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Old 10-14-2017, 02:51 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
14,505 posts, read 11,481,746 times
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Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
No, you can't replace a pet any more than you can replace a person who dies. When you get a new pet, it will be in ADDITION to your heart and to your life, not a replacement. Our hearts do have the ability to expand and bring in more love. But we need to grieve what we have lost first.
I agree... and have never understood replacements.. be it human or animal. you cant replace.... but sometimes having a new pet can be a comfort...
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:48 AM
Location: SW Florida
9,101 posts, read 3,923,269 times
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Everybody grieves in their own way; some get over a loss quickly and others don't. I lost both my precious Chihuahuas last year, one in May, the other in August. Shortly after, I adopted a 14 year old cat from our kill shelter and he died 5 days later and I got very attached to him in that short amount of time. I went into such a funk and depression. Even now when I think about them I tear up. I did get another shelter cat and we are both doing well.

My granddaughter, who visits every weekend, was extremely attached to Maggie, one of my Chi's and what we did to help her have some closure is get 3 helium balloons, write Maggie, Abby and Timmy on them and set the balloons free to go the rainbow bridge. We both cried but we felt we said a proper good-bye to them.

Last edited by chiluvr1228; 10-14-2017 at 05:23 AM..
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:25 AM
13,009 posts, read 12,440,016 times
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Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
I'm trying to walk gingerly here, and not offend anyone nor get into a heartless battle about whose burden is heavier.

I just want to say to you, JRZ, please don't ever say what you just said in this post to a parent who has lost a child.

Just, please don't. I mean that sincerely. You have absolutely no idea.
Please read my post carefully. In no way shape or form did I say that losing a pet was WORSE than losing a child. That would never even occur to me (and perhaps that's why I didn't clarify that, assuming it was a given). What I am saying is that it is an entirely DIFFERENT kind of pain or loss. You cannot really compare the two. Some of the features of the different types of grief may be the same, but they can't be viewed in the same way.

The theory is that dogs evolved in such a way to taken on much of our emotional "work" in addition to tasks like "guarding the camp" - we put a burden on our pets that no sane, functional or loving parent would EVER put on their child. We raise our dogs to be our companions and know they will die before us, but parents raise their children to be independent beings who go out into the world and live long lives away from them. Dogs occupy an entirely different role in our lives than children do, no matter how many people refer to their pets as their "fur kids" and whatnot. The dog I lost was entirely attuned to my body language and watched me constantly for the next task I would ask of him. He was more like a limb than a separate being (something a friend who recently lost her service dog says is terribly accurate for her). No, I don't have a kid, but I do understand what constitutes a healthy love between humans, and that is nowhere close to it. We ask things of our dogs that we would never ask of another person.

The other part about losing a dog vs. losing a child is that for most people, the loss of a pet is a very private pain that is not well understood by others. Again, it is not a worse pain, but it IS different and cannot be processed the same way. When my friend lost her child, she had an entire community to support her and people who were touched by the life of her child and remembered him, but for the vast majority of people who are just your average pet owner, they grieve entirely alone.

For myself, I'm active in dog sports, and my dog had a lot of "fans." I have people come up to me regularly and tell me how much they miss seeing him and what a cool dog he was. Also, well, it's dogs - I'm surrounded by people who have had similar losses, and they all understand. Grieving has been easier this time around for me since I last lost a beloved animal at an early age, but the average pet owner does not have that support system most of the time.

When someone loses a child, it is devastating. For someone who loses a pet, it can also be devastating but the nature of the loss and the context of the grief is entirely different. The loss of a child and the loss of a pet are apples and oranges, in my opinion.
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:00 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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This is what has to be remembered..there are people out there who are lonely, on their own who have never had kids... so their dog or animal is their only friend or part of their family... I agree that no one should ever put an animal on the same par as a child but some do and cant help how they mourn for that animal.. and I feel for them too... silly as it might seem to some of us...... As a mother I cant see anything in life as awful as losing one of my four children or grandchildren but also see the other picture too... Years ago before I ever had a dog I couldnt understand how some people could be heartbroken over a dog , now I have my own shih tzu.... I know how devastated Id be to ever lose him...
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for your response, JRZ. Interesting.

I hold the belief that grief is grief, and the grieving process for all is basically the same process. That loss can be the death of an elderly parent, permanent infertility issues, death of a good friend, a divorce, a death of a pet, a death of a child.

And those losses have typical patterns and typical recovery times. By "recovery" I mean where the person experiencing the loss comes to peace with the loss, and is able to function normally and fairly happily.

In my observation, the death of a child is the only loss where it's typical in our culture the parent never recovers but rather settles on a permanent "new normal", a much sadder version of their prior self.

The other losses typically tend to be resolved more or less and the person recovers to a state very similar to their prior self after a period of time.

But not always. There are losses people experience other than the death of a child where they never recover.

So the OPs question, "how long is normal to grieve a pet" probably has an actual answer. Because "normal" means "expected or typical". I don't think it's helpful to say there is no normal - but rather, sometimes people are stuck in deep grief way way outside of that normal grieving process timeframe, and it's not a character flaw.

Imagine someone gets stung by a bee. You see that the bite swells up, becomes red, hot to the touch, and hurts and is itchy. A couple days later the swelling is almost gone and the person says it doesn't hurt much anymore. That's typical, for a bee sting. That's normal. The swelling and pain that lasted for a couple days is what is expected.

Now if another person gets stung by a bee, and after a week the swelling seems worse and now they can't really use that arm and are running a fever, that's outside of the normal expected reaction, and it's time to ask if they've seen a doctor or would like a ride to a clinic. You wouldn't say of for God's sake get over that bite already, are you still swollen? You'd offer the thought that it's time to seek help.

So I think maybe that's the advice for the OP. If you expect to never recover from the loss of your two dogs several months ago, and your son is asking if you're still grieving, it's time to explore that and seek therapy to move the healing process along.

There's no reason to condemn the person stuck in grief - but rather, to note they appear stuck and suggest they seek help.

The truth is, some people don't want to get over a loss. They want to be in the grieving process, because to appear to have gotten over it would seem disloyal to them, as if the loss weren't a great one to bear. Sometimes the bitterness after a divorce is all they have left of that relationship, and they are unwilling to give that up and have nothing whatsoever left of the marriage.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:16 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,234 posts, read 478,697 times
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Originally Posted by Witchz View Post
Not sure if this belongs here but I am wondering how much time is considered normal for grieving pets?
Whatever amount of time YOU need is NORMAL and nobody gets to say boo about it.
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:45 PM
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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There is no average or normal. OK, years later, probably a bit over the top, but there are so many things that contribute to our grieving whether a loved on (human)or love you(pet) We lost our little Shih Tzu about 2 years ago. It took us at least a year to get over it. I had a cat, I loved beyond possible almost. We lost him suddenly and it took me years to totally get over it. No, I didn't really grieve that long but never found a cat I could love as much. That was until a few months ago. We now have a part Simese that I think is taking Walters place. I find myself sometimes calling him Walter. He has a wonderful, loving and funny personaltiy like Walter.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:29 PM
Location: Canada
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I lost my German shepherd a year and a half ago. She was almost 15 so she had lived a good, long life. I actually had to imagine a box in my head and put the memory in there and mentally lock it and not let my mind go there. It is too painful to think about. Maybe one day I can examine the memories but not yet. I've had dogs all my life and she is not the only dog I've lost. And it never gets easier.

And I have two other dogs. They are very special but there are no replacements as others have said.
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Witchz View Post
Thank you for all your answers - at least I don't feel like I am just over emotional now.
My son is not young - he is senior in high school and he is the one who keeps saying to me "mom are you still going to cry about this- its been a few months?" That is in reference to Zeek who was 11 yrs old and was sick for a bit before but with the little one Molly who was only 7 months old I have been in shock and am just so sad. I will agree that it is probably not the same as losing a child but I used the comparison because it is so painful and I probably should not have. Both of them were mostly my babies although everyone spent some time with them just not as much as I did. I seriously cant stop thinking about Molly - as my routine had changed so much after her arrival - she was not potty trained or trained at all so she was a handful at first. My fiancé used to call her a wild animal cause she basically was - she had no rules before.

As for getting another - we have kicked the idea around. I do think that Mollys arrival helped with the loss of Zeek but am just so afraid of the thought of having to go through another loss - I just don't know.
I have loved every dog I've owned. I also know how difficult it can be to live with someone who is suffering from depression. If you do not stay active, or are unable to be active, your body chemistry can get out of whack.

Make sure you go on walks, if you are able. If you're not able, find something you enjoy doing. Maybe writing, painting, sewing, even playing a video game could possibly help.

Watch a comedy with your family. You all need to laugh together.
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:25 PM
Location: Maine's garden spot
3,093 posts, read 5,422,768 times
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Originally Posted by Witchz View Post
Not sure if this belongs here but I am wondering how much time is considered normal for grieving pets? I had to put my 11 yr old Chihuahua to sleep in June and then was watching my moms pug puppy afterwards and she got sick from vaccinations and died at 7 months old within a matter of days. I had been watching her for 3 months and had grown very attached. So now I feel so sad several times a day over the loss of both dogs - different things trigger me and I am so sad but don't want to keep bringing it up to my fiancé or son as I don't want to keep upsetting them about it. I feel like I may never get over either one of them almost like I lost a child - how to handle my grief without bringing everyone down?
Take as long as you need. There will never be set time.
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