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Dealing with pet loss

(19 Posts)
millymollymandy67 Mon 14-Oct-19 09:33:01

My elderly father had to have his beloved dog put to sleep at the weekend & he is distraught. He is a widower of over 2 years and since my mother died the dog has been his companion & comfort - I’m very worried how he is going to cope. He’s adamant he won’t have another dog as he is in his 80s - does anyone have experience of this? How can we help?

Eglantine21 Mon 14-Oct-19 09:45:57

The same circumstances happened with my father in law. He vowed not to get another dog and was very unhappy for several months. Then we found his local rehoming Centre was desperate for people to offer homes to elderly dogs who perhaps had only a year or two to live.

It was an ideal arrangement for both of them especially because he knew the rehoming centre would have the dog back if he couldn’t look after it later on.

MawB Mon 14-Oct-19 09:46:11

Oh I am so sorry. His dog has probably been what gave him a reason to get out of bed each day ad got him out and about.
There is little one can say except to sympathise at yet another bereavement. I lost my DH nearly two years ago and Hattie, my rescue greyhound while a tie, probably kept me sane.
I have always been in bits after a much loved dog has been PTS and can understand why your father may not wish to put himself through that again. At 80+ he might feel he is too old to start that relationship again too.
The only thing that ever worked for me as consolation - I have had 4 dogs in my adult life, was actually to give a home to another rescue dog. Not replacing my dog, but filling that dog shaped space.
There was a case recently on TV of an elderly widower who adopted a sweet little dog from Wood Green animal shelter - I would bet she gives him a new lease of life. He also knew that if ever he couldn’t manage to keep her, his daughter was totally prepared to help out or have her. If you live near him, would you be able to have a rescue dog for him to “share”?
Not an easy situation, but I do so feel for him 🐶

mumofmadboys Mon 14-Oct-19 09:56:12

Could you give him a photo of his dog in a frame?

millymollymandy67 Mon 14-Oct-19 10:03:23

I think having to go through this again if he took on an elderly dog is the main reason he won’t consider taking one on.

MawB that’s exactly it - he has no other interests & having his dog got him out of the house twice a day & contact with other regular dog walkers, which will now be lost. My dad has had dogs all his life I think & definitely all of his life with mum. I saw that episode & that gentleman reminded me of my dad - little did I know he’d be in that situation so soon! I’m not in a position to take on a dog if he couldn’t but my sister has given me the impression she would - I’m not sure if that will convince him!

Thank you both for replying

millymollymandy67 Mon 14-Oct-19 10:04:52

mumofmadboys strangely enough my sister did just that for him for Father’s Day - it is in pride of place on his fireplace

Blondiescot Mon 14-Oct-19 10:09:54

Would he perhaps consider fostering a pet? There are organisations such as the Cinnamon Trust which organise foster homes for pets whose owners have perhaps had to go into hospital or similar circumstances? That might be an option for him - or rehoming an elderly home, as has been said, although I appreciate he may not want to go through the pain of losing another...but they are always desperate to find homes for elderly pets.

millymouge Mon 14-Oct-19 10:12:47

Please encourage your father to get another dog, an elderly one who will need him as much as he needs it. It will make him get up in the morning when he doesn’t feel like it, make him go out and talk to people and give him a reason for living. A really good homing centre someone like Dogs Trust will make sure he has something suitable for his age and abilities and also they will have something in place should one outlive the other. You will see such a change in him.

blondenana Mon 14-Oct-19 10:15:00

I can understand what your dad is going through,i lost my little dog in August and i still cry if we get talking about her
I don't know if i will have another, but i know if i did my daughter would have him/her if i go first
Maybe he could have a little rescue dog with the proviso someone would take care of it if the worst happens
I have her ashes in a heart shaped box with her name on it and 2 photographs on my mantlepiece.she will never be forgotten even if i do eventually get another rescue dog

WOODMOUSE49 Mon 14-Oct-19 10:18:44

Our local dog rescue centre are always after volunteer walkers. Does he have one close by?

Eglantine21 Mon 14-Oct-19 10:24:30

My father in law said it wasn’t the same sense of loss but we are all different. It was, like Maw said, about the dog shaped hole that felt better when it was filled.

If he is still active he could do dog walking for people who are ill or just can’t manage any more. The Cinnamon Trust mentioned above might be able to help with that.

Or even just out for a walk at “dog walking time” might get him chatting to other people and enjoying their dogs.

I’m really quite frightened of dogs but they do have such joy in life it makes you feel better (at a distance😬)

blondenana Mon 14-Oct-19 10:57:05

Eglantine I am also quite frightened of dogs i don't know, but i have had 2 dogs of my own in the past,but i loved them ,just couldn't approach a strange dog
I really admire the people who rescue strange dogs i couldn't
I hope this gentleman can maybe find a little dog to give him something to get up in a morning for

Daisymae Mon 14-Oct-19 10:58:04

Give him time. He needs to grieve and the loss can be similar to losing a loved one, so I read recently. Perhaps after a while he will consider homing another elderly soul who needs him just as much as he needs a dog in his life. I do feel so sorry for him and understand how you want to help him. Maybe in time he will come around.

glammanana Mon 14-Oct-19 14:00:13

Can you take your dad to a local rehoming centre to maybe volunteer to dog walk a couple of times a week,he may find himself drawn to a rescue dog there and they both find they belong together.

millymollymandy67 Mon 14-Oct-19 19:29:18

Thanks everyone for replying - I called in on my dad today & he wasn’t too bad - he’d even been for a little walk which really surprised me - what a difference a day makes! He’s still upset obviously & did get upset recalling telling someone he’d met today about his loss. We don’t have a rescue near enough to volunteer I don’t think. My sister had found a rescue dog near her and he didn’t say never he said it’s too soon so may be with time he will consider giving a home to one in need

Iam64 Mon 14-Oct-19 20:03:03

It's great that you and your sister are so understanding and supportive towards your dad at this sad time. I had to have my six year old dog put to sleep earlier this year. I was more distressed than I have been about the loss of any of my other dogs. Part of that was the speed and brutality of the illness that led to his death. The other being that I'd expected him to see him into my 80's, if I'm lucky enough to be around for so long. I have got another young dog but at 80 I can see your dad's hesitation.
Great that he's been out for a walk, I expect his local dog walking community will stop and chat with him. Our local dog shelter and the charity I volunteer for often have elderly dogs in need of a home. Maybe your dad can consider that at some point. Often the charity or the vet who supports them, will agree to treat older dogs with the bills covered by donations.

millymollymandy67 Tue 15-Oct-19 09:52:09

Thank you - my dad’s dog hadn’t been ill either he went downhill in a matter of days. I think the worry of taking in an older dog is the possibility of going through this again in a short time - it’s a dilemma

Nightsky2 Tue 15-Oct-19 10:43:05

This is so sad, something those of us who have elderly dogs understand so well.

Maybe in a few weeks when things have settled down a bit you and he could get in touch with the Cinnamon Trust or other dog rescue centres where there are dogs desperately looking for new homes. I can’t begin to imagine life without a dog myself but you know your father best so give it some time and maybe he might just come round to the idea of another little dog. You would have to be prepared (or another family member) to look after this dog should anything happen to your father.

I know how he feels, it is the most awful sadness.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 15-Oct-19 16:35:51

Oh dear, poor you and poor, poor father.

My father too said at the same age that he was too old to get another dog, after my mother's death. We saw his point as taking it for walks would have been hard.

Happily, for my peace of mind, a stray cat with a very low opinion of human beings moved into my father's barn that was built in one with the house and lived off the mice he caught there and water from a small ornamental pond.

My father, who wasn't really a cat person, appreciated the help keeping down the mice, so the two rubbed along quite happily. Shadow, as I call him, because he was black and we only ever caught glimpses of him out of the corner of our eyes, disappeared a week after my father died and was never seen again. I rather suspect they are sitting in the hereafter, about three feet apart, carefully ignoring each other.

I hope some nice friendly neighbouring dog trots by and keeps your father company, or a stray cat or a family of birds in his garden, if he has one, can provide a little interest and comfort.