You Are Not Alone

I know caring for a sick dog can be lonely, frustrating, depressing, isolating, financially draining, and leave you wishing the end would come already. I also know there can be a lot of guilt for feeling all the above.

I created this special feature because I want you to know you are not alone in feeling this way.

The posts you are about to read were written by members of my Facebook group, Senior Dog Care Club. They kindly offered to share their experiences so you will see how many others are going through the same, or at least similar experiences and emotions.

I hope you find comfort in these words, and if you’d like to be part of our community I’m happy to welcome you.

 

Our Stories

Jack with mom Jan Miller

Jack my beloved Maltese at 14 is on his last days and the decision I am having to make is nearly killing me, he has been on medication for heart, liver, kidney and now pancreas. The past 2 years my life has been on hold ,I’ve made sure he wasn’t alone for too long, said no to invitations, not wanted to travel and tried my hardest that he never picked up my worry and despair at times.

Now the only time he is at ease is when he knows I am nearby, so I am nearby most of the time.

He has deteriorated in the last couple of days so a trip to the vet is made.

My prayers that he would go in his sleep at home have not been answered so I am the one that has to make this final decision and it is killing me. However I owe him so much as in the past 14 years he has been constantly at my side, his loyalty never wavering and his love worn on his sleeve for all to see.

I read somewhere that “no one gets out of this life alive” the only problem with our beloved pets is that their lives are too short.

My heart goes out to all of you going through this devastating and heart breaking time.

(sadly Jack crossed over the rainbow bridge today – RIP)

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Cracker and mom Janet Smith

My Parson Jack Russell, Cracker, is nearly 16, has gone deaf, has trouble seeing, arthritis and wobbly on his legs. A couple of slow walks a day. He follows me round at home, thinking he might get something to eat. I’ve had him since a puppy. We’ve walked miles, climbed mountains in all weathers. He used to love retrieving balls and playing with a frisbee, never tiring. I’ve tears in my eyes now with these memories. I feel guilty when I leave him but I still need the long walks and mountain climbs. We have the stroller now and he enjoys that. He’s not on much medication, just metacam for arthritis pain relief. I hope that when the time comes he falls asleep in his bed because he hates the vets and going there so upsets him. Thank you for suggesting that we share our feelings here. Although I love Cracker to bits the feelings of frustration and resentment creep in to my mind sometimes and I feel bad about having these thoughts.

 

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Shade with mom Wendy Emrick

I’m exhausted. Shade has good day…I have a good day…”good” days are as small as Shade walked by herself to the door. Bad days are she spits out her pills and won’t eat. The bad days start to equal out to the good ones. I’m exhausted. My Carecrdedit card is almost to the limit. Any extra money we have goes to pay our credit cards for her special food and her meds. But most of the time I just lay with her…she’s so happy and sweet…she reminds me that living in the moment..being patient and kind..that’s what matters…

 

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Sage 13 and Mom Nancy Gray

We lost our Sage in February, 2 days before her 14th birthday. Due to various reasons, the last 2 years were hell. Like many pets on here, she required an insane amount of care… and everything really took a toll on me. Both emotionally and physically.

I just want to share with everyone that it’s ok. It’s all ok. It’s ok to have feelings of wanting it to be over and it’s really ok to let it be over. We all struggle with “when is it time” and I want everyone to know that it’s ok if YOU are the one to decide that it’s time. Even if you think that may be before your dog is ready. It’s ok.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching lately and I didn’t realize at the time what a toll Sage’s care was taking on me. Now that she is gone, I miss her terribly. But life is so different now. And it’s honestly so much better. We get to focus on her 12 year old sister now, who didn’t get the attention she deserved before because we were too exhausted and strained dealing with Sage’s issues. Aspen is literally a different dog now and we are having so much fun getting to know her in this new way. She has now become my co-pilot and gets to go everywhere with me – even to work. When I do have to leave her behind, I no longer worry like I did with Sage. In hindsight, the stress we were under was unbelievable. So I’m here to give you permission. To tell you it’s ok. Your dog knows how much you love her and it’s truly ok if you need to be done. It’s ok. I’m sending love to everyone on here. You are not alone.

 

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Sonny and mom Wendy Emrick 

Reading about all the pups that have passed on…it makes me think of losing my “soul mate” Sonny back in 2012 from lymphoma…I have a degree in social work specializing in crisis intervention and wanted to share this…there is NO time frame on these stages…and I tried really hard to think of all this even when I was sobbing hysterically…but looking back I see these stages were very appropriate to Sonny dying and hope they may help you from realizing you’re not alone…these are my own interpretations and not the exact definitions…

Stage 1…SHOCK…our bodies have an internal “protection” from bad things…our adrenaline and other hormones kick in and make us do what we have to (we made the decision to have Sonny put to sleep and I laid with him in the front yard as my husband dug his grave)

Stage 2…RECOIL…the worst! All the feelings slam you down…a physical grief…feeling like you’ll never ever feel better (laid in a fetal position wearing Sonny’s collar and clutching his stuffed toy)

Stage 3…RECONSTRUCTION…tricky phase…you start to get up and feel normal yet seeing a picture/dog toy slams u back into phase 2…then you can eventually look/feel more things and not sob hysterically (I’d cry seeing any black lab)

Stage 4…RECOVERY…you’re never OVER the loss of your pup but can think of them and not start sobbing (sometimes we still do)…you’ll realize all the lessons your pup taught you…that every pup is very individual and will never replace them…you’ll actually smile and laugh at your pups life…and that’s the biggest tribute we can give them

Sorry this is so long….I hope it can help someone..