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Thread: How soon is too soon?

  1. #1
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    How soon is too soon?

    Some of you were here this tuesday when i posted about my elderly dog passing away. I know it's only been two days, but i feel like utter pathetic ####, weeping at the most inappropriate times. Maybe you know this about me, maybe you don't, but i have a huge issue with pathological mourning. In that, i can go on mourning until the cows come home, barely functioning, keeping the lost person/pet inside me like some living dead, and it leaves very little energy to invest in new life.

    i've gotten significantly better about it with time, but i fear reverting to this melancholy now. I want to act differently this time, just worried i might take it to the other extreme.

    I have been saying for years, that i wouldn't keep pets after Darko passed away. I don't have a good reason for that, frankly. Just the pain of endings.

    So I am seriously considering adopting a dog again. And i don't know if that's crazy talk, some irrational defense mechanism intended to help me "skip" the mourning process, or whether it's me finally accepting everything comes and goes, and it's only as tragic as i make it.

    I don't think i'm looking to replace Darko. That can't be done, no way. He was uniquely wonderful-- but you all know, every pet, and every human is.

    I am painfully aware that i will be a weeping mess for a while, and that i will be getting emotional, and that i will be intensely thinking about Darko for a very long time. My concern is, would that prevent me from properly focusing on a new pet? But they are so wonderful, no matter how engrossed with grief, who could possibly "not focus" on a furry? isn't that impossible?

    Would it be somehow morally wrong to be crying over one dog, and in the same breath, smiling over a different one?

    I do not feel like it would be an act of disloyalty to my dog, as you are all right- i did give all my pets wonderful, happy, long lives. Every dog would want other dogs to have that too.

    What am i even questioning? At the end of the day, there's really just one path in life, and it's love, over and over again. Right?

    When my dog was saying goodbye, i told him i wish i could keep him forever, but that if he knows of a dog he wants me to take care of, to send him over. I know my "reasoning" could raise eyebrows, but i also know he understood what i said. Here comes the extra irrational part. As i walked out of the clinic for the final time, i noticed the local shelter's minivan parked next to me. A lady, a shelter carer, walked out with a small shelter pup, who ran right over to me, pressing his side against me like Darko used to do. She thought it strange, saying he usually hides under chairs and benches before he gathers the courage to come say hello to humans. I know i could be ascribing meaning that isn't there to coincidences and regular animal behavior, but it doesn't matter, because, for whatever reason, i keep thinking i should take the puppy.

    if i am being an absolute nut, now is your chance to stop me. Do it before i post his impossibly adorable shelter pic, because you'll be screaming take him when you see it.

  2. #2
    Silver Member Raize's Avatar
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    I lost my two dogs both this year, one in February, one in June. The second one was expected as he was old and had a terminal heart condition. The first one was a surprise loss, she had been diagnosed with an immune system illness in November last year. Right up until her last couple of very ill days I honestly believed that I would still have her for at least a couple of years to come since she was on medication.

    It's been over 6 and 2 months respectively and I still think about and miss them every day. I have cats but the house still feels a whole lot emptier and lonelier coming back home to from work every day.

    I am not actively looking for another dog yet, but if a nice pup needing a home 'found' me right now I would happily make my home its home also.

    If you are considering taking this dog then perhaps you ought to get this dog :-)

    Keep photos around of your dearly departed other pup and any videos of it within easy reach, to help keep its memory alive.

    Perhaps some day soon I too will find such a new furry friend or it may find me!

  3. #3
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    Oh I am so sorry, that really is a difficult loss! I can imagine how painful it must be!

    When my cat died suddenly aged six months, I was severely depressed for months, and soon it transferred to my physical health. I was barely functioning for the greater part of that whole year, then my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and passed seven months later. Then, I was a mess for two years. I have forgiven myself, but I have certainly not done anyone a favor marinating in my depression.

    The empty apartment feeling is strong, yes. I notice the silence the most. In a way, it is making me calm though, and even though i'm sobbing all the time, I feel..love, rather than anything else. So...I can't help but wonder whether I can't, this time around, let life go on. Grieving doesn't have to mean everything stops. I guess maybe I can be sad and loving at once just as well. This is new to me. I used to feel so emotionally constricted in grief before. Perhaps this is what healing is like.

    I'm really sorry about your dogs. I hope you find solace soon.

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    Aww RainyCoast! Iím so sorry about your dog.

    When my cat passed away we got Emma the cat I have now because my mom wouldnít stop sobbing. Emma could never take the place of the other cat but she brought in a new love for my mom and new hope.
    Weíve had her for 10 years now and she really was a blessing for my mom and all of us.

    I donít think itís too soon to get another dog if anything youíll have new love.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    uffff, i'm going to try and influence the outcome before someone drops by as the voice of reason begging me to give myself some more time

    [Register to see the link]

    by posting his shelter pic. his description says he is 8 months old, very friendly although timid at first. barks at cats, but does fine with dogs.

    lookit those tiny soft paws, those funny ears, the cute coat. you can imagine i felt so darn special when he came to me.

    i keep thinking Darko would've loved him. He adored small dogs and other than two grown boxers, all his furry friends were little dogs, pugs, schnauzers and the like.

    it is reassuring to hear others were able to take a new pet soon after losing one. i feel so compelled to drive over to the shelter.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    other than pictures (i ordered a gorgeous photo album for Darko), any ideas on keeping memories of previous pets? I keep their collars and favorite toys, other than that, i donate anything that's valuable enough to help anyone looking to adopt. i have simple but cute doodles i made of him, perhaps i could frame those.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you for your loss. AND, I think offering a good home to another dog is a fabulous idea!

    My sister responded to my loss of a beloved cat by asking me to take her recent rescue who wasn't getting along with her other animals. (He peed in her dog's water dish. ...Really.)

    So within days I was introducing 'Butch' to my home, and when I placed him in the new litter box, he jumped out, grabbed my ankle, bit me, then scrambled off. I hollered after him, "Well, now I know why you were in a shelter!!"

    I knew I'd never send him back to shelterland, and I wasn't actually upset about his reaction. I figured he'd need time to adjust, and meanwhile I made cracks to my friends about becoming a domestic violence victim.

    Animals are all unique, and a new one will show you all the ways that they are NOT a replacement for the pet you grieve. However, true animal lovers understand that this isn't about 'us,' it's about the animal who needs a home, and we will be motivated to demo love to the new animal despite our grief because every animal deserves our full investment.

    Over time we learn how to love in new ways, and it DOES help us to step up and move our focus forward.

    It in no way serves a pet who has passed for us to damage ourselves with grief. We are of far more service to all souls involved by offering our best generosity to the living creatures who bless us with their trust.

    Holding you in my thoughts, and please write more if it helps.

    (((HUG))),
    Cat

  9. #8
    Platinum Member journeynow's Avatar
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    Aw, RainyCoast, I'm so sorry. ((((Hugs)))) Would you consider fostering or pet sitting to help the transition without pressuring yourself to commit? I began dog sitting/boarding after my previous dog died, and then co-fostered one dog that eventually became my permanent companion.

    It's a sweet idea of to frame your doodles of Darko.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    Catfeeder! Thank you so much for your words, that means so much!

    did your new kitty adjust? was it bothersome, or just unusual to be processing a loss while welcoming a new cat?

    I do expect a new pet to surprise me in any number of ways. I am not very concerned i think- getting to know each pet's character has been a wonderful process that i am grateful for, so my current thought is that i would welcome the "new pet energy". I also do not own, or wish to own "valuables" that i'd be concerned about getting ruined, and i think my apartment would be easy to puppy-proof.

    i wouldn't mind adopting a pair of cats either, if it turned out the puppy was no longer available. i just feel like i should take him specifically somehow.

    that's one of the main themes in my thoughts now too, that it's no good shutting our "service" or our capacity to love down. what better way to honor anyone really, human or not, than by continuing to care for others.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    thank you, journey! yes, i have considered fostering as well. i've never done it before. i'm wondering whether it's too hard on a pet when they transition to a forever home, unless one keeps them. i'm certain though, that once i brought a pet home, i'd never consider not keeping them. did you or a foster pet ever have problems letting go?

    i'm thinking a few "test drives" at the shelter might help. walking and playing with pets a few times, just to see how i'd handle it, emotionally. i mean, what if i want to run to my car crying, and drive off and swear off pets forever? though i think once i see a little one who wants to be friends, there's no way in hell i'd run off.

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