“Relationships are forever. They are eternal. Not just permanent in this lifetime. Once you establish a relationship, it is an eternal relationship.” – Abraham-Hicks

Years ago I was at a workshop, sitting in a circle of women. One of them was grieving a death in her family, expressing anger and isolation.

She said, “…and you know what?  If one more of my idiot girlfriends acts like she knows what I’m going through and shares some dumb-ass story about when her stupid dog or cat died, I’m going to explode.”

Of course, that anger wasn’t the truth of who she is. Anyone who has experienced grief knows that she was probably just trying to mask her intense sadness.  Anger pretends it can do that.

For some reason, though, I thought of that woman at 1am this past Tuesday.

Atticus, who had been my special pal for 13 years, finally passed away after a long hard final week of a five-month illness.  Silently, I assured that woman – wherever she is now – that my heart was shattered enough to satisfy even her needs.

Even though Mr. Patticus weighed in at only 4 pounds at his passing, I felt the grief of a hundred tons of spirit.  After all, the sadness of letting go has so little to do with these earthly issues — like weight and form, or human and pet.  It’s a matter of the heart.  And thank goodness, our hearts don’t know such limitations.

I’ve been so touched by the number of people who have stopped their busy lives to share their stories when they found out about my beloved kitty.  I love how common we all are – even the most stoic or the most mental among us can share with stunning detail an instance when they lost a dog, or a cat, horse or bird.

When a treasured pet dies, you may find yourself going through a kind of mental gymnastics – most of which is just a feeble attempt at distracting you from what you’re desperately trying to avoid: the heavy and unbearable sadness of letting go of something so sweet, so precious, and so connected to you.

Most thoughts can be noticed, accepted, or released – yet when you are in the thick of your grief, sometimes it’s hard to remember to do any of those things.

So, the following items are random.  I’m posting them for someday. I’m posting them because you might need a friend-in-writing at some 1am of your own.  Print this out and save it for that time.

These are pieces of my experience, and pieces of stories from other people.  This is my attempt to remind you of the truth, so that you can get back to doing what you are meant to do when you lose a pet – which is to purely experience the release of this being you treasure.  In that alone will you find healing.

Guilt

Guilt will sneak in at unexpected moments, telling you that you did it wrong, that you didn’t do enough, that you caused this to happen, or that it’s all your fault.

Guilt is tricky.  It seems like situations cause it to rise up out of nowhere.  But really, guilt just hangs around, waiting in the wings – and it waits to find the perfect situation to make an entrance.

In the highly charged situation of a sick pet who doesn’t have a voice, guilt is always available to fill the silent spaces.  And it serves no purpose.

You find your pet, you love your pet, and you do the best you can. That’s all you can do.

That’s what you did.

Blame

Blame is guilt going in the opposite direction. You’ll want to blame the vet, or the driver of the car, or your boyfriend for taking you out that night when your dog ran off, which wouldn’t have happened had you been there.

Blame serves one purpose:  to distract you. It’s not that you aren’t allowed to have moments of blame and anger – but remember that no matter how much of it you experience, eventually the sadness will be what’s waiting for you at the end of that long line of stuff.  And you’ll have nowhere else to turn but in its direction.

Blame might postpone the sadness – but not forever.

Second-Guessing

A friend of mine told me that one of the worst things about putting her cat to sleep was the second-guessing that happened afterward.

Second-guessing is just guilt on Halloween.  It puts on a mask called “Rational Thoughts” that offer you all the reasons why you did the exact opposite of what you should’ve done.

Atticus died as I held him on my kitchen floor.  During this last hour, I was overtaken by fear. The second-guessing began. Had I made the wrong choices? Should I have had him put to sleep? I didn’t do any of this right, did I?

I was able to catch myself and remind myself that all I needed to do was be fully present to this moment, and we would both get through it. That’s all you need to do, too. Your presence is more powerful and more healing than your untrue thoughts.

Knowing

When you’re contemplating putting your pet to sleep, and you ask people how you’ll know whether or not to do it, and when it’s time, they will all tell you one thing, “Oh. You’ll know. You’ll just know.”

The truth is that you might know.  And that’s great.  But you also might not.  I kept waiting to hear a “knowing.” But it never came.  My homeopathic vet told me that it might never come, and that you just have to do the best you can do.

Life

It’s imperative that you experience life during this time.   When Atticus was dying, Spring was in a “Hey it’s been raining for six straight days!” cheerleader-like exuberance, so I made myself go out into the woods with my dog.

I witnessed Pink Ladyslipper in bloom. I smelled the wet ground. I watched some Pileated Woodpeckers going to town on a fallen tree. I met a month-old puppy and reveled in his puppy breath.

It was as if the earth was shouting at me, “It’s all life!”

I didn’t believe it. But it helped me remember that it was all there for me to return to when I’m ready.

Give yourself time for life and remember that, as Eckhart Tolle reminds us, the opposite of death is birth. Not life. Life doesn’t die.

Time

No matter if your dog was only three when she got hit by a car, or if your cat lives to be 29, you’ll want more time.  You’ll bargain for it. You’ll pray for just one more year. You’ll swear that you’ll be grateful 365 days straight.

Atticus had a lifetime of me bargaining for more time. Homeopathy pulled him from the jaws of death on several occasions.  I was (and am) grateful for all of it.

But it didn’t make it easy to let go when the time came. I still held tight. I even made a few feeble bargaining attempts. But eventually, I had to surrender and focus on gratitude for the years he lived.

Of course, surrender doesn’t make the sadness go away. It’s just that you no longer are clinging quite so tightly.

The truth about time is that it is only ever now.  And all those nows that you had with your beloved animal were perfect.  But this now is different from those nows.

Protection

My mom had two dogs when she was little, and both of them died unexpectedly.  One day her dad announced that he refused to allow any more pets in their home because he couldn’t stand to go through any more broken hearts.  He managed to hold fast to his rule, and my mom never had another pet in her life.  I never said this to my mom, but I find it interesting that her dad died of a massive heart attack at a young age.

You might want to swear off animals forever. You might tell yourself that you can’t possibly go through this ever again.  While it may take some time to allow another pet into your life, the idea that you can protect your heart from pain by sealing it off from love is ludicrous.  As one of my Platinum Coaching clients wrote on her coaching form last week:

“I’ve spent so many years, pretty much all of my life, working so hard to avoid feeling pain that I never let myself see beauty either.”

As long as we’re on this planet, we might as well experience it, revel in it, take it all in, live big, cry hard, laugh a lot, and love every being that will have us. What’s to protect yourself from?

It’s an honor to love something so much that your heart breaks when it moves to another plane.  It’s an honor to be loved back, too.  There’s joy to be found – even in your sadness.

Judgment

Some people will find you ridiculous. You will cancel engagements and get rolled eyes.  Your family might whisper about you.

“It’s just a cat.”

“Why all the fuss over a dog?”

Don’t waste your energy being mad. Whether it’s the joy of a pet, or having your own business, or getting fired, or losing a parent – if someone hasn’t experienced it, then they just don’t understand.  They will someday.  In the meantime, be willing to be judged.  You’ve got more important places to put your attention.

Surrender

Lastly, let’s talk about the moments of sheer peace, surrender, and enlightenment. You will have these, too.

You will have minutes, maybe hours or even days where you feel a deep surrender to the process of life. You will marvel at your clarity, at how you are able to release with love this being that you cherish with all your heart.  You’ll wonder if Pema Chodron will be phoning soon to ask you how you do it.

Love these moments. They are truth. But don’t berate yourself if you burst into tears the very next hour, and beg your pet not to leave, and bargain with God to make sure you never hurt again in your life.  It’s a part of the roundabout cycle of loss.

The peace will descend again too.  It’s who you truly are.  And it will return. And it will last longer each time. And your heart will slowly take it in and heal itself into the full joy of being once again.

261 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • MaryLou Shipman

    Thank you for this article. My mom just had to put her 8 year old Birman, Ethel, down on Sunday. Not only is she (and myself) heartbroken, but she is concerned about Ethel’s sister, Lucy. I was looking online for some info. that may be of help and I came across your article. So touching! I found it interesting that you mentioned how helpful homeopathy was to your cat. I had a homeopathic vet for my cat who worked “miracles” for Mimi when she was alive. My sister still uses her services for all of her kitties. It’s so wonderful to have a non-invasive way of treating our dear pets. It is also very helpful to be on a spiritual path and have materials to read such as Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron and especially (for me) Abraham-Hicks. I’m so grateful to God to have aligned with that type of work.

  • Dawn

    Thank you for this beautiful article. So many excellent points and a nice reminder to be present. I am so sorry for your loss. ♡

    • Corinne

      So sorry to hear about Ima. It is always so hard to lose them. Shedding tears for you and remembering all the dogs we’ve loved. Hugs and light.

  • Hazel

    Thank you for your article. On Monday I left my healthy cat Winston at the vets for a dental clean. Two hours later I collected little Winston’s body from the vets. He died under anesthetic. The vet was unable to offer any explanation except that any any anesthetic carries a risk. If I hadn’t taken him he would still be with me today. That morning he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting him his breakfast and kept hugging me asking for his food. Don’t know how I will get over the guilt, regret and grief.

    • Lea

      Well it has been almost three weeks since my beloved furry friend , Berkana – aka Bubu, has moved on down the road leaving his ailing body behind. As it seems all of you can relate, words fail in attempting to describe what it feels to not have him here. Although a Chaplain, hospice nurse…etc. this is where the rubber meets the road for me. Do I really believe death does not end relationship as I so effortlessly tell others? Do I really believe I can continue to connect with my little love bug although he is in the non-physical? I dreamt of him last night…it seems this is were he shows up. I’m realizing as I rise out of the pain, he can find me. I’m realizing in the pain, heart wrenching sobs…he can only wait for me to elevate to the channels he meows and purrs in now. What a painful opening….and YES to all the above quesitons I posed. Thank you all so much for pouring out your heart’s voice here….i feel connected and boy, do i understand. Not sure if I can post my email?? leasun3@earthlink.net If it is ok to post and anyone wants to reach out, please do. With Love, Lea ~

  • Bette

    This morning my mixed Chihuahua dog passed away. Since he was a rescue
    dog, I don’t know his exact age, but I had him for over 11 years and his muzzle had
    turned white. He had Congestive Heart Failure and I was treating him with heart
    meds from the vet. At times he would cough and hack and his sides would quickly
    move in and out. I didn’t want to put him down, having had to do so with pets I’d
    had before, but I didn’t want him to suffer either. I have a chronic illness and Bobby has been with me since I was diagnosed. He had a sweet personality and asked only to be with me. Today I asked him to come lie down on his bed that was beside mine and a very short while later I realized he had stopped breathing. I couldn’t stop crying, but I know he’s beyond suffering. Just sharing my loss…
    because I loved him very much.

  • Carolyn

    Having read this article and the comments of others’ I feel like I can grieve openly and as I need to, without thinking I am being stupid. On Sunday I lost my two beautiful babies (cav king charles x jap spitz) within 30 minutes of each other. They were only two years old, we were supposed to have so much more time together. I live on a farm and we would let our four dogs out from our fenced yard regularly for a run. Two of the dogs are working sheep dogs. We believe they found a snake, probably a dugite, which are extremely venomous snakes. They had only been out for an hour when my husband called me to come outside. My poor little girl Bonnie was there, but she had already gone. At that stage we didn’t know what had happened. Within minutes my second baby Buster was showing signs of distress. My girls and I held him and said our goodbyes, the nearest vet is a 45 minute drive away and these were very small dogs, we knew we wouldn’t make it. However I am still feeling enormous amounts of guilt, why did I let them out, why didn’t we suspect he would have been bitten too, what if, what if, what if ….. I am so devastated that I have lost them let alone at the same time. Every minute I spend at home reminds me of them and I feel like I will never recover. I have two children so these were not ‘surrogates’ but were so much a part of my every day life. I am thankful in a way it was me who let them out that day and not one of my girls as I would much rather carry this guilt than them having to. I know time heals, I have lost many cats over the years and have always been known jokingly as the crazy cat lady. This pain, for these two little friends however is nothing like I’ve experienced before. I really think I needed to write this down just so that it is not just constantly sitting at the back of my mind. I love you Buster and Bonnie and miss you so much already RIP my little fluffy babies.

  • Sean

    Thank you for your beautiful article, Christine, it really speaks to what seems to be a universal experience amongst all of us who get what always seems an all-too-brief a visit from our “angels in fur”.

    Love to all of YOU who are currently going through the pain hurricane — keep clinging to the joy and feelings of love that you got (and still get) every time you saw or thought of your beloved pet. That’s the timeless LINK, right there. It’s different from what you are used to, but I think it’s the same inner bridge, the same inner CONNECTION — the vortex between dimensions, if you like. It’s the continuation of LOVE, rather than its illusory end…

  • Jennifer

    I miss my sweet kittycat so much. Was so blessed to have his love and companionship for 16 years. After being sick for 2 months and losing 3/4 of his body weight I had to say goodbye. This happened last October 2013. I can remember many many times in the past while cuddling with him – I would look at him and think – you are so beautiful and I can’t conceive of ever losing you. I knew that I would “lose-it” when the time came to say goodbye. No person, pet, or thing can EVER created the joy and love that I had with him for almost 1/2 of my life.
    The past few weeks I have sort of started “re-grieving” over his absence. I still cannot believe that I cannot ever hold him or pet him again. How can this be? I understand the circle of life – but it doesn’t stop me from being sad that his daily joyful physical presence is unreachable. Trying to remember all the great times and memories only make his absence more stark – it does not cheer me up. But I feel very comforted in knowing that there are many others who love their cherished pets as much as I do. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Peace.

  • Monique

    MacKenzie, My Angel

    MacKenzie and her siblings, born feral around Sept 2002, hailed from a local animal services center. Their fate was slim and I decided to take the little family home to tame them and find them homes. MacKenzie was the first of her siblings who tamed and from that first step towards me, she and I were BFFs. Additionally, she started exhibiting many behaviors and mannerisms specific to my cat, Dominoe, who went to heaven in 2000. She even looked like Dominoe. For the last almost 12 years, I had the pleasure and honor to have both my girls by my side.

    I lost my beloved MacKenzie, Friday evening, 11 July 2014, right after getting her home from gallbladder removal surgery last Thursday, 10 July. Her health had been failing for about a year and a half. Despite a period of reprieve in 2013, weight loss resumed late last year – early this year, and supportive therapies were having little success. She became very thin again, struggling with in appetence, and generally not participating in life. For the last few months, she moped around the house and mostly slept deep under the bed. To encourage her to eat, I would give her valium and canned food, including AD, to entice her to eat. She would rarely eat without the valium. The first ultra sound in April 2013, showed a slight shadow in her gallbladder. This past June, the shadow was definitive, thus indicative of a stone or stones. As she was asymptomatic except for this test result, my vet and I decided to resume supportive therapies in March. It was becoming more and more difficult to medicate her. She was not happy; there was a haunting sadness in her eyes. I had not seen her sleep in her favorite spots for months. She remained in a depressed and wasted state.

    Supported by my vet, I made the difficult decision for MacKenzie to have this surgery, hoping to restore her health while her vital signs and chemistry results were still good. She championed through the surgery and was recovering well. The gallbladder was removed; the surgeon found a stone the size of a pea (the gallbladder in a cat is only the size of a pecan). When I went to pick her up Friday afternoon, she felt very cold. Her temperature had dropped 5 degrees in about 4 hours, which was the last time her temperature was checked. She was transitioning from IV fluid support to tube feeding and fluids through her feeding tube. Not only was she very cold to the touch when I first saw her, she was weak and unable to walk. I sat with her wrapped in blankets and heating pads for an hour. Her temperature was up by a degree, all vital signs were good. She was still weak and not able to walk without stumbling, but the vet thought she was OK to go home given all the other positive vital signs.

    Once home, I settled her in my upstairs bathroom, where I was going to rehabilitate her in the company of a little kitten, Ariel, who is also recovering from trauma. Within an hour MacKenzie was gone. The last time I checked on her, I shifted her position to get her comfortable as I noticed her breathing was a bit raspy. She stretched and took one more breath and was gone. The agony I felt was indescribable.

    I have been involved in animal rescue for many years and have a large, mostly aging, multi-species animal household. Unfortunately, loss is a very real and frequent part of my life. Loss is never easy. Some loss is better to process than others; MacKenzie makes 10 for just this year. Losing MacKenzie is as heart wrenching as losing my Molly this past Jan. My heart is broken and my brain is screaming to understand. An autopsy revealed an ailing heart. It is possible she had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and perhaps her heart couldn’t process a blood clot or some residual stress from the surgery/anesthesia. Despite the fact that she championed through the surgery, something happened to cause the sudden death. Biopsy results have been submitted and may or may not provide any answers. It is a seemingly insane exercise to try and find answers and meaning while my own heart is barely beating. My will to live is only alive as many at home still depend on me.

    I found this website when I lost Molly in Jan. of this year. I printed it out and have referred to it often over the last few months, esp. since Molly isn’t the only peep I have lost. And now MacKenzie… I have also read all the comments and they offer additional comfort, esp. knowing I am not alone. This blog and comments are the singularly most healing reading I have ever found to help with the passing of a loved one.

    I know from having faced grief and healing as a result from losing Molly and others, that healing does and will take place. Right now, I feel like I can remain in a silent, agonizing scream frozen for all time.

  • J. Vaughan

    Thank you so much for this…. It’s just what needed after grieving all day. We put our 7 and a half year old Great Dane down today, after many years of health challenges. I promised him that quality of life over quantity of life would be my responsibility. After going through all that we have, and making the decision to officially move forward a few days ago, I held my boy as he peacefully passed on. Having just lost my mother 6 months ago, and I was with her also when she passed, I thought I was prepared for the experience. Alas, I was not, and have been taken over by a grief like I have never felt for a pet before. Knowing that other people can relate, and I’m not alone, is very comforting. I will keep this article open on my phone, as I’m sure I’ll read it many more times. Thank you so much.
    And to my sweet darling boy, as the pet grave marker I just ordered says:
    “If love could have saved you, you would live forever.”

  • Lucertia Fritts

    We lost our beloved Tiger this week, he was 20yrs and 10 months. We saw lost of eating, breathing through mouth. His last couple days were painful to walk yet he went outside to do his business. Sleeping, deaf, no teeth he was in pain. I was seeing it for weeks my husband did not want to give up. I told him be thankful for all the years he had with us. My heart still hurt today, for putting our 10 yr old down because his was dying at vet office. So I thank God for Tiger and ask God to accept my baby and enjoy heaven with his brother.

  • Suzy Winchester

    I lost my beloved cat Bailey suddenly and unexpectedly 4 nights ago on Valentine’s night. He was only seven and I feel cheated. We had an incredible connection. He was my lover boy as he loved to love and be loved. He followed me everywhere and slept next to me. I’m single and have no children.

    I miss him so much. I have another cat and she misses him. She started eating after the 2nd day and is sleeping a lot! I showed her Bailey’s body after he died. She looks in one direction and then to the chair he sat on. I know she’s wondering where he is.

  • Nancy Tessier

    Hello,

    I lost my beloved cat Sylvester 10 days ago. He was almost 13 and diabetic. This incredible cat was my bestfriend and I am overwhelmed with sadness. I do not have children and thought of him like a child.

    I miss him beyond words. My heart aches.

    • Christine Kane

      Sending you so much love and light, Nancy. The only thing that really heals this pain is time. These little creatures are such blessings in our lives.

  • Monique

    thank you so very much for this post. i have saved, shared, and printed it. it is by far the best i have ever read to support the intense and seemingly insurmountable grief of losing a beloved pet. i have been an animal lover my entire life and spent the last decade actively rescuing animals. i left active rescue in 2009 to focus on my aging household of peeps “left over” from those days. i have lost, deeply and a lot, and mostly peeps who came from very bad situations, who were broken mentally and/or physically. this year alone, in jan., i lost 4 within 10 days, the first three within 4 days of each other. the last one, my molly, has hit me the hardest, harder than any loss to date. she was not only my constant companion for the last 4 1/2 years, but she was a rescue with her pal, max, sitting on death row riddled with health issues and no place to go. angels were on the job to spare their lives and intersect with mine. my million dollar babies, who gave me their love in 50 million ways. i lost max last january to mouth cancer. i had to make the very difficult decision to hand his care over to God and end the suffering that i could no longer ease for him. i still had molly then… more losses, including the ones earlier this year, but i still had molly. and then she was gone… just like that. i am in fierce denial and questioning my very reason for being on this earth. how could this happen? everything you wrote is 100% on key as to what i’m feeling. how to go on living… one step at a time and some days, backsliding. so many more need me at home…

    thank you for easing my burdens significantly.

    kindest regards,

    monique

    • Christine Kane

      You are most welcome Monique! My heart goes out to you.

  • Jayne

    My beloved companion Bonnie (7 year old) Maltese x Sydney Silky terrier went to sleep on Wednesday afternoon 9/10/13. She and her brother Clyde have been my best mates since they came home with me at 8 weeks of age. Until ten days ago they had never spent more than a day apart. I am so sad and am missing her dreadfully. As I cry Clyde heads out the doggie door but he will return for a hug when my sobbing stops.
    And how she was taken from us is what I cant get my head around yet. I had put them in a local boarding kennels for six days so that I could take a short break away with some friends for my birthday. On the morning of the day I was due to pick them up from the Kennels I received a call and told that my lil Bonnie had been hit by a car. You can imagine my disbelief as far as I was concerned she was in a secure environment, but somehow she was some 1.5 km’s from the kennels. I have no answers as to how she got out and I may never know. How many others have lost their babies this way? At least the person that hit her took her to an emegency animal shelter and we had her for several more days before she sucummbed to Pnemonia and I had to make the heart wrenching decision to put her to sleep. She is missed every moment , her joy at life, the love of a walk, the ride in the car, sleeping in the bed, her waggy tail and soft licks on my chheeks are still so fresh in my mind. I wonder what her brother is thinking?

  • Clare

    Thank you so much. I lost my beloved cat on Saturday night. She was almost 18 and had experienced a wonderful life. But I am heartbroken. This post is incredibly helpful, reassuring and comforting.

  • Tracy

    I’m suffering from putting my beloved cat to sleep yesterday, and feeling all the emotions you list – guilt, blame, second guessing, knowing, etc. Other articles simply say cry, don’t feel guilty, give it time – but your article is much different. I can tell you’ve experienced the same type of grief firsthand, and you truly understand. Thank you – I can look forward to the surrender stage, although it feels so distant right now.

  • Kat

    I found this post at just the right time. We had to put our beloved 16 yr old cat, Sprite, down this morning. She was adopted very soon after the beginning of my husband’s and my relationship, so she’s been there almost right from the start…he worked nights back then, and I wanted a cat around me to help with loneliness (plus I’d moved a couple hours away from friends and family). She was such a good girl, and was a wonderful companion to our daughter (who wasn’t born until Sprite was 7). It was so hard to watch her health decline, and when I look back at old pictures, she was just not herself anymore. We’ll miss her so much, and I will be weepy for a long time, I think.

  • Patricia

    I cannot thank you enough for this post, I found it at just the right time. Everything you’ve talked about I am currently going through. I put my sweet little dog Alex to sleep this past Thursday. He was a 4 lb Toy Fox Terrier, would have been 8 in June. He was happy, vibrant and so loveable. As he aged his little legs started to give out on him but he would keep on trying to run and then tumble. He didn’t have good balance either but always managed to keep on going after falling over. These last few months he seemed spacey to me and not really “aware.”

    He suffered from liver issues and was treated on and off for many years. About a month ago his levels were checked and were a bit high but the vet said they were “okay.” This past Thursday he suffered a terrible seizure and I took him to the vet, his liver values were up more and the vet said it was possible that the toxins from the liver were going to his brain. We of course wouldn’t know anything for sure without doing more tests, xrays, etc. She also said that even though we could treat the liver his quality of life would not be so good any more, especially if the toxins were already going to his brain.

    I knew in my heart at that moment I couldn’t let him suffer any more. I’ve watched him deteriorate in so many ways this past year but he always seemed to be such a fighter I couldn’t let him go. This time I felt it and knew it was time.

    I’m now racked with the “what if’s” and guilt even though at the time I knew it was the right thing to do. If only our pets could tell us how they really feel, tell us how much pain they are in then it would be easier. I lost a dog before getting Alex, she got run over by a car. The loss then was just as terrible as now, though this time I had to make the choice.

    I know I will be fine in time and I still have another dog Fergie who seems just as lost and sad as I am without Alex here.

    • Christine Kane

      Sending you love and light, Patricia.

    • Brenda

      Patricia,
      I, too made the decision of having my beloved chihuahua mix put to sleep. He had Cushing’s disease that never seemed to respond to treatment. The Cushing’s disease caused his liver to enlarge to 4 times the normal size. His normal healthy weight was 11 lbs. At the end of his life his weight had increased to 18 lbs. His tummy measured 23.5 – 24 inches, so much bigger than perhaps his healthy 16 inches at most. He too had a seizure at 2:15am on his last morning with me. The vet suggested an abdominal ultrasound, but I chose not to have it since the vet explained that it would not likely change the outcome. The vet thought that Teddy had 3 months left, but they would not likely be good months. I made the decision to bring him in the next day to be put down. It was certainly one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. My son and I were with him until the end. I miss him and will love him forever.
      Brenda

    • Lisa

      Dear Patricia

      I too lost my beautiful foxy cross suddenly who drowned in our pool after recovering from a major unknown illness where one vet told me I should consider the ‘alternatives’. Thankfully I took her to another vet for a second opinion who was able to resolve the issue and she returned to full health.

      My beautiful girl, Missy, who was 8 years old was a big part of my life after my husband and I of 30 years separated. Missy was by my side and the most loyal companion since that separation took place over 3 years ago. She slept with me every night and protected my room like she was some hard nosed guard dog. She was my best friend and I didn’t feel lonely because I had her.

      I feel the utmost guilt because I didn’t keep her safe. My mind keeps going through the “should have” “could have” “why didn’t I”? I also feel guilty because my son who suffers from anxiety and depression found her and had to call me and tell me. I know its been very hard on him and he will probably never erase the image from his mind.

      I’m taking each day as it comes but thankfully I have a beautiful family, friends and work colleagues who have all been very understanding. I don’t know how I would have coped had that not been the case.

      Just remember Patricia that your little buddy loved you and there will always be a place in your heart for him. That is what I am telling myself about Missy. I will miss her so much and am still coming to terms with life without her. I thought when the kids move out, it would be me and her, but alas thats not going to be case.

      I wish you well and hope that your grief has somewhat abated.

      Kind regards, Lisa (Missy’s Mum)

  • Mary Arcement

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I am really struggling today. On Wednesday of this week, my sweet 9 month old kitty, CoCo was killed by a car. I am feeling tremendous guilt because I let her stay outside too long. What is worse is I told myself after work to go home and let her in, but I didn’t. I was in a hurry to get to my next destination. When I finally came home about 9:30 that night, it was too late. She had been hit right in front on my home. Her body was still warm so I immediately blamed myself for not coming home sooner.

    I have never experienced this type of feeling before and I have had pets, mainly cats, the majority of my life. When I lost my 9 year cat Solomon in 2010 I did not feel this type of heartbreak. I know it is because I feel her death could have been prevented. I am still blaming myself.

    She was truly adorable, sweet, very loving and had the cutest “meow.” I know this will pass but boy does it suck now! I have to let go of my guilt, I know this intellectually, but my heart says otherwise. I so want to replay Wednesday. It pains me to know the finality of it all.

    She has a grave now in my back yard. I choose to believe that God has a special place just for our beloved pets.

    Again, thank you. And I am sorry for your loss also. Totally get it!

    Mary

    • Patricia

      Mary, I’m so sorry for your loss. I really can relate to your story, I too had a pet that got hit by a car and I blamed myself for many years. She was sweet dog and at only 18 months got through a hole in the fence and got hit by a car. I was in the yard at the time and had only turned my back for a few minutes, I actually had heard her get hit, it was awful. The driver did not stop and my young son went and got her, we all mourned her loss for many years.

      I just lost another dog this past Thursday and will write about it below.

  • Suzy

    This is such a sad thread to read through, so much pain, but isn’t it beautiful, at the same time, all the love we have for the animals in our lives, that we can share life joy with them? I think it is amazing that we can bond like this with other species, it says something good about humans.

    I wanted to share an experience I had after the loss of my 16 year old Labrador, a time of deep trauma for me. She was my first dog and I had her from a baby puppy, and she was my best friend. I went through what others have described, not knowing when her life was too heavy for her to bear, not knowing when it would be kinder to ease her out of her earthly body, trying to judge how much joy in life she still had, feeling a responsibility that was entirely new to me – making the decision to end the life of a dear friend. I agree with your comments Christine – others said “you will know” but I didn’t, it was just hard, and there are no clear answers.

    After she had gone, there were a few days where I was a bit traumatized, lots of crying, didn’t go out of the house much. And then I had an experience where (this sounds nuts but I’m sure anyone who has experienced this sort of thing will understand!) where I felt her presence and I had a strong urge to talk to her. I’m not religious, or a believer in the afterlife, but this was a compulsion. So I talked to her (not out loud, but inside) and explained all the misgivings I had had, things I felt I’d done wrong etc etc and that I was worried she had suffered, things I wishes I had done to make her life better, times I had lost my temper with her when she and I were both young … and while I was feeling so much pain and so awful – I suddenly experienced a flow of images. Happy memories came flooding and streaming in. Things I had forgotten from her puppyhood, places I had taken her and we had had fun, quiet times … it was so beautiful! And I really felt like, wherever she was now, she was telling me – “Hey, go easy on yourself, we had some good times! You did the best you could and this is what I remember best!” It made me happy. I felt forgiven. I felt that stewing on the negative things and recriminations was actually not seeing the important thing in our life together, the joy we had shared. It was not worthy of our special friendship. It didn’t matter.

    Of course I still had lots of grieving to do and periods of intense sadness would strike me on and off for a couple of years. And still if I see a dog that looks like her or read a thread like this one the pain will return. But it passes more quickly, and is less intense. And I don’t mind because it reminds me of her and I feel happy that I still feel something. There is something precious in that.

  • Rebekah

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I’ve lost many beloved pets over the last couple of years but thankfully I had time to say good bye to all of them as I knew they were sick/old. But right now I’m am beyond words to express the grief I have right. My beautiful sweet beagle,Gabby, died in my arms just Tuesday night from a heart attack. She was only 9 years old. She had just been diagnosed with a heart murmur but the vet didn’t think it was too serious and that I’d have at least a couple more years with her. When I called him that night he was completely shocked and was so sorry be didn’t know she was so bad. It helped me a lot to know that he cared for her and me that much as I’ve had vets in the past show almost no compassion at my loss. Where I feel most guilty about is the day she died I didn’t spend any time with her as I was afraid of upsetting her as she looked sick. But I was blessed to be able to hold her as she took her last few breathes. And she knew I was there. Your article has given me some comfort to know that there are others who love their pets as I did Gabby. She was more than a dog she was my baby,my child. She’s been my rock through my hard times and she even saved my life once so loosing her has shattered my world. Sorry for this post being so long and I pray peace and comfort to everyone else that is grieving right now.

    God Bless
    Rebekah

  • Judy

    17 months ago my aussie mix dog stopped eating crunchy food, like hrt dry dog food. Thought her teeth were bothering her so scheduled a dental, but she was also a little less active than usual…normally she was borderline uncontrollable even at age 13. During routine tests before teeth cleaning vet found elevated liver count. Xrays and ultrasound revealed a growth on liver and spots in lungs. Thus began our 17 month emotional roller coaster ride. Went to large animal hospital and found a wonderful oncologist who expected my girl to only live a few months since her cancer had already spread. That was Sept 2011. Another round of tests and got a diagnosis of a rare type of cancer (which turned out to be incorrect) and we started her on a cancer drug Palladia. She responded to the drug and it held her cancer stable so we went ahead and also put her in surgery at the same hospital with an equally wonderful surgeon. At that time we got the correct diagnosis. It was thyroid cancer that has spread. Surgeon removed the cancer from her liver and also a small tumor from her neck which was originally believed to be unrelated to the rest of her disease… in reality, this was the origin. She was allowed home, unbelievably the following day and she was doing great. You would never know there was a thing wrong with her. We continued with the Palladia. By May she was not doing as well. Brought her in again. Thought cancer was spreading. Tests on liver and lungs showed no traceable cancer!!! But Palladia and Rimadyl were beating her up and lymph nodes in neck were swelling. Swiched to a new cancer drug (kineavet) and predisone.. Was doing ok bu lymph nodes still growing and prednisone started with side effects. Gave her a skin condition called calcinotis cutis and was messing with her whole system. Dr could not answer why we were controlling all areas with cancer but neck lymph nodes.

    More tests in Sept 20?12 reveal cancer back in lungs, neck lymphs continue to grow. Kineivet/prednisone doing more harm than good so back to palladia and since she still had very good quality of life we also in for palliative radiation to try to control the neck lymph nodes that nothing seemed to touch and also shrink them to get her off predisone. She had a partial response to the radiation and we gradually weaned her off prednisone then were able to go backto Rimidyl. She did well, sometimes very well, but didn’t last. Neck began swelling again. Breathing started getting different. Diarrhea issues. Eating issues. After taking weeks to get her off prednisone, had to go back on. Improvement for awhile. She was happy again. Then she tanked. Brought her in for ultrasound and xray mid January 2013 to find liver totally infected and cancer in lungs spreading. We put her to sleep that day. To add insult to injury, her neck swelling had actually completely receded that week.

    Although we knew from the start we would win some battles but ultimately probably lose the war we are still devastated. We lost her 3 weels ago but my grief seems to be getting worse rather than better and I have an odd feeling of guilt that I somehow let her down even though I took every treatment option available with no cost spared. She was absolutely my best friend. Went everywhere with us. Was too smart for her own good, incredibly well behaved and strong as an ox. The last 17 months was an emotional roller coaster that I can’t even put into words and now that she is gome we are realizing how exhausting an experience it really was.

    I can honesty say I am completely lost without her and my heart hurts in a way I would not wish ony worst enemy if I had one!!

    Sorry for the long post but it sounds like so many of you are in the same awful boat!!

    • Brenda

      So very sorry for your loss Judy. I can relate with the ache in your heart. Mine is the same and it has been 2 months. I hope you find some comfort.

  • jeffrey

    I had to have my lttle girl silver put to sleep a week or so before my birthday in dec of 2012, she was a very loving cat, the previous night she was vomiting and the next day she could barely take a step without falling over, i took her in to the vet and after he examined her, he told me her kidneys were shunken and and that he recommended she be released from her suffering , i couldnt be with her through the two procedures that ended her life of suffering , and the guilt i still feel for not being with her is overwhelming , the vet asked if i had a place to bury her , the weather was cold enough for a couple of days after, that it gave me time to reconsider, so i had her cremated so in a way i still have silver with me in her urn on my dresser , i just couldnt put her in the ground , anyway i dont know if this will help anyone or not but i have a knack for using dowsing rods for spirit communuication, i had talked to silver through the rods , i could only get yes and no answers ,but to hear from her that way had helped me with the guilt i was feeling , id be a total wreck by now if not for the communication with my baby girl , she communicated that she loved me and i told her that i loved her, and was she happy where she is and i apologised for not being as loving as i should have been when she was alive like they say a pets love is unconditional as i found out by talking with her ,she was happy i didnt bury her and she was okay with me having her put to sleep , before i took her to the vet she couldnt eat or drink anymore , so i took a feeding seringe and gave her some water to drink through it , she communicated that it helped her , so now when i start to get depressed , i just take out the dowsing rods to talk to her , it really does help to know your pet can communicate in this way after thier passing otherwise id be a basketcase by now , to this day i get a lumpin my throat when i here the mention of silver like in the westerns like silverado , the next time i get a pet i will give them a name that i wont constantly be reminded of through conversation or tv , and yes silver let me know that she is fine with me getting another pet eventually

  • Debbie

    Thank you for your article, it has brought me some comfort to know what I am thinking/feeling is normal and I am not alone in my vast grief. I put my beloved 17 yr old pup Riley down Monday morning, he was not suffering from any illness other than old age related quality of life issues.
    He was almost completly deaf, had started walking into walls, accidents in the house , endless sleeping and I would find him soaked in urine sleeping from time to time. He also had a nasty growth that itched and drove him crazy trying to scratch it, only to make it bleed, scab and start the hole thing over again till it started to smell. He also started wheezing. I had him to the vets for both the growth but he was too old to undergot surgery to remove it, and his heart/lungs sounded fine . The big shock was he had lost 3 lbs in a few months and his fluffy fur hid that well.. When he stopped wanting to eat his dog food I cooked soft food for him, then he would refuse it too. He mostly stayed in his bed most of the day and moved to anotehr bed at night. After a scary night of loud wheezing I finally realized that his life was not much of a life for him . I thought of all the things he used to enjoy and asked myself if I was keeping him here with us for his sake or mine and decided to find a vet to come to the house. I spent the weekend cuddled up in bed watching movies and trying to just enjoy my time with Riley, my husband gave up his side of the bed to let the dog sleep with me . We took him on a last family walk and around the block in the van sitting on my knee with his head hanging out the window. He didn;t eat much all weekend, not even the special dried liver treats he usually loved. The morning of, when I was alone with him we went for a final walk hald hour before the vet came over. He explained the process, gave me time to say good bye and tell him how much I loved him and what a good boy her was and I would never forget him, and the two of us petted him till he was gone. The vet was wonderful, Riley passed peacefully in his bed with the sun streaming down on him. I felt some relief that he would not suffer and then of course days later I am going thru all the things your article mentions so thank you , its good to know there are others going thru this same heartbreak. Thanks

    • Christine Kane

      I”m so sorry, Debbie. Just know I”m sending you and Riley prayers and light.

      • Debbie

        thank you , I could surely use them
        Feels like my whole world is upside down 🙁

        • Brenda

          I am so sorry Debbie. As I said in my story, you took the pain from Riley and put it in your heart. I did the same with my Bear. My world still feels upside down and it has been a month and a half. You did the right thing Debbie as hard as that decision was. Hope you find some solice in the future days.

  • Brenda

    So heart wrenching to hear all of your stories. I too have had to put our beautiful little terri-poo dog to sleep on December 8, 2012. I found some lumps on his chest and thought maybe he had a flu and that they were swollen glands. Well they did not go down so I took him into the Vet November 20th and they had to aspirate the lymph nodes to check for cancer. He did indeed have lymph node cancer and this was confirmed November 29th (the day before my birthday). My husband and I do not have children or any other animals in our life so life feels pretty empty now. I have gone through the guilt and second guessing as well but he was throwing up bile and then tried several times to crawl under our deck to die. I just could not let my little buddy suffer so I made the appointment to put him down December 8, 2012. It was the hardest call I ever made and I thought I was going to pass out when I got off the phone. That night he played like a puppy and I second thought that appointment, but the next day he was very sick and lethargic again. It has now been a month and I cry everyday when I come home from work. That was our time, the little snout at the door waiting for me to open up the door, give and get kisses and go for our daily walk. Oh how coming home from work now hurts and how the tears flow. My husband broke down last night as he went into our trailer and gathered up Bear’s bed, toys, and sweaters. He sat on the stairs and sobbed his heart out. I know time will hopefully heal but right now it feels like my heart is broken. God bless all of you you are going through the same pain and I hope we can all find strength in each others stories. Thank you Christine for sharing your personal moments and bringing hope and good advice to all of us.

  • angela

    I know how this pain is I have just lost my love my friend my baby on the 28th of bec his name was Casper he was 9.5 He was taken from me so sudden he seemed not to bad but my husband said he would not eat and wanted him to see the vet he had been having difficulty in going to the toilet and having diarrhea he also had had stomach ulcers but I checked every day his gums ears for Signs of lossing Blood as adviced By the vet but there was no sign they took his temeter blood but all signs showed he was fine they said they gave him a pain killer and sick injection also a steroids injection he should

    Sleep tonight they said but on the way home he was not right when i got into the house his breathing and his little body was so bad i knew he was going we rushed my baby back but he died in my arms they wanted to do a obodyptopcy but that wont bring my baby back please help they know casper was not
    Allowd strroids but they gave him one

    he took ill when he had it when he was young and nearly killed him then but the other part of me says he was not well nothing is goi ng to bring my baby back but my life fells over as i promist i will be with him soon i love him so much

  • Gerry

    I had my 15 year old cat uthanized because she had been diagnosed with fiv and also had a blockage and needed surgury. I thought I was saving her from a future of pain and suffering. I was in denial about the blockage and held on to her a little to long before I took her in to be put to sleep. I had good intentions but she suffered because of me. It has been months and I am just now calming down.Your words about finding and loving a pet and doing the best you can were very helpful to me because I hate for this to take away all the good memories we shared.

  • Alexandra

    My name is Alexandra and I live adn work in China with my partner, far away from home. For my birthday he gave me a mini schnautzer that we named Stanley. We soon realized that Stanley was sick since he early showed signs of tiredness, bad apetite, we took him to the vet the next day and it turn out that the breeder had lied about given him his first two shots and his age. Stanley was oly 6-7 weeks and very week, he got Parvo, he survived the parvo but one week later he got distemper that took his life. I never had a pet before, beside a turtle that my mum brought from Cuba ten years ago, and I neverthought a dog would have this impact on me. I used to be one of this people that would say ” get a grip” when people refer to their pets like they refer to children. However, I was devastated and completely out of state. I felt so angry on the man that sold my partner the puppy, on me for not having asked for more information once I got him, and sometimes even for not have tasking him out during the 3 weeks we had him, to feel the sun, touch the grass etc. But the worst part was the complete anger I felt towards Chinese people in this foreign country, I felt they were cruel but not telling me that he needed shots that would only have cost 120 rmb( 20 dollars). Howver, summer arrived and we moved to another buildin, my partner and I started to talk about getting a new pet, a new ” Stanley” so we did and we named him Louis, but didn’t pronounced the “S” he was lovely, what a guy, he was running around, loved kisses and cuddles and just was one of those little friends that let everyone in, played nicely, never barked, liked kids was a bit naughty but at the end of the day always listened. And he brought my partner and I together, who ever walked Louis made me breakfast, before we barely ate and just left the house on empty stomachs.I must say we were a great team, the three of us. I must say living in a foreign country makes your home feel like the place onyl you and your family belong, you turn everyone else out, all the problem, the language barrier, customs everything. I loved Louis with all my heart and every day I let him know this, so when he suddenly got sick I didn’t know what to do, I thought he had some foodpoisioning and called the vet, she told me to wait one day , and yesterday he died. I feel guilt for not have taking him in, mostly because I felt a relief when she said I didn’t need to because right know we are tight on money. He got parvo, something he already been vaccinated gaainst, they said that maybe the vaccination wasnt as strong.. I have cried for the whole night and I feeel like I will never be happy again, I miss him so much, he left so fast. To see himlying on the vets table mademe go craxzy. I was asking him to wake up so we could go home, that I understood he didnt wanted to be there since he didn’t know them. I told my partner who also was devastated but tried to be strong to take him home. But nothing could be done. Louis is gone and he will never come back, is 4 day to Christmas, children are getting murdered by gun maniacs and I am here, I cant feel anything more than pain and sorrow, I looke through pictures , emails, messages about Loui, how beautyful he is,that we been for a walk etc or my partner sending funny pictures of us but he is gone. I really don’t know what to do. He was only seven months and five of those he spent with us, it stills feel like he has always been my friends, my little friend..min lilla buse.

  • dave lee

    I am sat her on the eve of the first anniversary of losing our sweet cat who we had to had put to sleep on december 7th 2012 aged 21 years. She had been in my wifes family since she was born with her sister who died a few years previously and came to live with us 4 years ago when the vet said she wasnt well and needed bursing and was on daily medication which she took without a problem we agreed my wife and I when the time came to say goodbye, we would be grateful for the 4 years extra we had. Im sorry if this doesnt make sense to you Im sat here crying. Blackie was the most cuddly perfect well behaved cat who despite her illness never weed or poo’d anywhere and was grateful for everything we did for her. The decision to have her put to sleep was the hardest thing we ve ever had to do and are still crying nearly every day
    I just wanted to say thank you, having read this page has made me feel slightly better and hope in time we can appreciate her more and fell less guilty. I have had little sleep in the last 12 months and need all the help i can get. David

  • Melanie

    Me and my mom just put down Bear ,black toy/miniature poodle. He had diabetes for a few years now. One day mom took bear to the groomers. Later the next day, his eye was closed and crusty, there was a large amount of hair found in bottom lid, so he scratched till he tore his cornea. The vet tried to rectify it, but bear ,while wearing his cone got a tiny branch in that eye. MORE damage. So he stated best thing was to remove his eye Incase of infection transferring to other. He was great after the eye healed. The surgery was maybe 2 months ago. Then out of the blue on nov 20th, I went to get his insulin and I heard thumping , I ran upstairs he was all ridged in a puddle of pee, I freaked out, no one was around. So I assumed grab insulin NOW, after 1-2 min. He got up, seemed normal ,a wee dazed, so I took him down stairs and layed him on the couch, not long after he was NORMAL. Days later he had another seizure, then one during the night. The vet said due to being diabetic and 12 it can happen. Then almost 2 weeks ago ,he had bloody diherrea (sp) so he was taken in, was given meds. Vet asked if he ate anything odd , mom stated she spotted bear eating wild rabbit droppings. He said that can be lethal. He checked stool and there was plant matter. And gave metronidazole. He still had blood, came to the point of no food, then last day before, drinking water like crazy. Then couldn’t stand AT all . I woke up and found bear laying in my kids lil tent, HIDING, I knew what that meant. I didn’t want to believe , so mom took him in…. Vet stated he’s in pain, there’s no more to do, I.C unit, but we’d be bankrupt. And doesn’t mean bear will be better. So I stayed with him at home till the time to be there, I held and talked to him till the end December 1st, and 30 min after, I didn’t want to let him go. He was my 1st baby. I can’t stop crying, I won’t wash his towel he was last wrapped in, I won’t throw out his meds or anything to do with him. I cut some black curls off before and after and made a necklace with a vial. Fluorite chips with a chunk of curl. Around my neck as we speak. And he’s being cremated. So I bought a steel bone urn pendant. And I asked the assistant to get his paw prints for a tattoo, and I’m going to put the ashes in the ink also. He was my life, he helped me through my panic disorder for ages. I know I helped him by comforting him by holding him to the end, talking and singing to him. What do I do now? I’m lost, my other dogs are a wee different, especially the 13 yrs old teacup/toy he was his BFF . My minds spinning, I’m lost, I was able to look at pics fr that day, today I can’t. I want and Ned to hold him, but I know he’s not suffering anymore, but I am. What do I do???

    • Christine Kane

      Melanie – there’s nothing you can DO. This is what grief is. It can only be experienced. I’m so sorry for how sad you feel. I totally get it. And I promise it will get better – but for now, I encourage you to just be with it and don’t try to find something to do. It’s not time to do anything.

  • Simon

    I just found out yesterday that my beautiful king charles cavalier Max has lymphoma (cancer) and has only a few weeks to go, apparently its quite advanced. He’s 11.5 years old, I have known him for 7 years, When my girlfriend moved in, 7 years ago, he was part of the package. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but as it turns he keeps us both sane. He is a point of consistency – he never stops caring and never hides his love – even if we have been a bit temperamental toward him. It’s impossible to stay in a negative state when he’s around. Maxy has become like a little furry son and has been such a great pal. I work from home so we spend a lot of time together – he sleeps under my work desk and snores so loudly that new customers on the phone are always asking me, “what’s that noise?” When I explain it’s my dog – they absolutely love it, and ask “what’s his name?” and then we talk about Max for a bit. So I guess he’s been like a sales rep and PR manager of sorts.
    Sadly, he doesn’t want to go out for walks anymore, we live near a beautiful park – but he now gets to the front door and stops and sits down, looking up at me sheepishly – I know he’s telling me he doesn’t feel so good. I love him with all my heart! He has taught me so much about myself and mostly about what unconditional love means. The painful news of his illness has been all worthwhile, and I would do it again and again!

  • Sarah

    Greetings. 8 days ago, my beloved maltese chihuahua mix Bucky passed away on the living room floor with me and my mama of Congestive Heart Failure.
    I took her to the animal hospital and the vet said she would be fine, she just had a heart murmur. But I knew as soon as I felt her heart rate and rapid breathing, she was dying. for two days she suffered, and I believed the vet over myself, hoping she would recover. But I knew all along. Bucky was 9 years old when she collasped and bled out on the floor and I watched the congestion come up through her nose and mouth. That was my baby, the light and love of my life. I’d given my life for hers and she died in our arms. I just do not know how to carry on without her. The pain is overwhelming, I treated her like a baby and she was my baby. Now I’m all alone. I want my baby back.
    Thank you for this, this all helps but I’m so lost and hurt. I’m sure in time, I will heal. I think I need another dog to give me back my will to live without her.
    I actually wrote about it all on my blog in case anyone can share advice on my blog on how I can carry on. Enjoymythoughts @ WordPress and anyone can share their story on my blog too, we could help eachother. I think I need someone that understands.

    • Christine Kane

      Sarah – as you can see from all the comments here, there are SO many people who understand. And they all have discovered the truth – and that is that time is the only thing that helps. I’m so sorry that you are in so much pain. I am sending you light and prayers.

  • Rosmaria Menna-Eichhorn

    I had to make decision to put down my beautiful, sweet, 16 year-old tabby, Daisy, on October 4th. She suffered with IBD for about three years which necessitated her taking a medication daily that hurt her kidneys. I didn’t realize she was in kidney failure until it was too late. She was already very anemic and had lost a lot of weight (could feel bones on her back). I thought she was getting frail from age, but when I heard her howl one night (never heard sound before), I rushed her to vet the next day. She never was out of the house for more than a quick vet visit (usually for nail trim). Each time she hated it. The thought of admitting her to the hospital and having her frail, little body poked with needles when she was disoriented and frightened was too much for me to handle, especially knowing she would probably wind up in same position a few month’s down the road (as per vet). I signed paper to euthanize my baby with a shaky hand and tears running down my face onto her little head. She was the only cat I ever saw that had turquoise eyes. Gorgeous. I will never forget how they looked when the vet administered the sedative. Wide green saucers. Once I knew she was out of it, I left her in the hands of my son (who gave her to me one Christmas) and the vet. I’m ashamed to say that I couldn’t handle any more. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and I beat myself up over it for days. Now, I can see I made the right decision for Daisy, but my heart is broken. I look at the window where she would wait for me nightly as I returned home from work and the tiny ears I would see from the car are gone. I can’t get to the front door without bursting into tears. This little cat had the heart of a lion, and got me through some really tough times in the last 16 years. I don’t know how I will ever smile again without her in my life. Thank you for your article. It helped as much as anything anyone can say or do can help. I know time will make this loss tolerable. However, I will always have a void in my heart without my girl. I pray to God I see her in heaven one day.

  • jw

    popi, our 8yr old rott/chow found abandoned as a pup in sycamore st park, now put to sleep was a saint…pops loved everyone, smiled for his favorite people, engaged all with his love, figure we went for 2,000 “walks” (his favorite word besides “treat”) euthanized this week leaving an incredible hole in our (Mary loved him dearly) lives. neuropathy claimed this beautiful creature and sadness is trying claim us. sincere feelings go out to all who’ve lost their pets. peace, love and understanding

  • Denise C

    Today, I am heartbroken and it feels permanent this time. Yesterday morning, I put my beloved and sweet companion, Piper, my kitty of 13 years, to sleep. I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime and that truly was the most difficult and devastating thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve lost pets before, but Piper was like my child. When everything was going poorly or when I was struggling, he was the one constant with me, always waiting for me when I got home and ready to curl up next to me and comfort me with his soft and steady purr. Every morning I woke up to him and every night went to bed and now I am struggling with the guilt (at not noticing earlier how sick he was) and the loss (of wondering what it will be like to not have him with me each day). He was the perfect cat. Loving, affectionate, patient, loyal, with the sweetest disposition. He didn’t meow or whine, he acted like a dog, following me from room to room. He’d even get up and move to my front when I turned over in the middle of the night. He spooned with me and would sneak under the covers to be near my skin. I’d fall asleep to his soft purring. He’d had diarrhea for the last two months that progressively got worse. He only had 1 tooth left and had this problem before and using natural remedies had helped. He was still eating voraciously and behaving normally. But, when I noticed he had lost weight, I brought him to the vet, and he was severely dehydrated. At first he started improving after getting antibiotics and IV fluids. Then, a week later, he stopped eating. I took him in again and, again, he got the IV fluids, and more tests. On Friday, I was recommended to another vet to see if he had diabetes and her tests indicated he had advanced stage intestinal lymphoma. I knew that I wasn’t going to put him through treatment, because I didn’t want to suffer. So, I asked if I could bring him home to give me some time to be with him and then was going to bring him in Monday to be put to sleep. He perked up a little Friday evening and even ate! Saturday morning, he was drinking water and sleeping a lot, but still wanting to be pet. He spent the day sleeping next to me on my bed on the floor, pushed against the window so he could see outside, as I pet his head and scratched his chin. By the afternoon, he had stopped eating and drinking. I called the vet to schedule the appointment for Sunday, because I didn’t want him to suffer any longer. I stayed up most of the night with him, falling asleep for just a short time, and spent the morning cuddled up with him as he purred softly. I took him to the vet and the vet couldn’t get a vein, because he was so dehydrated. After several jabs and him in noticeable pain from it, they decided to use the gas anesthetic. I wrapped him in a towel (she didn’t want me to go, but I insisted) and brought him to the surgery room. She’d given him a sedative before we went. He struggled with the mask on his face (he never liked being confined) and I stroked him as he drifted off to sleep. I feel so unbelievably lost and horrible for letting him get so dehydrated that his veins had collapsed and feel so guilty for taking him home, even for the day, and for not bringing him to the vet two months ago. I’m so full of guilt thinking that my poor kitty had been in pain for the last few months of his life and that, even though he still asked me to pet him when he didn’t even want food, that he was miserable the last few days. What was even more difficult is that he was still alert (looking out the window and checking out the sights and sounds on the way to the vet), he still knew who I was and was affectionate and purring and wanting me to pet him, and he was still trying to get around even though this past week he’d been having difficulty walking. I took the day off work today, because I teach and was afraid I would burst out crying in front of my students–I’ve been crying uncontrollably for the last week. He really was the love of my life and my family, and I feel so lost. He was also the remembrance of the last 13 years of my life. I usually take death really well, but am truly struggling with this one and wondering how I get the strength to continue. I’m so sad that I can’t pet his soft fur (he was the softest cat I’ve ever had) or that he won’t look at me with those sweet eyes looking for me to give him reassurance or affection. I’m so sad that I didn’t make them wait longer for the sedative to take affect and that he had to feel pain and discomfort in those final moments. Rationally, I know that this too shall pass. Emotionally, I’m a wreck. When do you realize that you need to go outside for help? Is it normal to feel this raw?

    • Christine Kane

      Denise, it is normal to feel this raw. That’s why I wrote the article. I can only offer that it will ease over time. But for now, it’ll feel like you won’t ever stop hurting. If you have any friends who can support you, I would invite them over now. Otherwise, you can definitely reach out to a grief counselor who might be able to just let you be where you are without making you “get better” or fight it. Grief needs to be felt, not analyzed or judged. There’s a gift to just giving in and feeling it. I’m sending you light.

  • Kati

    Thank you so much for your article. Our beloved 8 yr old dog started getting sick last week and had a high fever. While the vet was doing tests/xrays to determine what was wrong he got bloat. During surgery they discovered his gallbladder was torn and most likely something wrong with his kidneys. We didn’t continue with surgery because his quality of life wouldn’t be good even if they could repair the gallbladder. I follow Abraham and your article came up in an online search I did to find some relief. The biggest take-away I got from your article is the piece about not wanting another dog. That was my first instinct but now I can see the potentially harmful resistance in that thought pattern. Thank you for the guidance as I reach for better feeling thoughts on my path through this incredible sadness.

  • Margie

    I have been trawling the web looking for something that would express the exquisite sorrow of losing our darling brilliant cat. Her name is Peach. 13 years of her sweet company and now she is lost to us. I cannot get the image of her sleek silver head, her sweet smelling fur, her lovely paws she offered so often in friendship, all curled up together in the towel we brought her home in. Our most precious Peach. And I had to give her eye drops these last few weeks, which she hated but bore with uncomplainingly for my sake, and that is the physical sensation that has remained for some reason, holding her eyelids apart and positioning that dropper, I hate to think of it.
    But I wanted to say that your beautifully written article was balm to me. One needs to hear that one has done one’s best and that is good enough. Thank you for such a wise, considered and insightful piece. Written a long time ago now, but still getting response, that says a lot.

  • Shelley

    I am incredibly sad. After a miserable week of vet visits, my baby didn’t make it through the night and died this morning at 4:30. I miss her so much. My heart hurts. She was my good girl.

  • Philip Knisely

    I found your website because I brought my 11 year-old miniature Schnauzer Oscar to the vet this morning after finding him unable to lift himself up to walk. The vet is doing some diagnostic work to see if he can tell what’s causing this condition.
    I’m faced with the unpleasant and unwanted task of deciding about what I can and cannot do for him, depending on what the vet advises me is wrong with him.
    I’m heartbroken.
    I’m a single person, and he’s been my buddy through a lot… I sat with him on the sofa and watched the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001. Three years ago I gave my kidney away to a stranger and he was there for every minute of my long recovery.
    He’s loved me even when I was mad at him.
    I wish I were more like him.
    Philip

    • Christine Kane

      Phillip – It sounds like you ARE more like him! Our pets bring out the love that is ALREADY inside us. They don’t create it. We already have it. They just show it to us so clearly. The love won’t be gone if Oscar is gone. He’s there to show you who you really are. Let that stay alive no matter what happens to him. These little guys are our angels. In the meantime, i am sending you so much love and light. Blessings on Oscar, too.

  • Victoria D.

    Thank you so much for such an insightful, wonderful piece! It is really helping me along in my grieving/healing process.

    In 2009, a gray and white cat started coming to my house, and within a couple of weeks my family and I took her in. We took her to the vet for all her shots and to be spayed/ear tipped – the works. To this day, I will not say we adopted her – rather, she adopted us. I adored and loved her more and more each day. She was my companion, my closest friend when I felt no one else was around or could understand me. She was my source of joy when I was sad, and I couldn’t imagine a day without her.

    On July 20th, she did something she had done daily for three years now – go outside. But this time, she didn’t come home. And by the time she did – two weeks later – it was too late.

    I was on vacation from July 31st – August 14th, and I missed her every second. My neighbor was taking care of my other two cats and keeping an eye out for Ellie as well. When he found her in my other neighbor’s yard, he said she looked very weak and did not resist at all when he went to pick her up. He brought her to the vet immediately, and within two days, she passed away. They were never even able to find out what she had, because she was too unstable to even have an ultrasound done. I was in shock, I was in denial, I cried until I had absolutely no tears left when I heard that she died. It didn’t seem real. And I couldn’t believe I wasn’t there for her last moments.

    I experienced every emotion you listed, and I completely agree that there is no “good” or easy time to lose a pet, and neither is there a good way for it to happen either.

    I can’t even bring myself to go near the urn in which her ashes lie. It will probably take a while but I know the day will come when I can scatter them in all her favorite outdoor places. There will also be a time when I can complete the collage frame I bought with pictures of her, my other two cats – Vinny and Bonnie – and my mom and sister.

    Words can’t express how much I love and miss her, and I know it will take time, but again, thank you for this article. It has really helped me a lot.

    Take care everyone!
    <3

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Victoria – I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how you must feel. For now, i would say to do your best to make sure you are allowing yourself to experience “clean” pain (as martha beck calls it) of grief, as opposed to “dirty” pain — which is all the questions, stories, guilt, etc that make you feel totally crazed. Ellie is totally fine now – and totally okay with how she went. I know that. I’m sending you a big hug right now.

  • Audra

    My 10 YO cat is my first pet and best buddy. He was diagnosed with kidney failure 5 months ago, stage 4. We have pushed through with the treatments and he has had amazing recoveries, but this time, he is just not pulling through. My heart is breaking and I need to make a decision soon as he has stopped eating completely, either force feed and IV one more time or let him go. Each recovery is shorter and more difficult to achieve. His little kidneys are just giving out…he will not get better.

    It took me 5 tries to read this article all they way and I’m crying as I write this. Thank you for putting into words how I feel. It helps.

    • Christine Kane

      Take some time this evening to talk with him, Audra. Share with him what you’re going to do – and just be super clear that it is an act of love. Yes, your heart will break – but I can promise you there’s no preventing that from happening. That’s the gift of what our four-leggeds give us. Sometimes it’s that crack that lets the light in even more. It just sucks while it’s happening. Holding you in light, my friend!

  • Michael P

    Thank you Christine. It means a lot to me.

  • Jojo

    Christine, thank you for your insight and this wonderful website. Nights when I couldn’t sleep and missing my babies, I scour the internet for advice on how to cope with the loss of my beloved pets. Yours was the one that touched my heart, thank you. I also appreciate all the comments, and my heart goes out to everyone who lost a beloved pet.

  • Michael P

    I just found out on July 14, 2012 that my precious kitty is dying from a tumor growing aggressively on her side.
    It was just a month ago she was (what seems like) fine… i can’t stop crying. my heart feels like its breaking.
    she is only my second cat ever. i lost my first one 8 years ago and i still cry over him….he was truely one of a kind also. i fostered animals for two years and i had him before we became foster parents for the four legged friends, he would literally take care of the litter of kittens that we would be caring for and clean them, keep them away from the dogs, if they started wandering off like baby kittles do he would run over and pick em up by their scruffs and put them with their bros and sis’s….ppl who came over would be astonished and say “i have NEVER seen an adult male cat be that loving and tender to babies!”
    His name was Dexter and my beloved little girl that is dying right now is named DeDe. (and if your thinking “i know those names! they’re from that cartoon: dexters laboratory!” then bless your heart your right! 😀 )
    DeDe came from a litter of kittens that were pretty much left to fend for themselves (i know pretty awful how people out there treat our little friends) well DeDe was the runt….she was always the one left behind while her rambuncious bro’s and sis’s were running around getting into to everything! lol! they were a handful but SO CUTE! there were nine altogether…anyways DeDe would come right up to my toes and gently bite my big toe and i would be:”hey u are u trying to get my attention? it must be pretty hard since i’m always having to chase after your brothers and sisters….” so i picked her up and gave her kisses and special attention. i brung her to my bedroom with me because something told me to keep an eye on her…. Dexter fell in love too right away. he started taking care of her and from then on we raised her until Dexter unfortunately somehow got outside and was hit by a car….( i found him the next day while my son and i were walking to breakfast…he was dead and his body was stiff. thank god my brother was there to help gather him for the burial because i instantly started crying like i’ve never cried before…i don’t even like thinking about it today, eight years later….i love him so much and he was such a sweet and loving cat as well)
    so needless to say DeDe took on a lot of his awesome qualities….
    she always cuddles with me as i sleep at night…right up against my neck…soft and purring….she runs to the door when i come home….and sits in the window giving me the “sad eyes” when i leave…such a good girl almost never gets into trouble….LOVES to chase and play with strings….loves those scratching cardboard thingies for cats….

    but right now she can’t even jump up and down off the couch because she is in so much pain…the vet gave me pain meds and prednisone for the swelling of the tumor but its only really buying us maybe a week, i wanted my 13 year old son to be able to say goodbye…and not at the vet while we’re putting her down…and that’s another thing: i have never had to put down an animal before. like i said she is only my second cat ever and i love her like nothing i have ever experienced before.
    (i suffer from severe bouts of depression and she has been there for me and loves me unconditionally…i would do anything to make her better. i don’t get close to humans/ people very well….its hard to explain unless you’ve been there or had/ have a similiar situation….this may sound REALLY screwed up but when i had some of my darkest days….like wanting to kill myself, having her there rubbing her fuzzy little chin on my leg and purring made me think “i can’t leave her like this…no one will ever take awesome care of her like i do and she would never understand why i left her)

    sorry if i am writing so much but i guess if someone can tell me if i should be there holding her when its time. i want to but i just….. (nevermind) she needs me there. it breaks my heart because she trusts me, and i’ll be taking her to get her killed…
    she won’t come out….she keeps hiding and i know what that means…i literally am scared that one of these times i check on her she will be gone…..
    i am so exhausted mentally and physicallly
    i am SO SO SO sorry for all of you who have lost your best friends and in some cases soulmates….they are all in puppy or kitty heaven super happy waiting for us to be reunited with them someday!

    • Christine Kane

      Michael — Here’s the thing you need to deeply understand.

      You are NOT taking her there “to be killed.” We are the stewards for the well-being of our pets. They trust us to make decisions on their behalf. What that means is that YOU (whom she has trusted) are choosing to relieve her pain. That’s all.

      I highly recommend talking to her about this. Lay with her – even if she is hiding from you. And share everything you are going through – but speak with clarity about how you are going to make this choice because you don’t want her to hurt anymore. Don’t worry if you feel like an idiot having this conversation. She and you both need it!

      And I’m so sorry for YOUR pain. These little beings are angels. I can promise you (even though I still have teary moments about Atticus) that your heart will find room for another four-legged — and you will love that being every bit as much.

      Sending you lots of light.

    • Monique

      i just recently found this site. it has helped me tremendously to not only read the post, but the comments. you are not alone. i identify deeply with everything you wrote.

      hope you are ok.

  • Jojo

    I had two fourteen year-old cats, Topenga and Pancake. Pancake had a stroke and had to be put down one early sad morning of May 8, 2012. Pancake’s passing was excruciatingly painful, devastating, and it felt like a part of me had died with him. Topenga, who we fondly call, Peng, helped me through the grieving process. Just as I started feeling like a human being again, Peng started to show melancholy, somewhat lethargic. He would wail several times during the day. My husband and I thought he was lonely for his brother. Then he stopped eating, his breathing laboured. He was very ill. Peng had cancer, his lungs no longer functioning. On top of that his liver was grown so big, hence, the ceasation to eat. Peng died July 5, 2012, two months’ short of Pancake’s passing. How do I feel? I feel my world is shattered, I am offended, I am lost. Pancake and Peng were loving, sweet cats, there is not enough words to describe how much they gave to me, and my husband, Jeff. They added to our lives, we had a bond with them, they were a part of our family. Some people say “get over it, and get another pet”; someone said, “focus on your husband, you have a great one”; yesterday a lady friend said “get a dog, they are sweeter”. That hurts. People mean well, and has no clue that comments like these make it even painful to bear. I have a great life, yes. We do not have much in terms of wealth, but what we have is a loving family, good kids, happy life, and I am so lucky to have a supportive loving husband. But this does not take away the pain of losing my beautiful Peng and Pancake. I wish it would! I struggle everyday, cries for my beloved pets which leaves my heart feeling so broken. How long am I going to feel this way? I do not know. I am trying. All I know is that right this minute I feel my world is dimmed and empty…

    • Christine Kane

      Jojo, all of these people do not mean you harm. They just don’t understand. And they’re trying to fix something from the mental level – that can only be healed from a heart level. All I can say is let yourself hurt. Try not to attach to many “thoughts” to the pain (like, “What stupid advice people are giving me. No one understands!”) Just feel it and go through it. That’s the only way out of it. I promise you that. It sucks. Totally freakin’ sucks. But I’m sending you prayers, knowing you are not alone.

  • Paula

    Yesterday, I let go of my sweet baby boy, Prince. He was the sweetest little boy, he loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was sick with one thing or another the entire 8 1/2 years I had him…but not anymore. Now he is in Heaven with my dear Dad, now able to see-now he can run wild and eat anything he wants, without pain and no more sticking a needle in his back everyday, filling him with fluids, just to get his kidneys to work.
    I read the other day that a dog is one of three things-a teacher, a healer or a companion. Prince was all three to me. He was also the love of my life. I miss him desperately, I will miss his little soft, warm body pressed up against mine every night and waking up to him rolling his face all over mine. I will miss his little head turning from side to side when I talked to him and I will miss him greeting me after I had been gone…his ears laid back, and his tail wagging so hard, it knocked him off his feet sometime.
    But, he went peacefully, in my arms, with me whispering in his ear, “You are Momma’s good boy, I love you sooooo much.” And I am comforted knowing that he will be able to kick back in that big ol’ recliner in the sky, with my Dad again.
    I love you Bubba, more than anything. I will miss you forever.
    The pain of losing him is worse than when I lost my Dad six months ago. It shocks me, the amount of pain I am in. I pray constanly for God to take it away. I prayed that Prince would come to me in my dreams, letting me know he was okay. It didn’t happen last night, but I want so badly to see him again.

  • Jacquelin

    Thank you for this, it´s been very helpful…
    My dog gave birth to 5 puppies 3 weeks ago, I´ve been taking care of them, unfortunately the 4th puppy died today and I was feeling really depressed…..so I really thank you!!!! God Bless you 🙂

  • Crystal

    Yesterday, I put down my sweet Peaches. A 16 yo-ish short hair Calico, that I rescued 10 years ago. I was there every minute with her, held her, kept her warm, loved her, kissed her. Like the article states, my second guessing and guilt is relentless, and now I am just exhausted. Reminding myself that Peaches was sick, was not eating, and wasn’t comfortable, made me feel that these excuses were only futile attempts at justifying my actions. I feel so guilty and selfish for letting her go. I had hoped that the stubborn old girl would go in her sleep during the week prior to this point, and that would have made it so much easier on me. In retrospect, all the internal struggle I experienced prior to the event, now realize the blessing that I was able to help Peaches with passing on without her feeling pain. I will always love her and I miss her so much. There will be another that needs rescuing and my love, and a kind home to retreat.

    Finding this article really helped, and thank you for sharing it. It is so easy to torture myself by sitting at home, mourning, and feeling sorry for myself, and missing my kitty, and letting myself dwell on the decision I made. It is a pretty day today, I will take my vibrant healthy 4 year old Collie-mix girl to the beach today and celebrate life. Thank you for the reminder that Life Does Not Die. Sweet Pea will live on forever in my heart.

    My condolences to every person whose hearts are broken by losing a loved one that was so dear and cherished. At times the silence is unbearable, but knowing the mutual special bond, the precious relationship, and the coveted memories of my sweet little girl are all real, they cannot be taken away. I know that I am simply blessed to have had her in my life.

    I love you Peaches, and if it was possible I’d adopt you 10 times over!

  • Lisa Kirkpatrick

    Thanks for your insights.My beautiful girl, Callie, a Great Pyrenees, had to be put down yesterday.
    I am inconsolable..and nothing I do or say, helps.I too, feel like it was an honor feeling her love,
    I loved her so very very much!

  • Dan

    Our little guy Andy just died in my partners arms. Thanks for this post, it really does help.

  • cindy burch

    Hi Christine…… I came across your site just searching for some hope.. some hope that i would get beyond my grief, sadness and depression……. and after reading your message and those of others, it has helped me some….
    I lost my little baby girl… Lacie….. she was almost 10 years old. a mixed cocker spaniel….
    I’ve had other dogs before… all of them rescues…but she and I had a special bond. I believe because I’ve raised my son on my own, and maybe after going thru so much in my life, i’ve learned to love alittle better with age and all that I’ve been thru. My son was almost 10 when we got little Lacie… so he more or less has grown up with her.
    But as he got older and more independent… Lacie became my constant companion….
    I took her jogging, I took her to friends, She slept with me every nite, and as she aged, she would cuddle up to me and lay her little had on my leg… I would not move all nite.
    If i went on vacation, if I couldn’t take her, i didn’t go……
    Anyway, 2 weeks ago, after showing NO signs whatsoever, she got sick on thursday nite… she was diagnosed with Auto-Immune/Evans disease….. long story, but for the next several days, she got worse,,,, we we hoping the meds would help… but that Saturday nite, she started breathing very heavy… i knew then it was near the end. Hope against hope, I was rushing her to the emergency vet, driving with my knee, holding her head while stroking her trying to comfort her and telling her how much i love her…… 5 min. away from the vet, she passed away. I thought my heart was going to stop. I’ve never in my life felt so much hopelessness,,, so much sorrow….
    It just happened so fast….. it’s been 2 weeks, but it feels like it was yesterday. I go to work, I cry,,, I got to bed at nite and the missing her is so unbelieveable….. I find myself second guessing myself… “did I comfort her enough the last day she was with me?”….. Just stuff….
    I know time heals…. but this wonderful little creature taught me so much….. I just hope she knows how much I will always love her.. and how much she brought to my life….
    I will have another rescue…. it will take time… but for now, I just can’t believe how the pain of missing her is so strong.
    thank you again for your words… they did bring some comfort…. Now i need to go wash my glasses off…How can someone possibly have so many tears?

  • Cath Kelly

    Hi Christine
    Thank you so much for your wonderful site. It has helped me a little as I had to let my precious cat “Cuddles” go to sleep on Tueday evening. He had been ill last year with pancreatitis, but was picking up again with the medication from the Vet. He was eating better without the pain he had previously and things were fine, apart from his constant scratching at his kneck. This went on from the time he was ill. He seemed to have an allergic reaction to some injections and so would rip at his kneck. On Tuesday he was sitting on my lap as usual getting stroked and tickled. He jumped down and went over to his own little square carpet he was allowed to scratch onand started biting at his back legs. I went over and spoke quietly asking him what was wrong. It was then that I noticed that his 2 back legs were dragging when he tried to walk. Then he started to get frightened, crying and vomiting. I phoned the out of hours vet and she said to bring him in right away. I was so upset, I phoned my son who came over to drive me over. He was howling in his pet carrier and it was so distressing, even my 40 yr old son was crying. The vet confirmed Cuddles had a blood clot after some tests. The outlook was not good (70%/30%). She said she would keep him overnight and give him pain relieve and a sedative, along with a drug to help break up the blood clot. I had to phone at 10 30 next morning, but at 9am the Vet phoned to say he was very poorly, the clot split but half was in his chest and he was struggling to breathe. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do; give the go ahead to put him to sleep. We didn’t get to say goodbye. My son collected him later that day and we buried him in my son’s garden in a quiet spot with a cosy blanket and his favourite toy. Just like all your other readers and yourself the pain is immense. As I live on my own the quiet stillness is sheer agony, although I have been inundated with cards, flowers, phone calls, visits etc. But Cuddles came into my life at a very difficult time 5 years ago at the age of 7. I got him from the Cats Protection League and fell for him instantly. He lived up to his original name as he was so cuddly and the perfect soul mate for me. I had just been divorced after 33 years of marriage and adjusting to life on my own (my choice). One of my son’s couldn’t come to terms with me leaving his Dad and didn’t speak to me much after that, but I still got my grand-daughters who were the greatest joy to me. Soon after, my other son got married, but my previous daughter in law didn’t like this relationship and this led to my son’s falling out and because I wouldn’t interfere, I lost my beloved grand-daughters and new grandson. It was the cruelest thing to ever happen in all my life and I have never seen them since. I had to have counselling for a long time and during this time I met Cuddles. He helped me through the tough years ahead. When I was sad or weepy he would come up and put his paws aroud my neck. He was loved by everyone. Neighbours always volunteered to look after him if I was away on holiday, he was such a friendly cat. So now I am grieving for my faithful unconditional loving friend. I have lost one cat before, many years ago, so I know what is ahead. But I like to think he is running about in heaven with my previous cat and my Mum and Dad looking after them and someday we will all meet up again. Thank you for helping me find this site and I am sure in time I will offer another cat a loving home. X

  • Elizabeth

    The words about “Time,” so poignant and true, almost took my breathe away. I have been blessed to have had many wonderful animal companions – every small moment, every day spent with them becomes increasingly precious. I’m also thankful to have stumbled across this heartfelt and supportive article tonight following the loss of my deeply loved beagle, Toby. For 12 years, he provided the gift of companionship, cuddles like other, laughter and (and sometimes bad behavior!) and was always a special, meaningful member of our family. His loss is almost more than we can bear, but I have to believe that God takes care of all of his creatures. Thanks for these helpful words, Christine.

  • Heather

    Today we had to put down our oldest kitty, Tai just 2 weeks after loosing Leo. I know that the lessons of love I am learning through this grief will make me stronger and a more loving person but I’m reeling with sadness. I have another kitty who is sick and we move in 1 week. I feel so blessed that Tai gave us another beautiful 2 weeks with her and I will miss her and our little Leo so very much. Right now this pain is unbearable.

  • Heather

    Christine, thank you so much for writing this post! I reached out to fellow “Uplevelers” who sent me a link to it today. I’m struggling with the loss of my beloved 16 year old Leo cat who had to be put down quite suddenly from Oral Cancer on Saturday. We basically had less than 48 hrs with him after we found out that his condition was terminal and he was suffering badly (not eating on his own and only weighed 4 lbs). We KNEW it was time with him and spent those last days kissing, petting, loving him, talking to him and doing all the special things we could with him. We had a family photo shoot, took videos and tons of photo’s to remember him with our other 2 fur babies. After we let him go we took a long drive in the country and mountains to view the beautiful fall foliage and yes, somehow being in nature was soothing (is one of the few things that helps).
    This has been hard enough but in the midst of this tragedy we have been handed another challenge. The day after we put Leo down we discovered a lump on the back on our oldest (17 yrs) cat Tai and another on her leg. She’s also struggling to walk so we quickly took her to the Vet yesterday to find out more. In my gut I knew it was not good, as suspected she has cancer (3 tumors and visible abnormalities in her lungs) as well as kidney failure. The vet doesn’t think she has long, months maybe if we are lucky. I consider it lucky we will not loose them both in the same week but I’m second guessing if we are making the right choice to keep her with us since in 2 weeks we embark on a move to another state. I will pick her up today and we will monitor her for a few days and have to make this decision. Unlike Leo, Tai has been living in discomfort for awhile now (that we were not aware of) and she masks it well, purring a lot and so much life in her eyes and spirit.
    Again, I just want to thank you because I’m trying to embrace this grieving process and recognize it as a opportunity to learn more about love! Isn’t that what it is all about? One blessed thing in all of this is that this grieving process has brought my husband and I closer but I’m worried about him bottling his feelings up and I’m worried about our youngest girl, Sachi since she is quite the soft hearted tender cat.

  • Vikki T

    Thank you Christine for writing me back….Your words are very comforting and you are right…there is nothing to do now but go through all these feelings….My family and friends have given me much support these past couple of days and It has be very much appreciated..thery are dog people also….I have had dogs all my life but never one that touched my heart like this one…He was almost human….Maybe it is because I am older now and retired that makes it harder…dont know….just know that it hurts deeply….I know it will get easier but I also know that this special dog will always be with me….He was one in a million not just for me but for all the people that met him…everyone loved him….and he loved everyone…Thank you for your kind words….vikki

  • Vikki T

    October 3, 2011 6:24 am
    We had our beloved minature schnauzer (Max) put down today…He was diabetic and we had
    taken him to New Orleans twice for eye surgery because he went blind…He did very well after the surgery both times…could see…and was a happy dog again…This was back in 2009 and 2010…Had been doing great….then last week he went off his food…we had to feed very low fat dry food because of the fat deposits in his eyes…we just thought he was tired of the food…that wasnt it….He woke up Sunday morning Oct 2nd shaking and would not eat…breathing was shallow and he seemed to be in pain…Took him to E Vets where they x rayed and found he was full of fluid and his heart was enlarged….We were stunned…He has never in his 11 years had heart problems… and they also found a large mass in his stomach which we knew nothing about…This is why he had stopped eating….They drained some of the fluid off but still could not see well enough to tell anything about the mass…We picked him up this morning Oct 3rd and took him to ourn vet for an ultra sound….He would not eat or drink and the fluid was starting to build up again very fast…Our doctor said evan if we did the ultra sound and found out what kind of mass was in his stomach that she couldnt operate because of the enlarged heart and that he was going into heart failure…she said he would die on the table unles we could get the fluid under control…I love this dog with all my heart and it was very hard to make the dicision to let him go…He was such a wonderful friend and a member of our family…I am still in shock….feel like I want to run screaming down the street ..have nof eaten for two days and cant seem to accept that I will never see him again.
    He was my baby…my wonderful sweet boy and I have a big hole in my heart right now…I have another sweet schnauzer that is eight and I love him very much too but Max was here one day and the next day he was gone….I cant seem to come to grips with this…I feel like i cant breath and I have been crying for two days….I need to let him go but I cant….How do I deal with this…How do I go on without him…He was my baby boy….I expected more time with him..
    Please…somebody tell me how to cope with this loss….I loss my mom 7 years ago and I loved her with all my heart but I did not cry day and night when she passed…I had time to adjust to her passing….Max was so quick…I had no time to realize this was coming….I had no time to begin to let him go….Please tell me what to do …….we both are in a very sad place and dont know how to pull ourselves up….can you or someone give us some advise on how to cope in the coming weeks and months….thanks

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Vikki –

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

      I know how hard it is. I really do. If you read the comments on this blog post, you’ll see so many people who have experienced the same things you are now experiencing. It’s heart-breaking, yes. And all I can say is this: That, in time, the pain diminishes. Slowly. But you will cry every day for a long time. I really believe that when our pets die, they give us the gift of grieving for everything we have forgotten to allow ourselves to feel throughout the past years. I know this isn’t comforting at all. I really know that because I’ve been there. Unfortunately, there IS nothing to do but feel what you feel, and drink lots of water, and eventually try to find your way to the gratitude for having loved so big and so real.

      Sending you lots of light and love right now.

  • Amanda

    Lynne, may I suggest contacting your local vets and telling them you’re looking for a dog or cat. There are always loving friends looking for a home for free. In all my life, I’ve ‘paid’ for one pet — and it was from the shelter. All my other babies have been freebies (except for the spaying/neutering). Anybody would be thrilled to leave a pet with someone as loving as you.

  • Lynne

    I was forced to make the decision to put down my beloved Shetland Sheepdog, Tucker, in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, July 8th. The vet just called and I can pick up his ashes tomorrow. His passing was a surprise and shock that I am trying to come to terms with. I still cannot belive that he is gone. The missing him is unbearable.

    When we went to bed on Thursday, all was well. During the night, Tucker woke me up with his jerking movements. He was trying to stand up, but couldn’t get his rear legs under him. When I looked into his expressive eyes, a part of me knew how this was going to turn out, even though I tried bargaining with God. The vet said it was something to do with his spine and there was only a 10% chance of survival. Those weren’t good enough odds for my amazingly joy-filled and silly boy, so I had no choice but to make that horrible decision. God, I love and miss him so much!

    I am a retired person on a fixed income who lives alone and far from valued friends. Those friends have done their best to support and console me over the phone and by email. One of them sent me a link to your story.

    Because of my financial situation, I don’t see how I will be able to get another dog. The only way I was able to “recover” from the loss of my previous dog, Shiloh, was when I got Tucker. The hole in my heart that the loss of Shiloh left started to heal over in the daily distractions of raising a new puppy. Shiloh would have liked that! But now, even the shelter dogs are really expensive. I’m left with doubting if my heart will ever be able to find another home and I look at the the seemingly endless days that stretch out in front of me with horror.

    I’ve done this many times before with both dogs and cats, a few birds and even fish. I’ve always believed that the best way to honor the one you’ve lost is to do it again. And each time, I’ve gone into the new relationship knowing what the end will probably be. We silly, loving humans!

    I’ll probably rejoin life at some point, what other choice is there? Just because I can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But living the rest of my life without a canine companion, quite frankly, scares the heck out of me.

  • adrian jennings

    i had my 10 yr , collie cross mollie put to sleep yesterday, she was diabetic .in the final 4 yrs of her life was blind.. last year i lost mollys sister .. judy who came along first and was my “baby” and i was upset but was sensible to realise that by putting her to sleep was best for her and that we had given her a good life . , but with mollys ,passing yesterday , the greaf seems worse . the house is now quiet whereas before it was full of life, . molly used to bark for a wee wee at 4am every morning , and i used to curse her every single morning , i would get up 5 times a nite now if i could have her back . i hope this feeling of loneliness and gutwrenching sadness goes away with time but im not sure it will, i hope that others who are going through this realise that they are not alone ….. Adrian jennings 45 yrs

    • Christine Kane

      Adrian – it really will go away. it’s just so overwhelming when you’re in the middle of it. That’s all. I think that having other animals around does help with it – so when you feel ready I’d consider opening your heart to allowing another four-legged into your life.

      Sending you a big hug. I completely understand how challenging it is.

  • Pria Ingrum

    So glad I came across this – it hit home. My 15 year-old Akita mix, Pooja (prayer in Hindi) was euthanized on the 3rd. I’ve gone through everything mentioned in this post, and the advice is what I need to hear. Your suggestion above about spending 45 mins reminiscing about the past sounds so nice, and I do feel some remorse at not having been able to do that. We had not meant for her exam appt to result in her passing. We’ve been second-guessing and going through various scenarios, and I’ve struggled with guilt for letting her go then, although I know there would never have been a “good time.”

    • Christine Kane

      Pria – with such a beautiful name for you and a powerful name for your pooja – i know you already know this:

      But you can sit down now and still take that 45 minutes or write Pooja a letter and express all of that. Pooja is still very much with you.

      (when i had a biopsy one year after atticus died, i swear that he appeared on my shoulder in his funny little buddha-cat pose and made sure I was grounded. it was so sweet and kinda funny.) It’s not too late.

      Love to you. One of my platinum coaching clients just put her cat to sleep on the 4th – and it’s harder than any business challenge I’ve ever helped her through!

  • Bill

    Thank you Christine 🙂

    Peace…

  • Bill

    Hello! And Thank you!

    I am right now planning on letting my best friend move on. Lothar, my 10 1/2 y/o Rhodesian Ridgeback,
    He has a terminal condition, a tumor on his spleen. This makes it very hard because he is still very aware and happy, although I see he is slowly declining.

    The hard part, I have to do this soon because I do not want his spleen to rupture and die in that way. So I must take him within the next week and say goodbye forever while he is in no pain, in peace.

    The second guessing(is it too soon) and guilt is unimaginable. But I refuse to wait until he is suffering.

    It is even harder because as I watch him sleep in his fav spot on the couch, I know it won’t be long. I have kissed him 1 million times this week. Hugged him just as many. I wish there was a way for me to make him understand how much I love him, and how much he means to me, but I feel he could never comprehend this.

    Your words have helped! It really does help to be able to see these stages of grief, and when they occur(especially the guilt), to understand why they are happening instead of just letting them take over.

    Thank You!

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Bill,

      One thing that i did with my kitty (and I’m doing with my other kitty who is now moving on too) is that I laid on the floor with him for about 45 minutes sharing (yes, talking aloud) ALL of the things I remembered about his life. It was funny because he really seemed to take it in and listen and purr the entire time. I made sure I told him over and over how great every minute it was to have him around. i shared all the things I loved about him. It was a space of true closure and completion.

      there is no way to make it less painful. When you can accept that, you can simply grieve in the way you are meant to grieve. It will hurt for a long time. But it does get better. I still miss Atticus though! (and it has been two years since I wrote this post!)

      Sending you light and love, Bill.

  • Dan

    Thank you so much for this post. We had to put our 15-year-old sweetheart down yesterday. Ciara was our first dog. We got her before we started a family. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Reading your words has helped. I’m going to take your advice and go take a walk – our walk – the one we did almost every evening together. I know she will be right there by my side.

  • susan

    How lovely to read these stories, my dexter who was 16 had to be put to sleep yesterday and i am heartbroken and wish i could just take a magic pill to make me feel happy again, its really good to know other people feel like this over their pets and reading your story christine has cheered me up. Thank you x

  • Martha

    Dear Christine,
    Thank you for your beautiful website which I “stumbled on” today.
    I too am a singer songwriter. I see you are a student of Abraham – me too!!
    Here is my stor”y
    My heart is shattered. We have suffered a loss that is incomprehensible to me.
    My mother’s dog, a shining BEING, had her life cut short by the negligence of my alcoholic/lunatic brother. The other night at 1 am Mountain Time, he dropped her, she fell on her head, her neck broke instantly, and she died.
    When I heard the news, I collapsed in grief. It shattered my heart. She was an innocent. How could this happen?? I feel devastated. She and I were so closely bonded it feels like losing a child.
    7 yrs ago, Pansy, an adorable white Maltese, came into my mother’s life. It was clear to me from the beginning that this was no ordinary dog – Pansy was an old soul visitor from the Angelic realm. I recognised her and she recognized me. She knew her job as my mother’s guradian angel, and she brought my mother and all of us such joy! Always smiling, she was a merry little soul who uplifted all her came in contact with her. I know my mother, who has been in failing health, is alive today because of Pansy.She was just a little peanut, but she was a throughbred and a being of depth and substance. Her huge round brown eyes shined with knowing and understanding that was beyond dog and beyond human.
    I just spent 6 wks visiting my mother after her hospital stay out of state. My brother who has power of attorney. is incapable of giving my mother the true care she deserves and what I had wanted so much to give her. Visits were painful for me, but the one bright spot was always Pansy. When she saw me she would do her “Happy Dance” and we had our joyfest everyday. No matter how dark and depressing the situation was, Pansy made life better and her sweet happy nature uplifted everyone- My mother, who is bedridden and in pain, delighted in her Pansy and it was the only thing that could make her smile.

    This was a senseless tragedy caused by the unconscious behavior of my rage filled brother. I am sickened by it and I am in deep heartache grief. My mother simply cannot compute this loss and is checking out on it.
    Pansy – you dear sweet innocent angel – thank you with all my heart for all the love, joy, happiness and healing you brought to us. I cherish you forever with all my heart. I know we will see each other again. You dear pure little thing….. I love you so much. To think that I will never hold your sweet little body again, showering me with kisses wih your adorable little pink tongue is impossible to fathom.Little did I know when I left you the other day it would be the last time. I’m so glad we had our little “moment ” together when I kissed you and held you and whispered my gratefulness to you for all your love in your ear when nobody but us could hear. I know you understood every word. Thank you for seeing me for who I am and for the joy we loved to share together.
    YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
    i PRAY THAT ONLY GOOD WILL COME OF THIS.
    WITH A HEAVY HEART,
    SHENZI
    XOXOXO

    • Joyce

      Hi….and thank you for sharing your stories….Here’s mine….I lost my dog Odie just three days ago!!…It was not that he was sick…but rather that some careless dog owner had a broken fence which allowed his pitbulls to maul my precious Odie to death. I feel such horrible, gut wrenching grief it is indescribable. The guilt overwhelms me….IF we would not have left him at my sister-in-laws to go skiing…IF I had just followed my gut instinct and NOT gone skiing…IF, IF, IF!!

      He was my everything. He greeted me each time I came home…a prancing little dance, till I picked him up and cuddled him….he was sooo exuberant and playful…always ready for a new game that I was willing to play with him. I know he loved me…I know it….he had these huge brown eyes that would look soulfully at me….and he would tilt his head to the side and listen intently when I spoke to him!!!….Gosh….it seems I will never quit crying. I don’t know how I will ever go on…it is just sooo painful…..Can someone relate to this story???….Can someone assure me that the pain will lessen….that I will be at peace with letting go and knowing that I will never see Odie again…I loved him soooo much!!!….

  • Barb Pogue

    Monday, January 31, 2011 I put to sleep my beloved, kind, sweet, happy Jesse – a four old golden retriever, who made me smile every day. So they say it was an autoimmune disease that suddenly took him. This article has helped me and given me hope because this situation has put me on the edge. I have another golden, Koty, who is 7 and missing Jesse. My heart aches for him too. Even my cats, especially, Phoebee, seems to be sad. I have gone through every single emotion mentioned and frankly, now I am so exhausted, that it seems as though surrender is the only option. Thank you, Christine, for one of the most insightful pieces I have ever read.

    • Christine Kane

      Surrounding you with love and light, Barb. (And your four-leggeds too!)

    • cindy burch

      hi Barb… i just lost my little girl, who was almost 10… to Auto-Immune.. 2 weeks ago..she showed no signs of being sick….it just happened….after doing some research this is something that shows hardly any symptoms…maybe some lethargy, etc… but nothing really out of the ordinary…..most of the time ,by then, the red blood cells are being depleted so much faster than their little bodies can reproduce them. It’s horrible………. Lacie showed no signs .. got sick on Thursday, passed away on Saturday. I’m heartsick, heartbroken, depressed, and hate this disease that took my little girl..

  • matty

    Yesterday I did the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I had to put down my 12 1/2 year old lab, she was my baby, my bud and my companion. I treasured her more and more each day until it came time. My spouse and others had encouraged me to put her down for month or so…they say

    pooping in the house (accidently) 3-4 times a day
    arthritic hips – she would have to sway her hips and the back nails would drag on the cement when we went for walks.
    neuro problems – she would occasionally half stumble or her back right lef would face weirdly to a different direction.

    we tried several things for the pooping, only got worse. the hips and back legs seem the same, but she struggled to get up taking several seconds, and also she would slip on the hardwood floors. but all this being said, i am going thru the regret and guilt that she still was relatively happy…she eat (like a horse), she still played (albeit not as long and as much), she still wagged her tail..

    I am now going thru the blame game, i felt my family members pushed me into this and that I now am deeply regreting my decision. Im afraid that the haunting memory of seeing her take her last breath may affect my feelings towards my spouse and other members that said it was time. I guess im asking for an opinion on does these issues of my dog, is this enough to put her down? or did i do it too early…

    Heartbroken
    Matty

    • susan

      Hi, i feel just the same right now but trust me we did do the right thing, i said to the vet this must be the hardest part of your job and he replied actually no it isn’t because we can relieve their suffering and of course that is so true cos we can’t do it for humans and i know of a few people who have watched their loved ones suffer. I hope your feeling a lot better by now, i am hurting like i just lost one of my children my little dexter was nearly 16 and i loved him so much it’s horrible to have to make that decision to let go. xx

      • Vinny

        My wonderful kitty, Rocky, was also my companion, my bud, my roommate for the last 12 years of his sickly life. I miss him so much, I can’t conprehend the grief.
        I knew he had to go int eternal sleep because he became very ill…I didn’t want him to suffer just because losing him would be hard on me. I had to let him go and I cried like I never cried in my life.
        Good Luck Matty, I know the pain.

    • Randall Scott

      Hi Matty,

      I understand what sense of guilt you may be feeling now. Yes, your dog might have lived on, a few more weeks, even a month or two. What I have found is that there is a higher intelligence in the universe who plays our hearts and with ultimate strategy conducts two zillion chess games all at once, providing needed lessons, and opportunities for growth and movement towards universal love. Our pets are our teachers – ultimately, just like every other soul on this planet. If your pet might have lived longer, but you also came to the realization that others are pulling your strings, then they gave an immense gift to you – not for self-reproach, or the reproach of others (similarly unconscious), but to help you realize that you need to own your self more deeply, and make more conscious choices in the future. People who are conscious will not push another to euthanize their pet – they realize it is ultimately an extremely personal decision. And if dog feces bothers them so much, then they have to realize that loving their partner is part of the marriage vows. The point is – the people who pressured you are not conscious, possibly any more than you were by being manipulated by them. Punish them? No. Focus on your own need for growth, and follow it through to make true meaning of your beloved pets sacrifice. And also remember: it may have indeed been her time, happy, and still enjoying life. A worse option which you would still be kicking yourself about today, would have been to end your loved one’s life after tremendous suffering. In all cases, we learn what the experience has to teach us, and we love all the more our beloved pet for being the messenger of our ultimate and greater life progress.

  • David the rabbit lover

    Thank you such a lot for this. I lost my beloved, Poppy, concerning 2 months ago and recently set to urge another Persina. I’m lucky to own variety of individuals who actually perceive, however there have been some things I didn’t say out loud to anyone and here you were, reading my mind! many thanks such a lot. I’m thus sorry for your loss.

  • Dee

    I am reading all these posts with tears running down my face. I lost my beloved puppy Karma she was only two years old. She took off after a bunny in the off leash park and someone must have hit her and never even stopped. She made it back to my door and just looked at me with hurt eyes. I am trying to find solace in these posts but I feel my heart is broken and shattered and I will never be whole again. Karma left this world in my arms on Dec 30, 2010

    • Christine Kane

      Dee – I’m so so sorry for your whole experience. You will be whole again, I promise. For now, just let yourself grieve. There is absolutely nothing that will make you feel better at this moment. Just know I’m sending you light and give yourself full permission to feel however you need to feel.

  • Bethany

    It is amazing to me that even after a year, people are still reading and posting on this blog. I lost my 12 year old black lab Abby on December 23rd 2010 and am looking for some kind of pain relief for my heart. I have gone through every emotion so far except for the peace. I want peace from this, but it is still so new. She was my baby and I have had her for more than half my life. When it came time to put her down, I couldnt let her face it alone, so I went in the room with her. She left so peacefully that for a moment I was so happy that she was out of pain, but then my selfish ways came back and I wanted more time with her. I loved her so much.

    Reading this blog, it brought more understanding to losing your best friend.
    Thank you all so much for posting and sharing your stories. You never know how much you could help someone else who is also enduring the pain of losing your friend.

  • Julie Kay Smithson aka Wiggles’ Mommy

    Wiggles Blue Heeler aka WigglesBlue Heeler, was the child of my heart and soul from the time he was 9 weeks and 3 days old until his great heart ceased its earthly measured beating at 7:14 AM on Sunday, December 5, 2010, two weeks ago. For twelve-plus years, Wiggles was my sweet heart, constant companion, and perfect match. We enjoyed the same things, from walks to quiet times at home to “going places and meeting people” (everyone was his friend). He never barked or growled at anyone or anything, except his jolly ball with the wiggly giggly inside, which he herded at least two or three times each day. He was utterly gentle, this dear blue heeler who saw with his eyes for the first six years and his heart the second six. No one will ever know just how much my heart aches for his physical presence, to be able to reach out and touch his soft coat or one of his ‘little feets’ or hear his feet on the kitchen floor, coming to rescue me from the computer. There can never be another, for he was not only my dog of a lifetime, but my best friend for my lifetime and the child of my soul. Google “Wiggles Blue Heeler” and learn more about this precious soul, surely on loan from Heaven until God just got so lonely for him that He called Wiggles home.

  • Neal

    I want to thank you for writing this. My wife and I lost our beloved Jack Russel, Woody, last week. He was everything to my wife and I. He made us laugh and smile.We loved him so much. The past week has been very hard on us and we will never be the same without him. What you said really helped both of us and I just wanted to say thank you.

    Neal

  • Beloved

    Maka died two days ago. She was my English Pointer, 2 years old and so vivacious and gentle and funny. She was hit by a car and died in our neighbors yard. She died before animal control got to her. When she did not come home I called animal control but they were closed and the next day was a holiday. Today the Animal control officer who had taken the call came to talk to me about what had happen. He had buried her already with the other dogs. It hurt me so bad to hear that she had been crying and layed down to die. I never heard her cry; she was a happy loved dog. My brother died 2 months ago and my best friend 1 month ago; now Maka has died. I too am suffering grief and have only the hope that it will subside in time. It seems only a very few friends understand this pain of losing a beloved pet; but the ones that do and offer condolences, well it helps alot. I am sorry for all the grief of each person who wrote here. Knowing that the rest of you and Me are out here… please be comforted that someone else knows what you are going through.

  • Michelle

    Hi I posted the comment above this one and if someone could please tell me what to do I would really appreciate it. Scooby died Nov 2 and yesterday, the 10th, a little over a week later, my kitten got hit a car. She was a little over a year but she was my baby. My daddy let me keep her as an 18th birthday present. I cant stop picturing her lying in the street with blood all around her. The poor thing. I loved her soo much! I cant stop picturing her. My dad walked in my room and told me not to look out my window because she had got hit. I thought he was joking at first and when I realized he wasnt I thought maybe she was still alive and he was going to take her to an animal hospital or something but that wasnt the case. I had to look and I know I shouldnt have but I did and now that image is stuck in my head. My poor baby! She was still a baby! And so funny and full of life. Ive never seen another cat like her. We called her Pee-Wee cause she was the runt of the litter but she always had the most energy. She was the only kitten out of the five who could climb out the barricade we made when they were babies.Ugh I just cant take all of this pain and loss! The day before she was hit my grandmother died. 3 deaths in a matter of 8 days. I just feel so broken. Please someone tell me I will get over this. I dont feel like I will ever get over seeing her lying in the road. It just hurts so much. I dont think ive ever felt this way before. .
    Thanks for listening to me. .

    • Christine Kane

      Michelle –

      I just now am catching up on comments on this post. Please know I’m sending you light. I know how hard this is. And yes, you WILL get over it. My cat was hit by a car years ago, and that moment of finding her and carrying her home is still in my mind of course. But so is the love. You will learn to thrive again. you’ve been through a lot. Be kind to you!

  • Michelle

    Im so sorry about Atticus. I never knew until I looked online just how many people get so depressed over losing an animal. I thought something was wrong with me. I had a beagle. He was my baby and his name was Scooby. Ive had him since the month before I turned 7. Im 19 now. Ill never forget the day he was born. My dog Kelly gave birth to him and his brother Lucky who we gave to a close family friend. Lucky sadly died a few years later but we had Scooby for just over 12 years. I just feel so bad all the time. There was something wrong with his gums so his breath smelled extremely bad and people didnt want him around too much because you could smell it from across the room when he was breathing heavy. He was like any other dog. He got excited when someone came home and followed you around for a few minutes sniffing you and wouldnt leave you alone right away and I feel so guilty because I have so much going on that most of the time I didnt want to be bothered so I yelled at him to go away. I dont think he liked being alone. He had this laundry basket that he slept in. He loved it. It had blankets in it and everything. But he only slept in it during the day. At night he always slept by my door or my moms door. Sometimes my brothers but it was mostly mine and my moms. But if one of us had our doors open he had to sleep in the room with us. I just feel so bad that I locked him out so many times. The past 6 months have been pretty hard on everyone here. My grandmother got sick and after she got out of the hospital she came to stay with us until she got better. She didnt want the animals in her room, (my moms room), because they shed so much. Well I let Scooby sleep in my room sometimes but I like having my door shut at night and I didnt want to shut him in my room with no way out, so most of the time he was in the hall all alone. Last month he started peeing in the house at night. We found out he had a bladder infection and got antibiotics but it didnt do much. He still peed in the house. He was peeing in my brothers room so we all made sure our doors were shut all the time so he wouldnt pee in there. If I would have known he was going to die I would have let him sleep with me anyways. I just wish I could go back. You should know Scooby LIVED for food. I Swear! He was a bottomless pit! If there was food around he was going crazy! Well any kind of food except for fruits and vegetables. Weird right? But thats the only food he’d spit back out. Well the day before he died he wouldnt eat anything. I knew something was wrong but I didnt think he was so sick we were going to have to put him down. The next day my dad found pee and puke all over the carpet but instead of yelling at him like he normally would do he just took his food and water bowl outside on the deck and had him lay out there while he cleaned it up. My mom came home and found Scooby just laying out in the middle of the yard. So she had to pick him up and take him to the vet. They said they could do all sorts of tests but they could end up finding out they cant do anything and he was so sick looking and miserable so I went up and said good-bye to him and they put him to sleep. Im so afraid he thinks I didnt love him. I just didnt pay enough attention to him. I know i didnt. There is just so much going on. My grandma is back in the hospital. Shes dying and she will more than likely be gone before Thanksgiving. I just lost my other grandmother last year. She was the first person I ever lost before. I mean, I lost my great-grandmother when I was 4 but I barely remember. It was sad yes but last year was really the first time I had to deal with death in my life; and I was 17. It was 2009. Exactly TWO weeks before my graduation ceremony and my dads mom died. And I was the last one to see her. She lived with us for 6 months until my dad just couldnt handle everything anymore so she went back to a place where they could give her round the clock care. My dad was supposed to go see her that night but I had his car and it was late when I got back so he said he would go tomorrow but she died and he never got to say Good-bye. And its my fault. He never said anything like that, and I never told anyone how i feel, but I cant help it. And now a year later my other grandmother is about to pass. My mom is a wreck and things just are not going to great around here. I just dont know what to do anymore. I feel like I have too much going on. I cant handle all this. And when Scooby died it just put me over the top. I didnt spend as much time with him as I would have liked but that doesnt mean I didnt love him. I actually never realized just how much I loved him. I just was not ready to let him go. I feel like its tearing me up inside. I dont want to talk to anyone or hang out with my friends. I dont even want to leave my room. I just feel like crying all the time. I dont understand any of this. I hate feeling like this when I really am very blessed. I have a wonderful family and a wonderful home. I have so many people that really care about me. But I just cant help but feel so depressed. There are so many people who arent as lucky as me. To have wonderful parents and brothers and friends. I dont know what I would do without them, yet I cant talk to any of them. Im really good at listening and giving advice. Im the one all of my friends call crying about all of their problems. And I help them. But when it comes to myself, im just no good at talking about my feelings. I prefer to keep them all inside. Well I did talk to my hamster before she passed, and I talked to my 2 kittys. (And Scooby of course). But besides them I don’t really talk to people and I dont know if it makes me uncomfortable or what. But I do know I hate dumping my feelings on everyone else when they have their own problems to deal with. And the other thing is I think im afraid that if I do decide to trust someone with the way I really feel, yes im sure theyll be there and listen, but im afraid really theyll just be thinking, “oo wow thats whats wrong, I have way worse problems, you cant possibly be that depressed over that”. I feel that no one will truly understand how everything that happens in this world affects everyone differently. Everyone handles their problems in their own way and some people cant possibly see how something that seems so simple or ridiculous can really tear up someone. My hamster (Pinky) that I had for over 2 years died when I was 13 or 14 and I was so upset I stayed home from school the next day. I loved Pinky so much and I only had her for a short time. But I loved her and I used to tell her everything. I loved talking to her. Wow I cant believe I wrote all that. Once I get going I just cant stop. Well im sorry. If you want me to take my comment off because its so long I will. Id just like to say to everyone who goes through this I think ive got a pretty good feeling how you feel. But what I feel most is regret, guilt and this overwhelming sadness. I didn’t spend enough time with Scooby and there is nothing I can do about it now. If I could go back he would be sleeping in my room regardless of the fact that he might have ended up peeing in here. Some may not believe me but I really would. I just wish he could know just how much I love him and how much he really means to me. He may have been 12 but ask anyone I know I still called him “ my PuPpY” even though he clearly wasn’t a puppy anymore. I have this huge place in my heart for Scooby. Way bigger than I ever thought possible. It stuns me how much I am torn up over this. I knew id be upset but im falling apart here. The big place in my heart feels like it was ripped out and I just don’t know what to do. You could tell me it will get better but I just don’t think I can believe it until I experience it myself. It just hurts sooo much. I just cant stop thinking about the way he looked that day. So unbelievably sad and that’s what I think about most of the time. I feel like he felt so alone. Like none of us cared that he was feeling so sick. I want so bad for him to know just how much I really need him. Just how much I want to see him again. Im grateful at least that my mother is paying for his ashes to be returned to me so I can have him always. Always and forever.

  • Barbara

    We lost our 14 yr. old yellow lab, Abby, a few days ago. In my arms she passed away and I am still so saddened. I’m not used to the quietness in the house. I miss the “clanking” of her dog tags as she followed me everywhere. I was searching for some sort of comfort. I guess I wanted to know I was not alone in my grief over the loss of a pet. I believe God led me to this site. What an amazing, beatifully written piece. What a comfort it is to know there are others that care so deeply for their pets and understand the pain in losing them.
    Thank you.

    • Bethany

      I am so sorry for your loss of your yellow lab Abby, I just lost my black lab Abby 4 days ago. I held my baby as she peacefully took her last breath. I also believe that God has lead me to this site and esp to your post as you too had an old lab named Abby. Ours was 12 years old and we loved her so very much, thank you for sharing your story and for letting me know that I am not alone.

      • Hel

        We had to say goodbye to our sweet gentle Libby on Dec 29. We are heartbroken too. Thank you for this site and the words that I hope will help us find peace. This is the saddest moment of our lives but we feel blessed to have had 13.5 years with our beautiful sweet girl. Our doggie enriched our lives in immeasurable ways.

  • rebecca

    Thank you, this is very well written and helped me feel a little less ridiculous for being so upset about my little dog being hit by a car the other day.

  • Margo

    I am missing my little “Marshall” girl. She was a blind blue heeler that entered my life after losing my Pop. Marshall was my therapy dog. I had purpose in taking care of her. She needed insulin twice a day, a special diet, and eye meds in the morning and evening too. Marshall was a spayed female of 14 1/2 years who developed a mammary tumor (rare)around November of 2009. Due to her age and physical condition- the diabetes was maintained, not fully controlled, it wasn’t a positive choice to have surgery. I worked in Veterinary medicine for many years and knew the risks outweighed my selfishness in wanting to keep her with me a little longer. When I lost my Mother in May 2010, I lost my bestfriend and Marshall was there to be my therapy dog yet again – faithful til the end….September 17, 2010. She was in my arms as one of my close friends in the Veterinary Clinic I once worked in helped her leave this world for the next. I truly have loved and lost, yet I will always have the comfort of my friend Marshall close at heart.

  • Wendy Marshall

    Thank you for this heart-soothing site and all the posts I am reading, with my tears streaming down, so totally heartbroken. 30 hours later, this is very raw, yes. That others really understand has made this a bit easier to bear. I am grateful for all that is written here, a salve to my extreme hurt. The most special friend and beautiful little character, just pure delight can’t really been gone, just like that, so shocked and devastated I sit here. Felix is the heart of my heart. God gave me 4 FANTASTIC years being his mommy. What a special gift. I do feel angry that he has gone so young…It just seems terribly wrong. I will trust there is always forever for us to be together again, in my heart and one day in another dimension. Thank you again.

  • Christine Kane

    I”m sending blessings to all of you who have posted here over the past months. I know that the pain subsides with time. But I am always struck at how intense it is for each person as they go through this. So happy this post adds some healing light.

    Jan – Whenever someone’s pet is missing, I always send mr. patticus (who is now the patron saint of all household pets) out to fetch them and bring them home. I’ll send him a message now. I know how hard it is when your precious baby is missing.

  • Jan

    Thank you. I was searching for help and comfort and you gave it to me.
    Chloe, my little 5 year old Bengal kitty has been missing for 5 days. I can’t stop crying and looking out the window expecting to see her home. All the comments from so many who have lost their beloved pets gives me comfort. I just wish I knew where she is and what has happened. I miss her so much.

  • Sarah

    Hi Mary Ann, I hope you’re OK. I’ve just lost my little guy, Dusty, who was 16. Everywhere in the house, I long to see his funny little face and hear his croaky mew. I feel as though my heart is breaking. His absence is so tangible and hurts so much. Thanks to Christine for this important post which encourages us to cry and acknowledge that our pets are a cornerstone of our lives – part of our identity, our support system. I know you’ll still be crying Mary Ann, so I’m sending lots of love

    Sarahx

  • Rev.Mary Ann Brown

    Dear Christine:
    It is 4:30 in the morning. My heart is broken for today I had to put my 18 year old cat to sleep. Amber was my baby. I was not blessed with children. I have been a pastor for 18 years. Everyone comes to me for guidance in the spirit. I feel so lost and empty. I felt Amber was my child from God. One with unconditional love of the highest. Always there for me when I walked into my empty apartment. I was greeted with such pure love. I would pick him up and hold him in my arms as a baby. He would stay that way with his paw petting my face. I also have a pet dove and he would sit on Amber’s back as Amber ate his food. Amber was the most gentle soul. I have tried to pray but all I can do is cry and I feel lost. I was guided to your site and Thank you for the words. I am planning a trip to Appalachia with my Outreach Program one heart period for August 13, 14, 15,. We provide free furniture and clothing and house ware items to ones in need in the name of Jesus. I have so much work to do to get the trucks and my team together for this mission trip . I feel time has stood still and all I can do is think of my beloved Amber. On my web site http://www.oneheartperiod.org you can see a picture of Amber with my dove. He is the last picture on my mission pictures titled my family. He was my Child, just a little person with fur. I Thankl God he put this wonderful cat in my arms and i thank you for hearing a pastor’s heart of grief.

  • cinsere

    It means a lot to read this blog and the comments knowing others have experienced this
    grief. Thank you so much for your e-mail it meant so much truly. The loss of my beloved
    Ted a cat that I had from a kitten and my grandson was a baby they all grew up together.
    It’s a sad day for all of us we loved him so very much and he loved us in return. This
    house will never feel the same again without him. Our love endures and always will.

  • cinsere

    I had to put to sleep my beloved cat of eighteen years this morning. The vet was very good
    at helping me keep him two years after losing my husband. I am feeling heavy grief over
    this. We cuddled one more time this morning and I said goodbye and told him I loved him.
    He was so weak as he had been so sick I took good care of him and just could not see
    him suffer. The weight of sadness is so great at this time. I have not stopped crying.
    I knew this day was coming and I think he did as well I could tell this when I eyes met.
    When I lost my dog it was the same way. Don’t ever think they don’t have souls they do
    and the bond we have with them is so strong. I miss him so much. Just had to write it
    down I’m alone with my sadness right now.

  • Laura

    Hey Christine,

    Thanks for this. I had two wonderful cats for so long- Tyler and Mikala. They were best friends too, lying and sleeping all over each other, licking each other. Last month I knew it was time and I put Tyler to sleep. He was so skinny and couldn’t walk anymore. He was 19. Exactly three weeks later Mikala died in a freak accident with the garage door, something I was absolutely not expecting. She was 10 years old.

    I don’t believe that I had both of those cats for so long, that they were so close to each other, and them both passing in the same month was a coincidence.

    Reading your post made me cry, which is good, because I’ve been going back and forth with the feelings for a while and sometimes it’s really hard to cry. It’s a release and it feels good.

    Thank you!! My condolences to you and all of the other people that shared their experiences in these comments.

    Sincerely,

    Laura

  • Kate Heyd

    Christine,

    Thank you. I lost my Peanut about two months ago to cancer. She was my soulmate. I went through all the things you spoke of and so it is wonderful to see it all in writing and know that some people experience things the way that I do. I still miss her terribly. I tried to say no more cats, but my husband wouldn’t let us. We are now the proud, albeit crazy, owners of three Siamese kittens and one old orange tabby. Thank you again.

  • milinda

    Hi Christine and all you lovely people,
    I was one of those, who was afraid to get a pet ,because I would love it ‘too much’ and dreaded the heartbreak. But I did find my little irresistable furry friend, and I love her more than anything in the world , and yes I am afraid I love her too much , and I know I have a deposit on a broken heart.
    However reading a post like this encourages me to embrace every moment of sheer joy I have while she is in my life .
    And that love will live on forever : )

  • Mei

    Yes, it’s extremely hard when our PET is passing on.
    We had ours for 10 yrs, when we adopted Freddie, he was about 7 with FIV +, everything you wrote really touch me, I’m still crying and we had to put Freddie to sleep on 5/1/2010. I had my daughter take Freddie to the Vet and I thought he was not feeling well and just needed some medicine to get better because Freddie stopped eating 4 days before that. I was a total shock that the Vet said Freddie has Kidney cancer on both of his kidneys and he was in lots of pain.. The Vet suggest to bring Freddie home for the family to spend one more loving day with him… It was extremely difficult for the all of us… the kids were crying all night and till the next day.. I can tell Freddie was getting weak….. I am just glad that I found this site..I kept asking myself what if I knew Freddie wasn’t feeling well and if I take him to the Vet earlier, could it extend more time? I was hoping Freddie can spend 3 more yrs with us till he is 20.. I’m still crying as think of Freddie, no matter if I was driving or sitting at my desk at work.. Sincerely.Mei

  • Christine Kane

    My heart goes out to you, John. One of the things about this post is that the comments that show up are always from someone who is experiencing the painful first moments of loss. In my infinite capacity for control-freakishness – I wish I could somehow take that away. I can let you know that time does heal the heartbreak. (though i still miss mr. patticus all the time!) And the gratitude piece (that Sooty existed at all) will become bigger and bigger too.

  • John

    Dear Christine,
    Way back in 1991 I was given two Persian cats (1 black and 1 blue-grey) and I called them Flossy and Sooty. Young Flossy had been involved in an accident and the vet told me that she was a lovely cat but I shouldn’t hold out too much hope of her living a long life. But a long and fantastic life she lived. I had to take the decision this morning (Jan 21st, 2010) to have Flossy put to sleep. Kidney failure and arthritis had finally caught up with her. Words cannot express the sorrow I feel inside. It has taken me completely by surprise and I’ve found myself on the internet trying to get advice. Your words (and all the kind posts submitted) have been really helpful in realizing I’m not alone in my grief. It’s late evening as I type this and I miss my little devil so much. I held her and stroked her as she passed from this existence to the next. I know that when this raw pain has dulled I’ll be able to see the happiness we both gave each other. Sooty is still with me and I can tell he misses her too. We have each other for now, and while I know Sooty is also a ripe old age, I intend to make the most of his company and unconditional love until it’s his turn. Thanks once again for your lovely words and wisdom.

  • Patrick

    TYVM Christine.

    I was one of those “it’s only a cat” people before I got my first kitten 12 years ago. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I just lost him 3 days ago, a sudden attack and he died. I consider myself an iceberg in many sad situations. The loss of my best friend of 12 years has left me in heartbreak, longing for his warmth and friendship, his purrs and whimpers, in this now empty home.
    This page is a blessing for us in mourning a pet. The best I’ve come across on the internet in this sad time.

    Thanks again.

  • Donna

    we lost our best friend Rambo on November 8, 2009. our whole family is grieving over his passing. there is a deep sorrow in our hearts. he was our “dad dog”, the heart of our family. we have Roxy his life partner and three of their offspring (Marty, Molly and Mickey) still with us. it hurts to see the dog family also miss him as much as we do. he was a wonder and a joy with a heart the size of a mountain. his capacity to love was amazing. it is taking time to put his passing into perspective and for it to find a place in our daily routine…some days are better than most. we love you Rambo and hold our memories of you foremost in our hearts.

  • arlyn

    i lost my beloved dog exactly one week ago, this will be the saddest holiday in my life. 14 years of memories will always be in my heart. the whole family grieved for him.what makes the pain even greater was that he died while i was abroad, and that he was with a vet instead of his family. yes, if only i could read his mind, knew the pain he went through. he was the kindest, most loving dog we ever had…. i love him and will never forget him for the rest of my life….

  • Rebecca

    Christine, my heart weeps for your loss and rejoices for your memories of your sweet kitty. I found myself teary-eyed while reading this entry. Knowing that there may come a day when I face the loss of my beloved Pomeranian who is very much like a child to me. [unhealthy, I know, but I still “humanize” her and find myself wishing that she could miraculously talk to me 🙂 ] Thank you for your writing and I know that it will prepare hearts for the future.

  • Karen

    I happened upon your words, and am so glad you took the time to examine your pain. I just lost my sweet yellow lab, Bessie. She was 15 years old. My head knows she had a Montana life that was canine paradise, but my heart is broken. I can still feel my cheek against hers, and if I close my eyes I can feel her leaning into me for a belly scratch. Bessie ran wildly through meadows and rolled in scat despite being absolutely ancient. She barreled into old age like a rolling keg. I hope to do likewise.

  • Christine Kane

    steve – i tried to send you a special email, but the addy didn’t work. yes, i understand how hard it is to go through that sudden loss. my first cat was hit by a car and i thought I’d never get over that. this experience with atticus was different. but like i said – there’s never a point where it’s easy and you can just let go! i’m sorry for your loss.

    holly – i’m sending you lots of love and light. i was just thinking last night as I went to bed of those weeks before atticus died and how i can’t believe i made it through. i don’t know that there is actual JOY in that sadness. but i do know that it’s all a part of the joy of LIFE. I’ll ask mr. patticus to hang out and wait for Teddy. (he’ll be in good paws that way!)

  • Holly

    Thank you so much for these gentle, comforting insights. My beloved old cat, Teddy, is nearing his final days and I’m finding it so hard to accept this reality. I expect that I’ll be turning to these words here again and again. I just need to remember–as you said–there is joy to be found, even in sadness.

  • steve basmajian

    I lost my english bulldog a few day ago too soon 3 1/2 years only. I believe you have the right understanding for how to start the process in recovering from this tragic event. Surprise in an early loss is even worse as it broadsides you and there has been no time to plan and slowly move toward these emotions. I was throw in head first and have been trying to find some peace not any closure for my loss. Thank you for what you have written and god bless your best friend as I pray god blesses mine.
    With loving memories to my Peanut

    • Dee

      I am reading all these posts with tears running down my face. I lost my beloved puppy Karma she was only two years old. She took off after a bunny in the off leash park and someone must have hit her and never even stopped. She made it back to my door and just looked at me with hurt eyes. I am trying to find solace in these posts but I feel my heart is broken and shattered and I will never be whole again.

  • Connie Mishali

    Thank you so much for this. I lost my beloved, Persian, Sonja, about two months ago and recently decided to get another Persina. I’m lucky to have a number of people who truly understand, but there were some things I didn’t say out loud to anyone and here you were, reading my mind! Thank you so much. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Cheryl

    I too have just lost my kitten, Bobby was just 4mth old.Its just been 2 days and i miss him so much it hurts to the core,its like losing a child,I feel all of the things you have mentioned esp guilt, he was hit by a car.I feel he was just a baby and i let him out when i shouldnt have.I am also angry,not at the driver but at God for the spitits that could have protected him,why didnt i have a longer time with him.
    I also feel embarrased that i get so upset,like people say,it was just a cat,but he was my baby,i loved him so so much.
    I keep hearing him cry,I am spiritual but cause of the sadness i feel not sure if it is him or in my head and its freaking me out a bit.I just want to see him again,miss the things he used to do,like suckling on me as if i am his mom,in a sense i was.Just want this dark feeling to pass.
    The kids want another kitten to fill the gap,but i cant replace Bobby and dont want to.
    Any advice can i love another without feeling guilty and disloyal to Bobby,would Bobby approve.
    any advice would be grateful,how long should i wait

  • jz

    I had missed the astute and observant posts. Now I know why. He looks like my dear cat who I know always watches me and has sent me (I know she wouldn’t approve of him in the slightest because he is not royalty) another friend. Somehow or another, even now, no one will ever live up to her high standards! Clyde is a reminder of that everyday. She was the best, but he is a pretty good cat, nonetheless. I know she is hoping that someday soon, he puts a little regality in his strut so she doesn’t regret it too much.

  • Jackie Butler

    My beautiful 15 year old kitty, Tommy, was put to sleep this morning. He too died in my arms and I’m going through everything you wrote about in your blog. My grief is so intense that I can hardly breath.

    My friend Elsa sent an email to me this afternoon with the link to your blog. I confess that I knew nothing about you,your blog or your music, but through Atticus and your profound words,I feel comforted by an old friend. I’m looking out at the most beautiful New Mexico sunset. I can’t help but think that Tommy had something to do with it.

    Thank you, thank you Elsa, and thanks to so many of your readers for their sharing.

    Jackie

  • Janine Elske

    Christine, my heart goes out to you. I still miss my beloved Moony Cat, who went to sleep on the 19th Feb this year, my dearest little companion for so many years. I have to admit I still struggle with incredible guilt, when I had to make the decision while she was on the operating table, and the vet discovered that the tumor was inoperable.

    It is incredibly difficult, for the pets that stay behind too, as they truly do grieve as well. My three year old niece, who knew nothing of my cat’s passing, and had not seen any of the other cats, walked up to me the day of Moony’s passing and told me that Talulah, my other cat, was very sad. My niece in deed has an amazing affinity with animals, and she was right, Talulah watched over and protected Moony from when she was a little kitten to the day she left us, and she truly displayed sadness for a good while.

    We are blessed to know such love, which will always be with us, and remind us how beautiful life is, even though there is immense pain. I look forward to meeting my little companion again on the Rainbow Bridge.

    Much Love
    Janine

  • Kerri

    Thanks to Trikaya on Twitter, I was brought to this page. Just last week I had to put my beloved cat of almost 15 years to rest. I so struggled beforehand about how to determine when the time was right, but what I was sure about was not prolonging any suffering of his for my own needs. I committed to honoring him through his illness. Not an easy task for sure. My humanness kept coming in and finding reasons to cancel the appointment for the humane euthanasia.

    The love with a pet is pure. It’s the purest love there is – no head games, no belief battles, just love. Christine, I am so sorry for your loss. Know that your angel is still with you in spirit. Stay in touch with each other.

    And, if you’re interested, I invite you to read that account of my Kramer’s passing. You’ll find it on my blog here: http://www.kerriscorner.wordpress.com.

    Sending light your way,
    Kerri

  • Christine Kane

    Thank you for these continued beautiful comments.

    Shereen – i had chameleons when I was little and so I’m with you on the gerbil. Humphrey was a chameleon that I had a truly an indescribable connection with. I rarely share it with anyone – and i still think of him with all the tenderness I had back then. So, size doesn’t matter. i’m sending you lots of love.

    And Kris – your comment made my eyes fill with tears. I know exactly what you’re going through. Just know that you have all these people who have commented here who understand your experience right now. I am sitting here blessing both you and Sushi. I”m glad you found this post and that it gave you a little comfort.

  • Kris

    I so needed to read every word of this. I googled “Abraham-Hicks on putting animals to sleep” in hopes to find a suggestion or two on “how and when we know when”…. or when to simply let nature takes its course.

    My dog Sushi (a 10 yr. old Shih-Tzu) has lymphoma cancer. He’s outlived the vet’s guestimation for survival by 3-4 months. He did amazingly well for the first 8-9 months (if it weren’t for his swollen glands, you’d have hardly even noticed)…. and then suddenly, this past month, it’s as if he hit a brick wall. He’s hobbling around like an old man who can’t move without his walker. He yelps when I pick him up, and tumbles to his belly if you try to stand him on his own 4 legs. It’s crazy to witness such a drastic change… and, as you know… a heartbreaking experience. I’ve had him since he was a puppy, and he’s such a mamma’s boy.

    I know the day is coming soon where I’ll have to either put him down or hold his as he passes. Or maybe I’ll wake up or come home to find him “gone”. I keep trying to prepare myself for it, but then that takes me right out of the present moment NOW, where I can still hold him and pet him.

    Your words have provided comfort, and a reminder that this experience will be another part of life. And though I know the sadness may not fade for awhile, the relationship is never-ending.

    Thank you. Warmest Namaste.

    -Kris

    -Kris

  • Shereen

    Oh thank you for that. I just lost a beloved little gerbil. So sweet and affectionate. You think people think you’re crazy for mourning a cat? Guess how they respond remorse over a lost gerbil.

    I was blessed to learn how big a heart can be in such a tiny animal. Unfortunately rodents don’t live long. She was only three. In the past 6 days, I’ve had all those feelings you write about so eloquently. Especially the guilt and the blame. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Shereen

  • colleen

    This is beautifully written, so poignant and sensitive.

    “It’s an honor to love something so much that your heart breaks when it moves to another plane. It’s an honor to be loved back, too. There’s joy to be found – even in your sadness.”

    So true, even though I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to experience. I can’t find words to express the sheer gut-wrenching-heart-aching feeling that is the physical experience of losing a beloved pet. But those moments of clarity are pure serenity, we seldom experience such moments in our every day lives, and would surely not recognise the feeling if it weren’t for the depth of loss that is grief.

    Thank you for sharing your story Christine, I know that I am who I am because of the animals who have graced my life thus far.

  • Andrea

    Christine, I am sorry for your loss. In my experience it is a privilege to share one’s home, love and life with an animal and especially privileged to bear witness and love in their passing.
    Your essay expresses all of that. Thanks and Love, Andrea

  • kathreen

    love, love and more love, c. xo kathreen

  • dawn d

    You post was beautiful & moving…. You continue to amaze me…how at such a seemingly difficult time you are able to move beyond & reach out to comfort others. My sincerest condolences on Atticus’ passing. My heart & thoughts are with you.

  • Renee

    Christine,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you so much for sharing this post. About a month ago, my cat of 18 years left me. He knew it was his time to pass on to another life so he just went out the cat door into the yard and found a way to slip under the fence and leave in the middle of the night. He had never left the yard before that. I felt terribly sad because I wasn’t able to be there with him at the end. I went through all the emotions you mentioned in your post. I know he loved me as much as I loved him because he wanted to spare me the pain of his having to leave me.
    Love and peace to you,
    Renee

  • Pam

    Dear Christine
    I am so sad to hear about Mr Atticus I am sending you so much love.
    I have had many many animals in my life, and when we moved here to Spain there were 22 cats and kittens in our new garden, all wild. After a few weeks of getting to know them and taming them a bit, we had them neutered and they all stayed. It has been a very special 9 years and we have learned a lot. We are now down to 6 and with each one’s passing there has been a huge gap, but you have put it so beautifully, thank you so much.
    Lots of Love Pam

  • Nancy

    Thank you so very much for this post. I lost one of my greyhounds to an accident two months ago (three days after my arrival in the UK) and I have been through and continue to go through everything that you’ve written here. Just the fact that you wrote it down helps me remember that I’m not insane and that it will get better.

    Mr. Atticus has to be so proud, wherever he is now.

  • Betty W

    Christine,

    We are so sorry to hear about Mr. Atticus. Animals become such a HUGE part of our lives and are considered part of the family. The pain the is associated with losing a beloved pet can be overwhelming. Anyone that hasn’t experienced that loss or is not an animal person doesn’t truly understand the depth of that emotion. Through the year, I’ve held many of my 4 legged babies as they have passed away and the only comfort that I’ve found during that exact moment is that they knew they were in the arms of someone who loved them so much. While I couldn’t always make their pain go away, I always hoped the comfort of my arms around them and my voice made it bearable. At the Wilkes home, we have 4 4-legged canines who were all rescues. We have 3 4-legged felines who were all rescues and we have 2 rabbits that were rescued from becoming a snake’s dinner. You could say we are pet friendly 🙂 Thank God my oldest daughter is a junior at UNCW working her way to becoming a vet. While our house can sometimes become chaotic and rather noisy, it’s a house full of love not only for the people who live here but for the animals that always bring a smile to our face even on our roughest days.

    You’ve written such a lovely blog and I am sure that Mr. Atticus is watching over you and smiling and telling his new friends how proud he is that YOU are his Mom and gave him the love that he needed. He’s probably also saying — WHAT?? I’m checking out things in the woods- will you give me a minute 🙂

    You’re an inspiration and I’ve learned some much since I found your site and went to your first concert. Your music is a daily part of my life and sometimes when it’s upside down and I wonder – what the hell I’m doing here…My Ipod seems to find me and your music is the calm during the storm.

    We love ya girl!
    Keep up the fantastic work and we are so looking forward to your upcoming CD!

    Take Care of yourself!
    The Wilkes Household!

  • Amy Crawley

    Christine, I’m sorry to hear about Atticus’s passing. I know he was dearly loved and had a wonderful, full life with you.

    We lost two cats within 6 months of each other eight years ago. I still carry a tiny bit of guilt over the second cat’s passing (that feeling that I didn’t do enough or didn’t do it soon enough.) It is probably why I watch our current two cats like closely for the slightest change in behavior. They are my kids after all.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings. I’m sending you warm thoughts and Mr. Pippin (currently on my lap) send you warm purrs.

    Peace,

    Amy

  • Chicella Rose

    Oh I’m so sorry. I found it interesting that your grandfather refused any more animals.I felt that way for a bit. After my mother died, our guinea pig died as well. We never got another one. After my dad died, so did our dog. That was nine years ago and I’ve just risked opening our home and my heart to another dog. Hope the pain eases soon.

  • Kirsten Alicia

    Christine, I am so sorry for your loss, but I thank you for such a wonderful & moving post. My beloved cat, French passed on Thanksgiving, Nov 2008 & I miss her every day. I spent 2008 having treatment for breast cancer & she was with me all the way. I had no one to talk to about what was happening to me, except her. When I came home after the chemo treatments she would lie on my chest & touch my face so gently with her paw. When I lost my hair she would curl around my bald head in bed at night. I still dream that she’s on the bed with me. Everything you wrote about feeling guilty & second guessing is so true for me & I thank you so much for writing about them.
    My very best wishes to you.

  • Chris Wolf

    Hi Christine,

    I am so sorry that you are experiencing this pain right now, but I think you are processing it in a very productive way. I still have the card you made for me to remember my beloved D.J. last year, and yes, second-guessing was a big part of my process. I ask his spirit every day to help me find my way to an acceptance of losing him when I believed was “too soon”, though the universe had other ideas.

    I know, and I know you know, that in time, the joy that Atticus brought to your life will squeeze out the pain until all that remains is the quiet knowledge that both lives were better for having been shared in the way they were. Part of your mission in this world is provide love and caring to the animals who have found their way to you. They are drops of grace that rain down on our lives when we least expect it, and we are left changed forever. I ask my D.J., and all my animal angels to welcome Atticus to that next plane of existence, where they have no pain, and will occupy pure, unadulterated positions in our hearts and minds for as long as we draw breath on this earth.

    Chris

  • Mindful Mimi

    How sad you must feel. And how strong you are able to learn and teach from it. I am amazed. I love what you say about protection. This is true in any situation really I guess. If you try to protect yourself continuously from all the bad, you have no chance in experiencing the really great stuff either. And that is not living, that is just passing through. The big bad stuff makes you feel and live the really good parts even better and deeper. So thanks Atticus for reminding us of living it all, good and bad, deeply and truly.
    I send you courage and time, and lots of really good parts in your life to balance out this loss.
    Mimi

  • Michelle

    Christine,

    My condolences are with you. Words can’t take away your pain, but I hope knowing there are so many thinking of you and your beloved Atticus brings you some comfort in this time of loss. My deepest sympathies!

  • Susan

    Hey, Christine ~

    So sorry to hear of Atticus’ passing – I felt as if I knew him from the wonderful stories you would tell… on your blog, in your e-newsletter and during your concerts…

    My Rocky (who you’ve cuddled as well as captured on film) just turned 14 and is slowing down day by day – I hope to “know” when it’s time… and pray that I too can be holding him in my arms when he transitions…

    I’m now in the Atlanta area, visiting my ailing/aging mom to help her through the final stages of pulmonary fibrosis – whether beloved parent or pet, it’s never easy…

    Sending love and light your way – thanks for a heart-hitting post exactly when I needed it… <3

  • Kelsey

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I’m so sorry.

  • Imelda / GreenishLady

    Christine, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s 20 months since I lost my precious 15-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Trixie, and the wisdom you share here is so, so relevant, so, so true… I wish you healing, and know it will be there for you, because you are allowing yourself all your feelings about losing Mr. Patticus. Aw… Blessings to you.

  • DeBorah Beatty

    I am so sorry at the loss of your pet. I remember when my own beloved cat, TingSu passed away at the ripe old age of 19 1/2. He had a tough go towards the end, too, but I still miss him and he died 32 years ago when my daughter was born.

    I must say, I am very appreciative of your post. My father passed away in 1985 and my mother in 1997. There has always been a lot of anguish and blame around my father’s death, and not so much around my mom’s (I was with her at the end, Dad went quite suddenly). I have been grieving for years although not overtly and your article finally has given me some closure for the way I’ve been feeling. Thank you.

  • Carolyn

    Christine,

    I’m very sorry for your loss. Your article was very touching and I appreciate you sharing it in the midst of your own pain of losing a long time furry friend. You are right that your heart breaks weather it is a human or an animal. I lost my husband and several pets over the years and though you never “get over it” you do learn to live with it better and appreciate the time you had with those precious beings. Thanks again for sharing your wise and tender thoughts. I’m praying for you.

    Love and peace,

    Carolyn

  • Deanne

    Sorry to hear of Atticus’ passing. Losing a cat is indeed devastating. I lost mine 10 years ago and still think of him when I see a similar looking cat. Thanks for your thoughtful approach. Deanne

  • MMG

    Christine,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I too have shed tears reading your post and the comments, appreciating a community that understanding the lunacy of the phrase “It’s just a dog/cat/pet!” I hope to share this post with my mother, who has had a hard time allowing herself to greive for so many dearly loved pets who are now gone. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Many kind wishes to you.
    Memory

  • Gayle

    Hi Christine,

    Your post really moved me. I am so sorry for your loss of Atticus. I have an older dog who I love deeply and she has not been well for the past year. Watching her decline rapidly is tearing my heart apart. All those things you mentioned in your post – Guilt, blame, second-guessing, judgment – I feel all of them. I feel like I have already started the grieving process of her dying because she does not have the same spirit she has had her whole life.

    She has the most beautiful eyes and face. We are their caretakers. I feel so responsible and yet I know I cannot control everything. But I keep thinking there is a way to save her, a way to help her. It is so hard to know if and when you have done enough.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts. It helps.

    Best wishes,

    Gayle

  • Jeri

    Christine, I am sorry to read that you have lost your dear friend, Atticus. Reading your excellent post about all the feelings we move through during such a difficult time, I reflected on the animal companions no longer with me who meant so very much. And I missed them all over again!

    Yet, in time, I find that I smile at the memories of my cat, Rhiannon, who liked to jump up the walls and turn on the light switches just to hear me yell her name in annoyance. And Angel kitty, who was a miserable cat her whole life, so sour that I often felt bad for her, but who I loved dearly anyway for her crabby little self. And Rascal who snuggled on my lap during Red Wing Hockey night and purred until she drooled on me. And Duchess, my dear German Shepherd, who lived to the ripe old age of 15 1/2, a sweet girl who was a wonderful, wonderful friend.

    When my mother died, I don’t know what I would have done without my furry companions. Just to lie with my cat and hear her purr. And to have my wonderful dog, Sophie, remind me that life (and playtime) continues.

    May your grief gently turn into wonderful memories over time. And may those who have the need to vocalize their lack of understanding at a time like this be condemned to repeated viewings of “Old Yeller” until they get it.

    Thank you for sharing this, Christine, along with that very cute picture of Atticus.

    Sincerely,

    Jeri

  • Jonathan Lockwood

    It’s funny… I grew up in a household in which someone was often criticizing someone else they knew for giving a pet extra love or attention.

    “She treats it just like it’s her child. It’s a DOG!!!”

    Even before I formed the bond I have with Kimba, I came to see something was wrong with this energy, and at some point in my thirties I spoke up about it.

    “Look, this lady you’re criticizing was unable to have children. What’s it to you if she wants to treat her cat in this way? What are you so worried about? That if people start giving pets too much attention, it’s going to detract from your value as a human or something? She wants to give her love to something. What is wrong with YOU for criticizing this?”

    There were a few grumbles around the table.

  • Pamela Viola

    Christine, my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Sharon

    Christine, I’m so sorry. I have loved my animals so deeply, as well, that I truly can feel your pain and loss. To paraphrase Will Rogers: “If there are no cats in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”

  • brandi

    Christine, I was one of those people that didn’t understand…until I got my own babies (donnely is a rescued weimaraner and keely is a weim mix from a shelter). I can be moved to tears at the thought of them ONE DAY having to leave this plane. You are so right-until I felt the connection and love we can have with animal, I couldn’t understand what a loss would feel like. I pray for comfort for you as mr patticus transitions and for those that have lost beloved pets. And I am so grateful that you spoke about this with kindness, courage and compassion.

  • Christine Kane

    Thank you so much, everyone, both for your kind thoughts – and for sharing your own stories and treasured memories. I just love that our four-leggeds (and winged’s!) have the power to open our hearts in such huge ways.

  • Christi

    I am both so sorry for your loss and so grateful for the gift of this beautiful post. Thank you. Blessings to you and Atticus.

  • Jonathan Lockwood

    People who know are often surprised to discover the strong feelings I have for Kimba, my cat. Doesn’t seem to fit. She is very much my child, and my love for her is deep. I don’t expect anyone else to feel similarly, or to understand why I feel this way.

    But I’ll admit it’s good to know many do understand.

    My condolences…

  • angela

    Just sending you a huge big hug – I am so sorry to hear about Atticus passing.

  • Susan

    Oh, Christine, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost Atticus. I’ve been reading your blog for years and have enjoyed his stories as much as I enjoy yours. My heart’s breaking right now because I lost my own sweet Simon Little just yesterday afternoon after a long fight with fe-leuk, so I’m writing this through tears. When I light a candle for Simon tonight I’ll add a blessing for Atticus, and heartfelt sympathy for you & the aching loss I know you feel.

  • s.

    Christine, I am so sorry. I have been reading about Atticus on your newsletter and hoping he would improve. This post has left me in tears and sending you love.

  • Tre ~

    sending you love, warmth, hope, and long hugs for your journey right now….adored and valued deeply what you wrote….but more that you claimed all of these truths for yourself so very immediately and then saw the gift in s t a n d i n g for them and sharing with us all that’s helped you, all you’ve found/proved true. i too shed tears reading this, and just cherish the eternal idea that is Atticus….may the comfort of all your furry ones and your friends/family lessen the sting of missing him so much. sooo cherish all you are about and all you push each one of us to be…..

  • claudine hellmuth

    thank you for a wonderful beautiful post! I am still struggling with grief of losing our beloved pekingese just over a month ago after a losing battle with oral cancer. Your post has helped me thank you so much for that!

    This is my tribute to our Toby, the best pekingese ever!
    http://claudinehellmuth.blogspot.com/2009/04/tribute-to-our-beloved-toby.html

  • Michelle

    I am so sorry…Atticus sounded like a very special cat. I found this post amazingly profound and I have saved it for the time when I will need it most. I have a “senior” dog who is my first dog and I am sure that letting go will be a hard part of the process of living. With your words I can be a bit more guided in the process…thank you.

  • Susan Atwell

    I am so very sorry….I loved his “tweets” always so funny about negotiating his 2nd breakfast and bowling pin pose..etc..He really had a great “presence”..I have had several pets & cats (4 now)thoughout my life and it is always tough when they pass on.

  • bobbi ferguson

    With tears in my eyes and a sad, bittersweet, knowing smile on my face I commiserate with you and send you love. I believe your Atticus Patticus and my Mutee are together munching on Greenies kitty treats and comparing notes on favorite sleeping spots!

  • Karen

    As often as we humans allow it, our pets are a pure and instant connection with source energy, unconditional love. All the lovely ways we experience joy through knowing them is deeply missed when they are gone. Our sweet friends are so easy to love and they give us so much. It does help to talk about and remember them – with people who understand. My heart is with you.

  • Alison Lee

    Thank you Christine for saying things I couldn’t.
    My dear akita, Giga, died earlier this month.
    You’re post has helped me with the grieving process.
    Here is my tribute to her: http://www.craftcast.com/main/?paged=2

  • Pam

    Christine, I am so very sorry for your loss. Any loss is hard. And I know how Mr Patticus was so very special to you.

    Shortly after my husband died, I got an email from a friend who had just experienced “the most devastating thing ever in their life and did not know if they could go on”. (Please pardon the “their”. I really don’t even want to say whether this person is male or female.) This was after the death of a dog. I am not sure why this person sent that email to me just months after my husband died, but they did. I had absolutely not one whit of compassion for them and just hit delete. So although losing a beloved pet is nothing like losing a husband (or more recently a daughter) it is still a loss and is still a very big event in your life. Neither of you have two legged children and in my experience, pets do kinda fill that space in your life.

    So I guess maybe I’ve grown a little. I can feel compassion for you. Maybe because I know you better than I knew that other person (if only through our mutual friends and this blog). And maybe because you didn’t say that it was the most devastating thing ever! Just know that you have a virtual hug from me.

    Your comments about the emotions that you go through are spot on regardless of the species involved. I have been through them all, just trying to keep my head above water and knowing that everything is in perfect order, even if I don’t understand it. Something that helps me a lot is a statement that I believe also came from Abraham. “Pain is a given. Suffering is optional.” For me the key is to feel the grief when it comes up and to stay out of the wallowing. Hopefully I am managing not to stuff it!
    Love to you and Micky,
    Pam

  • Sonia

    My condolences on your loss – Mr. Patticus brightened my days on more than one occasion, and my heart and prayers are with you now.

  • gwen

    Your comments and insights on this are spot-on. I lost my best friend Kato, after 14 years of time together, back in December. I still miss him dreadfully. I know some people, including family, think I’m an idiot for grieving about “just a dog.” Whatever they want to think is fine. It just shows me they have forgotten about the pain that can occur when you really open your heart.

    That saying about knowing when to help them pass on – so many people said to me “Oh, he will let you know; you will just know when it’s the right time.” Sometimes that is just rubbish. There was no sudden message or insight telling me, “Today I need to do this.” There was just my giving up and giving him over to peace after enduring old age and cancer.

    We love them, we lose them, grief happens. Life and death and one foot in front of the other, with gratitude for the enormous amount of love they give to us. We do the best we can do.

    My heart goes out you.

  • Sarah

    Dear Christine,

    Thank you so much for this excellent post from the middle of your grieving self. Mr. Patticus was a unique being who was lucky to be with you and you were lucky to be with him. We are now all lucky recipients of precious gifts from Mr. Patticus through you. Grieving is a journey and you have given us an excellent road map for that journey. Holding you and the angel guy in the light. With love…

  • Kara

    Christine, I’m so sorry to hear about Mr Padicus. He was the most beloved cat I’ve ever met and a very good boy. Take heart from your memories. Kara

  • Phoenix

    Thank you for this. I still have moments of intense grieving and guilt that I ‘did it wrong’ over my cat Rosie, who died a few months ago. She was nearly 15 years old and had been with us far longer than any other pet in my life. I’m still at the stage of telling the kids no, no more pets, but who knows.

    Your words have helped me know I am not the only one, and my heart goes out to you right now.

  • jackie smith

    I am so sorry for you loss! You have written such a beautiful, healing piece for all of us who have loved and lost a beloved furbaby – thank you!

  • Emily~ DreamEyce

    Thank you for this post. I found it at the perfect time, and on the perfect night. Many good thoughts to you in your times of grief. I know how you feel.

  • Pia f. Walker

    Christine,
    you entered my world today through a series of web links, and while reading older blog entries of yours, I fell in love with your writing.
    I didn’t read your most current entry until late. As with the other blog entries that I read, this one resonates quite deeply with my own soul and I sincerely wish that I had been able to express myself just as wisely years ago.
    The passing of an entity (either human or feline)comes with a jar full of emotions that are often contradictory, overwhelming, and some surprisingly beautiful. You managed to express them all with life and hope. I won’t be referring to this post at just those 1AM moments that seem riddled with a vast unknowing, but will refer to these points on a weekly basis. Thank you for writing this.

  • pati

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. You and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. The thought that hit me was “knowing.” Even if I had known exactly what to look for, I wouldn’t have had any idea what it would be like afterwards. I’m still learning. Peace and love to you and all those who’ve loved, lost, and found that the love lives on. Pati

  • Gladys

    Christine, I am so sorry about your loss. Having been there myself, I really appreciate your wise words, and thoughts. They would have been a great comfort in the past…and will be in the future.

    Thank you for sharing Atticus with us, both through this blog and his tweets. He was very special indeed

  • Kate

    I so enjoyed Mrpatticus’s tweets and have missed them. I am sorry for your loss.

  • Jadyn

    Christine, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. My cat, who moved continents with me and my husband, died in August and while reading your post, I relived all of the emotions again. Thank you for articulating so well what it takes to get through the grief and what to avoid. My heart goes out to you at this time. Blessings.

  • Stephanie Diamond

    Christine, The love of a pet is a special gift forever. What’s so wonderful is how you chose to turn your understanding of this deep grief into help and comfort for others. You’re got a wonderful heart that we all appreciate.

  • Janet

    My condolences for your loss. Your thoughts are much appreciated. I still miss our first dog who died 3 years ago. We’ve had other dogs since and love the one sharing our lives presently, and I can still cry when I think of him and how much I wish he were still with us.

    The choices are difficult. I like Michael J. Fox’s perspective and take solace in knowing it applied to us and the choices we made: “(Focus on) doing the next right thing, not the next thing right.” At each junction, we chose what we believed to be the next right thing and, being only human, is the best we could hope to do.

  • gary

    Wonderful, wonderful words Christine. Thank you and God bless.

  • Tracy

    Hi Christine,
    I am so, so sorry for your loss and appreciate how hard it is to stay present in the process of letting go, and what a tremendous gift to ourselves and that loved one that it is when we do. Sending love and light-Tracy

  • Sukie Curtis

    Christine, My love and thoughts are with you at the loss of Mr. Atticus. Thanks for the great post too–I think Pema Chodron should be calling you any day now. You are present to it all. What more could any one do?

    xoxo Sukie

  • Stacey

    A dear friend of mine from high school and my beloved dog of 10 years died within a week of each other last November.

    I got enormous comfort from knowing that they were no longer in pain and now ecstatic in their non-physical forms. But I still felt excruciating pain for quite a while.

    I knew that the pain was linked to all the joy they brought me and I could access it by doing the things that I had most loved doing with them.

    And that helped. But it mostly just took time before I didn’t burst into tears thinking about them – especially my dog who was absolute joy manifest.

    I wrote more here: http://myfriendoprah.blogspot.com/2008/11/zoe.html

    Take wonderful care. I’m so glad there is so much love and support for you here.

  • Maja

    Dear Christine,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I always say I wish I could be as cool as my dog thinks I am. Who else can make us feel like that but our dear pets? They are pure love without condition or judgment.

    Thank you for this post. I hope your heart mends soon, and know you are not alone.

  • Gayle

    It is so easy to share ourselves completely with an animal, making it so difficult to say goodbye. Sending Light your way.

  • Petra

    My condolences, Christine. Pets are very special. I grieve along with you, but I’m also glad that you and Atticus had the opportunity to enrich each others lives. We don’t own pets–the Universe just allows us to borrow them for a while.

  • Karen

    Your post deeply touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes along with memories of my beloved greyhound, Buddy. Even though he passed away 8 years ago, not a day goes by where I don’t remember him and how much he touched and changed my life. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved kitty. Take good care, Karen

  • leah

    I was so touched by your beautiful post. Thank you.

    My heart goes out to you and your sweet kitty. Much love and hugs.

  • Diane

    Christine, I am so sorry. I am thinking of you.

  • Donna

    Christine,

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. We just lost our bunny Alice last Monday. It was unexpected—sudden and quick—and we’re all still just gasping and wondering what happened. We are devastated and haven’t stopped crying. Thank you so very much for writing this and reaching out to all of us who have lost the loves of our lives. My heart goes out to you at this time.

    Love and Peace,

    Donna

  • Laura

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Marg in Mirror, AB

    Dear Christine,

    I understand; I lost my Fred-cat just before Christmas. He was about 20 (human) years old, and had declined sharply from thyroid cancer. It is different from losing a person — I lost my husband of 31 years, at age 53, in August of 2006 after a life-time of coping with Type 1 diabetes — but every loss you experience after a particularly difficult one, brings up old grief too. The loss of a pet is no different.

    Blessings.

  • Cyndee

    Oh Christine, my heart is SO with you during this time. I hear & feel your soul connection to this sweet precious soul that was a part of your life. There are many pets in a lifetime & deep connections with each & every one. And then……there are…..our soulmate animals…..that reach even deeper.
    The loss, the sadness, is evidence of the depth of the love shared. Much deeper than can ever be expressed in words.
    What a gift that you were holding Mr Patticus as he passed to the other side. I don’t believe there is a greater gift. I know some may not understand that, but I think you may.
    I am in the midst of celebrating new life. I have a new golden retriever puppy & an 8 month old kitten. I lost my dear soulmate golden, Ali, in February. And my soulmate kitty, Mocha, 11 months before. Watching these 2 new precious souls play is soothing to my soul. And my heart still aches for my pals, my soulmates, my heart companions.
    And I know that that ache just opens my heart more & takes me deeper. There is no place I would rather be…..

  • Wormy

    Oh Christine! I am so sorry that you are experiencing all this pain. Even though it is indicative of the great love that you held for your beloved pet. Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest about it. Truly, it is our pets who love us unconditionally, without a moment of doubt and that is a gift that is hard to find in any human, so the loss is momentus.
    My heart goes out to you.

  • Darla

    Christine – I am so sorry for your loss. Two weeks ago I lost my dog Micah after 18 years. It is so hard. It is different from losing a person, but no less painful. My thoughts are with you.

  • Teresa

    Christine, I’m sorry for your loss. Our beloved dog of 18 years (she was nearly 20 years old), died in the early morning hours on Monday. She had an extended illness of 7 months. We also went through that long, hard final week and the second-guessing – thinking somehow we could have and should have done things differently, done better, and done more. I’ve cried more tears than I thought were possible and felt an incredible emptiness from the absence of her presence.

    Beneath the grief, there have been gifts in this too. I’ve processed other pain I didn’t know was there, gained a renewed sense of being alive and a desire to get on with the things I’m here to do, and feelings of love and deep appreciation for all the years I was privileged to have with my sweet girl.

    I have found solace in your post. It’s helping me release the guilt and second-guessing. It was just what I needed right now. Thank you.

  • Positively Present

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life and I know how unbelievably painful it is. After I lost my dog I tried my hardest to focus on all of the good times we had together and the great life I gave her. It’s never easy when dealing with this type of situation, but you have to remember that you brought joy and happiness to an animal’s life. You are much better person for doing that and you have made the world a better place.

  • Marie

    I am so sorry. My kitty is my best pal, and I will be devastated when he goes, as he must sometime, even though he’s had a charmed life and is loved dearly every day. He’s my pal, and his soft sweetness and trusting, loving face are always there for me. As Atticus was for you.

    I hope that the long-ago angry woman has since been peed on by a large dog, because for some of us our pets ARE like family. Frankly, I hate to have to say this true thing, I’ve probably loved my pets more than most of my relatives – the pets were never malicious, never used children as targets for their own adult anger, unhappiness or disappointment.

    It’s hard to be destroyed by the death of someone who caused pain in your life, and it’s hard to not be devastated by the death of a furry friend who never brought anything but love and comfort.

  • Dawn

    This is one of the most amazing posts I’ve read in a long time. Thank you for this.

  • KelliAmanda

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my Casey only a few weeks ago, so your words hit very close to home. It’s never easy, but I’m so thankful that I had what time I did with Casey, and that you had your Atticus. I know that my life is richer for having my furbabies in it, no matter how hard it is to let them go.

  • R.M. Koske

    Thank you, and my condolences.

    We lost our kitty in February, and missing him still hits both my husband and me when we least expect it. Your words help.

    Your fellow was lucky to have you (and the luck went both ways, I know.)

    I’m sending you hugs. Best wishes.

  • Christine Claire Reed

    Christine, Thank you for this. Beautiful. Like you, I was privileged enough to have Jobie, our 17 year old tuxedo cat, pass from his fur suit to what we call his Sparkle Suit in my arms. Marcy kneeling right next to us and petting him. We talked to him and soothed him as he took those last breaths.

    Throughout his illness and then his passing — an event years ago I would have never thought I could handle — he taught me SO MUCH. In particular, he taught me the value of saying YES to everything this life has to offer — including the deaths. He taught me that it is all GOOD. That it is all BEAUTIFUL.

    Wise and perfect and shining souls our animal friends are.

    9 Months later her sent me Lilly, another Tuxedo whom I KNOW contains pieces of him. 🙂 I didn’t think I was ready, but I knew he wanted yet another “YES” from me.

  • Bonnie

    My condolences on losing your kitty. Mine is 16 going on 17 and has had a couple of illnesses in the past six months. So it’s only a matter of time. It’s very helpful to read this post. Thank you.

  • Dorothy – Chandler Graphic Designer

    So sorry to hear about your kitty. We lost our 4 year old puppy to cancer last summer and I cried for almost a week and there have been moments since then when I tear comes to my eye thinking of him. He was a sweet soul and touched my family very deeply. We can’t compartmentalize how we feel about a person or how we feel about a very special pet. Or anything else for that matter. Our feelings and just that, “Our Feelings”

    I think it shows a truly compassionate person if you can have strong feelings for an animal passing. They play such a huge roll in our lives. You can’t just dismiss those emotions, they are very real and need to be acknowledged.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Giulietta

    A beautiful, touching post about your beloved friend Mr. Patticus and this journey we call life. Please accept my condolences for the passing of your beloved little friend. I’m glad you found & enjoyed each other for thirteen wonderful years. I’m sure he’s looking down on you from kitty heaven.

    Thx

    G.

  • Carissa

    Loving thoughts are winging their way to you and to the delightful Mr. Atticus (whom I never met, but whose Twitter stream was one of my favorites!).

  • Elaine

    Beautiful and deeply moving…Thank you for posting this for’that someday’

    Holding you in my heart and thinking of you

  • fivecats

    much love, many hugs.

    when our bear died 3 years ago it was as if someone had torn a hole in our hearts. days, weeks, months and now years have gone by and that hole is still there and while it doesn’t hurt as much every day now, there are still times when there’s a flash of pain just as fresh, just as intense as when his heart stopped beating while i was telling him how much i loved him. (http://fivecats.livejournal.com/181688.html)

    during our struggles to cope with the emptiness we would talk about the things bear loved, the type of wonderful spirit he was and what we envisioned him doing in heaven. one story led to another and another and then we thought that the bear’s vision of heaven would be to surround himself with the things he loved best – people and crab. (that bear *loved* to eat crab) we knew that a former maid and housekeeper who had helped to raise bonn, my wife, would be in heaven waiting for her as well and given her love of cooking, it just seemed natural to put her together with the bear. thus heaven became Bear and Ethel’s Crab Shack. (or just The Crab Shack for short)

    The Crab Shack has tables enough for all of our friends. people come and go; they stay for a while before movingo n to visit other friends. there are bookcases along the wall filled with the best board games (for me). musical instruments of all types are there as well. somehow i’ll be able to play games, play music, keep several cats in my lap and feed them all the crab they can eat (before they collapse into a crab-induced coma) up there.

    over at my blog i’ve written about The Crab Shack several times, especially whenever another of our cats has died. (http://fivecats.livejournal.com/198214.html) several of my fellow LJ readers have taken up The Crab Shack as their beloved animals have died, as i’ve told them i’ve asked the bear to be ready to welcome in another guest.

    i know it all sounds a bit crazy.

    there is a bit of the crazy in all faith, though, i think. all i know is that we believe what we believe, that small miracles happen around us every day if we just stop and look for them, and that without faith the world can become a very bleak place very quickly.

    (http://fivecats.livejournal.com/202490.html)

    so, with your permission, i’ll ask the bear to be on the lookout for mr. patticus and give him a big welcome to The Crab Shack when the bear sees him.

  • Janine Adams

    Christine, please accept my sympathies. I know personally how difficult this is and am so impressed that you were able to capture your thoughts in such a beautiful, helpful essay during this tough time. Thank you.

  • Peggy

    Christine – I feel your pain. I have always been a cat person and at age 47 I have lost a few to disease, old age and a hawk. I have 5 cats and I mentally calculate who might go first and bargain with the gods about who should out live me. I know you have seen this poem… but it is always great to read it on occasion. There will never be a cat to take your cats place, but there will be one to join him in your heart.

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

  • Christine Kane

    Thank you all so much for these thoughts and all of your compassion and connection. I’ve had some astounding hours of real peace and clarity. And yes, I believe that the tears are actually quite healing. Joan Ranquet’s amazing book “Communication with All Life” talks about how grieving for a pet is a gift because it lets loose all the other little things we, as humans, have repressed.

    Mr. Patticus thanks you too. 🙂

  • Kathy

    One of your most beautiful posts ever and you’ve dug deep into those pools of grief that languish there beneath the surface. It’s coming up to my mom’s birthday in a few days – and of course mother’s day just was. She’s been gone 6 years now and those pools are still there – rising to the surface when there is enough stillness for me to connect with them. This morning your post allowed me to do that. I believe that every tear is a gift from god and from the comments – you’ve given us many countless gifts today. We are thinking of you and Mickey at this sad time and know that Atticus is too. There is no doing this wrong. You did exactly what you and he needed to do. Let the healing begin.

  • BarbaraV

    So sorry Christine.
    You are fortunate to have with you other little 4 legged beings in your home. They can be such a great source of comfort.

  • rhiannon giles

    Just noticed that there are a couple of Rhiannons on here. So I’ll update my name.

  • rhiannon

    Oh Christine, I’m so so sorry to hear about Atticus. I had noticed that he wasn’t twittering anymore, I miss his tweets.

    Now I’m sitting at work with tears in my eyes (and I’m a receptionist!) feeling horrible for you, and feeling a little horrible for me, too, as the loss of every pet I’ve ever had comes back to me.

    That’s one thing that always surprises me- those random moments of sadness YEARS later.

    So much of what you said holds true. I lost my beloved Aspen five years ago this week, we’d only had him for two years when he ran off after a cat and somehow ended up on 240. To this day I have *never* been back on the on-ramp for 240 where he was hit (it helps that I moved away from Asheville a year later).

    I was very lucky in some ways. I worked for a vet in Weaverville, so of course, they totally understood my need for a couple of days off work. But I still had those people who didn’t understand. The friend who said, “these things happen” as though it was supposed to make it make sense, to make it less hard.

    It wasn’t easier or harder than losing our other family pets at the ages of 14 and 16.

    Another step for me was pity. The “it’s not FAIR that they only live such a short time” feeling.

    It’s just an unfair, frustrating, and sad situation all around. I’m so sorry that you’re having to go through this, but I *am* happy that you got to have 13 amazing years with Mr. Patticus.

  • Suzanne

    Christine-I remember as if it was yesterday the way your heart went out to hold me after the passing of my pup, Nannah-my heart is with you now-all the best-Suzanne

  • jodi bock

    dear christine, my heart goes out to you at this sad time. thank you for articulating so beautifully the emotions of such an experience.
    that is your gift. you and mr.patticus shared a special bond and that lives in your heart. thank you for sharing your music, words and humorous pet stories with us!

  • Laura

    Dear Christine,
    Mr. Atticus enriched all of our lives through you. Thanks for sharing your heart experience; your gift of writing is beauty. A giant hug, Laura

  • Simona

    Dear Christine,

    I am deeply moved by your words and feel honored to read them.

    I am sure that one of Mr. Atticus’s last thoughts was a big THANK YOU to the Heavens for having met the human girl Christine. A wise and caring girl whose heart is big enough to allow room for both humans and animals.

    with love,
    Simona

  • Lisa

    Dear Christine

    I am so sad for you and know so well what it is like to love your pet with ever ounce of your being and what the devastation is like when they are sick or when it is their time to go.

    Please know that we are all sending you positive energy in between our own tears as we grieve with you during this very sad time in your life. Your strength is amazing, your words resonate with anyone experiencing loss.

    much love, Lisa xo

  • Lynne

    Dear Christine,

    My heart goes out to you, and I wish you peace at this tender time. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet — it is a grief that is so pure, and so profound, that it seems to envelop every fiber of your being. I think that’s because the love of our animal companions is so pure and so complete — and it deserves nothing less than a mirror for that in death.

    Be gentle with yourself during this transition time… and know that all the best of Mr. Patticus will live on forever in your heart.

    Lynne

  • Leslie

    Almost every night when I do my gratitude journal, my two beloved cats end up on the list. There’s a pure sweet love there that opens my heart. So I can imagine how you must feel. Thank you for using this occasion to share some wisdom with us. Please give yourself a hug now and take a good rest.

  • Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord

    Much love & many blessings to you now and always.

    I don’t know how helpful this could be, but sometimes I still feel my cat, Sam, with me. In the middle of the night, I’ll feel her jump up onto the bed and settle in near my feet like she always used to do. She’s never very far away… No one we’ve lost is.

  • Tammy

    Christine, here’s a big, warm virtual hug all the way from NH. Like others who’ve commented, I’m so sorry for your loss and for the passing of such a sweet fellow. It says oodles about you and Atticus that you used your love and grief to leave a set of ideas and thoughts that we’ll be able to turn to when our next beloved pal passes. Mr. Patticus’ legacy to us all.

  • nicolien

    My condolences to you, and my thanks for writing this beautiful post in the midst of it.

  • Cristina

    Christine, I’m so sorry for your loss. I understand what you’re going through.. I lost two cats, and I remember how my heart shattered and I thought it was just too much to bear…thanks for writing this post, it contains so much truth and so much wisdom, I wish I could have read it at that time. Love to you, Cristina.

  • Rhiannon

    Christine ,I’m so sorry. Like many others I’ve enjoyed the little glimpses you gave us of life with Mr Atticus in your blog and through coaching. But what a wonderful post to write in the midst of it all. Love to you. Rhiannon

  • Julie

    Christine, a heartfelt thank you for taking the time to write this – Mr Atticus has truly been a blessing in your life and he was blessed to have a life with you.

  • tiny

    christine, i am deeply moved. i’m with you. tiny

  • Kit

    Thank you so much for bringing us something so positive from the middle of your grief. This really is the perfect succint manual for grieving any loss. I’m almost feeling too superstitious to print it out because I don’t want to need it anytime soon, but I will bookmark it and remember your wise words.

  • Mary Miller

    Christine, I am so sorry for your loss, my heart goes out to you,and I will keep you in my prayers. Mr. Atticus touched the lives of all who’ve been to your concerts or read your blogs, and I am thankful to him for the laughter he gave us through you, as his interpretor. He will be missed. Every beloved pet I’ve had the honor of sharing time and space with, forever reside in my heart and they still listen to me, love me, comfort me & even make me smile at memories of their antics.
    Peace be with you.

  • Emily

    This is absolutely beautiful.

    Continuing to hold you, Atticus, and all of your human and pet family in my heart.

  • Jesann

    Oh, Christine, my condolences.