I know i shouldnt say sorry for this post, but i guess i will anyway.
I miss my Bess so much, it will be a year in December.  I still feel so raw. I've tried so hard, but most of the time the only thing that helps is shutting off, which i know is no solution.  Maybe its because i dont get any signs from her, or maybe there are signs and i just cant read them?

We all handle grief differently, and some of us never get another pet again, and others do, fairly soon.  Thats what happened to us.  It was a strange thing though, and i know that it was Bess that led us to Tilly.  I'd explain it but its one of those things that I just cant really explain.

Tilly is a chocolate lab, and Bess "is" a golden lab.  I always like to refer to Bess as if she were alive, as i believe she is, somewhere, just not by my side anymore....for now.  I dont think i could have handled a golden one again, the similarity would not have been fair on the new puppy. 

I could spend hours telling you all how beautiful and precious Tilly is....but i wont ;)  Ok i probably will!  She simply is Tilly, not comparable to any other of our dogs, they are all unique, yet she is very similar to Bess, in many ways.  Not because i wanted to see that, and made it up in my head, she just is.  Perhaps thats a sign i should be paying more attention to.  There are certain characteristics that are just so uncannily similar to Bess, while at the same time Tilly is her own person.

I often ask myself "am i to feel guilt for loving Tilly so much"?....i never get an answer, other than, love as much as you want Helen, there are no rules or regulations, and it doesnt mean you love Bess any less.  I protect Tilly with my life.  I dont care that perhaps she is a little spoiled, i just dont care.  Better that than she went to a family that abused her right?  There is nothing wrong with loving a pet "too" much.  But sometimes, well actually most of the time, she lays on me at night and puts her head up to mine and looks me in the eyes, as if to say "I'm so lucky to have you", and i do the same with her.  I am so lucky to have her too, as we are to have all the other dogs....they are all special.  I melt when she does that.

I knew that a new puppy would be special, but not this special.  I cant go a day without her, and have had to go over 2 weeks without her when we went to Europe to get my things for my final move here.  It was awful.  I felt like leaving a child of mine!  I knew the others would be ok, but i wasnt sure with Tilly, she's been with us every day since she was 8 weeks old.  We had someone that we trusted stay with them in our house, so that was a god send.  All i wanted was to get back here and be with crazy as that sounds.

I sometimes feel like i should feel guilty for loving Tilly so much, as if Bess will think i love her more, but i know that Bess has given a part of her heart to Tilly, so i dont feel the guilt.  As much as Tilly makes us smile and brings such joy to us as we see her grow and we LOVE her character, her individuality, especially when she swims in the pool, just like Bess did, none of the others, only Bess and Tilly....I still miss Bess more than words can explain.  I suppose it really hasnt still hit me that she really is gone, in the physical sense.  I still want her to be there when we get home after shopping, or whatever, i still want to see her dive into the pool....but it never happens.  I can see that the bond i had and still do with Bess, is once again developing, with Tilly, and it scares me....because i know, it wont last forever....ok it will, but not forever whilst i am alive or vice of us will go first.  Yep, i know, enjoy it while its there, she is only 8 months old, but i dread the day that i have to relive which i did with Bess.

I still feel that i let Bess down and could have done more....I still cannot process the images and the fact that i decided on her death....even though i know it was for the best, there will always be questions, could i have done this or that, and then maybe that god damn needle that went into her beautiful precious paw would have NEVER been necessary.  I guess we all ask the same questions.  I'm sorry, but I'm just venting and trying to process, although not really doing a good job of either.  I held her so tight after, I couldnt let her go, until i had to, and i keep beating myself up thinking how she must have felt with that awful needle in her paw....whats my mum doing to me?  Or was she saying: thanks mum.....i just dont know what she was feeling or thinking.  Its not like we do that to humans is it?  So its no wonder i feel this way and many others feel this way.  I know its different, and we have to make these decisions, but its just so hard to deal with at the time and for so long afterwards.  All i have now is her ashes, in a box, and I'm still trying desperately to reach the stage where i can talk about the memories of her, the good times, and i wish they would come, so that i would have them too.  Sometimes they do, but afterwards i feel bad for talking about the good things, which is of course ridiculous, but we all do it.

I'm sorry for the rant guys, but its been a long time coming, and i know that i can do that here without judgement. 
Hugs to all of you
Helen and Bessie.....oh and Tilly wants to give a gazillion hugs too, she gets it, somehow...lying by my feet now, never leaving my side, isnt that what its all about...the unconditional....

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Hello Helen, I have been wondering about how you have been. I lost my chocolate Lab Coco back in December as well. It seems I never forget a fellow Lab owner and I know how very special Bess was to you. I am glad that you are here and sharing your journey once again.
     Your post is so sweet Helen. I love how you talk about Tilly. It resonates with my own experience in many ways. I also understand how very much you still miss Bess. I know that you got Tilly not long after Bess left. What a wonderful way to honor the life that you shared with Bess. It seems that you had an instant connection with Tilly and that you even feel that Bess somehow lives on through her. I also adopted another Labrador about 4 mts. after Coco left. I really missed the four paws around the house and felt ready at that time. I must say that my days may have been a bit more challenging as I adopted Rudy, a black Lab, at 9 mts. old who spent most of his life in shelters. He has had a few issues to deal with, mostly the nipping that is typical of Labs but he needs a little more training in that regard. Still I am "over the moon" with him, he has helped me in so many ways. I really feel that my girl Coco put her spirit of approval on him. She is there to guide him, show him the ropes, keep him in line sort of speak. He has flourished and become so loving and beautiful. He is also a big boy being an English Lab. At a year old he weighed in at almost 90 lbs. He is now 14 month's old.
     As you spoke about Tilly it reminds me of how I feel about Rudy. He is so much like Coco yet so different. He walks like her, smells the same spots that she did on our walks. It is as if her spirit dwells in him!!  I know how very much you loved and will always love Bess. I really feel as if she did pass along a lot of herself to Tilly. You got Tilly so soon after loosing Bess, perhaps you didn't have the opportunity to fully work through some of the grief over her loss. It comes around again doesn't it, and we are left with more questions and unresolved feelings. I think that the fact that you are here and expressing these feelings is a good thing Helen. Your girl Bess deserves to be remembered the way that she would want you to think of her. I still had grief to work through after getting Rudy. It can be confusing at times. From what I remember about Bess, I can tell you that very happy and loved with you until her very last day on this earth. My girl Coco had bone cancer as well. It is a very fast developing cancer and there is no way to stop it Helen. We did the best that we could with our beloveds.
     It is very time consuming to care for the needs of a pup. You have been very busy indeed. I have been busy with Rudy as well. Sometimes our grief may take the back burner for a while, yet the loss is still there. Your beloved Bess, my dear girl Coco are no longer here. It is a painful reality to accept. We miss seeing them, the way we did every day for years. We do the best that we can. I used to get a lot of signs from Coco. Lately things have been quiet in that regard. I do miss the signs yet someone posted me not long ago that Coco is there, with me and doesn't feel the need to send me signs to let me know it. I feel that you had that sort of relationship with Bess as well. She is with you still, in heart, soul and spirit. She lives through Tilly, believe it. It is a gift from her to you. I don't know if any of this helps you. I just felt compelled to share some of my journey with you tonight in hopes that you will find some support and comfort from it...............Please take care of yourself..........My thoughts are with you, Sincerely, Coco, and Rudy.
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Sadness and grief are intense after the loss of a pet. I know you will eventually feel much better. I am really sorry you are suffering like this. I think we all understand.
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Certainly no judgement here. You feel the way you feel.
As I read your post I remembered a conversation I had with a good friend some years ago. When she became pregnant with her second child she told me " I m afraid I won't love this child as much as my first". I recall that I replied " funny thing about hearts..the more love we give, the more we have to give". You love Bess with your whole heart and the same goes for Tilly.
I think you and Tilly are lucky to have each other. I hope that in the months to come you find some peace and acceptance.
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Thanks to all of you for your responses....they do help in the healing process.

ahartofilis (coco)...thank you for taking the time as well to write such a detailed response, i think you know how much that helps and means.  I remember you and Coco well, and apologise for being so distant the past few months.  I'm so happy to hear about Rudy and that you rescued him.  Like you, i see Bess in Tilly, and it made sense to me that it is most likely Coco doesn't need to give you any further signs, as is the case with Bess I suppose, I never thought of it that way. As you said, she is a gift to me from Bess, just like your Rudy is a gift to you from Coco.  Perhaps it was a little too soon when we got Tilly, but, on the other hand, there is possibly no perfect timing.  I tried like crazy to shut the windows where Tilly appeared, and the strange thing is they kept popping back open!  No joke, and that's pretty much technically not possible.  I didnt even want to go to look for a new puppy, but there was some kind of force inside of me that was stronger.  I know that all sounds weird, but there was really no way of getting away from Tilly.

Everything you said ahartofilis makes sense and helps in the healing process.  We did the best we could to care for them and be with them also through their time of suffering.  Rudy and you are lucky to have found each other!  He sounds like a big guy, so i bet you have your hands full, in a good way, and Coco is helping him along the way, showing him the ropes.  Tilly is pretty small, which is odd, as she's a pedigree, but we dont care, she's Tilly, just the way we like her!  Unless there is a major growth spurt hiding in there somewhere!  I'm sure it helped us both to have a little puppy again, to care for them and show them the them and protect them.  There is nothing more fulfilling as that....and we're carrying on the legacy of Coco and Bessie!

Tilly has this thing i call her "side look", she looks at me out of the side of her eyes without turning her head, its so very cute....Bessie had the same look, never seen it so far on another dog.  I had a photo of that from Bessie when she was about 4 months old, but sadly i lost it...but now i have Tilly to remind me of it every day.  Its amazing how Rudy sniffs the same spots on your walks, wow, that must be a comfort to you for sure.  Mine is the never ending swimming.....I wanted Bess to have more of that, but she swam until the day before she died, so I'm happy for that.  You take care of Rudy and yourself, and we'll find our way, of that i am sure.  I'll keep in touch on the forum, it helps and its good to share and both give and receive some comfort and wise words.

Thank you also.....again for all the comforting words usa_online and Manjack.....
Helen, Bessie and Tilly
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Hey Bessie,

I miss you so much.  Just turned on the laptop and as always your beautiful photo is there, staring at it made me miss you even if i dont miss you enough.  Gosh your eyes are so beautiful, everything about you is beautiful....i just wish i could stroke you and have you lay on my lap, as you always did.  In 2 days it will be your birthday.  We'll get some balloons and send them up to you.....and then in less than 3 months it will be the anniversary of you going to the rainbow bridge.  I am dreading that day.  Its the day after my sisters birthday....i know you wouldnt want me to see her birthday now as a bad thing, so i wont. You were and are always so clever, you just let things go and never worried like we humans do...

I hope that you are well and that you will wait for me.  Thats all i really want.  The pope is here in America.  I wish you could have been here too, but you are in heaven and so, you are in good hands.  I'm not that religious, i mean i am a catholic, and as you know, i prayed, and still do, from time to time....especially for your health.  This Pope is a good man, no matter what religion one has.  Nick loves him....LOL, and he isnt a catholic.  Its been quite peaceful here Bess since the Pope has been here.  You know its been hard for me to adapt to living here, i miss Europe, and i miss our times there.  But i am doing ok, not great, but ok.  But having the Pope here, has been great....such a positive and loving person.  I still miss Vienna Bess.  Going back to the apartment was so hard for me in May this year.  All the memories of you were there...every corner every street, you were there. I met all the people that knew you and me, and they asked about you, i could no longer say you had departed, but i was left with no choice.  

Tilly is doing great Bess, i see you in her every day.  Talk about coincidence!  Yet she has her own character of course, but she has so much of you in her.  She lays down just like you did, with her back all squidged, and i would look at that and think, jeezuz that must hurt!  She swims like a fish, just as you did....if she isnt in the water, well, life aint that grand :)  Just kidding, she's spoiled rotten as you were.  She's sensitive like you are...i used to call you neurotic, which is not much different from myself, and yeah you were neurotic, is Tilly, it makes me smile, every day i see a little bit of you in her.

She's a lab, but she is tiny, hasnt grown at all since she was 6 months old, she is now 9.  You were slender as well, but blimey she is really tiny. We dont care, we love her.  I happen to adore her.  Not gonna be dishonest here....i LOVE all our pets, but i adore Tilly, i just cant help it, sometimes its overwhelming, and i cant control it.  End of explanation.

There have been so many butterflies the past few weeks, sometimes i wonder if its you showing a sign....guess i will never know, but I'll take it as just that, and not try to analyse things so much.  

Zoe is doing good.  She still really doesnt like Tilly, never has.  It makes me sad.  But i have to be realistic.  When you moved over to the Rainbow Bridge, well, Zoe lay on your bed for 2 weeks and didnt really move from there, other than to eat.  Then came Tilly, and i think she sees Tilly as the one that took you away, if that makes any sense.  She seriously doesnt like her....but when we got here, and there was Bailey and Gracie, no problem, but now that you are gone, well Zoe is not so happy with Tilly as the newbie.  I do get a bit angry with her inside myself, sometimes, i mean wtf, its not ok, Tilly is such a good dog.  But i cant change it.  Zoe has gone to the side of Nick anyway, and they are best buddies, thats fine with me....its the circle of life....things change.  I still get upset that she doesnt like Tilly.

You know how much Stephan liked you, our Hungarian restaurant downstairs from us in Vienna....he loved to play with you.  He's not doing so great at the moment.  I took Nick there, and it was the best restaurant/experience/food he ever loved it there as well....dingy place, but so FULL of character and history, i miss going in there with you as well...but here i am, in a new country, wishing you were with me still, but you arent.  What I wouldnt do to just pop down with you to Stephan's....get some amazing food, a quick walk with you and then back home.  What i wouldnt do just to have one more day with you........

I miss you, i miss our life, i miss all that we had.......
Me xxxx

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