The hardest call to make.

LokiTob

Tourist
You were moody and going through another phase, still trying to forgive me for taking you to get your leg looked at.

You were still keeping me awake with your snoring, comforting me with your warmth, and trying to chase bicycles and children on our walks.

You ate treats with gusto and turned up your nose at kibble, reminding me what a princess we turned you into.

You gave us no clues, no warnings besides your typical, mercurial moodiness.

You always were a stubborn bonehead of a dog, and that's just one of many things we loved about you.

From a skinny, wiggly puppy in the rain to a healthy, old lady sprawled on our couch, you made the last 9 years of my life the best ones.

I'm sorry that I was not there to say goodbye, wasn't there to see you wag your tail one more time, but I did not want you to wake up, wondering where I was, with only pain and strangers surrounding you.

If I had only known, I would have been there.

I would not have made you go on.

I would have stayed and stroked your too-soft-to-be-real ears until you fell asleep.

This was the hardest call I ever had to make, because I told you that everything would be okay before I left.

Please, forgive me. Nobody could have been more shocked than I.

Rest in Peace, Tali.

I'll be bringing you home, soon.

I promised you a forever home, and I intend to keep that promise.
 
P

pupwhoshaggedme

Guest
We all have had animals that we had lost.....we all never forget....not them....not the shared moments....the little things from a cute head tilt......to the deeper connections.....they are all something we cherish and someday, just like reconscope said, we will be with them again to relive all those moments.....you never really get over it but the sadness will take a back seat and you won't be able to help but smile whenever you think of them again.
 

LokiTob

Tourist
Thank you to everyone who commented. It means a lot to have a community of people who understand the impact of such a loss. Before Zooville, I never would have imagined making such a post online for strangers to read. Especially on a board such as this. Thank you for your kind words and well-wishing; it has helped to take the sting from the loss.

Thank you.

I figure that posting an update may help someone else in the future as they go through their own loss but, mostly, it's to help me cope as well. I don't expect many updates in the future, so this will not be a chronicle of grief without end. When I am at peace again, so will the thread. I hope it stands one day as a reminder that the overwhelming sorrow will lessen, the clouds will part, and the light of a pet's love will shine through unfiltered with time.

It's been one week, now, and I'm still reeling. The fond memories come easily, but they are still bittersweet with the pain of Tali's absence. For every smile, there are a dozen tears, but there are so many smiles that I would trade a thousand tears for.

Tali was like a child to my wife and I. We've decided since we met that would would not have our own; too many genetic defects and medical issues that we would not wish upon any living being. A rescue dog, however? Well, I made the decision and my wife grew to love her more than I do.

I still refer to Tali as though she's still here. It's hard, since it feels like she could walk into the room at any moment and lay down right where we intend to step next. Or bump the door open to make sure that we're still in the shower by choice, nobody's forcing us to use soap and water.

The house feels so quiet and empty. I work only 6 hours per week and my wife works 12 hours per day all week, so I am home quite a bit with no living soul to interact with. There's nobody to greet me when I come home from visiting my grandfather for the afternoon, no loud snoring through my tv shows, no furry face peering over the end of the couch to mooch gummie worms, and no cold nose to randomly prod my exposed leg when I get entranced by a video game. My office chair rolls backwards unimpeded, yet I still panic every time that I'm about to roll over a paw. My wife is the only one sharing the couch with me, now, and she doesn't find it nearly as fun when I reach over to wiggle her feet. I still use a flashlight to walk about the house at night so I don't step on Tali (light fur on dark carpet but she always blended in, somehow!), leave a light on when I leave for the evening, and catch myself before I start to open the bags/boxes of treats or fill her water bowl.

I just received her ashes from the vet today. Her primary sent some flowers to my home. Two days ago, we received a greeting card with handwritten condolences from her surgeon, the woman who cleared her schedule to work on Tali the day before she'd leave for a family emergency in another country, on another continent. She mailed it as soon as she got back into the country. The tech who brought Tali's remains out to my car (social distancing measures) is a kind, older lady who always smiled to see her and called her all the usual Deep South pet names (Sugar, Honey, Sweety Pie, etc.) even though she knew her name; she just loved to watch Tali react to them. As she approached, she looked into the back seat before she even approached my window, and I could see her heart break as she realized whose remains she would be carrying out to the car. Even with her facemask, I could tell that her smile had just fallen from her face. My heart ached for her as she passed me the box and went back inside, wiping at her eyes.

Such a small box for such a large dog, but I finally got to hold her in my arms the way I'd always wanted to, just carry her like a baby into the house.

I spent the day going through our routine, just as I promised that we would when she got out of surgery.

I even left the light on when I left the house for the afternoon visit with my grandfather.

Thank you all for providing a place to open up, for being understanding and sympathetic.

Give your critters some extra love and make a little time to do something special for them.
 

Reconscope

Prized Citizen of ZV
Thank you to everyone who commented. It means a lot to have a community of people who understand the impact of such a loss. Before Zooville, I never would have imagined making such a post online for strangers to read. Especially on a board such as this. Thank you for your kind words and well-wishing; it has helped to take the sting from the loss.

Thank you.

I figure that posting an update may help someone else in the future as they go through their own loss but, mostly, it's to help me cope as well. I don't expect many updates in the future, so this will not be a chronicle of grief without end. When I am at peace again, so will the thread. I hope it stands one day as a reminder that the overwhelming sorrow will lessen, the clouds will part, and the light of a pet's love will shine through unfiltered with time.

It's been one week, now, and I'm still reeling. The fond memories come easily, but they are still bittersweet with the pain of Tali's absence. For every smile, there are a dozen tears, but there are so many smiles that I would trade a thousand tears for.

Tali was like a child to my wife and I. We've decided since we met that would would not have our own; too many genetic defects and medical issues that we would not wish upon any living being. A rescue dog, however? Well, I made the decision and my wife grew to love her more than I do.

I still refer to Tali as though she's still here. It's hard, since it feels like she could walk into the room at any moment and lay down right where we intend to step next. Or bump the door open to make sure that we're still in the shower by choice, nobody's forcing us to use soap and water.

The house feels so quiet and empty. I work only 6 hours per week and my wife works 12 hours per day all week, so I am home quite a bit with no living soul to interact with. There's nobody to greet me when I come home from visiting my grandfather for the afternoon, no loud snoring through my tv shows, no furry face peering over the end of the couch to mooch gummie worms, and no cold nose to randomly prod my exposed leg when I get entranced by a video game. My office chair rolls backwards unimpeded, yet I still panic every time that I'm about to roll over a paw. My wife is the only one sharing the couch with me, now, and she doesn't find it nearly as fun when I reach over to wiggle her feet. I still use a flashlight to walk about the house at night so I don't step on Tali (light fur on dark carpet but she always blended in, somehow!), leave a light on when I leave for the evening, and catch myself before I start to open the bags/boxes of treats or fill her water bowl.

I just received her ashes from the vet today. Her primary sent some flowers to my home. Two days ago, we received a greeting card with handwritten condolences from her surgeon, the woman who cleared her schedule to work on Tali the day before she'd leave for a family emergency in another country, on another continent. She mailed it as soon as she got back into the country. The tech who brought Tali's remains out to my car (social distancing measures) is a kind, older lady who always smiled to see her and called her all the usual Deep South pet names (Sugar, Honey, Sweety Pie, etc.) even though she knew her name; she just loved to watch Tali react to them. As she approached, she looked into the back seat before she even approached my window, and I could see her heart break as she realized whose remains she would be carrying out to the car. Even with her facemask, I could tell that her smile had just fallen from her face. My heart ached for her as she passed me the box and went back inside, wiping at her eyes.

Such a small box for such a large dog, but I finally got to hold her in my arms the way I'd always wanted to, just carry her like a baby into the house.

I spent the day going through our routine, just as I promised that we would when she got out of surgery.

I even left the light on when I left the house for the afternoon visit with my grandfather.

Thank you all for providing a place to open up, for being understanding and sympathetic.

Give your critters some extra love and make a little time to do something special for them.
My girl was my world so i understand when she is gone how much my life crumbled.
 

LokiTob

Tourist
My girl was my world so i understand when she is gone how much my life crumbled.
It took a bit for it all to sink in the day that I let her go, and the gravity of today took a few hours to settle in an allow me to type the last update, but there's no time limit on grief.

My wife got home soon after my last post. We wrapped Tali's collar around the box with her ashes, laid it on the bed, and made little jokes about how she always wanted to lay on the bed as we wiped away tears. Tali would have been so proud of the accomplishment.

She also would have heaved giant, long-suffering sighs at our interruption of her comfy until we turned the light off and let her snooze.

Gotta keep those fond memories and happy thoughts in mind. We dug out some old photos after reflecting that all of mine were while Tali was asleep. My wife (who swore for years that she "didn't want the damn dog") had apparently been sneaking photos of her for years, whenever they were out of my sight together. Even with her crappy phone camera, she got some great shots. We're thinking of getting one turned into a painting. With a sneaky dog and a sneaky wife, it's no wonder that I always felt like I was being outwitted.

Even when you feel like falling apart, it's important to pick up the pieces and carry on; your pet wouldn't want to see you suffer any more than you'd want to watch them suffer.

Next update when it feels appropriate, but I already feel much better in just a couple hours.
 

HugDoggy

Citizen of Zooville
You were moody and going through another phase, still trying to forgive me for taking you to get your leg looked at.

You were still keeping me awake with your snoring, comforting me with your warmth, and trying to chase bicycles and children on our walks.

You ate treats with gusto and turned up your nose at kibble, reminding me what a princess we turned you into.

You gave us no clues, no warnings besides your typical, mercurial moodiness.

You always were a stubborn bonehead of a dog, and that's just one of many things we loved about you.

From a skinny, wiggly puppy in the rain to a healthy, old lady sprawled on our couch, you made the last 9 years of my life the best ones.

I'm sorry that I was not there to say goodbye, wasn't there to see you wag your tail one more time, but I did not want you to wake up, wondering where I was, with only pain and strangers surrounding you.

If I had only known, I would have been there.

I would not have made you go on.

I would have stayed and stroked your too-soft-to-be-real ears until you fell asleep.

This was the hardest call I ever had to make, because I told you that everything would be okay before I left.

Please, forgive me. Nobody could have been more shocked than I.

Rest in Peace, Tali.

I'll be bringing you home, soon.

I promised you a forever home, and I intend to keep that promise.
The loss is heart breaking, but to not have been there on top of that must make it feel even worse. My deepest sympathies and thoughts are with you.
 
You were moody and going through another phase, still trying to forgive me for taking you to get your leg looked at.

You were still keeping me awake with your snoring, comforting me with your warmth, and trying to chase bicycles and children on our walks.

You ate treats with gusto and turned up your nose at kibble, reminding me what a princess we turned you into.

You gave us no clues, no warnings besides your typical, mercurial moodiness.

You always were a stubborn bonehead of a dog, and that's just one of many things we loved about you.

From a skinny, wiggly puppy in the rain to a healthy, old lady sprawled on our couch, you made the last 9 years of my life the best ones.

I'm sorry that I was not there to say goodbye, wasn't there to see you wag your tail one more time, but I did not want you to wake up, wondering where I was, with only pain and strangers surrounding you.

If I had only known, I would have been there.

I would not have made you go on.

I would have stayed and stroked your too-soft-to-be-real ears until you fell asleep.

This was the hardest call I ever had to make, because I told you that everything would be okay before I left.

Please, forgive me. Nobody could have been more shocked than I.

Rest in Peace, Tali.

I'll be bringing you home, soon.

I promised you a forever home, and I intend to keep that promise.
this makes me drop a tear because remember all good times my dog give to me.
 

LokiTob

Tourist
It's been a little while, so I figure it's time to update.

It's less for me, at this point, and more for anybody else who might be going through such a loss. I hope this thread serves as a reminder that darkness will pass. Your loved ones wouldn't want you to dwell and be miserable.

I still come into the house expecting to find a furry busybody wiggling on the other side of the door, either wanting her bowl refilled or simply wanting to prevent me from sitting down before she gets her scratches. Returning to an empty house is starting to feel normal, though. It doesn't stop the urge to call out "where's my girl" when I get home, but I've stopped actually saying it aloud, finally.

I left the water in her bowl from before her surgery and I'm still tempted to refill her food. I think it's mostly out of habit, but I finally confessed to my wife last night that I leave the water because evaporation makes it feel like she's still drinking her water. It's time to empty it and accept that she's not.

The whole house smells. It smells like dog, even without one in the house. We never really noticed it before, but it's become something that we can't ignore. Without the source of the odor running about (and avoiding baths at all costs), we're left with the very static reminders of her absence. Her beds and favorite resting places smell so much like "dog" that we can't just carry on as normal. In the early days after losing her, we'd sit in these spots and marvel at how they smelled so clean when she was never cleaned like we wanted to; the dog beds smelled comforting and welcoming, familiar. Now, they simply smell like "dog" with no emotional attachment to the smell, as it has become foreign without Tali.

My wife has finally agreed to dispose of the dog beds, though neither of us has had the heart to do so, yet.

A friend of mine across the country has made vinyl stickers for my wife and I to place as we see fit. They're paw prints and symbols that we associate with Tali. I'm thinking of placing a couple on the sealed box that holds her ashes. She still sits overlooking our bed, her pink collar wrapped around the box, worn only a handful of times; it's been officially retired. It feels bittersweet to know that she will be the only dog to wear it, but she was always a princess who enjoyed having her own, special things.

Her toys still lay where she left them. We look at them and sigh regretfully, but the gutted remains of Lamb Chop or the hollowed-out husks of her retriever tugs remind us of the way she'd bring them to us, begin to play, and then dismiss them entirely the moment we showed interest. We were only allowed to be passive observers to her fun, and we talk about this each time one of us begins to pick up after her. The toys never make it back into her toy box. We're taking it harder than we thought.

I still walk about the darkened house with a pocket flashlight to avoid stepping on or waking her.

I keep meaning to donate her uneaten treats to my family's dogs, but the drive across town is a lot of effort just for that, and I have no reason to go, otherwise. As expensive as they were, I may just throw them out. Trash runs tomorrow, after all. A good time to dispose of the dog beds, too.

We realized just the other night that we were saving pizza crust for a dog who isn't here. It was her favorite treat: the soft, chewy crust of a pizza with canine-friendly toppings. She loved her nibbles of bread, but the odd pizza crust was worth trampling her humans to get a bite. We never realized how much mealtime and dinner decisions revolved around her. Making decisions based on what we want versus what is safe if we accidentally drop a piece feels alien.

We still leave a light on in the kitchen when we go out at night, because our girl was afraid of the dark.
 

GAThrawn

Citizen of Zooville
I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate to the pain you feel. I had to put my last dog down 10+ years ago, or rather my family did. I didn't go to the vet that day, and in the fear I'm sure she felt, she never got held by me one last time, never had one last kiss. I never even hugged her before she left the house. I felt like a shitty person and companion to the best friend I had for 15 years, and I still consider it the greatest mistake of my life. I am actually tearing up right now (both from typing my story and reading yours) and it's been THAT long since it happened. Fortunately, my girlfriend has 4 dogs who I love dearly and I see this as my chance to right those past wrongs. I will never leave their side when it's time, I will take the day off from work if I have to.
 

LokiTob

Tourist
I am so sorry for your loss. I can relate to the pain you feel. I had to put my last dog down 10+ years ago, or rather my family did. I didn't go to the vet that day, and in the fear I'm sure she felt, she never got held by me one last time, never had one last kiss. I never even hugged her before she left the house. I felt like a shitty person and companion to the best friend I had for 15 years, and I still consider it the greatest mistake of my life. I am actually tearing up right now (both from typing my story and reading yours) and it's been THAT long since it happened. Fortunately, my girlfriend has 4 dogs who I love dearly and I see this as my chance to right those past wrongs. I will never leave their side when it's time, I will take the day off from work if I have to.

If this had been a matter of me seeing her suffering, I would have been there. I would have made the decision to spare her.

Up until the surgeon called, everyone was positive that this would end with a grumpy dog staying a couple days at the vet while she healed but coming home tumor-free.

The decision was made 5 minutes into a surgery to remove a growth on the inside of her leg. Everyone involved (my wife and I to the radiologist, her primary vet, the surgeon, everyone) agreed that the surgery would be be her best chance at a healthy life, that everything looked good, and she had an excellent prognosis. However, as soon as the surgeon got her opened up, she called me with her voice breaking because things didn't look as good as the CT scan indicated; every major vessel and nerve in the leg went straight through the center of the mass. Everything important but the bone.

We talked over the quiet beep of the monitors as she explained what she saw. Those machines sounded so loud and ominous over the phone. Even if she removed the mass, the fact that it was growing on the nerve, on the artery, meant that amputation was the only logical option to safely remove the mass. Leaving even the tiniest bit would just have Tali back for another operation in a couple months. We could amputate the leg, as we had originally thought we might have to do, before the heartening results of the scan. However, if we amputated, there was a very good chance that, since it was on the artery and the nerve, so close to the pelvis, that it would spread into her body cavity, to her organs, and she would be fighting off an aggressive cancer while attempting to learn how to walk with only three legs and half a pelvis. We briefly weighed the options and the surgeon offered to perform the amputation at the cost of a de-bulking, but we both agreed that it was only buying a couple weeks before Tali would be under the knife again.

I couldn't do that to Tali.

I could not do that to any living being, let alone the purest source of love and affection that I had ever encountered, the closet thing to a child that my wife and I would have.

I asked if they were going to sew her up. There was a pause. The surgeon asked if I wanted to say goodbye. I told her that I did, but I didn't want Tali to wake up afraid and surrounded by strangers in a scary place, cut open, drugged, and in pain for nothing... just so that I could selfishly be there as they stuck her with yet another needle in order to let her go. Just so that I could say goodbye and ease my heart. I would rather that she pass peacefully in her sleep, not feeling pain or fear, her last waking thoughts being hopeful that she'd see me again.

I'd rather that she not suffer, not be afraid, not feel betrayed just so that I could unburden my own aching heart.

She spent her final hours snuggled with one of my work shirts, cuddling one of her blankets, knowing that she was loved and simply waiting to see me again. She knew that she was loved, that she would see me again, as she had before, when they took the last mass from her hip. She knew that she just had to wait, but that she was loved.

I would gladly inflict this unintentional betrayal with a merciful end a thousand times, rather than force her to suffer just so that I could see her one last time. She died with hope and love in her heart, rather than fear and pain. It's how I would have wanted to go.

The memories are coming back hard and fast, now. As I said above, I am not as well as I thought I was. Grief is a process, and I am still working my way through it. The support of this community, my friends, and my family have helped, but only time will heal the gaping rift in my heart. Even then, the scars will remain. It's simply the nature of such a loss.

If this was something where we knew that she would not be coming out of that building under her own power -knew that there was no saving her- I would never have left her side. I would never have allowed her to be alone. I would have said goodbye. I would have been there for her to the very end and carried her home in my arms across the whole town if I had to, just so that she could lay on her couch one last time.

Instead, all that I could offer was was this small, merciful betrayal.

Hold on to the precious memories and know that it is in a dog's very nature to forgive and to love unconditionally, to live in the moment with no regard for the future and no thought to the past. Cherish the love and companionship, but be sure to forgive yourself; it's what your dog would do.

Be the person that your dog believed you to be.
 

HugDoggy

Citizen of Zooville
It's been a little while, so I figure it's time to update.

It's less for me, at this point, and more for anybody else who might be going through such a loss. I hope this thread serves as a reminder that darkness will pass. Your loved ones wouldn't want you to dwell and be miserable.

I still come into the house expecting to find a furry busybody wiggling on the other side of the door, either wanting her bowl refilled or simply wanting to prevent me from sitting down before she gets her scratches. Returning to an empty house is starting to feel normal, though. It doesn't stop the urge to call out "where's my girl" when I get home, but I've stopped actually saying it aloud, finally.

I left the water in her bowl from before her surgery and I'm still tempted to refill her food. I think it's mostly out of habit, but I finally confessed to my wife last night that I leave the water because evaporation makes it feel like she's still drinking her water. It's time to empty it and accept that she's not.

The whole house smells. It smells like dog, even without one in the house. We never really noticed it before, but it's become something that we can't ignore. Without the source of the odor running about (and avoiding baths at all costs), we're left with the very static reminders of her absence. Her beds and favorite resting places smell so much like "dog" that we can't just carry on as normal. In the early days after losing her, we'd sit in these spots and marvel at how they smelled so clean when she was never cleaned like we wanted to; the dog beds smelled comforting and welcoming, familiar. Now, they simply smell like "dog" with no emotional attachment to the smell, as it has become foreign without Tali.

My wife has finally agreed to dispose of the dog beds, though neither of us has had the heart to do so, yet.

A friend of mine across the country has made vinyl stickers for my wife and I to place as we see fit. They're paw prints and symbols that we associate with Tali. I'm thinking of placing a couple on the sealed box that holds her ashes. She still sits overlooking our bed, her pink collar wrapped around the box, worn only a handful of times; it's been officially retired. It feels bittersweet to know that she will be the only dog to wear it, but she was always a princess who enjoyed having her own, special things.

Her toys still lay where she left them. We look at them and sigh regretfully, but the gutted remains of Lamb Chop or the hollowed-out husks of her retriever tugs remind us of the way she'd bring them to us, begin to play, and then dismiss them entirely the moment we showed interest. We were only allowed to be passive observers to her fun, and we talk about this each time one of us begins to pick up after her. The toys never make it back into her toy box. We're taking it harder than we thought.

I still walk about the darkened house with a pocket flashlight to avoid stepping on or waking her.

I keep meaning to donate her uneaten treats to my family's dogs, but the drive across town is a lot of effort just for that, and I have no reason to go, otherwise. As expensive as they were, I may just throw them out. Trash runs tomorrow, after all. A good time to dispose of the dog beds, too.

We realized just the other night that we were saving pizza crust for a dog who isn't here. It was her favorite treat: the soft, chewy crust of a pizza with canine-friendly toppings. She loved her nibbles of bread, but the odd pizza crust was worth trampling her humans to get a bite. We never realized how much mealtime and dinner decisions revolved around her. Making decisions based on what we want versus what is safe if we accidentally drop a piece feels alien.

We still leave a light on in the kitchen when we go out at night, because our girl was afraid of the dark.

I know what you mean about entrenched behaviour for a dog who no longer physically pads the hallways of your home. I really like onion, but even after he was no longer there, I still never cooked it. One of the hardest things I had to do was clean the coat oils off a door frame that my boy used to always force open, if the door wasn't 100% clicked shut properly. It was just a faint mark on the wall from him forcing the door open, but it was a rental property and it had to be clean before I moved out, but it felt like I was scrubbing my love out of existence as I was removing the mark.

I perfectly understand wanting to keep the collar and really important things to you like that, but why not give the beds and other stuff you don't want anymore to a shelter or rescue place to help other dogs. It would be like your dog giving a fellow canine a gift to improve their life.
 

HugDoggy

Citizen of Zooville
If this had been a matter of me seeing her suffering, I would have been there. I would have made the decision to spare her.

Up until the surgeon called, everyone was positive that this would end with a grumpy dog staying a couple days at the vet while she healed but coming home tumor-free.

The decision was made 5 minutes into a surgery to remove a growth on the inside of her leg. Everyone involved (my wife and I to the radiologist, her primary vet, the surgeon, everyone) agreed that the surgery would be be her best chance at a healthy life, that everything looked good, and she had an excellent prognosis. However, as soon as the surgeon got her opened up, she called me with her voice breaking because things didn't look as good as the CT scan indicated; every major vessel and nerve in the leg went straight through the center of the mass. Everything important but the bone.

We talked over the quiet beep of the monitors as she explained what she saw. Those machines sounded so loud and ominous over the phone. Even if she removed the mass, the fact that it was growing on the nerve, on the artery, meant that amputation was the only logical option to safely remove the mass. Leaving even the tiniest bit would just have Tali back for another operation in a couple months. We could amputate the leg, as we had originally thought we might have to do, before the heartening results of the scan. However, if we amputated, there was a very good chance that, since it was on the artery and the nerve, so close to the pelvis, that it would spread into her body cavity, to her organs, and she would be fighting off an aggressive cancer while attempting to learn how to walk with only three legs and half a pelvis. We briefly weighed the options and the surgeon offered to perform the amputation at the cost of a de-bulking, but we both agreed that it was only buying a couple weeks before Tali would be under the knife again.

I couldn't do that to Tali.

I could not do that to any living being, let alone the purest source of love and affection that I had ever encountered, the closet thing to a child that my wife and I would have.

I asked if they were going to sew her up. There was a pause. The surgeon asked if I wanted to say goodbye. I told her that I did, but I didn't want Tali to wake up afraid and surrounded by strangers in a scary place, cut open, drugged, and in pain for nothing... just so that I could selfishly be there as they stuck her with yet another needle in order to let her go. Just so that I could say goodbye and ease my heart. I would rather that she pass peacefully in her sleep, not feeling pain or fear, her last waking thoughts being hopeful that she'd see me again.

I'd rather that she not suffer, not be afraid, not feel betrayed just so that I could unburden my own aching heart.

She spent her final hours snuggled with one of my work shirts, cuddling one of her blankets, knowing that she was loved and simply waiting to see me again. She knew that she was loved, that she would see me again, as she had before, when they took the last mass from her hip. She knew that she just had to wait, but that she was loved.

I would gladly inflict this unintentional betrayal with a merciful end a thousand times, rather than force her to suffer just so that I could see her one last time. She died with hope and love in her heart, rather than fear and pain. It's how I would have wanted to go.

The memories are coming back hard and fast, now. As I said above, I am not as well as I thought I was. Grief is a process, and I am still working my way through it. The support of this community, my friends, and my family have helped, but only time will heal the gaping rift in my heart. Even then, the scars will remain. It's simply the nature of such a loss.

If this was something where we knew that she would not be coming out of that building under her own power -knew that there was no saving her- I would never have left her side. I would never have allowed her to be alone. I would have said goodbye. I would have been there for her to the very end and carried her home in my arms across the whole town if I had to, just so that she could lay on her couch one last time.

Instead, all that I could offer was was this small, merciful betrayal.

Hold on to the precious memories and know that it is in a dog's very nature to forgive and to love unconditionally, to live in the moment with no regard for the future and no thought to the past. Cherish the love and companionship, but be sure to forgive yourself; it's what your dog would do.

Be the person that your dog believed you to be.
That brought me to tears.

You don't need anyone to confirm this for you, but you did the right thing, you put Tali first. Even if it caused you pain to do so.
 
I had to put my great Dane down 6 month ago and that was the hardest decision I ever had to make. But I could tell he wasn't right and he didn't feel good. After finally finding a vet who would look at him (because of his size) he stood 36 inches at shoulders and weighed 196lbs. He was a monster in size. We had to drive 3hrs to have him looked at and what we expected was true his stomach had turned and basically we had to make that decision. He was with us for almost 10yrs and I am thankful. But there isn't a day that goes by that I don't cry or think about him. He was my only friend (honestly). He was my best friend. And I fucking miss him more than anything in the world. Since that dreadful day I have been angry,sad,mad,depressed, frustrated,stressed and not the same. Everything and everyone pisses me off. Even though I have a wife and kids I am lonely. I am lost and have given up happiness. Hopefully it will get better soon because I am not in a good place currently. Crazy to think a dog could totally cripple a 6'4" 330lb man but he has. We have decided to get another one and it he will be ready in a couple of weeks. That was another difficult decision as well but decided it was time. No other dog can or will replace him. But he can try and I am sure he will.
 

niori

Tourist
This was my guardian angel here on earth. We found each other in 2016. She was already 3 years old at the time. She crossed the rainbow bridge last year, just before Christmas.
We were only together for a brief time, almost 5 years as I got her in February, but for that short time, she was my whole world. I had been in and out of a number of relationships, and the one between she and I was the only one that had endured.
I miss her dearly, and the hole that she left in my heart will never be filled. Some may ease the pain, but it will never be fully whole again.
 

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LokiTob

Tourist
I told myself not to come back to this thread but, I also said that I would update as I feel I reached milestones, to show others that it is possible to move forward.

This one was a long time coming.

So here I am.

It's been long enough now that I am accustomed to the quiet, to the lack of routine, the lack of company, the boredom, and the aimlessness. There's a giant hole in my life and I'm keenly aware of it but slowly becoming numb to its presence. Like a drafty window, it simply remains until it is repaired, palpable but otherwise unobtrusive.

Our air conditioner has failed us and this resulted in the whole house being as warm as the outdoors. I find myself thinking over and over how I'd be sitting outside with a lawn chair and a weak, humid breeze if I had some company, but I am alone and the open space of the yard makes that draft feel like a hurricane. If it's only myself inconvenienced by the heat, I can sit inside; there's nobody begging to go outside and escape the noise of the fans, after all.

To keep from going mad with the heat, I've begun to clean up around the house and... wow. One never realizes how normal it is to have boxes and bags of treats laying about, toys scattered and hidden, or even a large dog bed taking up a portion of the floor. It all feels so alien to look at without the context of living with a dog. I've donated as much as I am able, thrown away what could not be salvaged, and packaged up the most sentimental items. I cannot believe it's taken me this long, but it has, and there is still more.

I found an unopened treat launcher that we got as a gift but never used because her treats were too big. I must've cried for an hour that we never got to use it with her. The wound is still raw, no matter how bandaged.

We make jokes about the miserable time we're having, but they're awkward and uncomfortable. We used to just turn to Tali and ask her why she turned on the rain, what we did that made her decide to shut off the lights, or why she saw fit to let the car break down. She always understood the joking tone and would become excited and help us to pull out of whatever negativity we were facing. She simply knew that we needed something fun, and she provided. Without her to "blame" for the current predicament, we've kind of turned on one another to an extent, though we're still pushing forward like adults.

We're just low on morale without somebody to be the willing scapegoat for a Milkbone and some scratches. The unifying nature of caring for an animal has a way of helping people through tough spots, and we're feeling the absence of a furry ward.

We still have not found anyone to fix our fence and, while it bothers me, I don't feel the urgent pull to get it taken care of since the fence was purely for Tali's benefit.

We're eating out more, staying out later, and seeing friends for longer. It feels good to be social.

But the house still feels empty when we return.

We've gotten to the point that we don't talk about it, because our friends look worn-out when we mention Tali in any capacity.

The kitchen floor remains an issue, as bits of sandwich meat, stray cheese puffs, or bits of bell pepper might hit the floor and go unnoticed for hours. Our walking Roomba had us spoiled.

I still tell her goodnight when I catch sight of her ashes beside the bed.

This community remains a pillar of strength that I can draw on when I'm feeling tired, scared, and saddened. I know others are out there feeling the same pain of loss; I see it all the time. Though I may not express as much, I share your pain and your heartache, and I thank you for sharing mine. You are the family that does not judge, and you have my eternal gratitude.

I realized just a short while ago, as I saw that this thread is still generating interest, gaining new posts...

...Though my home feels empty, I no longer feel alone.

Thank you all.

I do not know when my next update will be, or if it will ever come, but you and your support have been a great blessing to me during this trying time and, as stated before, I hope that the record of my journey will help someone else to heal from their own heartache.
 

HugDoggy

Citizen of Zooville
This was my guardian angel here on earth. We found each other in 2016. She was already 3 years old at the time. She crossed the rainbow bridge last year, just before Christmas.
We were only together for a brief time, almost 5 years as I got her in February, but for that short time, she was my whole world. I had been in and out of a number of relationships, and the one between she and I was the only one that had endured.
I miss her dearly, and the hole that she left in my heart will never be filled. Some may ease the pain, but it will never be fully whole again.
Many of us know exactly how you feel. I'm sure she is still your guardian angel, she has just moved to a higher location now, so she's able to better watch over you.
 

swampy

Prized Citizen of ZV
sorry for your loss lokitob , this brought tears to my eyes . remember her always you will be together again one day :cry:
 

LokiTob

Tourist
So, I promised myself that I'd come back, make an update on the one-year mark, and be honest about the grieving/healing process.

It's not for me, anymore, but for anyone else who has had such a sudden and painful loss without the closure of being able to say good-bye.

I still think of Tali, imagine I hear her or see her when it's quiet and lonely in the house. We still don't have the fence mended, though it's now due to financial strain, shortages, and the like. We are scheduled, though. Going to be another 6 weeks, but we're already paid up-front with Lowe's.

Unfortunately, it's not so that Tali can have her yard again, but we've made the decision to adopt another dog, to give another scrawny pooch the chance to have a yard, toys, a couch, and people who love them. We can't replace our girl, but we can do for another dog what we'd wanted to do for her. The house is still a mess, and the people are still... not great, but that's just health and financial stuff, rather than a lingering malaise and "sneaky hate spiral" of depression. The ripples are still being felt (it's still uncomfortably quiet without the excited sniffing of groceries or wiggles for the pizza guy), but the great tremor of Tali's passing are no longer leaving our nerves raw.

We haven't moved her belongings (and we know that we should) but now it's simply being lazy and tired, rather than a painful task that we're avoiding.

We still talk fondly of her, make jokes as if she's with us, and (sometimes) blame her for the weather.

I still feel the ache in my heart when I think of her, touch the box with her ashes from time to time when I feel down, or talk to her when I need strength or comfort.

A good friend made a memorial channel in a Discord server. It was meant to be a way to commemorate the epic deeds of fallen RPG characters, but she was not a part of any of our games, so she made the first entry for Tali. She did it with all the verbose pomp and flare and pageantry that one would expect at the funeral of a gallant hero from some mystical realm, and it reminded me how much other people have helped, simply by getting me to think of the good times, rather than the tragic end.

This community has been such a great help as well, and I feel as though I have gained an extended family by sharing with you all.

I hope that someone, sometime, in need of hope when suffering their own loss, can look at this thread and take comfort in knowing that time does mend a broken heart, even if the scars remain. The time spent and love shared with one's animal companion(s) is a precious thing, and it can be a great burden to bear the pain of their passing, but the light of their love and the joy of their memory will ease the sorrow and tend to your grief, so long as you continue to strive at becoming the amazing being of power, wonder, generosity, and endless love that your animal(s) believe you to be.

This is my final message in this thread, as it is no longer for me, my grief, or my healing.

This is for you.

For your pets.

For your pain, hope, and love.

Thank you all for the support over the last year.

Tali would have loved you all.
 

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woofer12

Citizen of Zooville
so very sad for you I know what your going thru in terms of pain I know that that lump in your throat is a hard one to swallow and the tears in you eyes are just another way of showing your love for her someday the lump in throat will go away and tears will stop flowing but the love in your heart mind an soul for her will live on forever until the day comes when you will meet her again
 

Clarreknine

Tourist
It is so incredibly hard to lose such a close friend and companion. Especially when we bound to them the way we do. I have lost to many lovers that way. At 63 it makes it harder everytime.
 

HugDoggy

Citizen of Zooville
I am glad to hear you have been able to get past the worst of the grieving process and are more able to think of the good times you had together, while she was physically with you in your life.
 
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