I had my dog Jake for 17 yrs, he was born on our ranch and died in my arms in the same place he was born.  He was an amazing Australian Cattle Dog, a loyal, intelligent, fun friend, ALWAYS by my side.  That's the hard part, he was always next to me for so many years that it feels so empty.  I lost him this past Saturday.  I had him all registered for the Monday candle light, but when it came time all I could do was cry so I didn't do it and I feel terrible.  There is such a hole in my heart.  I keep going over what I could have done better, or should have done, etc., yet I know I did everything and spared no expense throughout his life.  Yet I still struggle, anyone else going through this?
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Yes - I lost Ebby (see Ebby's Story if you want) almost 5 weeks ago.  She was so special and I cried every day for at least 4 weeks.  I also spared no expense with her, but she got sick unexpectedly and only made it 2 and a half days.  She also left a huge hole in my heart.  We are leaving tomorrow and taking our two other dogs to our cabin - and SHE SHOULD BE HERE WITH US.  She was only 8 years old.  I'm sure you did everything possible for your boy Jake.  It's an unfortunately reality that our furry family members will go before we do.  I will the thinking of you - this is a good site to touch base with others who feel similar.  I wish you peace over the next several days.
Love you to the moon and back....
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I am too. We lost our little 14 year old in April, she had bad legs for a couple of years as well as a couple of operations on her skin but in all she was in good health. She fell ill after visiting the vets on the Wednesday and after rushing her into the animal hospital at about 4am on the Sunday she passed away. Reading your full post I was sat nodding at everything you said. It's a horrible feeling. I've heard numerous times how people describe losing someone like losing a limb and it isn't until you actually go through it that it completely and utterly makes sense. You've went through 17 years, almost 15 for me, of having this extra arm/leg that you are with 24/7 and depend on, as it is depending on you and then suddenly someone wacks off that limb and you're stood wonky, unable to keep at a even balance.

Please don't feel bad or guilty about not being able and that you were upset, that is so beyond normal! Debating how you could have done better is extremely common, and everyone (icnluding me) has the thoughts of 'What if I noticed that earlier? What if she was doing that? Did this upset her? Did that do anything? Is she ok?' - that's completely normal.

Everyone grieves differently. For me at the beginning it was keeping busy, I decided to make a garden for her and filled it with bulbs and seeds hoping that seeing new life in plants may help me. I think it did during that time, I cried every now and again but I think it may have had a negative effect since I used that as a grieving outlet instead of using that with tears etc. So now it's June and I seem to have eithe gone through it all and came out down (I wouldn't say depressed but it's how it may feel like to me). I wish I had maybe cried a little earlier and let it out at the beginning, but instead I seem to be carrying it heavier than maybe at the beginning. 

Like all things they say it gets worse before it gets better, it takes time and everyone grieves differently over different situations.

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Thank you both for sharing and for the encouragement.  It really helps to know someone else feels like I do!  It is interesting that it hits me at the weirdest times.  It is often something really small that reminds of Jake and then I plummet once again and feel like someone just sucker punched me.  I am SO sorry for your loss too gumdrops and ebbsmom, thank you...
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How lucky for Jake to be in your arms, he could not have asked for anything more and you gave him that without even thinking about it.  If Jake was always at your side, don't be surprised if you think you see him there still (out of the corner of your eye); it happens sometimes.  As far as the candle ceremony goes, drop by next Monday (or any Monday) no one who shows up is a stranger (I promise), I'm always there and so are a lot others.  It just last a half hour, but of course you can leave anytime.  If you have Jakes name on the list, then I can promise you his name will be mentioned.  .............danzey
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I'm so sorry you're going through this.  I know exactly how you feel.  My cat Sunshine was like my furry little shadow.  I spent so much time with her.  Everywhere I go in my home and every activity reminds me of her and how much I miss her.  It's extremely painful.  We shared such a deep bond, as you did with Jake so it's no wonder you're having such a hard time. 

I've done some second guessing and what if-ing as well but at the end of the day just remember that you gave your heart and soul to Jake.  He had a happy life filled with love for 17 years and vice versa.  That is an amazing gift that you gave each other.  Although I can't really offer much helpful advice, just know that you're not alone and this forum is filled with kindred spirits who understand what you're going through. 

As a side note, if my husband weren't allergic to dogs and an asthmatic, there would be an Australian cattle dog in my house right now, they're my favorite (:
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I lost my Australian shepherd  Jeff in 1999.  He was 17.  What a smart and wonderful creature.  We got our Robert the Shih Tzu after we lost our Jeff.  Two completely different angels.  Both wonderful.  Jeff did his best to please us. We did our best to please Robert.  I know you have a terrible loss as these creatures are the best of companions and so smart and kind.  I wish you peace.  Come to the candle service is wonderful.  I have been comforted there.  The people are so kind. We all love these special angels.  I wish you all the best and peace in you heart.

For one more day

Roberts Mom
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