Where to start....

Just a year ago, less than that really, our family was so much different and bigger. Myself, my wife, my daughter, three dogs and two rabbits.  

Things started off at the end of May 2015 with the death of both rabbits, Popsy (12) and Molly (10) in the space of just 10 days.  Both were indoor rabbits and I know had lived long, good lives for rabbits.  Molly got very sick with pneumonia, and Popsy was fine until just one day he had a seizure and became immobilized.  Popsy was the first animal we'd ever had to put to sleep but with their long lives and emergency conditions at the end it was "easy" to grieve and move on.


Then, just a couple months later on July 26, 2015 we had to put our dog Ozzie to sleep.  Ozzie was 12, we had him since we adopted him from the shelter in 2004, and he had one health problem after another his whole life.  Mast cell tumors, chemo, liver failure from the chemo, gastrointestinal issues, and he bulldozed thru them all over the years and got better each time.  Then he came down with diabetes in 2013, almost died from ketoacidosis, spent a week in the local pet hospital, and went blind just a couple months later.  We modified our entire lives to fit his feeding and insulin schedule, and like always bounced back and adapted and actually did very well until that last night when he had some violent seizures and couldn't recover.  Ozzie was the sweetest, best dog anyone could have had.  He was my six-year-old daughter's best friend since she could crawl and his death destroyed us all.  We had spent so many years, especially the last couple devoted to him and his health issues that it wasn't so much a relief as I would have expected, but the shock of "what do we do now?"


Time passed, we still had our other two dogs who needed us, and the devastating grief over Ozzie finally started to ease.  At the end of October, we adopted a stray kitten (Yoshi) and then a month later adopted a friend for her, Wibbly.  Then 13 days after that adoption, on December 4, 2015, Wibbly the kitten climbed into one of our dogs' food bowls as he was eating.  I had turned around to put the other food dish down for the other dog, the total time was 4 seconds, I've since timed it many times.  In that time, our dog bit the kitten's skull and crushed it.  He's a big dog, and a gentle dog who loved the kittens from the moment they came in the house, licked them, slept by them, and would even tiptoe around them so he could sleep by them without laying on them.  A lot of guilt and replay, and I know that it was an accident, the dog "pushing" the cat and saying "stay out of my food" but the size of the dog vs. the tiny cat turned it into one of the most horrible things of my life.  We rushed Wibbly to the vet hospital, and they sent us on to another specialist hospital an hour away.  Wibbly did remarkably well and he was expected to make a recovery, but he suddenly took a turn for the worse and died on December 7.  My wife has been shattered by this, and still sobs over it almost nightly.  She's stuck in the moment, blames herself, though no longer blames the dog.


And finally, our "old man" Shiloh, a Schnoodle, that we adopted from a shelter in 2001, who was nearly 16....complete opposite of his "brother" Ozzie, Shiloh was the epitome of health his entire life.  He developed kidney failure last April, and we gave him IV fluids weekly to flush him out, but he stayed surprisingly healthy.  The kidney failure caught up with him, as I suppose it had to, in mid-January and we decided to put him to sleep on January 14, 2016.  


2 bunnies, 2 dogs that were like children to me (we had them both before we had our daughter), and 1 tiny 2-month old kitten...all gone in just 8 months time.  It's been too much.  My wife has not been the same since Wibbly died, the tragedy of his whole life that could-have-been just wiped out thru a terrible accident, and when she started to recover we lost Shiloh who has been with us since right after we were married.

My daughter has come thru it all much better than we have.  Ozzie hit her the hardest since they were best friends, and of course the kitten was devastating due to the way it happened but she focused on Yoshi, the other kitten, and our dog Dexter so she worked thru it in a way that I wish I could.

I'm not the same either.  I was destroyed for weeks after Ozzie, had to take a week off work because I was in such despair but eventually got thru it knowing we did all we could and he just had no more to give.  The kitten's death was horrifying but hit my wife so much harder and I could focus on keeping her and my daughter uplifted, but the death of Shiloh has just left a lingering sadness and apathy over my entire life that I can't get out of.  I fake being happy for my daughter's sake, but overall I'm just miserable and deeply sad all the time.  What's crazy is that I feel no guilt, I know in each case (well except Wibbly's of course) that putting them to sleep was the absolute right thing to do....Ozzie was an emergency situation but Shiloh we had time to give him a final "fun day" and it was as peaceful and easy as I could have hoped for him.  I can't imagine having guilt on top of this sadness.  It's just overwhelming me at times and I dwell on it.  

I just don't know how to move thru this.  Part of it has to be that if stop grieving I'll forget.  I'm afraid that I've forgotten too much already.....

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Hi there Locutus,

I am so sorry for all the losses you have experienced within such a short amount of time.  I can tell from your post how great your love for all animals can be.  I too think that as far as the animals that you had to put to sleep goes, that was the best case scenario.  Unfortunately Wibbly's case caught everyone even more off guard and perhaps that is taking your wife a little longer to come back from.  I will say this, you will never forget them.  God I hope I NEVER forget my Nala.  I lost her just 4 days ago and I am a wreck.  I had lost my first dog, a black lab named Blackie, he lived to be 17.  He had no health conditions that we were aware of but one day his hind legs gave out and he couldn't walk.  At that point we decided that he was not going to have a good quality of life and put him to sleep.  Blackie was an outside dog and I can't say that I was attached greatly to him because I wasn't.  When we made that decision I was sad but I knew deep down it was the best one.  Plus, he was 17 - how much longer could I hope for.  But with my sweet Nala, it has been horrible thus far.  She was 11, although 11 may seem like a lot to some people I feel like we could've had more time with her. We should've had more time with her. :(
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HI Locutus,

Its hard to imagine losing so many animals you loved in such a short time. My heart is breaking for you. I lost both of my Boston Terriers (ages 15 and 13) exactly six months apart and that has seemed like a lot to me. It has always seemed strange to me how things like this can all happen at once and it is just completely overwhelming. I know the grief is so painful that you just want it to stop and you think maybe you can just push it aside and move on. I once had a horrible year where I lost every thing I owned in a fire and than proceeded to lose one by one four members of my immediate family. Someone told me at that time that grief was like a debt- you can pay now or you can pay later but you have to pay. And personally I have found that the longer you push it aside the harder it becomes. I any case I did survive that year and eventually I was able to risk my heart and love again. When you are in the middle the idea of ever being happy again seems impossible. I wish I could say that after that horrible year I learned how to grieve properly and make it go away as quickly as possible. But I am right back there again with the loss of my 2 little furbabies. Try to be gentle with yourself. You are doing a great job taking care of your family and trying to help them through this. Hopefully every day will be a little better. You are in my heart and prayers. ~ Ana
Larchana Behrends
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Loc, I do not even know where to begin but hope and pray for healing. Love to you and your family.
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Oh my. I am sorry to hear about all those losses you and your family had in that short amount of time. 

My friend, my brother, Rupert, pre 2001-January 25, 2016 
I love you and I miss you. 

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