A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I know that some might think that pets are not appropriate as subjects after losing our spouses but I think they are. After Don died I was helped so much by having a very loving kitty, Proto, who slept with me, loved me, followed me all over, made me laugh with his silliness and made it easier for me to be alone.
Today Proto was dx with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Next week he will have Ultrasound to see how much his heart has thickened. No matter what, he will need daily medication in order to have a
"normal" life for months or a couple of years. It breaks my heart and I will do whatever is needed to keep him comfortable.
Pets provide a wonderful source of comfort while grieving.
Over the past 20+ years my husband and I have adopted several retired greyhounds. The last of our greyhounds passed away from bone cancer 3 weeks before my husband died. My husband died on Dec. 18th. The week before he passed, he asked me if we were going to get a new puppy for Christmas. I told him absolutley not!! I wanted to take a break from having a pet after 20 + years. He said to me "that's what YOU think...there's always going to be a dog in this house!"
Danny's funeral was 3 days before Christmas. Heavy snow started to fall in New England Christmas night and there was snow on the ground until early April. I kept telling my sister all winter, I'm so glad I don't have to worry about getting any dogs out for a walk in this weather.
Just as the snow cleared in April, I got a suprise call one morning from a friend that had two beagle/bishon mix puppies that needed a new home and had to be kept together. Without hesitating I agreed to take them and they arrived at my door 3 weeks ago today.
They have brought so much new joy to my life these past 3 weeks it is incredible. I believe that they were Heaven sent by Danny to help me through my grief & it sure is working!! Of course, I can hear him say I told you there would always be a dog (or2) in the house!
Cindy, Pronto has been such a wonderful source of comfort to you that whatever you have to do to help him be comfortable until the end is money well spent. Good luck.
Danny's girl- You are so right. Proto - named for being a "proto type" of another kitty, is such a source of comfort and I will do whatever I have to do to keep him as long as he is free of pain and capable of living a normal life.
So sad that your greyhounds died from bone cancer.
I am so glad you have new puppies to give you job now!
The night Ray died, the cats all slept with me (on the couch--I couldn't bear to sleep in our bed). One cat, that was particularly "Ray's cat," has issues with his thyroid, and has to be on meds for it. Of course, the cost is worth it (as is the great joy and love pets provide). Many thanks for being such a good friend to our furry friends.
Cindy, please connect with @EatPrayLove (who just lost a doggie recently) and @FlyingWG, who is very interested in how pets respond to our feelings. You might want to let them know of this discussion in case they haven't seen it yet too!
Our dog Braddock LOVED Barry. Barry got him for me as a puppy, on my 23d birthday. He is a black lab, and about to turn 8. Braddock was so used to the signs of Barry coming home, he knew the sounds of the airbrakes and would get so excited. It broke my heart to see him so sad when Barry died. NOt a month after he passed, one of the neighbors had their septic pumped and the truck that came to do it had air brakes. Braddock was going CRAZY! He thought Barry was home again and it broke my heart because he kept whining and barking for Barry. He knew something was wrong though, and one night when I was just inconsolable, and sobbing and sobbing, Braddock came and laid his head down on my leg and loved on me. I'll never forget that. Our cats also changed when barry died...they lost weight! Zeus especially, our main coone. He was a source of comfort for me and always sat in my lap at night.
I think Pets are wonderful for someone who is grieving, and they were for me too. I dont know what we'll do when Braddock dies. He's 8 now, so I suspect we have a few good years left with him. That's going to be such a hard day.
Hi everyone, I am also someone who has found that the pets I have are a lifeline and something to get up for everyday.
I have an elderly male cat who was Keith's cat and almost inconsoleable when Keith died. At 3am that morning Mr Meggsie came out of the back of the house and into the loungeroom and just sat on the chair beside the bed and howled. He howled for about 15 minutes and then left. Keith died at 6.30am and it was Mr Meggsie's way of sending him on his way. Since Keith died though he has lost a lot of weight and it is only now 5 months later that he is starting to put a little weight back on and become more lively. He has also become more social since Keith died. He now comes out into the family room and spends time with the family and friends when they are here.
The older dog, Shadow, is showing signs of advanced age now and getting arthritic. I am treating the arthritis and keeping him warm at night - on my bed - and he is responding well. Shadow is also getting very blind and a little deaf. He slept under the hospital bed the whole time Keith was dying and just asked every day to hop up for a while for a snooze and a pat. Comforting for both of them.
The younger dog, Cloud, is a little treasure. She is now 5 years old and a bright, gentle, sweet natured little girl who was her "Daddy's Darling". Everywhere Keith went during the last 5 years of his life she was there. In just about every picture taken she is sitting on his lap or curled up on the bed with him. For the last few weeks of his life she lay on the bed between his legs or beside them and just was with him. She would go up and lick his hand or his face to say she was there and he always smiled, even in the last hour before he slipped into the coma. Cloud laid with Keith until I removed her when the Funeral Director came to pick Keith up. She must have derived some comfort from this as she has not looked for him since and seemed to accept better than the others that he was no longer there.
I do know that because Mr Meggsie and Shadow are elderly that I will not have them for much longer, but that is a bridge I will cross when the time comes. Until then I will enjoy everyday I have with them and with Cloud. They have been such a comfort and blessing in my life since Keith died, all three sleep on the bed with me and are there around me when I am at home. I agree cleodoggie that the love that animals give is unconditional and in that spirit the love I give my animals is also unconditional and unstinting.
I am thankful for our pet dogs who have made it so much easier for my son to understand the saga of life, suffering and death.
When he was a baby, we gave him a female German Shepherd and she was so gentle. She had babies over the years but somehow they died one by one. One was run over by a car but she fought and survived, only to die a few years later probably of poisoning. (No vets here but one time we had to bring the dog to a real doctor just to save him!). In the beginning, my son was distraught and very sad, and even asked if dogs too would go to heaven. We had a funeral each time when the dogs died. Somehow this made him understand the end of life and the incidentals that come with our existence.
Because of our beloved dogs, it was easier for my son to understand death wtihout me explaining so much.
The German Shepherd is now 11 years old too like my son and has cancer. She is now blind in one eye. Sometimes she would cry like a human, sobbing instead of howling and somehow I would feel the spirit is around. My husband would pat her head and tell her to watch my son.
I understand 100% and I'm sure all the widows and widowers here do too! Pets are life and love and companionship and when do we need that more than when we lose our spouse? A year and a half after my husband died I rescued Tony Baloney...a Morkie and in truth, it sounds corny, but he rescued ME. It brings LIFE and MOVEMENT into the house.
And, my grown kids are allergic, so when their visits get a little overbearing...it's right in sync with their runny noses and red eyes...yippee...time to leave! hahaha
I am so sorry you are dealing with Proto being sick, but isn't is wonderful to have a little furry someone to nuture?
While I do enjoy the company of our cats at times, and I do love them (but I did adore them), they are now a great source of stress for me. If I didn't have them, I could leave this house more easily to live elsewhere. I could travel. They have found my husband's illness and death, as well as my grief, distressing. Being cats, some of them express it in unfortunate ways. I spend a lot of time cleaning urine and poo off my walls, doors, tiles and carpets, a problem we never used to have. I worry about them when I stay a night or two elsewhere, so I find it hard to relax. I have a short temper now, so when one of them does something naughty or annoying, I sometimes yell at them or push them away.
One of them was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months after my husband's diagnosis. It was incredibly distressing to have to make decisions about a cat when I should have been focused on my husband. A trial therapy was available; even with a less than 30% chance of success, my cat appears to be cancer free. While I would normally be ecstatic about this - the cat is my favourite and our bond is deep - it's incredibly hard to accept having my cat beat cancer when my husband had to die.