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How long does pet loss grief last?

(88 Posts)
MommaP Tue 31-Dec-19 10:59:36

Any advice?

Had to have our rescue lab Marley put to sleep Friday night before Christmas. Very sudden but totally right thing to do but a giant black lab shaped hole in my life. Am very emotional still - I got call his ashes are ready to collect and I'm a blubbering mess again.... I know life will get better eventually

pensionpat Tue 31-Dec-19 11:02:29

It’s the price we pay isn’t it. But on the positive side, you now have a vacancy. When you’re ready.

jaylucy Tue 31-Dec-19 11:05:29

Marley was part of your family and I see no reason why it can't be expected that your grieving could last as long as if he was human!
The only difference I can see is that with a pet, you can choose to have another pet that you can transfer your love to that will help - you can't do that with humans!

CleoPanda Tue 31-Dec-19 11:08:29

Oh MommaP I am so with you right now. Just sent our 18 year old much loved puss cat to sleep. The final decision was almost impossible for me to make. I’m still a blubbering mess on day 4. Even my stoic, normally unemotional husband is visibly upset. I can’t even look at photos. The house feels empty without baskets, litter tray, food dishes etc. She had multiple serious health issues for the last year and it’s been hard work and tying. We couldn’t be away all day due to pill and injection times. Doesn’t make any difference, we’re free of that but desperately sad. Sweetest pet we’ve ever had.

MotherHubbard Tue 31-Dec-19 11:26:50

Sorry no advice just commiserations as our beautiful girl Mags, yellow lab aged 12, died suddenly in March and this was our first Xmas without her so I know how you are feeling. She was my best friend, followed me everywhere and I still miss her every day.Her ashes are in a small wooden box next to a lovely photo of her where I can glance over every now and again. There was a little rhyme someone wrote on a card for me -
‘when tomorrow starts without me don’t think we’re far apart, for every time you think of me I’m right here inside your heart’
Take care x

Squiffy Tue 31-Dec-19 11:27:04

Momma We're still struggling after a year. No pet has ever affected us so much before. It's very early days for you and this is always an emotional time of year at the best of times. flowers

Framilode Tue 31-Dec-19 11:43:56

We grieved for a long time after our dog was put to sleep last Christmas. It wasn't until our new dog arrived in September that I felt really happy for the first time again.

ladymuck Tue 31-Dec-19 11:57:33

You never really get over it. I've had many, many pets over the years. I can remember every single one, and the loss of them. It still brings tears now.

sodapop Tue 31-Dec-19 12:11:30

ladymuck is right, each pet has a special place in our heart. It will get easier though and you will remember the love and pleasure Marley brought to your lives.

Iam64 Tue 31-Dec-19 12:18:40

Yes, every pet has a special place in our heart, just like our human loved one's. Just a year ago, we discovered that our fit, happy six year old dog was struggling to walk. 24 days from the first sign all wasn't well, our vet came out to ease his passing from this world. An MRI scan the previous day showed a large, inoperable tumour along his spine. By that day, he couldn't use his back legs, was confused and clearly in pain. It was brutally quick, five days earlier, the diagnosis had been slipped disc and treatment plan rest. His deterioration over night led to the MRI scan which of course, meant we had to make that last loving choice you can for your dog.
I'm still so sad and bereft, miss him so much. I'm lucky to have an 11 year old lovely dog and now,, a 19 month old ditzy youngster. No dog ever replaces the one you lost but Miss ditzy and her companion fill my days with love.
Look after yourself MommaP and don't be surprised how much you weep xx

Buffybee Tue 31-Dec-19 12:26:47

I feel for you MommaP, our lovely pets bring us so much pleasure but the pain of losing them is terrible.
I, like ladymuck remember all my pets and even now I can 'tear up' thinking of my beautiful German Shepherd who I had for fifteen years.
It took me a while to feel like I could love another dog, then I got my lovely Golden Lab cross, who is now unbelievably 16 years old
and is amazing for her age.
I am dreading the inevitable and I have already decided that I will get another dog because quite simply, I just can't live without one but all the others are forever in my heart.

MawB Tue 31-Dec-19 12:32:23

Every sympathy.
I cried and cried when lovely Gracie had to be PTS, when I buried her ashes in the garden and planted a “Grace” rose .
I used to go out and talk to her and cry some more.
Gradually I realised that to give a home to another rescue dog was the best memorial to her and 4 months later Hattie joined us.
How long?
As long as you need, but for me, filling that dog-shaped space with another rescue was the answer.

Redrobin51 Tue 31-Dec-19 12:36:43

It is so difficult. We had our last rescue dog for 16 years and my best friend of 35 years had never seen me cry before and was amazed how distressed I was the day she was put to sleep. She left such a hole in our lives. We have had another rescue for nearly two years now, she was hard work at the beginning but we are suddenly seeing such improvement and it is marvellous. She is a completely different dog to the ones that have gone before. I think we have deliberately chosen different sorts of digs so we wouldn't compare them. We still talk lovingly about our other dogs and all their funny querks and we are so pleased to have those happy memories of them. No dog can replace the one you have lost and the getting over the loss of them takes a long time but eventually we remember just the good bits. Thinking of you at this difficult time.x

EllanVannin Tue 31-Dec-19 12:50:45

For the rest of your life each time you think about the pet. As you get older the loss is still as great, even with the replacement of other pets. You never forget them.

Yehbutnobut Tue 31-Dec-19 13:14:20

I’m still mourning a very special dog almost two years later. Having brought a rescue dog into the home has helped a lot as I want to give this poor mistreated boy the same happy life my old dog had,

Seeing the rescue learn to trust and love us is very humbling and healing.

lavenderzen Tue 31-Dec-19 13:18:16

I am so sorry to read about your loss of Marley. We love them so much, don't we, they are such a huge part of our lives. I lost my lovely dog earlier this year, he had been poorly for a long time, and he told me when he was too tired just by his eyes.

I don't think you truly get over them tbh. I have a photo of him that goes with me everywhere, he came to Tesco's store this morning with me.

I have had many dogs in my life time, I remember them all, and as time goes on you do start to think about all the happy times you shared. One particular one, Bertie, was a rescue and although we had another one within four months I still cried every night for him for a very long time. It did get easier.

You will remember all the happy times and not cry as much in time but let your tears flow. There is a space in your life for another one, and you have lots of love to give.

I have another one now, a younger springer cross, who is such a handful but it has helped me.

Do things slowly you will know when it is time for another one to enter your life.

Take care flowers

sarahellenwhitney Tue 31-Dec-19 13:33:40

I share your grief and truly believe you never stop grieving but as time goes by life becomes easier in coping life without your pet.It can help to ease the pain by having another pet as somewhere there awaits another life for whom you can give the love given to the pet you lost. The Blue Cross have a website and display, on line, pets needing homes.Not only do they rehome but have a bereavement service which helps in adjusting to life following the loss of a pet.

blondenana Tue 31-Dec-19 13:40:33

So sorry for your loss, my lovely lola went to forever sleep in August and i still get upset looking at her photos, and ashes i have in a heart shaped box with her name on
I also have a little picture of her on a fob on my key ring so she goes everywhere with me when i'm out

grannysyb Tue 31-Dec-19 13:53:57

Still miss, and talk to my lovely girls, all Danes but each one different from the one before. Our last one was put to sleep by my DH five years ago, I think this might be the year we finally crack and get another dog. I would have to do all the walks as DHs sciatica doesn't let him walk far.

fatgran57 Wed 01-Jan-20 06:30:34

Weeping whilst reading this thread.

Our little girl (little grey cat) died 14 weeks ago this Friday.

It is almost unbearable, her death really almost broke me. We have had many pets over the years ans
d loved them all and remember them all, but this little one - it is so hard,

She was with us for 18 years, we said to the children she was with us at home longer than you lot, as they left home at 17ish!

I have her picture as screensaver on my phone so see her every time I use the phone. It is a close up and I can see every bit of that fur and those dear little paws.

She is buried not far from our back door near a seat she loved to sit on.

We talk about her every day and miss her so very much.

Grief is the price you pay for loving and I grieve and love very much.

MommaP the dreadful pain will ease a little but the sadness will remain. It becomes a part of your life - isn't it strange how they have stopped and we go on if you know what I mean.

Nanna58 Wed 01-Jan-20 09:18:24

I still grieve for each of my 4 lovely dogs that have gone, and will do for the two I have now, it’s the price we pay for the love they give , so even sad we still get the best of the deal. I , like a lot of the other posters always focus on the joy of having been able to alter their lives for the better, and see the hole in my life as an opportunity to do the same again for another ‘lost’ dog, that way two souls get to heal.

polnan Wed 01-Jan-20 09:19:05

not read all the posts yet,, but days!!! months,, stretching on
some of our pets are a bit different, more than animal/human,,.. and only those of us who have had that wonderful experience know what I am speaking of..

wish I were young enough to have another dog,, but no, never replace them,, never the same... wait a little time before getting another dog/cat.. is my view, well for me..

CarlyD7 Wed 01-Jan-20 09:20:25

I would definitely leave space for grieving Marley - I've known people rush out and get another dog, as though that's going to solve anything and it doesn't, and it's not fair on the dog (who will be a completely different personality, even if it's the same breed). Give yourself time to have a good cry, look at photos, put her photo up and honour how much you loved her. We put our doggie's photo up next to the box with her ashes - until we were ready to scatter them (we did a little ceremony near the river where she loved to run, scattering the ashes on the water and throwing in some flowers too - it really did help). Then, when the grief subsides a little, it will be time to think about another dog. That's what worked for me.

jannxxx Wed 01-Jan-20 09:23:45

my wee dogs died age 18 and age 20 max the last one died on xmas eve, over 5 years ago, still miss them everyday, think of them often, and did for a while look after family's dogs when they were away. like grief when losing a person it differs, my mate just keeps getting another dog when the first one dies, not for me, i decided no more pets after having dogs all my life.

Mommawolf Wed 01-Jan-20 09:29:41

Oh mommP I am so sorry for your loss as a vets wife I know how devastating this can be. I have seen DH in tears after helping a pet pass on. many he has seen grow from babies. For the families it's a loss that is undescribable take time to grieve no one ever really gets over it. If you have other dogs they will grieve as well my heart goes out to you.