It has Been 71 Days

Me and my best friend and soul mate

It has been 71 days since my soul mate, Nix, died.  I miss him more every day.  Time does not necessarily heal all wounds.  Pet bereavement is a very real thing.

I am sure I get too “personal” sometimes when I blog, but I also know that when I suffer or when I go through things in my life, I am not alone.  There are others out there suffering thinking they are alone too.

I say “alone” because a lot of people just don’t understand, WHY you could or would miss animal to the point of severe depression.  They don’t realize the bond we had with our animals and how each moment without them hurts from deep within our soul.  You know how the add for anti-depressants says “Depression Hurts”… well, it certainly does, it can effect everything in your life.

In the past 3 years I have: gotten divorced, lost my father, my mother, my grandmother, my first cat that I got when I grew up moved away and two of my very special dogs (who were like my children).

I don’t have children of my own, so I can only suppose that, that makes my bond with my animals deeper and their loss harder and my pet bereavement worse.

Nix & Snitch at the Beach

Admittedly I have had a tough couple of years, which I realize adds to my depression.

But my Nix was with me through many years of struggles, he was there when I left my husband in the middle of the night so he wouldn’t kill me, he was there when my father died, we mourned together when Snitch, his best friend, died.

  • His tail spun circles when I cam home from work or from errands or even if I had just walked down to the end of the driveway to get the mail.
  • He slept on my feet, and warned me when I was going to get a terrible migraine.
  • He worried about me when I was sick or when I was sad.
  • If someone yelled at me (my ex-husband) he would put his little body in between the two of us.
  • He pressed his muzzle to my face when I cried, and let me sob and snot in his fur.
  • He listened to me complain.
  • He kept me safe, when a gang of drunk men came up to me on the beach one day, it was his fangs and growls that made them realize they might not want interaction with me.
  • He didn’t care what I looked like and was happy to hang out with me even if I didn’t put makeup on.
  • He refused to leave my side.  When we would go hiking, he was never more than 6 feet from me, he would run back and forth and always make sure I was coming.  If I diverted he was always with me.  If I got tired, he pretended he was tired too.
  • He would not allow anyone to take him from me.  He would not get aggressive, but if someone put a leash on him, he would put himself behind my me in “herding dog mode” and he would lock his legs and refuse to move.
  • Even if he knew I was going, he would remain behind my legs until I committed to going outside.
  • If I left on a short vacation, he would stare out the window looking for me for days, and when he was young he would refuse to eat.
  • I once went to Ireland for a Bon Jovi concert, but I could only be gone a few days because I knew he wouldn’t eat much while I was gone.  I was actually in the air travelling longer than I was on the ground in Ireland.  But, he was always worth it!

You can see the smile on his face

We were inseparable

I have never loved anything like I loved him and I have never been loved like he loved me.

I am not sure I will ever have that kind of unconditional love again.  It was the kind of thing they write books and movies about.

He was absolutely, special and not your average dog.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my current dogs (all 3 of them) and they are the reason I get up in the morning.

But they have no problem going places without me, they would never miss a meal because of me, and on a hiking trial, it is all about being lead dog… no one comes to check on me or would notice if a bear was sneaking up behind me 😉  They are dogs.

Nix was a part of my soul, that I was blessed to have in dog form.

So I find it hard, still to get up in the mornings.

I can’t sleep at night, although my strongest desire is to go to bed so that hopefully I can see him in my dreams.

There is a moment in every morning as I lay somewhere between waking and sleeping that in my mind, he is still laying at my feet and it breaks my heart each day when I realize that is not and will never be reality.

My husband doesn’t understand.

He can’t figure out why I can’t just get on with life, he was just a dog, and he becomes angry if he catches me mourning.

So I pretend.

I pretend I am okay.

I pretend that I still have desires in life.

I pretend that part of myself did not die that day.

And, then at night I can’t sleep; I often cry and I feel alone.

One night I got up.  I was more destitute than normal and I wanted to talk to someone and I needed some pet loss counseling.

It was 2 am and it is ironic that support groups, pet support groups, pet bereavement sites and even suicide websites and chat rooms keep normal working hours.

Sure, I could have called a hotline, but I hate talking on the phone and I just wanted to chat I wasn’t truly in danger of hurting myself.

Worried about his Kitty

That is when I found The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and it actually helped.  For help click here

Although their chat rooms also have moderation and specific hours, I knew maybe it would help to talk to others that were experiencing the same things.

And IT DID!

I realized I wasn’t the only one.

I wasn’t even the only one who’s friends and families didn’t understand or support their grief.

It was absolutely eye opening and comforting to realize I wasn’t alone.

Others felt the same kind of bond and the same kind of loss.

And, I got some helpful advice.

Things that May Help with Your Mourning

  • Write down and journal the things that you remember and stories from your life together.  It helps to have warm, fuzzy stories to go back and reread at a later time.
  • Journal your feelings; it helps to get them out and get rid of them.  Just writing down your anger, rage, sadness and disappointment and help you let go and get some rest.
  • Make a memorial if you can.  I have tried doing this a few times, but I find this one difficult.  I have things gathered together and will eventually follow through, but the finality of it is hard for me right now.
  • However making a memorial shadow box, really helped me when I lost my Snitch.  So it is about what you need and what you can handle at the time.  Sometimes we don’t realize what helps until we try.
  • Try and do “normal” things during the day, things that once brought you joy, and follow a schedule.  Schedules like when you get up and go to bed and regular sleep patterns can help your body adjust.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

I truly benefited from my time spent chatting with the moderators and other grieving pet owners and no one judged me or asked how I could miss an animal so much.  They allowed me to share my stories and we all reveled in the lives of the ones we had lost.  And, I didn’t have to get out of my PJs  to join in.

And, I recognize at 71 days and thanks to my series of past losses, it is time for me to seek more help.

I was always told as a kid that psychotherapy, and counseling and depression made you weak.

But I believe getting help for yourself when you feel destitute makes you strong.

I know that how I feel is not how I want to feel, I want to feel better but I may need some help with this one!

If you need help find it, because each day you have is a gift and life should be enjoyed.

For more help; click these links http://aplb.org/index.php

24 hour pet grief counseling by phone http://www.petloss.com/phones.htm

There may even be support groups in your area, if you are wondering, contact your veterinarian and they may be able to help you find one!

And tell me how you have found solace after such a loss and perhaps we can all help one another.

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.

Comments

  1. Jim Turner says:

    Minette,
    I cannot even imagine what it would be like to loose my GS Rea. Like you said she has been my best pal post a divorce. (Sounded better when you said it.) Anyway, there was an organization called LAYLA which may provide support for you too. LAYLA = Life After Your Loving Animal. And by all means seek the help you need, not a sign of anything but love. And cry! After that, maybe volunteer at a shelter. Best of luck to you as you look for a new relationship. (btw: GSs are the best)

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Thank you Jim 🙂

    I will look into that!

    I am going to talk to someone tomorrow, and I am looking into becoming a volunteer EMT… that should keep me busy!

    [Reply]

  2. Laura Williams says:

    Minette, I admire your strength and willingness to share this. I have another friend that recently lost her weim, Pinky. She seems to struggle too. This is really informative. Seeking help is not for the weak; it will make you stronger.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Thank you! It was hard to write, but I am hoping it will help people who feel like I feel 🙂

    They become such a part of us, it is incredibly hard to lose them.

    And unlike other friends and family, these guys sleep on our beds and snuggle with us daily.

    I miss my dad too, but he didn’t sleep on my feet at night… Its just so hard and so few people understand!

    [Reply]

    Laura Williams Reply:

    They do become a huge part of our lives. I understand your loss and if you ever need someone to listen, I’m here. Although I think you are doing the right thing through groups and other sources. Healing takes time there is no right or wrong way to do it and it is different for every person. I internalize everything so I basically mentally go crazy by myself…almost like a tornado in my head…if that makes sense. I have a lot of respect for you and admire your passion for sharing with others. (((HUGS))) Minette.

    [Reply]

  3. Judith Tiedemann says:

    I’ve had many pets, but my cat. Munchie, was my Soul Cat. It’s been over 11 years since I had to say goodbye to her, and I still miss her every day of my life. I’ve got 5 cats at the moment, and though I love them all dearly, they are not, nor ever will be a replacement for Munchie. Four and a half years ago, I got a dog, Trinket, and that has been the most help I’ve had in recovering from the loss of Munchie. Now, my dog has Bladder Stones, and I’m terrified that I will lose her, too. The Protocol for dissolving the stones, according to traditional Veterinary Medicine, is not something I’m comfortable with, and I’m struggling to find a more holistic approach to the problem. I know what the loss of this dog will do to me, and I’m just simply not willing to go through a long protracted illness with her, ending in her dying anyway. I will go to the websites listed here, for whatever help I can get, and I thank you for sharing your story with thousands of strangers, hoping it will help. That was courageous of you. I pray that my dog will go on to have many more healthy years ahead of her.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My dog had bladder stones and they are extremely painful. I would go with surgery and then try and better contain the PH of the urine with food.

    [Reply]

  4. Judith Tiedemann says:

    I can’t comment on this, because I don’t agree with traditional medicine.

    [Reply]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *