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.
Our Westies helped keep me from seriously considering suicide for the first 6-12 months. When Betty and I knew she was going to die within months, if not weeks, I told her I couldn't see living without her. She insisted I make her a solemn promise that I would keep living to take care of Mac and Duff.
Many nights they cuddle with me. For the first year neither of them would sleep on her side of the bed.
I gave my husband Scott a puppy for his birthday last September. We have a 5 month old Golden Retriever named Lucy, and she is the best thing on the planet. When Scott's health was declining, I seriously considered trying to give her back to her breeder. She was so much work and added a lot of chaos to an already stressful situation.
But now, I wouldn't trade her for anything. He adored her, and vice versa...I'm grateful for her presence every day...
Someone asked if I was going to keep her....uh, yeah. She's part of my family. Of course I'm keeping her!!!
When I met my husband I had a 3 year old shih tzu (Meisha) and a 8 wk old rottiXamerican bulldog (Diezel). He had NO dogs, but was pumped that I had them, because he's always wanted dogs. We raised the pup together, and Craig really became the alpha of him. We helped Meisha birth 2 litters ... and then raised all the pups until they found there new homes. (6 in the first litter/ 3 in her second) We kept a pup from her first litter, Boueffer, he's a chihuahua shih tzu cross.
All of our dogs have been depressed since Craig passed. I know a lot has to do with me continuing to be sad around them, but I can tell that they really miss him too. I first noticed when Meisha would scratch to go outside, and then just stand at the garage door, as if it were to open, and he'd be there. soo sad. Diezel used to be so playful, and all he does is mope around.
The craziest thing is Meisha... wherever the urn will be, that's where Meisha will rest herself. NO JOKE> i've actually tested it and moved it on her.... wierd!
thanks for sharing.
I had my almost 18 year old cat, NoHo, put down last evening. My husband and I had him for all but 6 months of our relationship. My husband died 9 months ago. NoHo was a piece of our life that was still there for me. It was sad to let go, but he was not the happy cat that he once was. His kidneys were failing. He was miserable, I was miserable. I'm still miserable, but at least I know that NoHo isn't in pain anymore.
I have 3 outdoor cats (NoHo was strictly indoor). They aren't replacements, but they are a distraction.....
Pets are important - my dog Petey has been a real companion. I only wish he could talk. Petey has made it easier to be alone, pets are interactive! And when I get home, he's there barking and welcoming me - the house isn't empty.
Hoping Proto stays well and you can enjoy many more days with him.
Cindy, I know how much pets can be a comfort. In the last three years, I lost two 16 year old dogs (which I helped the mother birth), a 24 year old cat, and my beloved husband. I now have 2 corgis and a beagle (and anything else that happens to wander up my street). Cats are so intuitive. My Ginny cat use to come sit on my lap and purr whenever I would get upset. She knew that it calmed me. At night, she slept wrapped around my neck, and I loved it. I think it's totally appropriate to bring up the subject of pets. We love them, and they love us unconditionally.
My husband, Don, and I always had a cat or two during our 42 years together. We must have taken good care of them because one lived to age 16, another lived to age 19, and the last one we had, Foxie, lived to age 21. All of the cats absolutely loved Don, and I came second... and I totally understood that. I preferred Don over myself, too! Foxie lived three years after Don died, and during her last days I was torn about whether or not to have her 'put down' or die naturally. She became frail, but functioning, and didn't seem to be in pain. Because of that my children urged me let her die naturally, which I did. However, it was difficult to watch her go through the deterioration process, so similar to my husband (who died after fighting pancreatic cancer for over two years.) She ended up dying by herself while I was on a day-long outing with another widow, so I am still not sure if I did the right thing. I wish I would have been there to comfort her in her last minutes.
I was thankful to have Foxie right after Don died because she was a comforting tie to him. However, that changed as she deteriorated because it caused me to relieve Don's deterioration, increasing my grief. Instead of her comforting me, I tried to comfort her.... but I think that it was good for me to take the focus off myself. I sold my house and moved into a 55+ community a few months after she died and wasn't sure if I'd get another cat.... or maybe try a dog. Then, one day I met Mizzy, a stray kitten my daughter was fostering for the local Friends of Felines organization, and I knew I was to take her home with me. She has been a tremendous comfort to me, and lots of company.
My wife and I have always had Scottish Terriers and we found Pepper four years ago, she was the only Scotty we have ever had problems with temperament and I was going to return her to the breeder during the first year because of it. I was at my wits end and was making the call to return her when my wife began crying so hard that I could not do it, Esther told me later that she needed to have her to love if anything should happen to me.
Since that time Pepper has been the glue that has held things together first with my wife, she would lay beside her on the bed when she was hurting and would comfort her and watch over her and now she gives me purpose and comfort. If I cry she will come to me, look me in the eye and jump up on my lap and won't leave until I tell her I am OK. She will run and get a toy and bring it to me if I am down and I respond to her and give her the love back. If there is a heaven than I know it must be filled with all those pets that have made life just a little more livable for us on this marble.
I'm sitting here with three dogs in my office. Within the two years before my husband died, we lost two dogs we'd had for 16 years and a cat we'd had for 24 years. Each time I lose an animal, I grieve for the loss of their unconditional love. Shortly after our cat died, my husband, Ken, died. I think that the multiple losses have made my world very chaotic. I tend to want to stay very close to my boys (Dewey, Coach, and Lil Man) because I'm terrified of losing one of them. Pets are indeed a joy. They make great bed buddies too. My dear husband tolerated our sleeping with two dogs and a cat for years.
No better friend could we have to carry us through the hard days. These past two years Pepper has helped make my life a lot happier and given me a purpose because without me she would be given up to the system, my kids are not pet people so I guess we are stuck with each other. I have always had Scotties and they have given me a lot of love and to lose one just tears at my heart, we had two twin sisters before Pepper and one slept with Esther and the other slept with me, we lost both of then to cancer the year before I lost my wife to cancer.