why he is there. You can still tell Yoda how much you miss him and love him. I'm sure he hears you. Much love to you!
Trisha
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Radarsmom
Trish,  my heart aches for you, for I too have been struggling with guilt.  The wise folks here tell me that's normal, but I find that hard to believe anything that hurts that bad is really normal.  I lost my Radar 8 weeks ago, suddenly, at age 14.  I will spend the rest of my life regretting the things I did in his last 24 hours of life--the choices I made, the things I said, the things I didn't say, the things I didn't do.  I will always wonder if I had made different choices if things would have had a different outcome.  The reality it comes down to, i think, is that each of us does the best we can with what we're facing at time time.  We have to acknowledge we're human, and not perfect, and that when we look back in hindsight we see how we could have been better.  Yoda is lucky to have had a human who loved him.  Not all animals get that in their lifetime.  But telling you that's not going to help a lot.  The only comfort I can offer is to try to remember  you're still connected, and if you open yourself to it, you will from time to time be able to feel him and connect again.  The love you share doesn't die  die.  It just takes a different form until we're together again.
Connie C
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Marci
I believe it is normal to feel guilt, but we should not. I am sure you did your best for your soul mate. It is so hard to lose a beloved furbaby(furangel) because they love us in such a special way and when we click with a certain pet, it is heartbreaking to have to let them go. Know that I can understand what you are going through and I will send positive thoughts your way.
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BullysDad
I know exactly how you feel. I had to put my 12 year old English bulldog to sleep back in May and the guilt almost ate me alive. I felt like a complete failure as a dog owner even though I'd taken him to the vet, to the emergency animal hospital (where he actually acted like he felt better for 3 days after that). However in the end when he wouldn't eat and couldn't even get out of his bed to drink water I knew that wasn't like him. I'm glad I stayed with him when he passed but at the same time his final moments haunt me every second of every day, however if I hadn't been there it would have been much more regret. The night he died I drank, then drank some more. Drank every single night for about 4 months. And the funny thing is I'm not a big drinker but I was honestly trying to drink myself to death. My friends had to intervene because they'd seen a change in me, I was in a really bad place. It wasn't until one made the comment that Bully wouldn't want to look down and see my like this, that's what snapped me out of it. The hurt is still there but acceptance has set in. I didn't take my dads passing that hard, haven't taken anyone's passing as hard as I took my dog's passing.

Your dog was very pretty btw!
Bully 2005-2017
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trishaleighkc
It's been over 2 weeks without Yoda. It seems like forever and like he can't possibly be gone at the same time. I am feeling better on a daily basis, and the guilt has started to fade. Now, it mostly rears its head when I realize I haven't thought about how I miss him for an hour or two. 

My heart kind of stays heavy, though, and I just have that feeling you get when you've forgotten something or are missing something and can't remember what right away. Having a puppers with you for 15 years means a pup-sized hole that just isn't going to be filled in.

I did a craft project today (I am legit horrible at crafts or anything that requires attention to detail) that made me feel a little better. 

I put his favorite ball (the only toy he would really play with), his ashes, cards I've gotten, a little note about the Rainbow Bridge, his collar and tag, sweaters, and stocking into this little box.

I can see that in time I may be ready to share his stocking and sweaters with a new pup, but for now, it's a little place for me to go and feel close to him and remember him. It's a way for him to be with me, to be close, even when he's not. 

This community has been immensely helpful through the battlefield of the first couple of weeks. I look forward to continuing to check in and do the same for others.  26238757_10212445860113817_8095052411110990851_n.jpg  26730807_10212445860753833_3396671951249810612_n.jpg 
Trisha
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Mistysmama
I really love the special memory box you made for Yoda. That is a good job. I wish I'd made something like that for my Misty. Her stuff is kind of scattered about and has picked up dust over the years and doesn't smell like her any more.
That is a lovely crafted box and will keep all his treasures well.
What a sweet little doggy.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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