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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

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.



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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!


Love,  Cindy

Hi, Cindy:

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!


My old basset Cleo who is 12 now was really Jim's dog.  Right after he died the neighbor heard her howl the death howl for him.  She has been the boss around here ever since even though she is slowing way down with age.  Three months after Jim died I got a basset puppy and named her Mathida Magilcuty afer a joke Jim and I had.  Well she's two years old now and a very loving and spunky puppy.  Without my dogs I think I would have gone crazy but they kept me centered.  I thank God for animals to love. They give love unconditionally.

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.

 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'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?




Aren't these pets just amazing - your stories really touch my heart!   The amount of unconditional love they show their owners is incredible and not even surprising.  I have had kitties all of my life and have always been surprised at the extent of their sensitivities and intuition about so many things.

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.

Before my partner died we had our 2 cats, Xena and Eli. Eli is the sensitive one and he missed Karen big time. Xena for the first 2 weeks after Karen passed would crouch on the carpet in the TV room and look (with big black eyes) towards where Karen would work at her desk. It was if she was "seeing" Karen. Xena finally started realizing that Karen was not coming back and got closer to me. The cats are good for me but everyone was telling me to get a dog for one year and i finally decided to go ahead and get a dog. I rescued a14 month old lab, and he has been a big comfort and has became very protective of me. He makes me laugh and mad too as he is still a puppy and wears me out at times. With cats you can come home when you want to but with Fargo you have to come home period. It is nice to have animals to cuddle and be here for me. I too like to think I am here for them as they were all rescued.
Ditto too


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