Why Your Dog’s Death May Be The Most Difficult Event Of Your Life

Nugget watching TV Dog Death Dr Siew
Nugget was my first dog – a quirky, neurotic Japanese Spitz who passed away 6months ago. He was the reason why I began to love dogs, and subsequently, embark on animal rescue work, including heading SOSD today.

It has been 6 months since the first dog’s death, Nugget. . He was 10 years old, a Japanese Spitz, and he succumbed to injuries from a tragic incident. After half a year, I still think of him everyday. Some days less, some days severe enough for me to break down in tears. Speaking about him always evokes strong emotions.

At 40 years of age, I have experienced losing relatives – grandparents, uncles, aunties, friends; I have suffered considerable physical pain – gastric ulcers, gout, and recently, a difficult recovery from tonsillectomy. I have endured mental stress from running SOSD, including defamation & slander necessitating legal action. But none of the pain and suffering compares to the grief, guilt, and heartbreak I experienced, and am still experiencing with the passing of Nugget.

I can’t help but ask: Why?
Why is the pain so intense?

Facing Your Dog’s Death: An Inevitability

All dog owners will have to face the inescapable – of saying goodbye to their canine companions one day – With a lifespan of 10- 20 years, it is very likely that they will leave this earth before we do.

The grief of losing your pet is something which only pet owners can understand. For people who have not owned a pet, witnessing the intense emotions which pet owners go through when their pets pass on is often bewildering. “It is only a dog”, they would say. But as dog owners, we know it is more than that.

It is not uncommon to hear dog owners tell you, that they are even sadder when their dog died, compared to their human relative. This is not to say that dog owners are unfeeling monsters detached from other humans. On the contrary, pet owners are some of the most empathetic people I have come across – towards both animals and humans. I believe that there are very logical and scientific reasons why dog owners feel the intense grief that they do, when they canine friends leave them.

Nugget Dead Dr Siew
The day we brought Nugget’s body back from the vet was one I will always remember

There are many such articles about losing a dog – but I did not take reference from any of them. The 10 reasons I write about here, are entirely from my experience with my dog’s death.

1) You See Your Dogs Much More Than Your Friends or Relatives

Besides your spouse (and colleagues), there is probably no one else you see everyday. You move out from your parents’ place, your children move out. Our dogs are different. They are there waiting when we open our eyes; they are at home waiting for us excitedly when we return home everyday. We take for granted having them around; and when they are no longer there, the home environment changes.

2) You Were There From The Beginning Till The End

Many of us buy or adopt our canine friends as puppies – 2-4 months old. We watched them as they grew up, became a defiant adolescent, mellow down with age, then eventually, grow old, and die. We learn the entire life cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death through them. They are our windows to the realities of life, of impermanence. These realities, while universal, are extremely difficult to deal with. They evoke intense emotions from us – including grief, guilt, regret.

3) You Taught Them Life Lessons

Life Lessons Dog Death Dr Siew
We had to teach our dogs how to pee, poo, and what they should not chew.

You had to teach your puppy how to pee and poo in the right place; how to sit before a meal; how to walk on a leash. We are our dogs’ mentors and teachers, and we watched them blossom from clueless puppy to excellent canine citizen. Although we do not always say it, we are always proud of our dogs – their achievements are as much theirs and they are ours. It is no wonder that we love them as much as we do.

4) Dogs Are Like Our Little Children

Dog's Death Puppy Child Dr Siew
Dogs are like little children, from the day they come into our lives as a puppy, till their death in old age

Researchers have found that a dog’s intelligence is comparable to a 2year old human’s, making them childlike, even in old age. From the day they come into our lives, to the day they leave, they act like toddlers. More often than not, we see them as our children. It is said that no parent should have to bury their children; but with pet owners, it will almost always happen – The day we adopt or buy our canine friend, we know that we will one day have to face our dog’s death.

5) Scientific Proof: Love Grows with Dogs

Studies have shown that when we look into a dog’s eyes, the levels of oxytocin increases in our blood. Oxytocin promotes “pro-social” behaviors such as relaxation, trust, improved psychological stability, and altruism in humans.

It is thought that oxytocin in both mother an infant is increased when a mother gazes into her baby’s eyes, and when the baby gazes back. For these reasons, oxytocin is also sometimes called the “love hormone”.

In owners and dogs, oxytocin levels rose by up to 300% when they gazed at each other, supporting the existence of a self-perpetuating oxytocin-mediated positive feedback loop in human-dog relationships that is similar to that of human mother-infant relations.

In other words – our love grows with our canine companions, the longer we spend with them (and watch them beg for food).

6) You Learned Unconditional Love Through Your Dog

Nugget was not a perfect dog. He has food aggression, and snaps when he is unhappy. He has bitten me, my friends, helper and parents. He barks loudly at strangers, vacuum cleaners, and anything else. He LOVEed eating plants and has massacred my greens like a tornado leaving a trail of destruction.

Nugget's one blue eye and squint made him loo confused all the time. This picture, in particular, went viral globally and sparked tons of memes
Nugget’s one blue eye and squint made him look confused all the time. This picture, in particular, went viral globally and sparked tons of memes. Despite his imperfections, we loved him all the same. 

Yet, despite all that, I loved him. Very much. It did not matter that he was cock-eyed, with glaring character flaws. My love for him was unconditional, and I knew that his love for me was too, as well. It is often very difficult to replicate this with another human being – because we bring with us many expectations when we deal with people. With dogs, the bond is special, and very different. We can be ourselves, with no fear of being judged. We can love without restrain or abandon – and that is what we do with our canine friends. This intense love is precisely the reason our dog’s death is so difficult to come to terms with.

Though our dogs, we learn to love, unconditionally. 

7) We Are Their World

We are our dogs world Dr SIew
There is nowhere our dogs would rather be than to be next to us – whether awake or sleeping. We are their world

We have our work, friends, family. But our dogs only have us. We are cognisant of this at the back of our minds, and hence, we take extra care to make sure that their needs are met. We feel guilty when we go on holidays, or when we spend too much time away from home. We are their world, and in the process, they become a very large part of ours. Following our dog’s death, a part of us dies as well.

8) Dogs Express Themselves, And Taught You How To as Well

Express Yourself Dog Nugget Dog Deat Dr Siew
Dogs always express themselves freely – whether they are angry, happy or sad

Dogs are not like humans. They show it when they are happy. They jump in joy when you are home, sulk when you leave the house. They growl when another dog is trying to snatch their bone. They express their emotions with wild abandon. It rubs off us- their owners as well. That is why, the grief is so raw and real, when they leave us. They never held back when they were alive – and when they are gone, our grief is just as powerful.

9) Dogs are Full of Personality

No 2 dogs are alike. Even if they look the same, they would have different personalities, quirks, and things which define them. Indeed, Nugget was one of a kind. From his squint, to different coloured eyes, to his love for vegetables and liberal chomping, Nugget was absolutely unique. Every dog is irreplaceable. After our dog’s death, we will never be able to find another dog who is exactly the same again. This makes us miss them even more after they are gone.

10) They Were Always There When You Needed Someone

Dr Siew and Nugget Playing Guitar
Through all the sleepless nights when I played the guitar, Nugget was there with me. He didn’t think much of my singing and playing though. 2016, 3 months before Nugget’s death.

Dogs are nature’s most wonderful healers. That is why, after a long day, all we want to do is go home to see our dogs. When we are feeling low, we may not want to meet other people, yet, our dogs will make us feel better.

For me, I often lie sleepless at night, stressing over work and SOSD. Through those nights, Nugget would be with me, listening to me play the guitar, or just being comfortable in my arms.When we need company, our canine friends always give their all for us, rain or shine, day or night.

Contrary to what they say, having more dogs does not mean the death of one is easier to deal with
Contrary to what they say, having more dogs does not mean the death of one is easier to deal with. Nugget, Yoghurt, Bacon with me, 2014.

We give our dogs food, water and shelter. But what they give us back in return, are experiences and lessons in life which no amount of money can buy. And when they finally leave us, it is as if this spring of limitless positivity has finally dried up. That is why it so difficult, to grapple with our dog’s death. They are not just a dog. They are our best friends, our children, our family. And even if you have many dogs, like I do, losing any one of them, is just as painful.

Nugget Dr Siew Bathing
Nugget, 2007-2016
Dearly Missed, Now and Forever






  1. I feel u and all what I have read in this article, my dog passing was still fresh in our heart coz not just me but my whole family. I still cry at night or even at work when I think of her. Even my dad cries so as mom, we miss her a lot even I still have 4more left by our side and yes each o them has different character and they are all special. Thank you for sharing your experience coz I know that I’m not alone having this longing for a fur baby who passed away and still missing her everyday… 😢

  2. Thank you so much for this – I just lost my dog 3 months ago and am still grieving very much. She was 14yo. Am still struggling to come to terms with the intense emotions that hit me every now and then, and your article really describes everything perfectly. Those pictures and videos of Nugget are so precious! The last video brought a smile to my face coz my dog used to bite me when I combed her fur in her geriatric years too – probably coz of old, achy joints. Thank you for sharing. <3

  3. It’s been 4 months and 4 days since I lost my baby dog (she was a 13.5 year old corgi) . It’s a grief like none other. I cannot help but feel so so sad when I think of her. My home is empty without her. 🙁

  4. Oh god.. I just have a higher level of human needs to not equate my dog’s death as being more heartbreaking than a close family member. It’s sad if you can’t have that human connection, they may be douches but they understand what it’s like to make mistakes, work hard, fail and fall in love. It would be painful to lose a pet but it boils down to different needs I think which is why I cannot understand losing a pet more painful than losing a person. I lost my mother and read humans of New York, I’m sorry but I cannot understand the pain in this article when you cannot feel the lose and worth of a human life.

  5. I cried just reading this. I have 2 doggie children. One is 5 and one is 7. The 5 year old is a larger dog and his breed, Golden Retriever/Yellow Lab, is more prone to cancer and will have a shorter life span even if he doesn’t get cancer. These 1st 5 years have flown by and to think he will probably only survive another 5 is heart wrenching. The 7 year old is smaller and will most likely live longer but I will lose her not terribly long after losing him. I cherish every day I get with these 2 very special kids. They are my lifeline.

  6. thank you for sharing. I have been grieving heavily since loosing my “boy” to seizures in January and it has been harder than loosing my dad and my brother. I thought maybe something was wrong with me.

  7. Dr. Siew,

    Thank you for writing this article. We just had to put our dog down yesterday and we are experiencing a tremendous amount of sadness. Your article was real and definitely spoke to us. Our dogs’ spirit will always be kept alive through us. Thank you for all that you do to help these precious creatures.

  8. Well said. Losing SD Coco at the end of her long, meaningful life of almost 15 years was not as hard as losing SD Rosie to a car accident at not quite 2 yrs old. It has been two months and I still cry for her.

  9. Thank you! My rescue, 18 year young Nitro had a stroke today and we are spending this evening In transition together waiting for the gate to the Rainbow Bridge to open.

    He has been my best friend, companion snd easiest going guy in my life for all these years and will live in my heart forever as he takes a piece of my soul with him on his journey.

    He was a rescue because he was purchased in a pet store and when the person who purchased him took him for his well check he was diagnosed by the vet with A Stage 3 heart murmur and she felt the buyer should return him to the pet store and get their money back since the vet felt he would not live to be a year old.

    Once diagnosed as defective he could no longer be sold in the pet store and the option for them was to have him euthanized or find a rescue to take him.

    My rescue received the call and we took him in. He became my sidekick immediately and I kept him as a personal pet. He was only 8 weeks young. He was neutered and has never been on any meds or needed any vet visits until this year when he went for a dental about a month ago.

    Early this morning he had a left side stroke. He is here with me still and I will remain by his side through his transition. He is comfortable, still enjoying his food and I am syringing fluids to him thru his mouth.

    We have been outside a few times today to do ‘business’ even tho he cannot stand. I am his legs. We laid on the lawn in the warm sun and just visited while I petted him and rubbed his ears.

    Eventho he is mostly blind and cannot hear, I know he feels every word and sees the daylight.

    As day turns to night we are making ourselves comfy and warm and letting sleep slowly set in . . .

    We are here together, my sweet boy. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is not over ’til it’s over. I have your back and am here by your side. It is your call. Sleep tight, Mommy’s little baby. Love you forever! <3

  10. Thank you for this beautiful and well written post. Losing my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucky unexpectdly a year and a half ago was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. And I’m in tears now writing this thinking about him. Your article is a great resource to share to help others understand why it is so hard and why they are not “just a dog.”

  11. I really love the points made in this piece. Dogs are like our children—and yet we see the whole cycle of life they go through from youth to old age. And they also love us no matter how flawed we are—humans don’t do that. With humans, one wrong word, look, or action can repulse them and make them reject you.

    My dog was unique, and as you said—I will never find a dog exactly like him again. They are like humans, in that sense.

    I also love the rationale that it is such a profound loss, because we honestly do see them more than we see other human beings, truly: everyday, every night! No wonder it’s such an enormous loss.

    Thanks for this piece.

  12. Thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful article. Years ago I had a faithful pet dog (a Rottweiler) who had cancer but who waited until my husband and I got back from our honeymoon to succumb to it. 17 years later I still tear up a bit to think of it. Dogs are unforgettable and the paw prints they leave on our hearts never go away. I don’t think it is meant to be any other way.

  13. your article is so true and sadly there are many people who have never experienced the love in their life
    that a dog or cat can provide. it expands your being as nothing else can.

    I often question if our current president ever had a pet. I firmly believe he never did. Not then, not now and never will his poor son. One more human being who will have a fractured personality due to that
    experience only a pet can give.

    I cried when I read your article about Nugget. How many times I have cried the same kind of tears.
    Being 74 yrs old and having a dog,cat, bird, all my life I have sadly experienced the horrible loss of those wonderful companions, my pets. My tears will flow again when I have to face the horrible los of my two dogs that are part of my life n ow. sadly, they will be the last in my life to be fair to any other
    animals I might want to get. my age does not permit me that wonderful opportunity again.

  14. Thank you for sharing . Your post is so lovely and thoughtful. I too, have loved and lost both canine and feline loved ones. It’s never easy but I couldn’t do living without pets.

  15. Thank you for this beautiful, insightful article and lovely tribute for Nugget. I still grieve for my German Shepherd, Chloe. I lost her to hip dysplasia in 1985, and held her while my vet put her to sleep. It was devastating. I miss her and think of he often. Three years ago I finally decided that it was time to bring another dog into my life, and so I now have a wonderful GSD girl, Tasha, to love and spoil! Chloe will always have her place in my heart, she was and is my special girl. Tasha is my shadow and makes my life very happy! Again, Thank you!

  16. All of the above PLUS we feel responsible for taking care of our animals. They are completely dependent on us And it doesn’t matter how old they are or their physical condition, when they pass we feel that we have failed them. When we don’t magically know what we can do to prevent their dying before it happens no matter what the cause, we feel like we are betraying their trust and that kind of trust is very powerful.

  17. Had to cry when I was reading the text. Had to say goodbye to my dog last year in summer and Im still thinking about Baya very often. Thanks for sharing your experience, I think a lot of dog owners or ex-dog owners will appreciate it!

  18. Beautiful story, touching to the core. Every single words is exactly how I felt about each of my 4 legged companion. I too loss my beloved Fuzzy end of May 2016 and I often missing him. Some days are easier then others. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Hi Dr Siew.

    Thank you for publishing this superbly written article. For me, it was validation that I was not going crazy with grief, that I was not “over reacting”, that even though months have passed I’m still prone to sobbing when I remember Spark. For 17 years he was my best friend through divorce, losing my job, and becoming disabled, as well as celebrations, long ambling walks, and warmth on cold nights when he’d crawl under the covers.

    Once again, thanks, and I am so sorry for your loss of your best friend.

    Pamela Dudrow

  20. Beautifully written. I both understand and share your emotions, having lost both of my dogs recently, one of which seemed to be a reflection of my soul and the other, my heart. <3 I'm sorry for your loss; may you carry him with you always.

  21. Dr Skew, Thank You for this Moving and absolutely Beautiful tribute to your dog, and all the truths behind the Love between a Dog and his human.I’ve been BLESSED with Many dogs, and cats, besides,rabbits,turtles and ducks , and every one of their passing have taken a piece of my heart, but there was always room for more.I would of been a very lonely person if they were not in my life. They rescued me countless times.

  22. Thank you for sharing this Dr. Siew. I just experienced this incident, with my dog who was just like Nugget in character. A 10 yr old, cream color, Shiba Inu, female, Keiko. I called her my lil’ Butterbean, with an attitude of satan towards my other younger female dog. But so sweet and loving otherwise, until she went into her red zone. As you, it was a fluke situation and I was too late to intervene in their horrific battle this time. She would not survive injuries sustained with any quality of life, hence I had to make the most painful decision and it has destroyed me. April 21, 2017 it happened, and your article posted April 22. I have read your article dozens of times, beating myself up as I could not protect her. With 3 other dogs remaining, the balance is off but I am slowly healing. I am astonished you are a world away, and your story and our dogs have an uncanny resemblance and character. I find comfort. God bless you, and the work you do. You truly have a loving soul.

  23. thanks for this, I relate. I had to put my dog down as he became senile and bit people. That was 12 years ago and I think of him all the time. My friend’s poodle just passed away so I will send her your article.

  24. Thank you for sharing your mourning. You have written a touching article many dog lovers can identify with or will once the sad time comes. I’m sorry for your great loss. Dogs are the best. RIP Nugget.

  25. Thank you for this article. I’m not really a dog person I prefer cats but the recent passing of my dog has me missing her every day. Her pancreas suddenly decided to quit working and she developed diabeties that couldn’t be controlled. I picked her up from the vets have her a car ride which she loved car rides….she fed the pigs and horses with me one last time….and a friend of mine took care of her for me and buried her next to my other dogs who have gone before her. And I miss her. I don’t currently have any plans on getting another dog. My requirements are high….they must get along with the car….they must not be inclined to chase the chickens. Pigs, or horses….they must be homebodies… Sorry for your loss.

  26. I have endured dog loss 8 times and counting. I’m a dog lady…always will be. The tears are so worth the joy. Love the way you have honored your Nugget.

  27. Same can be said for cats. I have loved and lost a few, dreading the day I have to say good bye to my current fur babies.

  28. Great article. Last week I had to put down my 10 yr old mini Schnauzer after it was discovered she had a rapidly spreading cancer that had taken over. Like you, I’ve suffered a lot of stressful live events and health issues, but the grief I’m experiencing is unparalleled to anything in the past 4 decades of my life. Cleopatra was my best buddy, like a daughter to me, and being a single guy I took her everywhere with me. I’m very sorry for your loss, Nugget was fortunate to have such a compassionate dog-parent. Thank you for sharing.

  29. I agree with the man about the loss of a pet some things you just can’t get over. I have had a lot of dogs and if I had to put him down because of health reasons it was different but I lost a little dog due to my own fault of opening the car door and it ran in front of a truck. It’s been 3 years I haven’t been able to work or living my life fully since.

  30. Thank you for this article. You put into words what I have gone through many times in my life. I have had dogs since I was 8 and I am now 50-so I have gone through this more times than I would have liked to. You are right. The grief is intense. Our dogs are the only ones that we can be our true selves with. We cannot do that even with our own spouse or partners. So like you have said when each one of them passes on, some part of us dies to. Only fellow dog owners who truly love their furry friends will understand what we have gone through. Thank you again. You made me think of each of my dog that has left this world and the footprint that each of them has left on me.

  31. No, having more than one dog doesn’t make losing one easier, but it’s easier to grieve if you aren’t alone in hollow, echoing rooms. Sorry about your Nugget.

  32. Dogs are more wonderful than humas! Love and sloppy kisses are always there without asking❤️I have had over 30cats in a room i had built for them with AC and heat. Help with them and each time one passed I mourned so deeply.

  33. Beautiful tribute but I need to know if you eat other animals? because people don’t usually connect the dots about loving some and paying others to slaughter the others. It’s a hard realization for sure but please know that they all want to be loved and cared for by us. Thank you.

  34. I’ve buried dogs and I’ve buried a teenage child! The dog was like 1 billionth the pain of burying a child!
    Burying a dog is a first world problem. Yes, it does hurt, but for a good part of this world, that wouldn’t even register as a problem.

  35. Dear Dr. Siew,
    Thank you so much for so eloquently expressing the truth that all animal lovers/owners know. Animals give us gifts that no human can give, so their loss is completely different than the loss of a human in our lives. In particular, I hope this gives men a feeling of permission to acknowledge and express their grief over the loss of a pet. It is a huge loss, and each pet loss is unique, as their souls are also unique. Unconditional love – that is who they are. Namaste.

  36. Dear Dr. Siew;
    I am so sorry to hear that your beloved Nugget has departed. Although I did not know Nugget personally, I feel and understand your pain. As someone that has always grown up with dogs, I have lost many and am presently preparing myself for the loss of my latest furry friend, Bentley. Bentley has trouble walking now and is very weak in the hind quarters. I have him on medication and do what I can for him, but it will inevitably come to a point where his mind is still fine, but his body has failed to an extent that I will have to make a decision. I have had him since three months old and he is presently 13+1/2. He is a Yellow Lab.
    I can tell by your pictures, that you gave Nugget a wonderful life. You gave him a lot of attention and most importantly, you gave him love and affection. I hope that soon your heart will be able to rest easy knowing that if it weren’t for your care and love, Nugget would not have had the quality life that you so freely gave him. Although I realize that no words can take away the pain, I’m sure that I speak for most, and especially Nugget when I say “Thank You” for being who you are, for giving your heart, love and compassion so freely to a furry friend, and for making Nuggets life the best if could possibly be.

  37. Thank you for posting this. As I am still dealing with the loss of my heart-dog about a month ago, your post couldn’t be any more real to me. It was a good read and one I’ll always remember.

  38. So very sorry for your loss. He was — and always will be — a wonderful companion and so lucky to have had you as his guardian. I have to believe we who love and cherish or animal friends will meet them again — at the Rainbow Bridge. As I’m sure you would do, I vow to cross the bridge with not only my own beloved pets, but with those who did not have anyone with them at the end of their earthy life.

  39. We had to have our Corgi, Harry euthanized back in October 2016. Six months prior we found out he had a brain tumor. We had an MRI done X-ray biopsy. Nothing we could do it was too big. The dr said we would have him 3 months at best. We had him 6 months after the diagnosis. He was getting daily tramodole, and Xanax and a tummy pill. In the last few months he was losing and lost the use of his back legs. He still ate and pretty much acted like himself but some aggression would come and go. The end of October we finally decided to say good bye. His back legs weren’t working at all and the dr warned us of seizers and that the tumor would desort his face and mess up his vision. My husband stayed with him and the vet during the procedure. I had to go outside. We miss him terribly. He was a rescue from a bad situating. We were lucky to have him almost 13 years. His ashes are under a dog wood tree with a little memorial stone with His name on it. He will be forever missed in our family.

  40. LOVE this article. I also rescue and have lost 4 of my babies since September 11, 2016. One on 9/11/16 (Gizmo, Chihuahua, sudden unknown causes), the next 2/1/2017 (Cujo, Chihuahua, spleen cancer), one 3/13/17 (Mosquito, Chihuahua, heart problems) and one April 24th (Boots, DSH, old age, 22 year old cat). Since I only adopt the “unadoptable” (seniors and special needs)…. I actually expect to lose 1-2 more before the end of the year. I have been a basket case since Sept as this is the greatest number I have lost in such quick succession. It is nice to know that there are people that understand they were not just dogs and a cat, but their true value to me. And that there is science to back up my mourning. I literally had to go on medication to deal with these losses. I have since adopted 2 other dogs (Jaws and Quasimodo , I will let you figure out their malady) that are both special needs seniors. My friends ask me how I can continue to rescue and I am almost afraid too tell them it is for selfish reasons. I have NEVER felt I rescued them. Quite the opposite. They rescued me!!!! BTW… I love unusual names and love the three names you chose for your babies.

  41. I feel your pain. My dog died 3 years ago and I have lost both of my parents but to this day I can still cry over his death at the drop of a hat. I miss him so much. Everything in this article is so very true. I have tried adopting a couple of dogs but they did not work out. I realized in hind sight O was trying to replace my dog that I lost and I now know that can never happen. I have to start new with another dog. It is not fair to say the least to another dog to expect him to take the place of the one I lost as just like us no 2 dogs are alike. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us and God Bless you.

  42. I suffered something similar with my cats (I know they’re not dogs…) but I had a very special bond with my black cats (I had 3) and when Velcro, my 18 year old cat passed away the pain was unbearable. Then within 6 months my other female cat had to be put to sleep she had kidney and livery failure. Losing 2 within 6 months was tough tough tough. We eventually adopted another fur baby to keep our remaining cat Mayhem occupied. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but I still wouldn’t trade it for the world… human and pet bonds are meant to be.

  43. I lost my best fur baby and friend thru a mysterious spinal problem. What was so difficult was not being able to do anything to help him. When he died I was not there to hold him and say good bye, he was with strangers…alone. I still have a difficult time with the guilt. I miss him.

  44. Thank you Dr. Siew for writing this article. I’m so very sorry for your loss and I can deeply empathize with what you are experiencing with the passing of Nugget. About four months ago I lost my beautiful Lizzie (twelve and a half year old German Spitz). She was/is my life. Like you, I had never experienced this kind of grief, and I really started to wonder why this was having such an effect. I can see a lot of parallels with your story and mine. Something that helped me to cope was that I started writing about my Lizzie – I found this to be somewhat healing. If you’re interested, here is a story I wrote (in her words) that talks about her experiences and the life we all had together as a family — http://iheartdogs.com/topic/i-am-lizzie-wolf-my-life-story-and-a-message-from-the-rainbow-bridge/

    Thank you so much for sharing your story — it has added great insight to my own experiences.
    I truly wish you the very best in life and that you continue to heal after such an enormous loss.
    Sincerely, Clinton

  45. You said it perfectly. My dog, Pokey died 3 years ago and I still get emotional sometimes. I cried for 2 weeks straight when she died. It was exactly like losing a family member. I try to remember that we are all connected…that molecules from a breath I exhale will be inhaled by someone else and that thought helps because Pokey is part of me and always will be, just as Nugget is a part of you.

  46. I feel your pain and am so sorry you lost your dog. I had to laugh at Nugget trying to bite you over being brushed. My dog, Trucker, was a solid black version of Nugget, probably a chow X. Truck HATED baths and vets. I am the only person my dog ever bit and it was either over a bath or a trip to the vet’s front yard as he was not allowed inside the office. He was a quirky dog, loved cats, but not other dogs or strangers. I loved Trucker, people wondered why I would keep a dog that actually would bite me, it’s nice to know someone else understands why. Again, I am sorry for your tremendous loss of such a unique dog.

  47. Beautifully said. The only thing that made me feel better after my first pet passed away was writing every memory I had of our time together – I didn’t want to forget a single bit!

  48. I have so much Understanding , it Hurts Like Hell and you Never Ever get over it.
    Thank you so much for sharing this Story , as Reading all the Oh my Gosh moments,
    the angry moments, the Love moments, the happiness moments, the I can’t believe that you just did this moments to the I can’t believe that your are Gone moments 🙁 to You wasnt here Long enough Moments. God Bless and many Prayers, it doesnt go away but somewhat gets a little easier in time

  49. What can I say, other then you are so right. I have been through losing a pet numerous times, three of them were dogs. My last dog Pepper was a big black Belgian Sheepdog-Shepard. He was diagnosed with nose cancer and given 6 months. This news hit us very hard. Unfortunately the doctor was right on the money when he gave us that timeline. His cancer spread from his nose to his brain and I knew then there was no turning back. I was faced with that horrible decision as there was nothing no one could do from this point on. That day I felt so many different emotions like heartache,guilt and anger. I knew having to put Pepper down was the right thing to do so he wouldn’t suffer in pain, but I couldn’t help but think I had let him down. That the fear he was feeling at the doctors was all my fault because I was the one who brought him there. I never wanted another dog because the pain I felt in that one day was so unbearable that I refused to allow myself to go through that again. It’s been 22 years since I said goodbye to my special friend, but I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I also gave in and allowed not one but two dogs into my home again. Being older myself I have been able to appreciate and enjoy them much more, however with Bentley being 9 and my Minnie a very sickly 7 with diabetes I can’t help but think about that dreadful day Pepper was euthanized. Why would I put myself through this again??? Why,because I could not live the rest of my life not being able to feel the love, happiness and companionship that our dogs so willingly bombard us with. I know some day I will once again suffer that great pain of having to say goodbye but after all that they have given me over these past almost 10 years, it’s the least I can do for them. I don’t know if I’ll get another dog when both Bentley and Minnie go, although I don’t think that I can live without the unconditional love and companionship of another dog.

  50. Very well written and it really hits home with me. I’ve had many dogs through my life, all different breeds, temperments and personalities. The one thing they shared was the ability to love unconditionally. It was heartbreaking saying good-bye to them. After each one, I thought there was no way I’d get another dog, it hurts too much to lose them. But it was worse not having one. I’d get another and enjoy the honor of having such a wonderful companion. So the best thing a person can do is to give the unconditional love back, play with, feed, comfort, and keep their dog healthy. Enjoy every minute with them as much as they enjoy the time with you. And say good-bye to them with all the love and comfort you have.

  51. I agree 100% with every word written. At age 75 my most traumatic experience ever occurred 20 mos ago when we lost our Lucy. I have not been the same since. We could not replace Lucy, but we got another yorkie,
    Brooksie, which I love dearly, but
    She is not Lucy! We only had Lucy 5 yrs, then one hight we let her out, something was looming in the yard and she gave chase never to be seen again. We spent several months and thousands of $$ to no avail. Today’s article came very close to home. I had to read in two sessions because of the tears and emotion.
    Thank you so much for sharing your time of sorrow.


  52. This is the best expression of the human/canine relationship I’ve seen. Our dog Chu Liang passed away last August. We also lost a beloved cat last month. The expression “It’s just a dog” also applies to a family cat. We have been devastated. I’ve been wondering lately if people knew that their child would die after only 10-15 yrs would they still have children. But that’s exactly what happens with pets. Thanks again for writing your story. You are a good man.

  53. I have 4 dogs and understand exactly what you mean….I hear many ppl say when their dog dies they will not get another because it is too painful…It is horrible the pain is consuming but I think they are angels sent from God to love and protect us-and to teach life lessons…and I think when they leave they are making room for another..I believe we should love as many as we can in our lifetime. When I take in a new baby it helps me heal. Not that another dog can replace the one you lost..but I have a way to channel my pain into love..

  54. Our family faced putting down our Marley a few years ago. I can relate to every statement you wrote about. He was a lab mix. HIs last year left him with hip displasia. We did everything to keep him comfortable knowing the day would come to where we would have to put him down. He spent his last 6 months enjoying the outside. I spent all my time with him. Anything I could do sitting in my backyard to be with him I did. Spread a blanket out for us to lay on and be together. I made the comment that I never knew I could love a dog so much. I do understand unconditional love he gave to our family. We have since adopted 2 dogs and love them both. Thank you for this beautiful article 🐾💕🐾