I am so sorry you are going through this and I certainly know how you feel. I was very ill back in the early 70s and my husband and I went to the SPCA and adopted this part Cairn female named Lady. We hadn't seen her sitting in the back of the kennel with other dogs and thanks to the SPCA super he asked if we'd seen her or not. We went back with him and she was so depressed. He brought her out and even though she was a mass of too long golden locks we knew this was the pet for us. She was 2 years old when we got her (owners gave her up after she had puppies.) She was so smart, so loving and really helped me through my illness. Approximately 4 years later my husband's sister had a 6 year old long-haired Daschund named Cookie who needed more attention than she could give the dog after her first child was born so we took her. Lady and Cookie had a great life with us. We had Lady almost 20 years and when it came time to put her to sleep it was the hardest thing we ever had to do. We also had a cat Jade who was the sweetest ever and she lived to be 20 years old and Jade and Cookie were good pals and made the passing of Daisy easier for them. They slept together. Then at the age of 16 Cookie had a major stroke and we had to put her to sleep and again the pain was unbearable. My husband was so upset over the loss of both dogs, but especially Lady that we ended up buying a pure bred Cairn named Daisy. Daisy was just what the breeders say 'the clown of the dog breeds' and kept us laughing. Our dear cat Jade and Daisy got along just fine. We lost our little cat Jade when she was exactly 20 years old. She just went into the bedroom and stayed there and I knew immediately her little soul was weary and it was time for her to leave us. I knew if I kept taking her to the vets then I was being selfish and keeping her going just for the sake of not wanting to say goodbye. It never gets any easier. Daisy was so depressed we ended up getting a little gray tabby (not even a pure bred Tabby) and called her Molly. The two of them became fast friends and Molly is more like a dog than a cat. Eventually we got a white Bichon Frise X named Tootsie. She was smart as a whip and just as I thought our Daisy was the best mom ever for her. Then we discovered Daisy had Cushing's Disease (a form of cancer) and instead of putting her through the hell of Chem/Radiation (it wasn't about the expense of it all) we talked it over with our vet and worked closely with her and decided to have quality time with our little girl. That we did ... we slowed our pace of life down, went fishing, walking and camping and often just snuggled in front of the fireplace. She was in no pain according to vet. Then one long weekend she took a turn for the worst and we had to rush her into an ER Veterinary Hospital. I would have stayed there all night with her, but they wouldn't let me. Early the next morning they told us to hurry as she was slipping quickly. I think my husband broke the sound barrier. We got there in time to love our Daisy up and let her know we loved her. My husband picked up our pup Tootsie and had to leave the office immediately and I just stood there numb feeling as if someone had torn my heart out a piece at a time. The only thing that kept me from losing it completely was the vet wanting his money up-front and that angered me although I said nothing and paid the bill. I wondered what price there was on death and we didn't get a chance to get over our shock. We were use to our pets living long lives and Daisy was only 10 years old. So we had Tootsie and Molly and I had to work more which upset Tootsie as she was the princess of the family and spoiled (but trained well.) We decided not quite two years ago to get a male Cockapoo (strawberry blond color) and he's the sweetest little guy and so loving and runs through the house like a wild Indian, yet he has such good manners and is fast friends with Tootsie and Molly. So now we have the three pets and we just simply enjoy them every minute we can because we know their lives are much shorter than ours.
How do you get over losing a pet? You grieve! You cry, you look at pictures of your pet and cry some more. You talk to understanding family members or friends and get it all out of your system. You can never replace one pet with another because they are each so magnificent in their own way. So, we have two choices here: #1 we can say to ourselves ... no more pets!' or, #2 you can save a dog at the ASPCA or any Animal Shelter. These dogs need lots of love and good homes.
To me I don't have to have the best breed or best looking dog around. I love 'em all! They can have only three legs or one eye for all I care. I tend to go for the one's that seem to need us the most and I am sure we need them. When looking at all the dogs you'll know the right one and it's meant to be that way. By saving a dog's life from the ASPCA or Animal Shelter it doesn't feel so much like you are replacing your loyal and beloved pet.
I believe that our pets go to heaven the same as I believe I will (hopefully I've been good enough.) They are in a better place away from pain and just waiting for us. Whether anyone else wants to believe this or not I really don't care, but I truly believe this. Special people and pets don't just pop into our lives for no reason and disappear forever and I do believe they will be there if they go before we do.
You have probably read this poem before, but I love it and it says it all:
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Here is a link to a Support Group who are grieving for their pets:
Cry as hard as you can. Hold any toy or blanket your pet had and sleep with it if it comforts you. Talk to anyone who will listen. Speak your pets name out anytime during the day when YOU feel like it. Remember the good times you had and that every pet gives us joy in their own special little ways. When you feel the time is right then please, consider getting another little pet (save a life) but whatever you do, don't try to copycat your pet's personality because you won't be successful. There is a little pet out there waiting just for you ... now all you have to do is find each other.
I have to say Marcy did a wonderful job in her advice! And God bless you, Marcy, for including the "Rainbow Bridge" in your advice. The first time I read it was years ago when I lost my beloved 13 year old dog, Pete. I have lost several dogs, whom I loved dearly. Each time I lost one, I would cry non-stop for weeks, feeling like the pain would never go away. But I always got another one rather quickly. No pet can ever replace another in our hearts, but they have a way of making their own place in our hearts. They are treated like family, loved like family, and grieved like family when we loose them, because they are family. Never, ever let someone tell you that you are over-reacting in your grief, they just don't understand the love of a pet. You need to be allowed to grieve in your own way, in your own time.
I think the above answer is very informational. I have lost 2 hamsters in my lifetime so far, and it was difficult. For me, reading the Rainbow Bridge story helps me greatly. It gives me confidence and power. I have a copy of the story hanging in my room.