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 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 Confused dog Dr siew Dog Death
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.

Dog Death Dr Siew Nugget Bacon Yoghurt
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 Bathing Dr Siew

Nugget, 2007-2016
Dearly Missed, Now and Forever










    • Better: We should love and treat our dogs – and all animals – with the same love as they treat us. People often treat dogs in ways dogs would never treat them.

      • You are So Right. Unfortunately, Humans are Incapable of Such Total Unconditional Love and Giving. We are a Selfish Species. So Very Unlike The Dog and So Many Other Beautiful Animals in Our World.

          • Then where do hellhounds come from? What about this male dog that murdered his own puppy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpNlifsOtXU Why does he get a free pass for murder but not a human? I call BS. Either hell doesn’t exist or heaven is full of horrible people with double standards, either way i am not interested in one or the other, sign me up for reincarnation somewhere far away from this place.

      • ABSOLUTELY, CLAIRE! Dogs are angels on earth – only on loan – it’s devastating when they are taken back.

        • We are all spirits here on Earth for a while and we then move on to another place. But as for the pain of losing a loved pet being harder than losing a relative,there has never been anything harder as losing your mother or father,siblings or children. Once you experience that in your life you enter a new stage in your life. We have lost many pets and miss all of them. But it still saddens my heart that I lost my father and later my mother.

          • Michael, I am sure that this may be true for you. But not everyone is so close with their siblings or parents. For some, it’s sadly not such a loss. For many of those people, their animals helped so much with coping and happiness. (For the record, I just cannot even let myself think about losing my parents. It sickens me)

          • Next month it will be 19 years since I lost my mom. She was 49. Way too young, and i miss her every day I think I hurt and miss her today almost as strongly as the day she died. Time past hasn’t dulled my pain very much. That being said —- I lost my daisymamababygirl 14 weeks ago today. I have literally cried every single day since. Sometimes hysterically, hyperventilating, ugly crying. I am devastated. Th I don’t see how I will make it without her. My point is – everyone is different – I’ve lost my mom, a boyfriend as a teenager, my truest realest friend still to this day, a best friend of my brother …. grandparents, uncles, etc. I have never felt this type of pain, I know its cliche but the only way to describe it is that part of me died with her. She was only 4 and a half. Dear God how will I survive when my dexter goes? He’s 9 and a half. I cant even. Why am I even writing this. I swear if I go to post this and the website tries to take me on some digital obstacle course I may just lose it. I love you so much my DaisyLizabeth. I miss you so much. I am so sorry. You were sucha sucha sucha good girl. My baby, my mama and my baby mama

          • I have lost my mother and my aunt which was like my second mother, and i gotta say i am more hurt in now that i lost my dog (Ace). Its a hard statement, but thats how i feel.

          • I lost my father to sudden death when he was 56 years old. I also lost my grandmother. whom I adored a year and a half ago. I will tell you, the recent loss of my almost 15 year old dog, who died suddenly after a wonderful day together, in my arms, ( 1 week ago today) has hit me nearly as hard. I was NOT prepared for the amount of pain I am feeling. My chest literally hurts from crying, the house energy is shifted, the everyday routine with her gone, lonely, defining quiet, and overwhelming sadness. My children have moved out, I am often home alone. It has been BRUTAL.

          • That’s your experience.But others who have been beaten and abused. by their families,its only natural a loving dogs passing was much more difficult.

    • We do love and treat people like that, BUT only dogs have always given back more than a million fold. People are cruel, malicious and intentionally hurt. Animals never. People ALWAYS DISAPPOINT.

      • Hello Amy. My name is vance and im 44. I really can connect with your statement that people always disappoint. Seems to me that there’s a real double standard in treating people as good as you can, but with a large part of our society so selfish n materialistic, with a sense of entitlement like we own the earth n everything in it, kindness is often mistaken as weakness. Ruthless people only look at what they can take from you while pretending to be friendly just long enough to take what they really want from you. I grew up abused every way but sexually. My family on my moms side thrives on drama n is self absorbed egotistical narcissists, along with being greedy n cheap. My dads side is very selfish n greedy, also cheap, but a few. Im none of this. I have no idea where I came from being raised by hyenas. Im a lone wolf n dont follow the herd. In being this way I’ve been ostracized by my moms side n my siblings whom I’ve always helped n repeatedly tried to bond with, unsuccessfully. Family isn’t real if hurt n deception is all thats available to you. Well, I’m 9yrs in therapy to break my family cycle. I have healers I see time to time, which I may add I was inspired to begin therapy from my adopted dog Simba. I too was following in abusive acts early on when I got him. I noticed i was wrong and he didn’t deserve that treatment. One day I seen him cowering in the corner of my garage wondering if I was gonna strike him n boom it hit me. He was me as a child, n I was my mom. I sat down on my garage floor and broke down for 2hrs. You know what he did? He walked to me n pressed his body into mine n let me hold him the whole time. Imagine. I began therapy soon after n treated him the best I could from then on. He was about 4 at the time n lived to almost 13. He was a blond sheppard/husky mix n grew to 116lbs, and as a 4 month pup he looked like baby simba in the lion king movie.
        When I spotted him at the shelter he came right to me. I knew right then he was mine. I said, hello simba. He was like my child. He passed august 24/2019. I was devastated for a good year n fell into a mild depression. He was my source of unconditional love which I never had as a child. He went everywhere with me. I had no idea his death would floor me. Honestly, I can’t imagine feeling this level of grief when my mom passes as I have no bond with her. It sounds cruel, but through therapy I’ve come to accept my family isn’t a real family. My life isn’t better with them in it. I have no anger or hatred towards any of them. I broke my family cycle but a sad reality to forgiveness is sometimes allowing those people back in your life isn’t healthy for you inner peace. I used to think n feel bad things towards my mom which I can now say were acts of revenge. I couldn’t be in the same room as her. About 2yrs ago I went to a Christmas dinner n she asked to hug me. I said yes. In doing so, I had no negative reactions or emotions. I ate dinner across from her n my inner peace was undisturbed. I knew I had healed in that respect. I also accepted, I cant change them, only myself. And I did. Thanks to my best friend Simba. He’s been my greatest teacher n im happy I was able to change n treat him as he deserved to be, and stopped abusing him. He was so loyal to me. Had he passed n I not changed im sure regret wouldve consumed me. A week after he passed, I had to get another animal. Infact 3 days later I searched the spca website n found Jack. An alaskan malamute/siberian husky mix. They saud he was 5, but hes been growing since i got him. So i think he’s in the 3yrs of age bracket cause a breeder told me they stop growing around 3. He was 83lbs when I got him aug. 31/2019, a week after I put Simba in the ground. He was severely abused n abandoned twice. Nobody could hand feed him at the shelter understandably. Well, first, he touched his nose to mine rightaway. That was simba’s behavior. We always touched noses. Then I got him to sit, eat from my hand, lay on his side, and fall asleep in 5 minutes. The workers couldn’t believe it. The supervisor said, well, we can’t do that n we had him 2 months. Jack is definitely yours. In fixing myself I carry no more anger, and animals resonate with that. He was calm with me. Now he’s 108lbs, cream white, and majestic looking. He looks like a white wolf. He needs a lot of affection in developing mostly malamute characteristics. Thanks to Simba I can now give him what he needs affectionately n emotionally. They like people very much n are very sensitive. I could not care for this animal had Simba not come into my life. He’s happy now, and very well cared for. I never had a person treat me as I treated Simba or Jack. I know not all people are horrible. However, in my life I’ve had a lot of disappointment with people. I keep to my animals mostly n care for them as they seem to appreciate you unconditionally. People do disappoint on many levels. In treatment of each other, the environment, and the animals in it. We forget a very important point; we need animals to survive, animals don’t need us to survive. Thank you for reading this. Im nit sure if your still on this site. Its my first time here. Its December 18, or 19th, 2020. Im not one to follow the calender on a day to day basis.

        • Vance, thanks for your powerful story, I can really relate to all of it… mom… guilty feelings about how I treated my girl when she was a puppy learning, etc… all of it. Thank you thank you thank you.

        • I never got out so much as I did from reading your story thank you for being so honest and truthful as you were and giving me a look into your past and the changes you went through I will always remember your story of your life event’s I’m sorry for the pain you went through and I’m so glad you seen that you needed to change I to was hurt as a child I understand what it can do to our development and our every day lives you have over came the abuse you got as a child not every one can.i lost my little guy angle boy 22 days ago and I’m still crying for him he got bit by a big dog on his neck and his neck got broken he didn’t die right away.we rushed him to the vet.my friend put 750 dollars down and asked for them to save him.40 mins went by of them working on him and they came out and said we did what we could his brain is swelling so he had to be put down.we are so sad and sorry for not being more careful for him.so just want to put the message out don’t let big dogs around little dogs you never know how it will turn out or see it coming till it’s to late.the big dog was fine then out of the blue bit angle boys neck just one time and the damage was done.please learn from our pain and don’t let it happen to your little dog.i to got another puppy over a week ago and I love her very much and it helps some but I had angle boy for 13 years and I forgot all about the work little puppy’s can be with the chewing and bitting and potty training she is almost 10 weeks old now I wouldn’t give her up for the world .

  1. I went thru the same thing last year May, & the grief is really more than what I’ve felt when I lost my mum. Sometimes FB ‘timely reminders’ will bring back the happy memories, & sense of loss will kick in. Nonetheless I’m glad I had her & she had me.

  2. I Lost my soul mate black lab to Cancer 12/31/15 and I wanted to die too !! She was my World and still today I MISS her so very much and would give everything I own to have her back with me!!

    • lost my yellow lab 8/12/15 …. Sophie was 13 days short of turning 9 , she had her spleen removed and lived 45 great days till the 12th . (hemangisarcoma , blood cancer ) I feel like I died the day she left me ! All I hear is , ‘get another one ! At 73 I don’t really want the commitment or the expense . I too would give up everything to have her back ; I have no peace of mind since I lost her loving beautiful eyes ….. I’m miserable !

      • Wish you could be released from the grief soon. Sophie doesn’t want you being too sad too long which could hurt your health, right ?

      • I came on here to see how others dealt with thier loss, I also have a yellow lab. “Buddy” he has always had something wrong first a sist chopped that off then came a bad tooth that was on the back , it cost 1,700 to pull it…i didn’t mind to put up the money ’cause he was my buddy..but then he got worms and I paid 60.00 for three pills but it got rid of them 2 weeks after that and now…he has a softball bulge under his penis on the back “Today I realized it and how big it was..it’s hard ’cause i don’t have money for the vet…I know if I have to put him down he’s smart and will sence it and probably pull back. I don’t even hunt anymore since I got him..i now love all animals. i won’t get another dog and go thru this all over again..I’m thinking this next monday I might have to put him down, I pray to God that he would take him in his sleep. I really hope He does.

      • I’m so sorry for your loss. I just lost my puppy on Wednesday morning for the same as your loved one. It’s hard. The hardest thing I ever had to go through. Again I’m sorry.

      • I am so sorry. I hope you are doing better now? I am in the process of losing my dog. he is my world. However I want to be happy again. I don’t want to live in grief forever and I will seek counseling. Please know your dear dog would want you to be happy again. I wish there was a way for us to commuinicate. I pray things are better now!

      • I’ve lost my 3 year old puppie/best friend 4 days ago and I’m devastated I’ve lost dogs my whole life but I have never had this horrible feeling before Frankie was this 5 pound yorkie-poo I never had little dogs before so my wife and I decided to get Frankie what a great friend dog or whatever I can think of We adored him so Saturday night he wasn’t himself so we rushed him to the emergency veterinarian and find out that he was born with a spine disorder so Sunday morning we take him to a vet neurologist and then the worst thing was said to us there’s nothing that they can do to save him my heart has been ripped out of my chest and it’s getting worse and it’s not getting better I miss him every second of the day and Mikey his best friend is 2 yrs old is not himself since he’s been gone I’m so lost without him!

    • I lost my shorty Jack but to rehoming because I became critically ill with incurable disease. I gave him up because I couldn’t walk or care for him and he became afraid to approach me as I had changed physically from disease. Also on chemo drugs. I became hysterical the night he left and wanted him back even though selfish of me. Sadly he is gone forever and I want to die every day.

      • Judy
        I’m so heartbroken hearing your story !
        I know what it’s like to be alone & struggle from a chronic illness. And what happened to u is killing me. I don’t think u were being selfish at all for wanting him back. Just real courageous & strong. But please do not give up your fight. If u cannot get him back or see him again, U will see him in heaven one day. Our pets are there waiting for us. We have to make sure we will be there to see them again. I miss my dog terribly too.
        I hope u are doing well Judy and recovering your health.
        God Bless,

    • I just wanted to say how very sorry I am. I understand and my heart hurts for you. I just had to let my 17 1/2 year old little buddy, Yoshi, go on the 12th. It’s devastating. Sending you lots of hugs.

    • I had to force the euthanasia of family pet I got to care for for exactly one year. She was almost 17 and this is hurting me so much. Our whole family gathered at the vet’s office, two full vans of us, all sobbing. I am having a tougher time with this, I think, more than any other pet loss. It hasn’t been quite 2 months but I miss this poor dog. I should have had her put down long before we did, but she wasn’t even mine, so it wasn’t my decision, but we let her suffer too long and I might never get by that fact. I hope she has forgiven me.

      • I have been grieving for the past month and a half for my sweet boy, Luke. I have been struggling with immense guilt because I had to leave him overnight at the emergency room, only to return the following day to put him down. He didn’t seem to recognize me when I returned, and I hate myself for having left him there. He trusted me, and I let him down, hard. I’m teetering on the brink of depression, I can tell. But, as I’m lying awake here, sobbing well past midnight and scrolling the net for coping support this evening, I came across something that I believe will help. Our pets forgive us like no other. Our pets forgive us even when they shouldn’t. My sweet Luke, in fact, was never mad at me, ever. He didn’t even have to forgive me because he never found fault with me. So, why would it be any different in death? I know he’s pain free now and nothing can be changed anyway no matter how much I grieve, bargain, cuss, or scream. And perhaps what will bring some final peace is knowing that he forgives me for my mistake; and for Luke specifically, he probably never saw it as a mistake in the first place. I wish you all well in your recovery—our beloved furbabies do too. RIP Luke, April 19, 2019

        • Thank you for this comment! I needed to hear this.
          My baby was 12 1/2 had CHF for 2 years. He succumbed to kidney failure.
          The vet agreed to letting him come home so family could say goodbye. After my mom came by he suffered a massive heart attack!!! Couple of jolts in his body and it absolutely devastated me!!!
          He passed 8-31 and I am still balling!!!
          Omg Monte forgive me!!!!! I am in unbearable pain!!!!

        • I am going through the same thing my boy (Ace) got run over a couple days back. My heart is broken didn’t now a human can experience so much emotional pain after losing a family.

          • Had to put my sweet chocolate down 2 days ago from complications to diabetes. He was 10 years and 4 months. I am so devastated. He was my everything. I hope we both can deal with this immense grief and be happy. Hugs to you

  3. It is very gut-renching when you have to make that decision to give them release from their pain and discomfort that they have to experience because of their age. My wife and I have had up to six dogs at one time, all “foundlings” as we like to call them. In our 20 years together, we have had to say a tearfully goodbye to six of our companion dogs and it has always been terribly painful. But, their unconditional love for us and companionship they have brought to our lives is enormous! We believe that they are all waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge!

  4. After 15 years I lost my dog, it’s been 8 months and I just can’t get over it, for lack of a better explanation. By far he was my best friend. Never more than feet from me, we did everything together. I have seen other dog owners that had this bond, so there must be something I can do. My whole life has changed, it’s a different life alltogether. I’m not the person I was.

    • Talk about it. To anyone. Tell the story of you and your dog and their death, over and over. Eventually the telling gets easier. It’s been 12 years since my dog died and it took at least 5 before I made it through telling someone without breaking down. I suspect it was the telling it over and over that helped me eventually come to terms with it. I stopped feeling compelled to tell it after a few years. Now it sometimes pops up in conversation and I can usually talk about it without falling apart completely.

      Hang in there. It gets better. ❤️

      But know that you can never find another dog like yours. But you can find a different dog equally worthy of love.

    • Your lovely friend would not want you to be this sad and would want you to find a new companion to give your love to. So many dogs are needing friendship like yours and are waiting to be found. Go find one and you will be rewarded – again and again. Good luck for future happiness!

    • I’m so sorry, Steve. We have adopted a number of senior dogs, so have been through this loss… This quote, from “The Once Again Prince” by Irving Townsend, has always been comforting to me. Hope it is to you as well. And I hope you will be able to bring another worthy dog into your home and your heart. Losing them is hard, but never having them at all — well, I can’t imagine…

      “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan . . .”

    • I know exactly what you mean, Steve. My Ernie died 4 1/2 months ago from a fast growing cancer. He was my heart and soul and helped me through both parents’ deaths plus a sister. We were together 24/7. When I go to buy cat food for my rescues, I can’t even look down the dog food isle. I have to turn my head. I love my cats but there is nothing in this world deeper than the love of a dog. Like you, I don’t know that I will ever get over it.

    • I know i just lost mine. I am so lost and devasted. He followed me everywhere, slept with me,sat with me etc. It is so hard. But we must remember the good times and be blessed we had something so special!!! Hugs

  5. My puppy was hit by a car at 16 months old. She was my entire world. It happened 4 months ago today and I can honestly say that this has been the worst 4 months of my life. They are truly so incredible and the pain of losing them will never go away.

  6. I lost my childhood dog last year, just a few days short of my wedding. This dog was around in my teenage years, through college and many heartbreaks. I was completely broken, cried for days, and to this day I still randomly burst into tears when I think about her. Thank you for that article, everything you wrote was so bang on. I think it will really help people who are going through this, it is so important to take the time to grieve and to understand that it is perfectly normal.

  7. I had a basenji 8 years and my neighbor was putting poison for the rats.A sick rat came here and my dog must have ate some of it.I had to put her to sleep broke my heart she was a part of me…..So you grieve as long as you want to.My Prissy has been gone since 2009 i got a puppy to help with the grief,His name is Little Man he is a chiweenie.Loving loving dogs.

  8. Thank you for this article. It’s 29 days since my best friend left me, and it’s sooo hard. She taught me so much and I miss her so.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart! I lost both of my dogs, within 6 months of each other, back on 2014. Pieces of my heart left with both of them, but I vowed to take care of myself and help others in this situation. I gave myself 6 months to grieve before I would consider getting another dog…it took 9 months until I was truly ready to open up my heart again.

    There are so many resources/support groups now a days to help us through this heartbreaking stage of life…to heal your heart. May we all learn something from this difficult process: that we are resilient and CAN process through this pain, to open our hearts once again to the Magic of another Furry Being! Opening your heart to a new baby is not the same as “replacing” your pet that passed…it will always be different energy and they will have their own unique personality that will surely melt your heart!

    Sending love and light to all that have gone, or will go, through the pain of losing a pet.

    • Thank you, we just said good bye to our beloved Rusty. Grieving for his suffering and our loss of a companion. This post is helpful.

  10. This week I just lost my 8 year old Dogue de Bordeaux baby boy. His name was Porthos. I’m 40 and Porthos was my first pet dog. Throughout the years, I lost my dad, mom and 3 years ago I lost my husband. I don’t have any human children, just pet children. My husband and I got Porthos when he was 8 weeks old. After my husband passed away, I had a very hard time but my baby boy got me through everything. Porthos was the reason I woke up everything morning. My world revolved around him and my personal and work schedule were planned around Porthos’ needs first. In April I found out he had terminal heart disease and we went through so much until a few days ago when he collapsed in the ER and passed. I won’t even try to describe the pain I’m feeling now. No words can describe it. I won’t try to describe what he meant to me. No words can describe that. All I can say that every time I looked into his eyes, the calm and love and loyalty and assurance I saw was something that I had never experienced before with any other living being before, be it animals or humans. I have another dog, a Boston Terrier and I love her…but my baby boy Porthos was my soul mate. Learning to live without him is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. How is it even possible to love a dog this much?

    • I feel your hurt. I put my little man down 1/2/18. He made it to 13 and a day. He was with my wife and through our wedding, both my parents deaths, moving from apartment to apartment to a house with a bay window and a back yard for him to play and run in. Was with us in the good time and the bad. His love and wisdom carried us through everything and made our family complete. He was a teacher to a new dog we bought into our circle and a protector when we had our daughter. The house and family he made feels cold and empty most of the time where now we just sit in the bedroom missing my Sam Wise. I replay from when he started showing issues in September to the moment he took his last breath on the Drs table wondering what I could have done different. But there was nothing I could have done different and nothing I could have done to change the outcome. I’m 41 now and that little boy being gone breaks me down like a 5yo boy crying. I tell people when we got him we didn’t pick him he picked us and wanted to show us what unconditional love was all about. True Angel sent by God to teach us what unconditional love was. Miss my man Sam. I know he is in heaven with mom and dad playing no longer in pain. I miss you handsome. R.I.P and thank you for everything you taught me and making this family what it is. Sam Wise 1/1/06-1/2/19

  11. This week I just lost my 8 year old Dogue de Bordeaux baby boy. His name was Porthos. I’m 40 and Porthos was my first pet dog. Throughout the years, I lost my dad, mom and 3 years ago I lost my husband. I don’t have any human children, just pet children. My husband and I got Porthos when he was 8 weeks old. After my husband passed away, I had a very hard time but my baby boy got me through everything. Porthos was the reason I woke up everything morning. My world revolved around him and my personal and work schedule were planned around Porthos’ needs first. In April I found out he had terminal heart disease and we went through so much until a few days ago when he collapsed in the ER and passed. I won’t even try to describe the pain I’m feeling now. No words can describe it. I won’t try to describe what he meant to me. No words can describe that. All I can say that every time I looked into his eyes, the calm and love and loyalty and assurance I saw was something that I had never experienced before with any other living being before, be it animals or humans. I have another dog, a Boston Terrier and I love her…but my baby boy Porthos was my soul mate. Learning to live without him is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. How is it even possible to love a dog this much?

    • I could have written this about my sweet 10 year old baby boy dog, Sampson. He too had a heart problem and died one night very unexpectedly. He died as I was rushing him to the animal hospital. I did not know he had stopped breathing right before we made it to the hospital as he was unresponsive when I put him in the car but he was breathing. When we got to the hospital, they were able to bring him back once but he just couldn’t hold on any longer and passed away. I never thought that I would return home that night without my baby boy. Earlier in the day he had been outside barking at other dogs and just having a good time like he did every afternoon when we would go outside. I’ve had many dogs throughout my life and I loved them all, but there was something different about Sampson. He was the best friend I have ever had and I will never not miss him. I still cry about him all the time if I start remembering all our times together. Anyone who has ever shared this type of love with their pet definitely understands and agrees that their pet was much, much more then just a pet. I have faith one day that Sampson and I will be reunited. I pray one day too that I can remember our times together without tears running down my face as they are doing now. Sending my love to all the pets and the people that have lost their fur babies. I’m thankful that we all got to experience this kind of love. I heard a saying and I’m sure I’m not quoting it right but it was something like this – if you have never grieved, then you have never loved.

  12. I understand more than Id like about the grieving step…my little man “Buddy” was taken from me 8 months ago in a horrific manner. He was a small statute Chihuahua with a big heart…A pack of wild dogs killed him in my front yard in front of my children…devestated is an understatement. …we was my only friend and loved me regardless of what others felt…we was my soulmate…we will meet again with all our loved ones…even the furry ones….!!!

  13. Beautifully put, My life without a dog would not be a good life, My hubby and I both grew up with dogs and thus so have our children. I remember all the dogs in my life and look forward to being reunited again. Our rescue boy currently asleep on the floor behind me as I write this message, I would not have it any other way.

  14. My beloved Briggs passed this past February. It ripped me apart. This was the third dog I have lost during our long marriage, and it never gets easier, and yet I got another dog……to go through it all yet again. Would I give up the 10 years I had Briggsie to love and be loved by him just so I wouldn’t have to go through the grief at the end? An emphatic NO is my answer. There are so many homeless dogs who need a good home, and that is always my deciding factor to let another worm his way into my heart. Dogs, to me, are God’s greatest gift.

  15. I can totally relate to this. When my beloved Stefani passed away, i felt like my whole world crashed and i didnt know how to live on, but thankfully i found a grief support group of dog lovers online called Rainbow bridge. I still think of her everyday for the past 3 years since she passed on. None of my friends could understand and many kept telling me to get a new dog to replc my sadness. It is ok i don’t blame them but i know a bond between a dog and a human is somewhat a mystery at times but deep down, it is a heartfelt love which can never be replaced. Thank you for sharing, your Nugget looks happy and contented just being with you. 😊 I’m sure he is always and will be part of you no matter. Till we see them again at Rainbow bridge someday. God bless.

  16. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your feelings. I agree completely with Dr Siew’s thoughts about why we experience grief for our dogs even more intensely than for most humans. My sister died two months ago after a long illness and I coped. But when my little Potter (MR Potter, actually–‘Pot’ to me), Shi-tsu poodle aged 15 years and 9 months died on 12th August I wrote in my diary “the end of the world”. That said it all………… He had been with me from a puppy, and had seen me through so many tough times, including those caused by highly-stressful jobs, marital separation and the consequent loss of my home. He, as many of you have said, was always there. In recent years, as his health began to decline, I took him everywhere I could, always arranged someone to be with him when I wasn’t, revolved my whole life around him. For the last two years I have essentially been his carer–spoon-feeding when necessary, taking him for walks at 2 am when he couldn’t sleep………..then taking him for painfully slow walks to keep his little lungs going. Some people think I was mad–but I don’t have a single second of regret for doing this. I kept his quality of life quite good, and full of love, good food–and fun, when he could manage it.

    But then, when he had a bad reaction to a new painkiller, and a possible stroke, things looked bad. The vet said that, if he improved in the first few days, he could almost completely recover from its effects. And the brave little man fought so hard, initially not being able to stand or walk properly, but, within two days, progressing to being able to walk around the garden virtually unaided. It was particularly cruel that, at that moment, his breathing declined, to such a degree that, after sitting up with him for three nights, I had to take the terrible decision. I had him sedated first, and so he slowly, literally, ‘went to sleep’ in my arms. The last thing he saw was my face comforting him; the last thing he heard was my voice saying that I loved him……..I did all I could.

    But I’m sure you’ll all experience the guilt afterwards–different in every case, of course. With me, it was for not checking the dosage of that painkiller–I fear the vet may have overdosed him–for not supporting his little head so that it dropped a little at the end………even, perhaps, for not pursuing a possible arthritis treatment that I have only just heard about. I’m sure you are feeling guilt of some kind as well. To make things even worse, I caught just a glimpse online of a song title that reminded me of words that summed up the terrible sadness of his passing. I won’t repeat them because they will upset you too…….

    Two weeks on and I am still grieving, of course. But I have learned how to grieve over the years, and the Rainbow Bridge concept helped a lot. I have also found solace in two other things–you may find these help you, or not………Associating with other dogs helps me: their own life and vitality and love shine forth to me; I take a friend’s dog for a daily walk and she lets me have him at home while she is out. Now I have my stepdaughter’s incredibly lively cocker-poo for a week whilst she is on holiday. His boisterous love also helps. I know this will not work at all for some people. But it is not a case of replacing my Potter–that could never be done. I have also found lighting a small scented tea-light at bedtime enables me to talk to him and light him to his bed in Rainbow Bridge. I love that idea, and it brings me some comfort.

    It does heal, although the grief will always be with you. It helps to remember all of the things you did RIGHT for the one you have lost…..

    I send you all my love.


    • I bought our Leah as a puppy when two of my children were very young. We had decided we would stop at two children and it was time for another dog (previous dogs before children). A friend had some German shepherd puppies for sale and I went to have a look, as I’m great believer that a dog will choose you, not you choose them, I stood in the pen and this small ball of fur approached me and sat at my feet. It was live at first sight, so she came to live with us. A day or do later I found out I was having another baby and eventually a fourth child would bless our family. Not to mention we lived in a court with 11 other young children. My house was the place to be and at anytime we would have at least 10 small children running around screaming and playing in our yard and in the centre of the organised chaos was our Leah. She was gentle, kind, protective, sympathetic, showed empathy and loved everyone of those children with all her heart. I never left the children alone with her but she never showed one ounce of aggression ever toward anyone of these children. My son at three, after kinder would come into the house, go to the cupboard take a couple of biscuits and head straight out the back door and onto the back step. I would Potter around bringing this in from the car or unpack his bag and head down the hallway to check in them. There my son was sitting in the step feeding her biscuits, chatting to her about his day. She sat intently looking up at him with adoring eyes. She was his best friend. He would lay on her, open her mouth, hold her tail and just pester her constantly, she would raise her head as if to say oh it’s just you and go back to sleep. She was the sweetest dog ever. At the ripe old she of 16 years we made the decision to put her down due to ill health and a second cancerous tumour. Surviving an operation at that age was not recommended. She could hardly stand, she was blind and as deaf as a post but still she never showed any sign of aggression. It broke all our hearts to have to say goodbye to her. She was older than two of my children and loved by every kid in the street. My husband and I couldn’t bare to watch her leave this world so we waited outside I know regret my decision to not be there for her last breathe but the thought of it was too heartbreaking. However we could not leave her at the Vets so we had her cremated and brought her home to continue to watch over us. She sits on the mantel along with another family pet we lost several years later. It was definitely one of the Saddest days in mine and my families lives. Everyone grieved differently. Even now 10 years on it still brings tears to my eyes. She was one of a kind. Happy to say we have two more gorgeous German shepherds that demand our attention, one 12 and the other 3. They now love my grandchildren. Dogs are definitely a blessing.

  17. Please, please, please to all of you grieving the loss of your animal companion, consider the healing powers of ceremony and ritual. There are Celebrants out there who can craft a ceremony that will be supportive and while it doesn’t end the grief it can help process it.

  18. Dogs are love. Pure and simple. We have been where you are- lost our beloved doggie unexpectedly at just a bit over 10 years old. I rescued another dog, and – of course she is not a replacement, but an addition- our new doggie helped our hearts heal. We gave her the same middle name as her predecessor- Ezra Tulip bequeathed her dogbeds and toys to Basil Tulip (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BasilTulip/).

  19. We lost our sweet Chocolate Lab “Cash” last year and I still cry because I miss him so much. This story put my feelings into words. He was our constant loving companion thru difficult times. He kept us going when we didn’t feel like doing anything. He also kept peace in the family because he hated it when people were angry and nobody wanted to upset the dog.

  20. I wish to share my harrowing experience with an irresponsible vet who put me and my recent rescue Jammy in so much distress!I’ve rescued numerous dogs.Some have passed and recently I lost my Jothi after 14 years of love and friendship.Jimmy I found with a fracture for days living on neighbours feeding him but exposed to rain and harsh weather.I took him in because I couldn’t bear to see him suffer anymore.I brought him to a vet At Klinik Veterinary Amping where Jammy was sedated to have a plaster on his leg.I explained to the vet that I have seven rescues and to be reasonable on charges but yet I was charged the standard rates.After bringing home Jimmy, a few days later,I noticed a deep gash on his leg and the vet claimed it’s my negligence and the plaster had to removed.Later he charged me for removing it and medication and told me I had to deal with it and he can’t do anything further.With a very heavy heart I brought him back in more pain and suffering than he was in the beginning.Now I treat him with medicinal herbal oils vowed never to go back there again.Vets are only interested in cash and lack compassion as most of us rescuers who spend our own time and money to save their lives.Jothi who passed is still in my heart and soul every day.I visit her, talk to her and pray for her.Im also Vegan because I love animals and the planet that much

  21. Thank you for this wonderful article. I had just let my beloved dog outside just as I had done a thousand times before. She then made two steps and suddenly collapsed, I tried my best to give her CPR from the knowledge that I had but my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, it was all too sudden. I didn’t know it until after the Emergency room visit that she had taken her last 2 breaths in my arms. Somehow my mind kept telling me that she was going to be ok and that she just fainted or something, we had too much history for her to leave so soon and so sudden. I spent hours at the ER this morning and we exhausted every option we had to try to save her but we were unsuccessful in every attempt. We said our goodbyes just before the sun came out, it has been one of the hardest things we’ve been dealt with. She was 4 years old which makes her 28 in human years, I’ve known people longer than that who have never come close to giving me the unconditonal love that my dog has given me. I am just grateful that the good times will always outweigh the bad and that my dear girl was able to teach me how to love deeper with the time we spent together. You will always be in our hearts Cherie <3

    (While at the ER during the whole ordeal I met a 14 year old female dog who had a heart problem, the owner told me that she was approaching her last days. She kept walking up to me and giving me her love every 5-10 minutes. She kept this smile that I will never be able to truly describe. It was as if she was telling me that everything was going to be ok. Her smile lit up the room even at 4am. I later found out that she had crossed over while I was there. She only blessed me with her presence for a few hours but the impression she left on me will last forever. It was as if she accepted her fate and wanted me to know that when our time comes, All we can do is smile and leave gracefully . <3

  22. Your story touched my heart.. I know how it feels to lose a beloved pet… Bless your heart and may Nugget RIP… You took great care of Nugget.. You’re a great pet parent

  23. I still mourn the loss of my dog Ricky even three years later. It was harder than when my father passed about a year and a half later. With my dad there was a sense of relief, that he wasn’t in pain any more; that he had a good life. Don’t get me wrong, I still think about Dad everyday. But with Ricky there was a sense that I had failed him somehow. That no matter how hard I tried to protect him and care for him, it wasn’t enough. When he got sick, the end was so quick as well. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But I also knew that choosing to ease his pain was the most important thing I could do to honor our relationship. It was also the hardest thing I had to do. Here’s the site I created to help me deal with his loss. I still look at it. At least now when I look at it the pain is eased by some wonderful memories.

  24. thanks for writing this. 12 years ago we rescued a mom (Leenie) and her pup (Pete). We had to put mom down on March 1, 2017 and he was completely lost without her. Everything happened so fast – he got sick and we had to put him down on July 11. Our hearts are broken

  25. Thank you so much. This is beautiful. I would add this: They never betray you. There are never mixed emotions about the time they hurt you in some ways because THEY NEVER DO!

  26. Confused was my state when my husband decided to call our marriage a quit after a long separation, given up was my only hope and at the last minute of me giving in to my husbands decision, i got hold of Prophet Mike contact through an old college mate i confided in with my marriage problems. 2days was all it took Prophet Mike to heal my marriage and restore a wonderful relationship with me and my husband. There is sure wonders with Prophet Mike, reach him on purityspell @ gmail.com today before considering a divorce…..Yuda Tama

  27. The words of Dr Siew ring so very true.. We had to make the devastating decision on the 5th of August to guide our Bobby on his journey over the Rainbow 🌈 Bridge. To look at him.. you would think they’re was nothing wrong with him.. yes, a little grey in the fur around the eyes it’s true.. but in a humans, some people would say that a few hints of grey has the look of sophistication. Other than the tell tale white “T” in the fur on his chest and his shape, you wouldn’t know that he was part Staffie.. his mother was a pure bread Staf but she must have felt a bit.. shall we say “Amorous” one night.. and had a bit of a fling with a Lurcher. There’s another thing that the K9 world shows us.. “Looks aren’t everything” when it comes to finding a partner. When we went to view the pups, Bobby stood out from the rest.. all be it there was only 3 left from a litter of 8, but he was the one that stole our hearts. He just laid in the corner of his pen.. lifted his head from under his front legs and gave us that look, those “Poor Little Me” eyes, and that was it, he had us Hook Line and Sinker. The bond between dog an human was instantaneous. In the months and years to come it became obvious that he had the love, affection and intelligence of the Staffie.. always wanting to be at your side whether it be walking, sitting or asleep, he was never far away.. and very very smart.. but from a young age it became obvious that he was going to take after his dad, not only in the looks department, but OMG was he quick, that was definitely the Lurcher in him. We have a large playing field near us where we used to walk daily. I used to get him in the down position at one side of the field and I could walk away to the other side and he would just follow me with his eyes. Sometimes I could be 5 or 600 yes away and he would just watch me.. waiting for the signal.. and then he’d come tearing toward me so fast.. sometimes that fast that he used to bump into my legs before he could slow down in time.. then he’d lay on his back reaching from side to side while I rubbed his chest in praise for being such a clever boy.. OMG I miss that so much.!! He used to love playing his game with his ball, he would lay in the prone position with the ball between his front legs and his chin resting on it. When ever you made a move towards the ball he would start his little growl and move the ball closer into his chest with his chin.. and then when you finally reached in and got your hand on his ball he used to press down on it so that you couldn’t get it out from between his legs.. OMG I miss that so much.!! In reality it’s not the “THAT” I miss so much.. it’s “HIM” that’s left this gaping hole in our hearts.. one that can never be filled again. Although we have 2 more dogs and love them both immensely.. even though the 8 month old pup can cause more destruction that a notorious 20th century German dictator.. we still love him to bits.. but neither of them will ever have the same bond we had with our Bobby. Even though he was the runt of the litter and looked the part as well, everyone that met him fell in love with him.. he just had that personality..!! He always seemed to know when we were sad and managed to bring a smile back to our faces.. he knew when we were frustrated and managed to calm us down.. and knew when we were happy and revelled in the playtimes that came with it. The guilt we felt on the 5th August was unimaginable when we had to help him on his journey.. but our vet confirmed to us that it was the kindest thing to do and it would only have been a matter of time before the inevitable. We had our boy cremated the very same day and brought him back home with us where he belongs.. but the grief this man feels for what was truly “His Best Friend” has left a void that can never be filled.. but I take some solace in the thought that Bobby is just the other side of the Rainbow Bridge waiting for that signal again and I know he’ll come running to meet me as I make my crossing and we’ll be able once again to do all the good things we loved doing together.

    Thanks for listening to my story and thank you Dr Siew.. yes the grief is real, the pain is real and so are the memories.. it takes a special kind of person to be a dog person.. the world would be a better place if everyone was a true dog person..!!

  28. I bought our Leah as a puppy when two of my children were very young. We had decided we would stop at two children and it was time for another dog (previous dogs before children). A friend had some German shepherd puppies for sale and I went to have a look, as I’m great believer that a dog will choose you, not you choose them, I stood in the pen and this small ball of fur approached me and sat at my feet. It was live at first sight, so she came to live with us. A day or do later I found out I was having another baby and eventually a fourth child would bless our family. Not to mention we lived in a court with 11 other young children. My house was the place to be and at anytime we would have at least 10 small children running around screaming and playing in our yard and in the centre of the organised chaos was our Leah. She was gentle, kind, protective, sympathetic, showed empathy and loved everyone of those children with all her heart. I never left the children alone with her but she never showed one ounce of aggression ever toward anyone of these children. My son at three, after kinder would come into the house, go to the cupboard take a couple of biscuits and head straight out the back door and onto the back step. I would Potter around bringing this in from the car or unpack his bag and head down the hallway to check in them. There my son was sitting in the step feeding her biscuits, chatting to her about his day. She sat intently looking up at him with adoring eyes. She was his best friend. He would lay on her, open her mouth, hold her tail and just pester her constantly, she would raise her head as if to say oh it’s just you and go back to sleep. She was the sweetest dog ever. At the ripe old she of 16 years we made the decision to put her down due to ill health and a second cancerous tumour. Surviving an operation at that age was not recommended. She could hardly stand, she was blind and as deaf as a post but still she never showed any sign of aggression. It broke all our hearts to have to say goodbye to her. She was older than two of my children and loved by every kid in the street. My husband and I couldn’t bare to watch her leave this world so we waited outside I know regret my decision to not be there for her last breathe but the thought of it was too heartbreaking. However we could not leave her at the Vets so we had her cremated and brought her home to continue to watch over us. She sits on the mantel along with another family pet we lost several years later. It was definitely one of the Saddest days in mine and my families lives. Everyone grieved differently. Even now 10 years on it still brings tears to my eyes. She was one of a kind. Happy to say we have two more gorgeous German shepherds that demand our attention, one 12 and the other 3. They now love my grandchildren. Dogs are definitely a blessing.

  29. May the good memories that Nugget left with you be a source of comfort in times when you miss him. Continue to love other dogs, your heart is so big it can accommodate lots of loving fur babies.

  30. THANK you for this heartwarming article, as I chose to not be a parent to a human, my dog is everything to me and the love runs deep, and I will surely save this article for when the time comes.

  31. This article is so unbelievably offensive to people who HAVE ACTUALLY GONE THROUGH REAL TRAUMA! I love my dog and have already lost two dogs. IVE ALSO LOST MY MOM AND LOST MY SISTER WHEN SHE WAS 10 years old! This article is disgusting and really shows how sheltered and unsympathetic to the rest of the world you are. Some people are abused by their parents, some kids lose their parents, some people are brutally raped and assaulted, some people live in war torn countries and some parents lose their children – like mine did when my 10 year old sister died when I was 5. How dare you write this after never having experienced REAL trauma and take zero account into those who have. So offensive and absolutely ridiculous. Gout and the loss of a grandparent? Please! I guess you are lucky if you think losing a dog is the worst thing that can happen in your life.

    • To each his/her own. I respect your sentiments but disagree. Losing my dog was by far the WORST loss I’ve ever experienced, worse than losing my father, mother, grandparents, and brother.

      • I know this is an older response from everyone but the story about Nugget so touched my heart and I feel the same as the author. The loss of my 13 1/2 year old Corgi, Bubba, was the most devastating experience I’ve had in my 72 years. Bubba died from the hellish disease DM(Degenerative Myelopathy) this past February. I felt so helpless to help him as there was no cure for this progressive, incurable disease that slowly takes away their abilities, one leg at a time until he became a quadriplegic back in June 2017.

        I watched my Mom in the hospital slowly leave me as I witnessed the breath of life leave her that day 16 years ago I cried, sure, I grieved but it was not to be compared with watching my boy leave me that morning when DM had attached his respiratory system over night. I wanted to die with him and jump in the hole out back along side of him. I considered suicide twice and got close once. The pain, turmoil, loss, devastation of having lost my precious boy was more than I could take. All was lost, everyone in my family was in the ground. I had no family left but Bubba and now he was gone, too. I loved him from the moment I brought him hone till that Monday morning, Feb. 26, 2018 he left me. If God ever made four legged angels, surely Bubba was one of them. Not a mean, aggressive bone in his body. Docile as a butterfly and meek as a dove he was as perfect as you’d ever hope for. It’s going on six moths now and I still cry every day. I go out and talk to him 2-3 times a day. Losing my Mom, Dad, only sister, and two younger brothers was not to be compared to the great loss and devastation of having lost my little friend. Nothing is the same, the house is cold, lifeless and I’ve isolated myself and go nowhere I don’t have to All interests in former hobbies are gone. I just exist. I just want to go with him and hold him again.

        • david, i don’t have words to help you, i am just so sorry about what all has happened to you. we just lost our female basset hound on 4/4/21(Easter of all times). its only been few days but i have highs and lows. i hope this message finds you well, i see your post is a few years old but i wish you well. this is the 2nd basset hound we have lost in the last year. our other basset (male) was a loss but have gotten over him somewhat but our female basset that just died has been devasting to me. again, i really hope you are ok. in a way i can understand you not having any family and feeling so depressed.

      • I agree. It’s been 4 months since I lost my sweet boy Dax very unexpectedly and at a too young age of 4. My heart is forever broken. His death has been far worse than the death of my Dad (very unexpected) my Mom (who was ill for a long time) and my sister (she battled cancer). I am in agony and guilt. I am angry at the ER vet for delaying diagnostics and starting treatments. Dax was my soul. I don’t know how to move on without him

    • You have no clue! Whatever you interpreted from the comments that people made about the losses of their beloved pets was totally wrong! I did not see ANYTHING in these stories to identify these people as “not having or going through REAL trauma” in their lives! How dare you label these peopls as having no idea about REAL trauma! They are simply writing about their heart wrenching grief!! Obviously, you know nothing about EMPATHY and COMPASSION for someone else’s hurt and pain!! You’re pathetic!!

  32. I feel the same about my cherished cat Wiggles. He taught me so much about life and love. I am sad that he taught me about death so early in his life, only eight years old. His brother Squeaky and I miss his sweetness. My animals are the best friends ever. We are so fortunate to have animal friends in life.

  33. Been crying whilw reading this one Sir. I remembered my beloved baby that’s been killed by someone. 🙁

  34. i lost my beloved gregory 5 days after you wrote this! i am seeing it now for the first time. thank you for this and for capturing, and putting to words, what so many of us felt and feel! i’ll love and miss gregory forever!

  35. I can relate so much to this. I lost my pup 5 yrs ago this month and I still tear up when I think about her. Mainly Bc of my last memory of her was so terrible. Sassy was w me from the time she was a puppy, sleeping on the back of my neck til the day she had her accident. A friend of my hubby ran her over and I broke down on my living room floor pregnant w my now 4 yr old daughter as she lie lifeless in the street. It was so horrific I couldn’t even go out there w her. My husband had to get her for me. I cried for months and it started getting easier for me but it still hurts I think mainly Bc I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. She was with me at the best of time to the worst of times and she made me so happy. She was a min pin mix w white on her chest and she was a hopper lol. I miss her big brown eyes so much and her barking and tearing apart my trash when I’m not home. Mostly, I miss her sleeping w me in bed and cuddling w me on the couch and I’m so sad that my kids will never get to experience a life w her. She was hands down the best dog I ever had. And little she may have been but mighty she was. RIP Sassay girl💜😘🐾

  36. I have lost so many relatives in my life. My parents, all my grandparents, friends and i sometimes feel guilty that it hurts so much more losing my dog. He was my best friend. Always and forever Gizmo.

  37. I just read the first couple of paragraphs and viewed the pictures, and realized that tears are running down my cheeks at work. There is no comparison to the love between your furry family member and the connection we have with them. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and know that he had a wonderful and life filled with joy.

  38. I lost my Maggie six months ago to cancer. I still cannot get over the loss. There are times the least thing will set me off and I’ll cry uncontrollably for half an hour. Things that people say should make me happy like pictures of the two of us, movies of the two of us bring me no happiness only more grief. I got a new puppy and I love her dearly but she is what she is and Maggie is what she was. The two are not interchangeable and I would never try to expect her to be like Maggie. Our new dog was abused as a puppy and I like to think Maggie would have wanted me to give the new puppy the same love I gave her. At 64 you would think that it wouldn’t bother me as much but guess what it hurts. My greatest hope is that when it comes my time to go she will be waiting for me like she did when I came home from work. I’ve lost my Mother, Father and a lot of friends but just like the man said nothing in my life has hurt me like losing Maggie. She was my best friend, companion, child and most of all what kept the world sane for me. Miss and love you Maggie.

    • hello, a am sorry for your loss, i know your post is a few years old but i feel for you. i am also in your age group but also it tears me up when a pet dies, we lost our female basset hound on 4/4/21 and it hurts a lot. i have ups and downs during the day. I pray that God will let our pets in heaven and that they will be waiting for us and our family and friends.

  39. I lost my dog 3 years ago and I still mourn him. He was not just my dog, he was my baby and my best friend. The way he looked at me and was always there when I came home melted my heart. I told him good-bye when I went to work or left the house and gave him my full attention when I returned home. I did for him what he did for me; loved him unconditionally. I buried my baby in my favorite jacket and in that way I will always be with him. His name is Boshi “Gruntles” and he is still dearly missed.

  40. I’ve only had my little girl Luna for 5 years and as she is only five I hope she will live a hundred more, but I know I am in trouble because I already cry if I think about my baby passing on one day.
    I have never love something or someone in my life… dogs are amazing.

  41. We lost our Oliver in February and a day does not go by where I don’t miss him. It was the most miserable experience of my life to have to put him down. We will never replace him but will always own dogs. The blessing of loving them and being love by them is a kiss from God.

  42. Thank you for your caring words. Cooch died on August 9 at 4:15. We are still devastated. How do you go for a walk without him? He was my best friend. Today we found his baby pics. How precious was this golden. We are retired and he was our child. Feels good to know others go through this too. Even our kids don’t get it. He’s a dog! Thank you again and many blessings to all who shared their stories🙏🏻

  43. I lost my little dog and it has nothing on the pain I experience everyday from my child’s death. You do the mother’s of the world a disservice by comparing the two. When we get a dog no matter how much we truly love them we know that we will have 10 to 15 years or so with them. I have another dog i love veey much. i would be crushed if i lost him but would kill him with my bare hands if it would give me my son back.

    • You disgust me. How dare you tell someone their pain is less than yours because the species is different. The fact that you stated you would murder a defenseless animal as some type of Devils bargain also says a lot about what a disgusting human being you are.

      • Anon, YES, THANK YOU for setting Marion straight on this subject! Her comment is SO WRONG for all kinds of reasons. She fails to see the gist of these heart wrenching painful comments about people losing their beloved dogs. People such as her will never understand. There is no human vs. dog loss contest here! Good Lord!!

  44. Losing our Molly 9/1/2011 was very difficult indeed… yet losing my daughter less than 6 months later was worse. I still miss Molly very much and cry about losing her, but it is 2nd in line after losing my child. What I wrote in 2011 after we had to put her down due to cancer>>”One of the sweetest souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing left this earth last night in the arms of her mama. I wish I had been there to hold her and give her a final kiss and most of all to thank her for coming into our lives. This gramma will forever miss our little Miss Molly who graced us with her presence for almost 11 years. Protecting us and showing us how special a dog can be. Love you and will always miss you my sweet girl!!”

    • I agree. Losing a pet is difficult, but there is no sorrow in this world to compare with losing your child. Ever.

  45. I had to say goodbye to my baby Eevon December 22, 2017 and I’ve been having a really hard time with it. I had her for just 6 months shy of 17 years and 4 months shy of her 17th birthday. She was 2 months old and I was 16 we grew up together and went through the loss of my dad together 2 years later. That changed both of us she loved my dad just like I did and did anything to be near him. At almost 33 years old I don’t have human children, I might not ever have them but she was my child. That’s how I saw her and my best friend. I would never say my loss is worse than someone who has human children but I see humans and animals as children. I think the loss of any child, paws or hands is horrible and saddening.

  46. Thank you for your wonderful article, Dr. Siew. I lost my believed elderly, Yorkie, Gus, two months ago and I am still grieving deeply. This afternoon I was crying and googled “Dog Death the Most Difficult Time in my Life.” Your article came up. It was comforting to know that you understand the pain when losing a valuable member of your family. Gus was my companion, as I live on my own. I’m sorry for your loss of Nugget, who was an absolute sweetheart. Dogs are pure, innocent love. Nothing more and nothing less.

  47. I just put my dog to sleep 24 hours ago (as of this post), I spent 8 1/2 years with her. This is a dog with a bite history that no one wanted or could keep. She almost ended up at a shelter where given her history she would likely have been put to death alone and scared. I spent years working with her, with help from Cesar Millan’s guides on how to be a better pack leader, she did a complete 180, even the person that dropped her off at my house was amazed at how different she was, he said she was a completely new dog. I have always been proud of Mindy, always will be, best damn dog and friend anyone could ask for, why no one wanted her is a mystery that will likely never be solved.

    2 days ago when I left for work, she was just fine, 8 hours later, she had made multiple messes on the floor, and would not eat or drink anything. We took her to an emergency vet clinic, they gave her some IV fluids, an ekg/ultrasound, and ex-rays to see what was going on. Her heart rate was over 200, and was brought down to 160 by the time we left. We took her home that night hoping for improvement, that improvement never came. I took the day off work to be with her, to make sure she had the best chance to pull through, I offered her rice and cheese sticks, she would not eat, and I could not give her the medication that was given to us. I failed her, it was a total disaster. She got up to use the restroom and I gave her what was to be the last walk she would ever have, it was a small walk around the house, and I could see how difficult it was for her, this hit like a freight train going 200+. We had an appointment set for the next day at 11am, it was already 5pm when we took that last walk. My wife got home 2 hours later, and things went drastically down hill. We left at 7:30pm to go eat, we came back 1 hour later and she had defecated again, this time being nothing but a pool of clear liquid and blood. I wondered if she could make it through the night. We set her up in the middle of the hall between us both, where she liked to be. She tried to get up on her own and fell. 30 minutes later she shifted position and fell during that. in that last position she spent 45 minutes staring at me on my computer, I am not sure if dogs can make a pleading look on purpose with those eyes but damn it felt like it. She then tried to get up to come towards me like she usually does to either get my attention or just lay near me, her best friend. As she got up she immediately collapsed with a thud that felt like it shook the house, I personally watched this one happen from my chair 15 feet away. That fall will haunt me for the rest of my life, it was then that I realized we needed to do something, so I asked the question… is this really it? My wife gave me a look I will never forget, it was one of sadness and despair, we debated on waiting will 11am, but what kind of life was she living until then and would the outcome be the same. The decision had been made, as we wrapped her up in one of her favorite blankets she defecated a little again, this time all blood, it was not much but it was there. The emergency vet and vet tech’s were very supportive and my wife was told that she likely would not have survived the night. At 11:20pm Feb 16th the legacy that was Mindy ended, I watched her slip into unconsciousness and take that last breath and there was a pronounced smile, I am not sure if this is a chemical reaction or something else. What I was not ready for was the release of fluids out of her nose and mouth, it was not blood but clear liquid, this happened after she was pronounced dead, about 10-15 seconds but still rather sudden, and it sounded like she was choking but I was reassured that she was gone and was not in pain. I made a promise to Mindy years ago that I would never abandon her, and I would be there in the very end, she would not go alone.

    This is the single hardest decision I have ever made, and I question if it was the right one, if I betrayed her, if I failed her or let her down by not looking at any potential symptoms. Mindy’s estimated age (she was a rescue, her true age has never been known) is 15+. 6 months ago she was completely normal, or what seemed normal, over the last 6 months she started sleeping more, urinating and defecating more often and having more “accidents” in the house. Blood work from 9 months ago showed no abnormalities. I am not sure if there is anything I could have done or should have done, I feel like I failed her. This pain is like nothing else I have experienced, I have lost grandparents (watched one die in the hospital), I have lost other dogs as a child, it all hurt, but this is on a whole different plane of existence. This dog was more than a family member to me, we had a symbiotic relationship, we understood each other completely, I feel as if 1/2 of me is missing.

    Feel free to comment anything on this, not sure what it’s worth, I just wanted to share my experience. Thing is if I went back in time to the point where I was given Mindy, I would do it all over again without hesitation, that little girl was more than worth any amount of time I spent, and then some, I did not deserve a dog like her, and she deserved better than me.

    • So sorry about your Mindy, I am going through something similar with a 16 yr old boxer, she is in vets now over 24 hours, same symptoms, Im being told to let her go. Just so similar – the bond like no other. I have to beleive someday we will be reunited with them, how amazing that will be

  48. My jack russell max had to be put down on 27/2/2018 after the organs had spoiled he had been with me for 15 years is like losing a family member.

  49. Your article give me some comfort as as of now I’m still in mourning for the lost of my dog 1 day ago. He is with me for 9 1/2 years thru thick and thin. I still can’t get over the sorrow and guilt of not knowing soon enough that he has kidney failure and not seeking a vet because of financial reason. I’m just treating him myself which I’ve done many times in the past. You are right about everything you said in your article. I really can’t explain why I love my dog but when I read your article now I understand why. Some people who don’t own dogs that they treat as real companion or dog owners that just acquire dogs just to guard their house tied on a leash on their backyard will never understand us. They will just say it is a “just a dog” and some will ridicule.

  50. What a beautiful, raw, and emotional tribute! I teared up. Rest in the sweetest peace little one. May you meet again someday! Until then, run free sweet Angel.

  51. I have read your stories and feel for everyone here. I just lost my 11 yr old english bulldog Maggie yesterday. She had cancer in her front elbow and was limping, along with arthritis in her hips. She was on 3 different pain meds. It was the hardest decision i have ever had to make, as she was still eating and could go potty by herself. Maggie was my best friend and i just cant stop crying.

  52. Trauma is an interesting thing it happens when:
    the person is not expecting the event
    the person is not in control of the events
    there was nothing the person could do to stop the events from occurring.
    A dogs death can be traumatic but it isn’t always and it doesn’t have to be. It can just be sad without causing a trauma in a person’s life.
    But if you are traumatized by the death of your pet be careful about talking about it too much there is such thing as rehashing painful events too much.

  53. Thanks for writing your experiences. I put my dog Koko down yesterday. He was my puppy love.
    So hard to let go.
    He came into my life and I am a better human for it. We lived in multiple cities through many situations.
    A friend said to me earlier in the week that dogs are there for us much more than we are for them. I believe that is true. Their capacity for love and acceptance is amazing.

  54. This was beautiful, so well written and so true. God gave us dogs as a gift and although they live such a short time beside us…. they make a world of happiness while they are here with us. May your Nugget rest in peace in the rainbows of heaven.

  55. Landed on your website cuz I was trying to find answers to my unbearable grief, which keeps coming in waves. My senior dog passed away peacefully just yesterday. I thought I was mentally prepared but oh how wrong I was. I can’t even concentrate at work. I think back to the first day I adopted him from the shelter when he was a wee 1.5 years old . He was so perfect and kind, he wouldn’t even hurt a cockroach. The pain of loving is when you have to return him to a better place. At least I had him for 11 years. Thanks for a well written article which temporarily stopped the tears cuz I had to focus on reading what you wrote. :((((

  56. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences.
    I rescued a dog 18 months ago. She (Ginzo) had an abusive history and was distrustful of humans and had been at multiple shelters and foster homes for the past few years. She was very defensive and we were unable to touch her when we took her rhome. Many times we considered returning her to the shelter, but I would see her sleeping and it would soften my heart and I knew she needed a peaceful home to live out her final years. Her age was unknown, but the guess was around 11. She was partially deaf and blind, but still very energetic and spry.
    Two months ago my brother moved in with me and brought along his ridgeback. There was a bit of snarling on her part, but mostly the ridgeback steered clear of her. But on a few occasions he would suddenly lunge or growl at her. Early on he dislocated her hip from lunging at her and knocking her over. He is 80lbs, she is 15lbs.
    This week the ridgeback suddenly charged her and put his mouth on her – it happened so fast I couldn’t really see. He didn’t actually bite her or pierce her skin, but he must have rolled her. It was sunday night and the same leg she had dislocated was injured again and she was shaking and hid under a chair – I think she was in shock. I brought her to the vet Monday at 1. While having an x-ray she had a seizure and was given valium, she had never had a seizure before. She returned home with me, leg in a tight sling, on pain meds. She slept the rest of the day until 6 and then seemed a bit back to herself, quiet though. I sat outside in the garden with her in my lap for a while and then put her back to bed. She had 3 seizures throughout the night and at one point hid under a chair. I brought her to the vet early in the morning and they kept her there to watch over her. At 2.30 she had another seizure and they could not stop it so they put her under general anaesthesia until I could get there. She was on the operating table and was not awake when I rushed there, she wasn’t aware I was there. And then they put her down.
    This dog had such a horrific life, full of abuse and mistrust. She learned to feel safe in our home and she was by my side at all times, always afraid I would leave her. She learned to trust us and felt safe in our home. She was terrified of abandonment and the vet. I am beside myself with guilt that her last days were spent in pain and suffering. I shouldn’t have allowed my brother’s dog in the house, I should have taken more care to make sure she wouldn’t be hurt. I feel sick to think she was in the vet’s office her final day of life – does she think I abandoned her? Did she die not feeling loved?
    I am devastated. I only had her for 18 months, but she deserved to be happy for much much longer. I miss her so much.

  57. Not sure if you read these new comments since the post is a year old, but I hope so! I came across this after googling why it’s so hard when a dog dies. My mom’s dog is 15 and probably has cancer and I am just realizing fully that she won’t be here for a lot longer. I don’t even see her every day and most times not even every week but I keep breaking down at the thought of her leaving our lives. This article helped see why it’s so natural and normal that this would be something emotionally difficult to go through. But mostly what I wanted to tell you – I also have a dog named Nugget! And he too has his own world of character flaws lol. I loved this article and how evident your love for Nugget is, flaws and all. Thank you for sharing <3

  58. Dr. Siew, I came across your article this morning and it has helped a lot. It’s been almost 5 months since I lost my baby girl Jazzy. She was a little Corgi that I had for 7 years. She was the special dog of my life and was like my 3rd child (we have 2 human children). She was run over by a delivery truck that I wasn’t expecting and didn’t hear coming. She had been out on the porch with our other dog that is bad about chasing vehicles and followed her. I heard her crying and saw the truck leaving. I rushed her to the vet but I think she died on the way. It was the worst day of my life and I can’t get over it. I would have given all I had to be able to save her. I have been in a deep depression and wracked with guilt that she had been outside. I lost my sweet dad last August from Alzheimers at 86 but this has affected me worse. This morning the grief has hit again. It is comforting to read posts from those who understand the feelings. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss. I do feel that I will never be the same again and have felt disconnected from everything, even the universe. The energy Jazz brought to our home is missed so much. We have 2 other dogs, but it feels so quiet and sad without her. It sounds like she and your Nugget had similar personalities. The video of your brushing him made me laugh because that is what she would do when I brushed her, same faces and everything lol. Thanks again for sharing.

  59. 26 June will be one year for me…I still miss him so much! I cannot bear to think about it much in detail, I still get so overwhelmed with tears. He was the very, very special one. I will have other dogs, I don’t think I will have another like him. I will keep rescuing, as they always rescue me right back.

    Thank you for this.

  60. May 11 I lost my dog of 13.5 years. I knew she was getting older and slowing down a bit but I can’t believe how fast it happened. The week before she died I had her groomed and she was fine..then she stopped eating..then then labored breathing..then I had to make a decision …I still feel like I’m in a whirlwind. She’s been by my side through everything, very consoling and has been with me through loser husbands, apartments, and houses…good times and bad..my family took it pretty hard too. It’s tough..day by day..time heals all wounds..trying to remember all the funny, sweet moments I had with her. They’ll never be another like her. Rest in peace Honey.

  61. Unexpectedly lost my dog who was 12 on July 7th. Heartbroken. The house seems empty. Hoping it will get easier. Can’t remember being without him and often said to him ‘what would I do without you?’.

    • I just went through this. It hasn’t been a week. Lucy, my beagle terrier mix, was 13. She stuck by me when the kids left home and the husband did too. I spent very few nights away from her over 13 years. It’s hard to go home at night after work. I know it will get easier. But it’s hard. It helps to know I’m not alone in how I feel.

  62. I am retired! I lost my best friend!!! My wonderful loving Airedale Darby!!!! My life is empty! My purpose is gone! I’m alone and its been 6 weeks and I cry everyday and night!!!! She help me through so much! We traveled everywhere! She was my world! I hope the pain gets better!!!! Thanks!!

  63. I just lost my dog two days ago. My daughter forgot him in the car when she came back from the ranch and he died in a hot car!!!!!!!!!😭😭😭😭😭😭. I’m so mad at her!! I’m so sad and haeartbroken and feel soooo bad that he suffered! He was only four and he was THE BEST DOG!!!! I don’t know how I will ever get over this. I have had other pets die, but this one is unbearable!

  64. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with losing your dog! My dog was killed right in front of me, while I tried to save him, from a horrendous dog attack! I was injured trying to save him, but he died anyway! It has been one of the worst things I have had to go through! I keep reliving it and wish I could of saved him! He was the sweetest, teddy bear dog, and his name was Tuddles! I sure did love him and I miss him terribly! I pray I get to see him in heaven one day! My life will never be the same without him!

  65. My wife and I just unexpectedly lost our little Shih Tzu 3 days ago. He was our whole world and loved us so much. After we went home, we sat on the floor and stroked his favorite bed as though he were still with us. We realized we had no idea what to do with ourselves as our daily routines seemed to center around him, feeding, playing, and going for very long walks. I feel totally lost and empty chested. Nothing makes me happy now. I just want him back so much. I don’t know what to do.

  66. Thank you for this article! I lost my 12 year old cat a year ago and it completely devastated me. I had to move out of my apartment because being there without her was too painful. Still a year later I feel her abcence everyday. I wish there were more places to discuss this kind of particular grief.

  67. It’s been a little over 13 hours since my beloved dog passed away. He had health problems for a while but always seemed to rally……but not this time. He was 14 1/2 yrs old. He ended up passing away on his bed and my youngest boy, who is 11 yrs old, witnessed his last breath. He then woke me up only to discover that he had passed away.
    Rough day….to say the least. 😔

  68. There are 4 different kinds of people when it comes to dogs has been my observation in life.

    There are those who get a dog, and severely neglect and even physically and mentally abuse the dog. And, yes, there is a special place in hell for anyone who is abusive to the helpless; children, the elderly and animals. And, may Karma also force them to realize the pain they’ve caused in a very personal way while they are still here on earth in their own lives; in equal if not greater measure than they caused another.

    There are those who get a dog only because it serves some selfish purpose for them. The dog is a hunter, or the dog protects the property. Those are the dogs you see outside in the kennels, or chained up whether it’s 110 degrees out, or 30 below. The dogs get fed and watered regularly, but they mean absolutely nothing to their humans. Those dogs have so much love that they want to give their humans, but are never given the chance. Those dogs aren’t in much better shape than the ones that are beat and neglected. Their physical needs are met, they don’t go hungry, etc. But emotionally, they are neglected completely; and that in itself is abuse when you are talking about a living being who has so much love to give, and wants so much to share it with their humans – only to be rejected and ignored their entire life. How much that must hurt, we have all experienced it with other humans – and there is no denying the pain it brings. To their humans, they are “just an animal”. Makes you want to cut the locks on the outdoor kennels and cut the chains and take them home, doesn’t it?

    Then, there are those who are just flat out ignorant. They get a dog when they don’t REALLY want a dog. They act on an impulse – and it’s often this time of year. Christmas. Or birthdays. Little Johnny or Suzy wants a puppy…so they go get a puppy. They get the puppy home and all of a sudden, THEN they figure out this isn’t a stuffed toy you can just throw in the corner. The family is always busy and never home. Everyone wanted a puppy, but no one wants to feed, water, train or play with the puppy. There isn’t any time for the new puppy. Next thing you know, they are “rehoming” the puppy, or surrendering it to the local shelter. At least these puppies have a second chance to get a loving owner.

    And then there are the kind of people who have posted their very personal stories about the deep love they have for their dogs. Their dogs aren’t “just animals”, their dogs are family. It isn’t until you completely open your heart up to a dog that you have any clue at all about what unconditional love really is. To the parents who have lost a child and say it is worse, I say touche. Young children and dogs have a lot in common. They both are capable of loving without boundaries. They both are so sweet and so completely innocent in every way. Losing either is unbearable, I have no doubt at all.

    The deeper you love and are loved, the deeper your grief. There is a song that says I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance. People who have been married for years very often pass away within one year of each other. The first spouse passes, and the second one dies within a year of a broken heart. I’ve even heard it said that when the two became one, it actually literally became a reality over the years they loved and lived together; that when a spouse dies it is literally like half of your heart and soul are ripped from your body and all that is left where they once were is loneliness, sadness and a deep, deep pain and emptiness. The bonds of love are powerful.

    Now, consider a dog’s love. Some say you can’t compare the love you give to and get from a dog in the same way you can with a human. Again, touche, you are SO right. You can’t compare the love you have for, and get from your dog who is your family member to the love you have for, and get from your human loved one who is a family member.

    Your dog is capable of something so much greater than any human being ever has, can or will be capable of. Your dog has the immeasurable gift of giving truly unconditional love. And no human being alive has that gift, with the exception of Jesus while He was here with us on earth.

    Your dog will love you no matter what. Your dog will never betray you. Never. Your dog will never hurt you. Never. Your dog will never give you the silent treatment or play other silly games with you. Never.
    Your dog will never put pride ahead of their love for you. When your dog does something that displeases you, and you yell at your dog – your dog will come straight over to you, with their head down in shame and nudge your leg or hand immediately to let you know that no matter what, they always love you. Your dog will never lie to you. Your dog will never look at you critically, or ever do anything that makes you question your self worth, or your value in their lives. Even dogs who are abused and beaten believe in love, and go back to the person who harmed them believing only the best in them, believing that they deserve to be loved despite what they’ve done. Is the dog stupid? No. The dog is blessed with the gift of unconditional love. The human is stupid for not opening, embracing, learning from and returning that gift called unconditional love. The dog loses in that situation, yes – but the human loses SO much more without having a single clue.

    The trust you have in your dog when your dog is your best friend is without boundaries, and in your heart you are completely sure that trust is safe – always and forever. And the dog will never betray that trust. People fall in love with people, and believe that it will last forever, that the other person loves them so much that they will never hurt them, never betray them. And every single time, they are wrong. Humans are flawed, we are all flawed. We all do things, and we all say things that hurt the ones we love no matter how hard we try not to. Humans are flawed and fail every single time. Dogs don’t have that flaw. The “perfect” spouse who would never hurt you doesn’t exist. The “perfect” dog who will never hurt you does exist.

    The people who just can’t understand how your heart and soul can be completely torn out when your pet dies don’t understand what it’s like to love and be loved unconditionally. They know only conditional love. And conditional love is painful to lose, absolutely. But it isn’t until you’ve been loved unconditionally that you can understand the depth of that kind of love. Or the greater level of grief when you lose it.

    Feel sorry for those who don’t grieve deeply when their pet passes, because they had unconditional love right in front of their faces for years and never had the sense to see it. or the blessing to have received and lived it.

    And those of us who have experienced the unconditional love of our family pets, we are blessed even though we are completely broken when we lose them. We are better people because of life’s lessons that only our dogs could have taught us. Our hearts have been opened and touched in places that are deep, dark and hidden in many other people. The depth of our grief is commensurate to the depth of our love. And if losing your beloved pet brings you to tears long, long after their death and you just can’t get over them, count the blessing of the time you had with them. Only something incredibly meaningful and wonderful could cause that kind of pain. And when someone doesn’t understand, don’t even try and explain. If they had ever been in your shoes, they would’ve understood. And if they weren’t ever in your shoes, they never will get it because they can’t understand a love that pure, that committed, that loyal and that strong. It’s been over 10 years since I lost my best friend Luke, and just this past summer, I lost my best friend Toby.

    I will never get over them because the love I have for them is deeper than time itself. I knew they were worthy of complete trust, I knew their love was without boundaries or conditions and that I could love them back the same way they loved me. In a way that I couldn’t give my heart and soul to another person, because people aren’t capable of that kind of love. My dogs taught me everything worth knowing. And because of that, I will get another dog knowing exactly what the end of our time will bring me, the pain I will feel. But, it’s worth it, it’s worth every single day with them, and as one of my co-workers put it, any day you wake up to puppy kisses is a great one.

    I just recently read that a dogs only fault is that they don’t live longer. If you are on this site because your heart has been broken into pieces, and there is a large empty space in your heart then you know that this statement rings perfectly true.

  69. I lost my spoodle to cancer today. This website has truly helped me understand why I feel shattered and heart broken. I often joked my Digby was a chunk of love on 4 legs and my most successful relationship! 10 years of delight laughing and so much love between us both. He was so affectionate to me people still thought he was a puppy. Thank you everyone letting me know I am not alone in weeping and just wishing my beautiful boy was in my arms once more.

  70. I lost my dog of 13 years 5 days ago. It hurts so much. Sometimes I feel I can’t bear it. Logically I know it will get better. I want to think about her but then I can’t stand to think about her either because it hurts so much. I got her for my daughter initially but then my two girls grew up and left home, my husband and I divorced, and it was just me and my pup. She was my companion every day. I miss her so much.

  71. I see many kindred spirits here talking about their love, and loss, of a dog. While there is no such thing as a “replacement,” I wanted to point out that having another dog around (especially saving a life) can be very comforting. It’s a distraction, a cuddle buddy, and a reason to smile, even if the tears still come regularly. If you are not in a position to adopt, or just not ready to commit to a new animal right now, reach out to local animal rescue groups and shelters and ask about providing a foster home. Basically, you give an animal a safe place to stay and show them love while the organization continues to look for a permanent family for them. This means they are no longer on the “kill list” while their time ticks away because the shelter is short on space. If you fall in love, fosters usually have “dibs” on adoption!

  72. Thank you Dr. Siew, for your poignant narrative. It has provided me with a bit of solace after the loss of my beautiful, beloved Mia this past Thursday. She was 14 years old and was taken by the insidious beast known as a brain tumor. She was my angel, my heart…. Life will never be the same…

  73. Thank you for writing this. We put our beautiful 13-yr old Cairn terrier down less than a week ago and my heart is hurting. I’ve recently lost both my best friend and my dad and losing my dog has torn me apart. Having to make the decision to put her out of pain has been the hardest of my life. She was always by my side. Part of my job went with her. I appreciate your words.

  74. On Feb 20th it wil be a year and a half since I lost my best friend. I still think of him multiple times daily. We had him from 8 weeks to 13 plus years. I miss him more then my parents they have been gone 20 plus years. Since he died I haven’t been the same I am a different person. I was always had thick skin now everything upsets me. I don’t think I will ever be the same. We have another dog and love her but the connection isnt the same. This dog just wants from us where the other loved us. She does have her moments though. Hopefully when she’s older she will settle in more. She is almost a year and a half got her 2 months after he died. She is high energy. I go on with life family work social but he is always in the back of my mind. He took a part of me.

  75. I am so very grateful to read this article. It’s now March of 2019. My dog died last August and the quality of my life has really plummeted. I also lost my dad and mom. My now deceased, Chalcie, was there with dad and also with my mom and myself. She was there in wonderful times and when I went to be with my parents, she was right there when each died. Now that she is dead I feel horrible grief. I cried reading this article but I am so glad to have found it. It means so much that others understand. Thank you. I miss Chalcie everyday. I will always love her and she was definitely a wonderfully unique girl. I miss our special times and places and everyday life. As painful as this is, I am glad that I had her. Again, I’m just very grateful to read your article. Thank you Dr.Siew.

  76. Thank you for writing this. It gave me great comfort, and helped me better understand what it has meant to lose my dog.

    I lost my nearly 16-year-old Peanut, a rat terrier who made me the center of her life (even though I was and still am profoundly flawed), about 6 weeks ago to sudden CHF. At a local ER vet at 4:30 a.m. 2.21.19. I should’ve brought her in sooner–but was swamped with long hours of work and fatigue.

    I am blaming myself for anything and everything related to her passing and for any time in the 11+ years I had her when I scolded her or did not appreciate her great fidelity. I believe in life after death, and believe Peanut is still “out there,” in the arms of the angels–especially my mom. However, part of me wants to die and have no life after death, as I want to stop feeling anything. I fear I will feel just as horrible after I pass, so am just am dragging myself through each day with a feeling of tremendous loss and feeling like I did not do my best for her.

    Anyway, not sure if any one is still listening, but reading your account and giving me a chance to comment helps, if only a little.

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  78. My shiba inu of 16 years has passed exactly 1 month ago on June 13, 2019. The pain has lessened as time passed but I still think of him everyday and missed him so much. We spent so much time doing thing together and I have not travel anywhere for the last 7 years as I was unwilling to put him in a pet hotel. 2 years back, Nuki has an episode of canine vestibular disease and was so sick and almost died, the vet asked to to consider putting him to sleep but I didnt and nurse him back to health. I was so happy to have that extra 2 years with him. Looking back, the 2 years is but a blink of the eye, how I wish I have more time with him. Now I only wish one day I will be reunited with him. He will always be in my heart.
    I am glad to know that there is a community of people whose love for their dog is limitless and understand what each person is going through.

  79. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with remorse and guilt?
    I lost my sweet almost 14 year old dog this past Sunday. The last couple of years have been really difficult for me because I’ve been busy caring for elderly relatives. I’ve been impatient and short tempered and I feel sick with remorse over all the moments I didn’t have patience with my wonderful loving dog. He was ailing and I lost the opportunity to make his final year a wonderful year.
    Has anyone else felt remorse and guilt?
    I don’t know how I will ever get over this.

    • Hello GK. Think deeply about your Sweet…….He lived a full doggie life at 14 years, that’s in the 80’s in human years. You had the task of caring for relatives that deflected you from being your normal self with Sweet, and that is normal, and can be totally forgiven.

      We are all spirit, and his soul is still around you. Would he want you to be sad? No. He is the doggie angel on your shoulder. Just think of that tail wagging, those warm loving eyes, the soft feel of his fur when you stroked him. No, please don’t be angry with yourself.

      We lost our rescue Archie last Nov 3rd 2018 from nasal cancer, we fought it with nutrition, and we doubled his survival time, a year battling with the cancer. Do I feel guilt? No. As I did all I could for him, and with your circumstances, you had to share yourself, with the pull of love towards your relatives.

      We lost our beautiful Vino on the 3rd of February 2019, drowned in our pool, and we don’t know why he did not swim to the steps. Both doggies were 14. Forgive yourself, as I do. You are human after all. Just think of beautiful times you shared.

      Time is the greatest healer, and you will heal, so you can watch those videos, and look at those photos, with tears of joy, and no guilt whatsoever. BIG HUGS from the island of Cyprus xx

    • I lost my little one at a small age of 3 last year as soon as I left home to come to America. For a very long time my parents thought that she was sad and lonely because I left but she was actually suffering. Sometimes it makes me cry my eyes out when I think that it was because I left that they couldn’t understand that something was wrong. She had multiple organ failure along with acute jaundice. It was so sudden and so bloody hear-breaking. I wrote about my experience here on my blog.
      I hope it helps someone.

  80. This is a beautiful expression of the truth and raw emotion of dealing with a pet’s death. I lost my beloved lab Miley this past Friday to blood cancer. She was my world. My one constant. I am so lost without her. I too feel guilt and remorse but am slowing realizing how sick she was. She would have hid it forever if she could from me. I find comfort that God gave me such a precious gift and now He is holding her and keeping her safe until I get there. My hearts breaks for people who experience this loss.

  81. I actually fear more the heartbreak of a dog losing its owner than the owner losing the dog. Sounds strange I know. Of course I hate to imagine the day I’ll lose my boy should I out live him.

  82. It still hurts to think of Halle. I lost her 3 years ago to ca nasal. I have so many regrets. I feel like i’m just waiting to reunite with her.

  83. Me too my dog passed away three years ago I stay in grief for a long time even get my depression and anxiety till now she is my precious even I have two daughters and grandson I love her as my daughter too even till now I keep all her things and cannot send her things away till now I hope dogs and cats life should be in long span they are our true love unconditionally

  84. I still my my favorite girl. She died, or we let her go during surgery that could not fix her. That was 19 months ago and my eyes still tear if I even think of her. I have another puppy that I love to the moon and back and maybe someday she will rival the feelings for my lost girl, I do try to let her get there. I have a second, more rambunctious dog, that a family member could not train, and she is just as lovable as they come and I love them both dearly. I know someday, I will probably have to mourn them too. Some of my issue was not ever having a chance to say goodbye. My girl was so much sicker than anyone, even our vet, ever suspected. She was such a good girl, she must have suffered silently, never giving us a clue.

  85. NOTE: Words in ALL CAPS are for emphasis only.

    I COMPLETELY AGREE with what you have said in this article; except that I would amend it to include ALL animal children, because I have had dogs, cats, goldfish, gerbils, and birds… and ALL of them, depending on MY age and where they lived or how often I got to see them, were my friends, animal-siblings, or animal-children. Even with the goldfish I had as a kid; though I couldn’t hold or pet then, they were still like siblings to me, because I constantly went into my room to tell them of the day’s joys, sorrows, and troubles.

    Also, I do appreciate your reference to animal-children as “children” and pet owners as “parents”; although I wish you wouldn’t have said that pet “owners” (I am putting “owners” in quotes because I detest that term), are only LIKE parents; PET PARENTS ARE PARENTS.

    2005-2006 my wife and I adopted, in order, our canine son Nemo, our feline son Tigger, and our second canine son Gus. They ALL ended up being special needs kids, though some of those special needs were not apparent at time, and others were the result of age or type of breed. We lost Tigger in 2017 from FIV and feline leukemia. We lost Gus in 2018 from a collapsing trachea. We had to put Nemo to sleep on August 5, 2019 because of multiple health issues. On August 8, 2019, when we couldn’t stand having a quiet house anymore, we adopted a legally blind 15 year old Rat Terrier named Rambo, who is still with us.

    IN ALL FOUR CASES, my wife and I had to, and continue to have to, see them through physical and psychological challenges; which we are glad to do because THEY ARE OUR CHILDREN, they are not LIKE our children.

  86. Best article ever written about the loss of a furry loved one. I needed to find this. Reading this helped to console me. This guy says it all. I knew there were others out there who understand…who know my suffering. A piece of me is gone and I miss him beyond words. (Not just a dog. Another being i shared time with. We were a part of each other’s world for thirteen years to the exact day.) His soul is at peace. My soul aches.

  87. The loss of a pet is such an intense, gutwrenching emotion. I had lost pets growing up, and was very upset each time. But as an adult, the bond with each pet is immeasurable. And such is the loss. I went to a reputable pyschic medium after I lost my 19 y.o. cat Jenny, who was born in my apartment in 1998. It was the best thing I could have done. I found out that she was perfectly okay, no longer having pain in her “rear end” (arthritis) or in her “tummy” (kidney failure). And she had so much wisdom to give me, also saying that she intends to come back to me. I was in awe. And even more in awe from the signs I got from her afterwards – a paw tap on my cheek and “go to bed” jumping out at me from the book page I was trying to read despite being too exhausted. The “Jenny” gift card stocking on a store rack, hung in an obvious crooked way, with 2 stockings near it saying “I love my cat”. And on the first anniversary of her passing, the appearance of a fearless, beautiful praying mantis on the hood of my car, which watched me as I slowly walked around it, taking pictures, and video, in which it moved its wobbly body to my phone, reached out and climbed up onto my phone and hand. Totally in awe for that whole day, not feeling the pain of the date like I would have otherwise. All I could say in my thoughts was, “thank you, Jenny, my baby girl, for your love and keeping my sadness at bay for this day”.
    All I can say to all who are grieving for their beloved pets, is that I will miss each of my furbabies the rest of my life, but I know that they are still alive, in a different form. And communicating through a medium was the one comforting action I took that I will never regret. It opened the door, and was an invitation for more communication from them should they want to speak to me. The key is to be open and relaxed, away from the hurried daily stresses of life. I’ve also felt communication from my Jenny and others during acupuncture treatments. It doesn’t bring them back physically, but keeps them closer in your heart as a comfort. Yes, bittersweet, but definitely so worth it.

  88. Thank you Dr. for sharing your story and everyone for commenting. Your stories have helped very much in a time of need.

  89. Dogs are put on this earth to show humans how to love someone unconditionally. It is a great pity in our wicked world that we do not share these attributes. There is something wonderful about the gift a dog brings us. Unfortunately, we sometimes have to show our love for them by ending their lives.

  90. Great article. It’s also why a pet’s death can sometimes be more difficult than that of a human. The ties of a pet and it’s owner is something that cannot be easily broken or replaced.

  91. I just lost my boston terrier puppy (Ace) he got run over a few days Back. I am still in disbelief and grief. I never knew a human can feel so much emotional pain after losing my mother at the age of 15. I thought i have gone through all the pain a human can go through. I am so heartbroken i feel an emptiness in my chest i do not wish another human to feel this intense pain. I love my dog more than anything in this world he thought the love of this universe.

  92. My dog had a stroke. His right side is paralyzed. He cannot walk. I rushed him to a 24 hour Vet who had no Doctor on duty. Knowing the urgency of a stroke; they did have an emergency bell which prompted a girl to the locked doors. She advised to go to a facility about 7 minutes away – it was way more than that and I had to go back home and get my husband to help me find the place. This was at 4:00 in the morning. I got to the help at about 5:00 a.m. It turns out his adrenal glands are the problem; his left is not working because his right if overcompensating (there is a mass on the right) which is suspect cancer; this made his pressure go up and gave him a stroke. He had a MRI it showed a spot of a previous small stroke and “bleeds” from this recent episode in his brain. They are trying to control his blood pressure so no more bleeds occur. Later, it will be required to remove the right adrenal gland OR just keep him on meds to control his pressure. I had a “restestate” on him but this morning I changed it to do not restestate if he goes into a downward spiral like he has been doing – they changed the meds like 2 or 3 times. He looks so bad and I don’t know if it all the drugs or what… He is 14 – he is paralyzed on the right side and I am beside myself. Family keeps telling me to give him the needle. I already change the restestation today and now they want me to give needle…….the doctor wants to wait a couple more days which I want to do……My sister says to bring him home it is costing a fortune. The doctor says he will suffer if I do that. My husband wants to give him the needle so does my two sisters. This is my baby, it was hard enough changing the order to no restestation. Somebody please help me………through this nightmare.

  93. That is truly a beautiful piece of writing. All the things I am feeling but couldn’t express is in this article. Thank you for writing it.

  94. I lost my 11 year old dog suddenly this morning when she collapsed and died within minutes after being perfectly normal right up to the moment. I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old. I’m so glad I was there for her in her last moments and she didn’t have to die alone, she was my Velcro dog. Vet said probably hemangiosarcoma that ruptured. I have lost my brother to suicide, my grandparents, in-laws and father over the years. This sudden loss today has shocked me as much as my brothers death. I am really put off by those who say we must not have experienced anything bad or tragic in our lives if we’re this affected by the loss of a dog! I’ve experienced PLENTY thank you very little! I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the loss of this dog who was my best, closest friend, always at my side no matter what. It is a physical, horrible pain. I can’t imagine my life without her and now I have no choice. I have always said that there is a reason dog is God spelled backwards. No one will ever love you as purely, completely and unconditionally as God and your dog.

  95. en approved.
    hello, our charme (female basset hound almost 11 years old) passed away 4/4/21 sometime in the A.M. maybe 3 or 4 o’clock. She had not eaten in about a month. we took her to vet early part of march and he ran test, xrays and could not find any disease, no blockage, did not appear to have cancer. vet gave her antibiotics, med to keep from throwing up, and pepcid. For the last month she just quit eating on her own. It started early part of march when she eat normal and then started to throw up and would not eat. we had her to the vet 2 times in march and 2 times they had to do iv for the night, she seemed a little better but still not eat. some of our other basset hounds also got sick at same time she did but they got over it. for this last month my wife fed her dog food from can by putting it in her mouth and she would eat that, also my wife used syringe to put chicken broth in her mouth and she would take some of that. on 4/3/21 in the afternoon she did not want to open her mouth for the chicken broth but we gave her a little. on 4/4/21 my wife told me she thought she died and i checked her, she was laying on carpet floor by couch and was still somewhat warm but she was not breathing. the vet had wanted to do some more test earlier in march but due to finances we could not afford it. she lived for about a month at the onset of this problem. one thing the vet told us if i understood right was that xray showed that it looked like the stomach was not contracting, like staying full all the time and that was making her throw up. anyway, sorry for going on about this but i myself still feel lots of grief over this. i wish i knew what was the cause of this. i have waited but i just have not gotten a sign from her that bothers me a lot. i don’t know if there is anything you can say to make me feel better, i just feel so sad over this. One last thing, back about 7 years ago i had stage IIIa colon cancer and i was at home and had been taking chemo so i slept in another room of our house, a lot of times she would come in and lay on floor beside my bed, it seemed she knew i was sick, i will never forget that.

  96. I have never posteI can understand and relate to so many of the experiences and feelings you expressed; beautifully I may add. I have lost 3 beautiful and amazing dogs in my life, two of which were rescues. They were knitted so tightly into my and my husband’s life. They went to the office with my husband everyday. On the 26th of January, 2021 my dog Trina became unexpectedly ill. The news was not good, but treatable. However, treatment hinged on my ability to get her to eat, just one meal, as the treatment could not be given on an empty stomach. How helpless and frantic I felt when I could not entice her, no matter what I tried. Within 48 hours her liver was failing. My husband and I had to let the vet give her peace. On April 28th of this year, just 3 short months after we lost Trina, my dog Chloe had to be given the gift of peace. She unexpectedly fell ill. It turned out to be cancer. My husband and I have hearts that have been shattered. I feel like I have been punched in the chest. At just 12 LBS each, we can’t believe how big they made our world. They both lived long lives, so it is understandable that the Lord took them back. For reasons a bit different than yours, we too are somewhat disconnected from family. My mind tells me that I will grieve immensely for the loss of my parents; 89 & 93 years of age (I have been blessed beyond comprehension). But if I am honest, I can’t imagine heartbreak and pain bigger than what I have felt for these 3 little blessings. My grief is loud. I cry out in anguish, literally. It is as loud and hard as the grief I felt when I lost my little yorkie, Tildy, back in 2007. It took almost a year before I could even say her name out loud without my throat constricting and tears dropping. I have yet been able to utter Trina or Chloe’s name without an overwhelming flood of emotion. I love my parents so dearly but grief and pain beyond what I feel/felt for my little canine souls is beyond my ability to imagine or comprehend. All I know, is IF I am capable of feeling deeper grief than I feel today, the Lord will have to hold me tighter. God bless each of you, who have loved and cared for any animal that he put into your life. Surely, he smiles down on you.

  97. I will leave just this one comment on the internet about my dog Milo who i lost on Saturday
    He simply was the best friend i ever had. i’m a freaking mess. I can’t imagine forming that bond again with another dog because he was so special that’s what other people said and we shared unique experiences together for 13 years. i can’t remember them all but he held me together during some bad times. I believe he felt that he owned me not the other way round but he later put up with a girlfriend who imagined that she did as well and a son who i obviously began to spend a lot more time with and later the three of us together. But I took him everywhere i could. The bond endured. He let me live my dreams of exploring forests and getting lost like a caveman. He was perfect for me. I rescued him at 18 months old because of his bad nerves and incontinence but he turned into a beautiful dog (he was always incontinent i didn’t care too much about that!). So now the vacuum is hard and it hurts. I think sometimes 2 people or creatures decide not to conform to the pattern of the world and something magical happens and it is intensely personal
    I’ve noticed that he’s still kind of around me. Yes. If you think you’ve felt that or heard or seen things, don’t write it off as imagination. That stuff is real. We are only temporarily separated. Milo is part of who i am. He’d never understand why i was sad but it seems built into us that we have to go through this it’s part of being human. All this stuff is basically inexpressible we just don’t have the tools for it
    So anyway i’m feeling a little better now which is what your dog wants really. Hang in there folks and take care. Martin and Milo

  98. None of you people likely have young children in the house when you lost your dog. If you lost a toddler while having your dog alive you would easily trade the dog to have your child back. You’d trade a hundred dogs to get your child back. I understand the grief, I really do, but get real. They are not even remotely close to losing a human child. Get some perspective it will make your grief easier. For those that choose not to have children you will never understand this.

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  101. I read your entire comment. Thank you for sharing all the positivity Simba brought into your life. Your story resonated with me, as I just lost my dog Tarzan and your description of how your raised him sounds very close to how I treated my dog. Rip Simba and Tarzan.

  102. I had to put my 14 year old irish setter to sleep and it killed me.Part of me died with her. She was my best friend and took her everywhere with me. I sure will miss her company and her affection

  103. I lost my Dog three days ago. His name was Dodger and he was a rescue 11 years ago. I’m single…divorced 4 years ago and my ex wife and I never had kids. She is a traveling nurse so when we split, she left the pets with me (2 dogs and a cat all about 11 years old now). Dodger is a St. Bernard / Akita mix and was an anxiety ridden mess at times, ate walls, furniture down to the wood base and a thunder shirt to name a few things early on when we had him…but we toughed it out with him as we knew he’d been abused and been in many homes and wanted to let him know this one was permanent (not like he didn’t test our patience though that’s for sure!).

    He was the definition of a sweet dog..a kind soul. Rarely barked at anyone or anything, was always at your feet or close by, loved receiving affection as much as he loved giving it. And with the transition to working from home that COVID provided me with…I was with him constantly…like CONSTANTLY. 😊.

    I needed this article and the associated comments to realize I was not alone. I lost my Mom as a kid (11), a best friend @ 13, I’ve buried 7 grandparents (my Dad remarried an amazing woman I’m proud to call Mom now) and a number of aunts, uncles, a cousin and a few close acquaintances. I’m not a stranger to death. And we’ve had family dogs in my youth and they’ve all passed away as well another dog or two of my parents during my adulthood (I’m 51 now). But none of that felt quite like the intense grief I experienced when I lost Dodger.

    Dodger was my best friend, my confidant (as he literally COULDN’T share the crap I told him 😉), my support animal as much as I was his through my divorce, my Dads passing and good lord, my attempts at dating as an adult. He never complained, chastised me (and probably should have) or showed anything other than unconditional love and support for me. Losing him has left a hole that I’m trying to fill with his memory and the few photos I’d taken (damn I wish I’d taken more photos!). He changed my life for the better…and I wouldn’t change a thing even knowing how painful this is. If like me, you don’t have anyone immediately around to talk to, to share your grief with, then find someone. You can’t do this alone. And even things like this can help but don’t bottle it up or buy into any of the “it’s just a dog” crap. It’s not just a dog, it never was and it never will be. His name is Dodger, he was one of the best friends I’ve ever had and he made my life better every day I had with him.