TESTIMONIALS

Personal and Health Impact, Coping, and Self-Care When Your Beloved Pet Dies

Losing a pet can be devastating. Often, other people don’t realize the impact a pet has on our lives, which can make the experience feel isolating. Our relationships with pets are so important that they can affect our mental and physical health, which can suffer when a pet passes. People who are struggling with pet loss can use many strategies to help themselves work through the grieving process.

Pet Loss Can Impact Our Health

Pets can actually make us healthier people. Those who have pets tend to have lower rates of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Some studies have found that they are also less likely to experience loneliness or depression, and more likely to say they are satisfied with their life. So it may be no surprise that when we lose this relationship, our health is affected in a negative way.

Pet Loss and Mental Health

Research shows that when we experience grief, our brains undergo physical changes. These changes can affect our thought processes and emotions. For many people, grief results in feelings of sadness, depression, guilt, anger, anxiety, relief, loneliness, or feeling irritable. Some people experience mental symptoms of grief, which may include confusion, trouble focusing, constant dwelling on your pet, or thinking you see or hear your pet. Loss of an animal companion can also lead to anxiety and depression for some people.

Pet Loss and Physical Health

Grief from pet loss may also lead to physical symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, a hollow feeling in the stomach, tightness in the chest, dry mouth, and aches and pains.

Sometimes, our reactions to grief can be severe. One woman reportedly experienced “broken heart syndrome” after losing her dog. This condition occurs when one chamber of the heart suddenly weakens in response to an emotional or physical stress. Its symptoms are similar to heart attack symptoms. While this condition is rare, it highlights the large effect that grief can have on the body.

Why Losing a Pet is Especially Difficult

It’s common to think that people don’t get that sad after loss of a pet. But research tells us that often, the grief that people feel following loss of an animal companion feels the same as grief following loss of a human companion. In some cases, people report even more intense feelings. This may be because of the special type of relationship we feel with our pets. Often, it feels like a parent-child relationship, and is associated with unconditional love and acceptance, which we don’t always get in our human relationships. Feeling these especially strong feelings after pet loss may take some people by surprise and lead to feeling shame or guilt.

There are many reasons why grieving a pet can be just as or even more difficult than grieving a human:

  • While everyone can understand and empathize with loss of a person, not everyone can grasp how devastating pet loss can be. Some people may make insensitive comments, such as “you can just get another pet,” which adds to the sense that other people don’t understand what we’re going through.
  • We don’t tend to have the same rituals surrounding pet loss as we do with the loss of our fellow humans. This may include not getting as much social support from others. This may lead to feeling like our emotions aren’t valid, and feeling even more isolated.
  • Because some people don’t understand pet loss, we often don’t have as much space to process emotions. For example, pet loss is often not considered a valid reason for taking time off of work. People who have just lost a companion may find it extremely difficult to keep up with normal responsibilities, even though they are expected to keep performing as normal.
  • Because of stigma surrounding grieving during pet loss, some people may find it hard to talk openly about what they are struggling with. Often, people who have lost a pet feel embarrassed or ashamed at the depth of their emotion.

Being hesitant to acknowledge or talk about these strong emotions is common. Not having solid support systems surrounding pet loss can sometimes make processing it more difficult. This may mean that the pet grieving process is more complex and it can take longer for us to move on.

Another difficulty surrounding pet loss that is often unacknowledged is that it leads to changes in a person’s routine. Perhaps a person got used to being woken up in the morning by their hungry cat, or getting exercise through walking their dog. When that pet is gone, a person’s whole daily routine may be thrown off, leaving a person feeling even more lost. Small hassles and disruptions to a person’s routine can easily add up to be just as stressful and harmful to health than bigger events.

Coping and Self-Care Following Pet Loss

People can help themselves following loss by working towards self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin developed a scientific way of thinking about and measuring self-compassion that is based on Buddhist psychology. This definition of self-compassion includes three things: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

Why should people who are experiencing loss think about self-compassion? It can make the grieving process easier to deal with and may help lessen negative thoughts. It can also boost a person’s mental and physical health. People who use more self-compassionate thinking have fewer symptoms of depression and can better manage stress.

Self-Kindness

Self-kindness is a process of acknowledging our pain and not being critical of ourselves for it. Negative emotions are a normal part of grief, and of life.

Awareness is the first step of self-care – it is only by being honest with ourselves that we can then try to give ourselves what we need. Writing down thoughts in a journal or talking things over with a trusted friend can help people sort through their feelings.

When people better understand what they are going through, they can then try to help themselves deal with the emotions. We should make sure to give ourselves time and space to feel all of our emotions, even the bad ones. This may mean that on especially difficult days, we take a break from work or other responsibilities if possible. It also may mean being honest with other people about what we’re going through, rather than pretending everything is fine.

Other ways people can deal with their emotions and practice self-kindness while mourning the loss of a pet include:

  • Having a memorial service or funeral. Some people may choose to bury a pet or spread their ashes in their favorite place. This can help people get a better sense of closure.
  • Reflecting on positive memories by making a list, writing a letter, or choosing a picture to frame and hang in the home.
  • Spending some time in the pet’s favorite places. This may include going to a dog park, taking a walk down a familiar route, or even just spending some time in the yard.

If your emotions are very strong and you’re having a hard time dealing with them, you can consider going to individual or group therapy. Therapists can help people better identify their emotions and learn to work through them to get to a healthier place. This is especially important for people who experience symptoms of anxiety or depression following loss of a pet.

Common Humanity

When dealing with strong negative emotions, it’s easy to feel isolated and that no one else understands. When grieving a pet, remember that other people have also gone through this experience and probably had very similar emotions. You aren’t alone, even if you feel like you’re the only one grieving your pet.

Often, people dealing with pet loss feel like they don’t get validation and support from loved ones. Try reaching out to friends and family when you’re struggling and let them know you could use some extra support. This is especially important for people who live alone, who often experience even stronger feelings of grief and depression following pet loss. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the support you need, you can try connecting with others who are in a similar situation as you, by:

  • Joining an online forum or Facebook group dedicated to pet loss, and sharing your story with others who better understand your experience.
  • Finding an in-person support group in your area. Some animal clinics and therapists’ offices offer this service. These groups can help people feel solidarity with others who are grieving.
  • Reading a book or blog about pet loss to learn about other people’s experiences with death of an animal friend.

Mindfulness

Being mindful means focusing on what is happening in the present, rather than being stuck in the past or overly worrying about the future. Practicing mindfulness can help people deal with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and can help ease emotional distress.

Ways that people can be more mindful include:

  • Making a list of the things you’re thankful for
  • Practicing meditation. There are many books, apps, and YouTube videos that can help teach beginners the basics.
  • Reorganizing your previous routines related to your pets. For example, if you’re used to hanging out with friends at the dog park, find other ways to socialize. This can help the loss not feel so disruptive to your daily life.

It’s also important to make sure to keep meeting your basic needs. It’s common to have changes in appetite or sleep when going through an emotional time. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and eat regularly. Do your best to also take care of others in your household who may need it. Make sure that other family members, especially children, are processing the loss too and receiving comfort when they need it. Maintain routines with other pets as well. Animals can experience grief too, so give them extra attention by playing their favorite games or giving them extra pets.

Moving On After Loss

Each person takes a different amount of time to work through grief. It may seem like some people heal quickly, while others take much longer to come to terms with loss. Ultimately, while we can take steps to care for ourselves during the grieving process, there’s not much anyone can do to control how long it takes to heal. Many people still experience intense symptoms of grief for a year or more following a pet’s death.

Some people may find that getting another pet can help the healing process. Others may find that they aren’t ready to form a relationship with a new pet for a long time. If people do choose to get another pet, they should make sure that they are doing it for the right reasons. In some cases, getting a pet too soon may actually make the grieving process harder in the long run. For example, someone may be tempted to get a new pet as a way to distract themselves from negative emotions, rather than working through them. Another issue may be that someone expects a new pet to have the same behaviors or interests as their old pet. This can lead to disappointment when the person finds that they can’t have the same type of relationship with a new pet as they are used to.

Those who aren’t ready to bring another pet into their life can still find ways to have relationships with other animals. Spending time around other animals may help someone feel comforted or may bring a new sense of purpose to their life. For example, a person can:

  • Spend time around friends who have pets
  • Offer to pet-sit for friends, family, or co-workers who are going out of town
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter

Following the loss of a pet, it may seem like nothing will ever be the same again. However, growth and healing are possible in the long run. Researchers have identified a phenomenon that they call posttraumatic growth. This occurs when people take a journey of experiencing hardship, struggling, and then coming out stronger on the other side. When people experience posttraumatic growth, they end up feeling that their life is transformed in a positive way, which may lead to a feeling of self-improvement, more meaningful relationships, or a better appreciation of life. Studies have found that people experiencing pet loss can experience posttraumatic growth. This shows that working through grief and loss can be worth it. People who have pets are better for it, even after their pets leave.

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133 Comments

  1. Margaret Zeuner

    Thank you for this kind article. I just lost my little doggie and I am heartbroken. This truly gave me insight into my feelings. And hope.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Margaret- it is so hard to lose one of our family members- I am glad the article was helpful to you – please take care of yourself.

      Reply
      • Anne Marie

        I lost my baby girl Hazel she was only 3 years old
        She had medical issues but didnt pass from them
        I cry everyday nit understanding why
        The vet misdiagnosed her she suffered for 2 days but they kept saying gastro when it was something with her lung
        She was my happy place when my life was falling apart without her she saved me and i saved her I been so sad without her

        Reply
        • Brynna Connor MD

          Anne Marie, I am so sorry for your sadness and missing Hazel.

          Reply
        • Albert Carrillo

          I am very sorry for your loss. My cat Jap was put to rest the day you left this comment on Oct 3,2021. Similar to your story, two emergency doctors claimed some underlining issues but then yesterday my primary vet disagreed with their finding which makes me feel like I should have been him to sleep. I feel these vets don’t know what they’re doing. If you don’t mind me asking, how did Hazel pass? And how did you find out the dr was wrong?

          Reply
          • Brynna Connor MD

            We are so very sorry for your loss, Albert.

        • Tarnia

          I am so sorry to hear this, it’s heartbreaking I am going through the same, I lost my Bella she was 3 and a half and was limping and they diagnosised her with cruciate ligament but an x-ray revealed it was oesteosarcoma. It’s been 7 weeks and I don’t seem to be coping any better 😥

          Reply
          • ROWENA PARNELL

            My 13 year collie is on and end of life phase now. I dread that moment and trying hard to prepare myself. I read your post and just wanted to reach out to say I hope you are ok.

    • Justin

      I lost my sweet Harper last Tuesday.

      We’d been fighting bilateral ear infections (she’s always had trouble with t m since she was a pup) and I just thought it was the ears bothering her so bad.

      She got sick a couple of times and stopped eating. Very lethargic on Tuesday morning so I rushed her to the vet. She had advanced kidney failure. And I was left with no choice.

      I feel so guilty not recognizing it. And guilt over how she would be here by herself while I was a work feeling so bad.

      She was the dog my Mom got me to keep us both company as I was her in home caregiver. I lost my last parent in my Mom in 2019. And now my last link it her and my little furry girl is gone as well.

      What couple of friends I do have, we don’t talk much.
      And what little family I do have left (extended) offered a soft condolence and hasn’t checked in on me sense.

      I feel so alone, and that’s never bothered me before.

      Reply
      • Brynna Connor MD

        Justin, so many losses- I am so sorry- and the connection you had and will always have with your Harper will always be with you. I hope you have some sunny days ahead and can think about the wonderful memories you had with her.

        Reply
      • Linda

        Dear Justin,

        I’m so sorry for your losses during the past couple of years. I won’t go into my story, but I totally understand your feelings of guilt, and I know what a terrible feeling that is. The ONLY consolation is that our beloved animals aren’t feeling any pain anymore – that’s the only thought that gives me comfort. I should not have subjected my poor kitty to a surgery that I thought was going to help her, and I feel awful about it. So I know how bad guilt is, and I share that feeling with you. Time will help some. You sound like a very good person, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Take care.

        Reply
        • Brynna Connor MD

          It is so real. thank you for your comments.

          Reply
          • Jillian Parker

            My dog sophie was 14 and died at the end of September. She fell into to pond behind my house and drowned. I am still grieving about it. My parents had her before I was born. Your artical gave me some good tips on grieving trouble. Thank you.

      • John

        So sorry to hear about your beloved loss. My beloved passed away on 30 June and it’s now 28 September and I am heart-broken at times. I keep playing the 1946 song, Time After Time, with Shirley Bassey singing and although it is very emotional fir me, somehow, there is a release from the intense pain.

        Reply
      • John

        So sorry to hear about your beloved loss. My beloved passed away on 30 June and it’s now 28 September and I am heart-broken at times. I keep playing the 1946 song, Time After Time, with Shirley Bassey singing and although it is very emotional for me, somehow, there is a release from the intense pain.

        Reply
    • Mary

      So sorry for your loss. Our dog was put to sleep on 10/23 I am so sad and feeling depressed. I miss him so much, he was 14 I had him since he was 9 weeks. It’s tough. I hope you will feel better I don’t have any advice since I’m grieving too. The only thing I can say is our babies are not suffering and hopefully running free and happy. Take care.

      Reply
  2. Mark

    Glad to see you publish an article on grieving the loss of a pet. I know a lot of people who are seriously affected by this. One friend went into deep depression after her dog died. Thanks for publishing this.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Mark, thank you for your comments. We love our pups so!

      Reply
  3. Terry Wynter

    Thank you for this article, I’m so devastated & heartbroken by the sudden loss of our King Charles Cavalier, I do feel some people don’t understand the loss of a precious little guy, the timing of reading this was what I needed . Thanks again, Terry Wynter

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      So true- Terry- I am sure your precious pup was very well-loved, and I am so very sorry for your loss.

      Reply
  4. Kelly

    Thank you so much for this info. It’s good for pet lovers to know their feelings are validated and they are not alone. I just lost my baby Charlie 5 days ago and my heart is shattered.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Kelly, my heart goes out to you- it is so difficult to lose our pets. I hope that Charlie’s memories are ones that will continue to always make you smile!

      Reply
    • Colette

      Thoughts go to you Kelly..
      I too lost my baby boy Charlie and actually came across this page now because I still break down in tears a year later

      Reply
  5. Stacia

    Thanks, Doctor Connor. We know a lot of people who have struggled mightily after the loss of a pet. This is good info!

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      It is just SO hard to lose our animals who love us so much. thank you for reading, and I am glad it is helping some other readers.

      Reply
  6. Stacia W

    Thank you for this, Dr. Connor. We know many friends who have struggled with the loss of a pet.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      yes, agreed-we love our pets!

      Reply
    • Patti

      We just lost our beloved, sweet, thirteen and a half year old dog…my husband and myself are absolutely devastated by her loss….such feelings of sadness, loneliness and absolute holes in our hearts. I think the worst part was having her in my arms for forty minutes while she was having seizures and taking her last dying breaths on the way to 24 hour emergency hospital.
      The visual just keeps replaying. So painful.

      Reply
      • Brynna Connor MD

        Patti- I am so sorry- It is so difficult. Although of little comfort to you right now, I am so glad you were there to comfort her. I hope you have the most wonderful memories!

        Reply
      • Rachel M Levison

        Hi Patti I really empathize with you as I am going through something very similar. On a Tuesday I made an appointment to euthanize my cat on Thursday. I was planning to spoil her for 2 days and spend quality time with her, since she seemed perfectly stable. After 1 day she had some kind of awful attack which was likely a stroke, and was acting erratically, having trouble breathing and within minutes losing her ability to walk.

        I rushed her to the ER to be put down and I can’t get that image out of my mind of the tiny oxygen mask on her face as she lay in my arms like a baby, before they gave her the injection to put her to sleep. I feel like I have PTSD and I can’t let go of guilt that she suffered.

        Reply
  7. Dee Pierce

    Thank you for this article. My boycat is still here for the moment, but age 18, his health has seriously and suddenly deteriorated to where he is lame and has to be carried everywhere. The vet had no answers for us, even after numerous tests. It appears my husband and I are going to have to make some hard decisions soon and I am just devastated. I want to do what is right for my cat. I view him as my child.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Dee, it is so difficult- I am so sorry- but I am also so thankful that you brought your boycat into your family and have loved him so much!

      Reply
  8. Liz

    I just lost my 18 year old cat last week. She died beside me in bed with her head on my arm. Thank you for your article.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Oh Liz, I am so sorry! The love she must have given you – – and you to her. I am thankful you were right there holding her. Our thoughts are with you.

      Reply
  9. Susan

    my 17 year old “child” passed on the 26th. My beautiful orange boy (cat) pure joy for 17 years. i feel like my soul was ripped out through my feet and i was thrown off a cliff and told here is a new life to live..one i dont recognize…Fireball…you were my world and I thank you forever and love you forever. please visit me.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Thank you for sharing with us, Susan. Fireball! what a wonderful name for an awesome memory you will always have in your companion of 17 years. We are with you in your grief.

      Reply
    • Mark Morgan

      Susan, I just lost my Koda Bear of 19 years ( He was a Bengal Cat ). I had to make the most difficult decision of helping him move on, so he wasn’t suffering any more. He had diabetes, kidney failure, hardening of his heart muscles, a tumor in his chest, and neuropathy. He was a fighter til the end, and still wanted to be with me. I feel severe guilt, and like you, as if my heart & soul have been ripped from me. I feel totally lost. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone on this path, and we will see them again someday. They are with us, and loving us.

      Reply
      • Brynna Connor MD

        Totally agree, mark- so sorry for your loss of Koda Bear as well. As hard as it is to let them go, I am so very Thankful you could help him be pain-free.

        Reply
  10. Gwen

    I am surprisingly handling the loss of my 14 yr old rescue Border Collie better than I expected (it’s been only a week). I literally thought it would crush me. The problem that I’m having is after getting her ashes back. I am a little weirded out by it. It saddens me to look at the wooden urn and I just don’t know where I should put it. I didn’t know this would be the most difficult part. It’s causing me a lot of distress.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Gwen, that is a difficult day indeed. I hope you will think of her favorite places and pick one– so that you can put her ashes there and think fondly of her every time you visit that “Spot”

      Reply
  11. Barbara

    Lost my 16 year old Gibbs yesterday. We had spent all our time together since I always worked from home. I am so devastated that I feel I have nothing to live for. I can’t stop crying and praying for help to get me beyond this. I have a husband who is also hurting but continues with his routines. I know they say that time is the answer but I’m getting more depressed with each passing moment.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Barbara, it is SO hard- everyone grieves in his/her own way, we know this to be very true- please be patient with yourself.

      Reply
    • PATRICK K CASEY

      Barbara,
      I too had a Gibbs, a 12 year old chocolate beagle that was the sweetest kindest soul. I had to say goodbye to him 3 weeks ago and even though I had time to prepare, even though I did the best for him his entire life, especially when he was diagnosed – all the facts and attempts to show myself compassion go out the window and it hits my like a tsunami of grief & loss. Less than a year ago I lost my other Beagle Daisy who was my soulmate. Gibbs helped me carry on. Now I feel so lost without purpose. My one consolation is a dog parent’s duty of unconditional love: I know their years seemed short but for a dog’s age they do live a long life. Imagine where they could have ended up before we gave them a warm loving home. I lived in fear of losing Daisy probably bc I lost my own mom when she was 6. Daisy had abandonment issues and she was rescued and taking from her mother early do she was very attached to me. During Covid she had spleen surgery and 14 and had a blood clot and went into cardiac arrest. I couldn’t see her and it was the longest she was ever away from me and I blame myself thinking she died of a broken heart. My only blessing is that she didn’t outlive me and have to deal with this pain I feel. We say we’d walk thru hell for them and in may ways we do. I am so sorry for you and your Gibbs and hope one day to find another live to save.

      Reply
  12. Emma

    Thank you so much for this comforting article. I lost my beloved 10 year old Poppy after she was hit by a car 2 days ago. I can’t eat, sleep as all I see is her lying there. My heart is broken and I keep having major anxiety attacks that are scaring me. Reading this article has made me realise that I am experiencing normal grief and over time the physical pain will hopefully lessen in magnitude. I have also realised that I am not alone.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Oh Emma, I am so sorry- you are SO very not alone in your grief. Our heart goes out to you for your loss.

      Reply
  13. Marissa P

    We just lost our beautiful feisty Cairn terrier, Mia. We were blessed to have her for almost 17 years come Sept 7th. We had to euthanize her on my birthday due to a decline in her health. I sang and talked to her that morning telling her that I loved her and what a good girl she was. I held her near my chest so she could feel my heart beat. It has been extremely difficult for my husband and I. Thanks for this article it validated our grief.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Aww, what a great morning she had- I am so sorry for your loss, Marissa.

      Reply
  14. Julie

    I lost my kitty recently and it hard. But because of this article I fell i can move forward with healing

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Julie, we are so sorry about your kitty.

      Reply
  15. Joel Howard

    Dr. Connor

    3 years ago I took in a little grey and white female kitten as a stray who was just a few months old.
    Since then we have grown to love her and she depended on me for everything, and she followed me everywhere.
    She would never go to the road and when I would pull in the driveway, she would come from the big field behind the house to greet me and wait for me to go in the house.
    One day she saw a rabbit appear from the back of the house across the road and go into a bush. She went in the road in the other lane and wouldn’t move, admins I screamed and screamed at her. But,she didn’t realize the danger. A car came speeding and didn’t even slow down. She finally lunged back toward the house but couldn’t make it and she was killed instantly. And even after 6 weeks I see it over and over and have been a mess ever since. I have been depressed and don’t think I have smiled since. I don’t want to visit relatives and friends, and it has affected my marriage. I loved this little can’t so much. I don’t know if I can ever move on from this. I am thinking about trying counseling.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Joel, the loss is REAL. I absolutely believe in counseling – and it might be a wonderful thing for you – to help in processing this traumatic experience as well as the loss of your sweet cat.

      Reply
  16. Nikki

    Thank you for this article. We said good-bye to our beloved 15 year old dog last Tuesday and I’m experiencing many of the physical symptoms you listed above. We are fortunate that our family and friends have been supportive in our loss, but my heart is just physically hurting and I feel just so exhauseted and drained. Even though I want to cry ( I cried my eyes out since last Tuesday to Sunday), I feel like I physically cannot cry anymore. This is so hard. I miss my best friend terribly.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Nikki, I am so sorry – it is so difficult- I am so sorry for your loss – and 15 – wow! what a life!

      Reply
  17. Cynthia Price

    Thank you for a very helpful article. My beloved dog, Molly, passed away May 29. Some days I still struggle with overwhelming sadness that seems will never go away. Knowing I am “normal” gives me some peace.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Cynthia, you are very normal in your grief- and I hope the memories of your sweet Molly will help you as you always remember her.

      Reply
  18. Sheila

    Though been 3 months I’m struggling without my Cheynia. Heart broke loosing my companion love she gave me 24/7. I’m so empty without her. Without joy,sun pleasure gone.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Sheila, I am so sorry- our companions are so wonderful and it is so hard to say goodbye to them.

      Reply
  19. Angelica Hernandez

    On Tuesday July 13,2021 my dog papi of 13 years was killed by another one of my dogs and I never thought i’d feel the pain of losing a pet let alone him. I haven’t stopped crying and feeling the way i am since tuesday and my family tells me i need to let him go and make peace with the fact that he’s gone and in a better place now.
    He used to suffer from spontaneous seizures and i always knew that one day he’d leave but never did i think he’d leave the way he did, it happened in my room in front me and i tried everything i could to save him but i wasn’t able to and i don’t know if i’ll ever feel ok again because every time i think i’m doing better i start thinking of the incident or him and i start crying. Reading this article really made me realize that it’s ok to grieve the loss of a pet and that i shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I wish it was easy to move on..

    To all of you in these comments who lost a pet, im so sorry for your loss and you’re not alone many of us know exactly how you feel.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      It is so hard, and I am just so sorry.

      Reply
  20. Natoka L Jude

    On June 26,3 weeks from today, I lost my beloved Buchon Frise Bosco. He was 14 years old and in excellent physical health. He was recovering from a cystonomy to remove kidney stones he had done on the 13th of June, and had been dismissed from his restrictions on the 24th of June. He was very energetic and you would never known he had surgery. The next day after his post surgery visit I noticed he was not himself that evening and the next day Saturday evening I asked if he wanted to go to the park which always made him happy and he looked at me with no excitement. I took him to the park anyway to potty around 6 and he seemed his usual self. We stayed about 40 minutes sitting while my daughter jogged. She came and picked him up and we walked to the car and as usual I began to clean his pads with wipes. He made a grunt noise quietly and we just thought oh, he must have had a surgical pain. We got into to the car and he sits in my lap but he is limp with his head on my shoulder as I’m driving and I notice it’s getting worse as I drive. I ended up taking him to the emergency vet and they couldn’t resuscitate him. I am so sick, devastated and heart broken over this. He was healing so well. His vet is so upset and surprised. She was crying and couldn’t believe it. I am physically ill and my stomach feels like I’m on a roller coaster everyday. I’m in shock. He was supposed to be here.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Natoka, I am SO very sorry for the loss of your sweet pup – it is so hard to lose our family members who are our animal companions.

      Reply
  21. Joe G.

    With a shattered heart, I said goodbye to my best friend, Chester, a 19 yr old silver tabby with diabetes and other problems. Almost a year ago he became less active, had difficulty walking, and no bladder control. I knew I had to put him down due to his style of life. Last week, he stopped eating, had no energy. He could barely say, meow. I knew then it was time and I didn’t want him to suffer. After the procedure and the vet said, he was gone, my heart crashed at that instant. I’ve been thru terrible grief in my life but this was nothing like it. He was my side kick for 19 years and now he’s gone. The anxiety, stress, depression, grief, guilt and loneliness was unbearable. I’ll try to get better for my lil boy.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Wow- what a life! You and your Chester were so fortunate to have each other for so long- you must have some incredible memories! I am so sorry for your loss of him ——may those memories live on! and on…and on!

      Reply
  22. Sharyn

    I just put my 17 year old dachshund down due to prostate cancer. This decision was the best due to Milo could no longer pee or poop like normal. He had lost about 5 pounds due to not drinking water. I just feel guilty.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Sharyn, we are fortunate in that we can make the decision to allow our animals to go peacefully—and to not suffer… I am so sorry for your loss of sweet Milo and I hope that you can try to let go of the guilt you feel (as you do not need to feel guilty at all- you gave the kindest act you could have!)—and I hope that you have wonderful memories!

      Reply
  23. Willie

    I just lost my dog Lana recently

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Willie, I am so sorry about Lana – hopefully the awesome memories will help you as you process through the grief.

      Reply
  24. Mark Wilson

    I lost my beloved pet of 3 years due to a traffic accident. although the accident was not mu fault all i can think about is how I could have protected him better. I will never have a pet in a car without proper restraints ever again, in fact I think it should be a law.

    I wrote a letter to my lost pet. He is buried in the backyard and I spend most of my day there mourning him.

    Things have been getting better but your article is correct most people do not understand someone greiving a pet. I tell them it hurt me as much as losing any other family member.
    Thank you for a wonderful article

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      You are right- they ARE family members, and it is so hard to lose them- I hope you have wonderful memories, Mark!

      Reply
  25. Lynda Hamblen

    This post was truly worthwhile to read. I wanted to say thank you for the key points you have pointed out as they are enlightening.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Thanks Lynda- I sure hope the read is worth it for those of us who love our animal companions sooooo much 🙂

      Reply
  26. michelle johnson

    Thank you for this article. My grief and guilt is sometimes unbearable. I lost my Lil German Shepherd, Lola Jean 7-29-21, we just had her first birthday on the 22 of July. She was in her first heat cycle and got the beginning of a uterus infection. The vet recommended surgery and said it was safe. Her heart stopped after they sewed her up. She was in perfect Heath, so I know it was the anesthesia. I just feel like it’s all my fault because I had a premonition something was going to happen and topped it off to my mom anxiety. I wish I could change that day. So much guilt. I lied to her and said ‘I’ll see you tomorrow, I love you and you’ll be ok’. My tomorrow will never come.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Michelle, I am just SO sorry. You could have never known that would happen to Lola Jean – the pain is real and so many others share this with you- as it just hurts so much to lose your family member.

      Reply
  27. Adriane

    I just lost my 18 year old Chihuahua on Sunday. I knew it was coming but I didn’t want to accept it. She was diagnosed with Kidney disease only a few weeks ago. The worst part is she was at my mother in laws while we were on vacation. They called while she was still alive and said that she had not been well the last few days and I said take her to the vet! They called back 5 minutes later and said she had passed. I feel so guilty. She was alone. I should have been holding her. She was my first child, best friend, everything to me. I can’t eat, sleep or stop crying.

    Reply
  28. Valerie

    I’m so glad I came across this article, even more glad to read the comments. We had to have our cat euthanized(unexpectedly) last week and I have been absolutely paralyzed since then. I cry all day on and off and can barely get out of bed. I think I’ve surprised myself(I know my husband is surprised) with the depth of my sadness and feeling of loss. He was only 5….I guess I thought we’d have him around another 10 or so years. To all of you who have experienced this grief, just know you’re not alone and the grief is REAL! I know in time I will get better. We all will.

    Reply
  29. Renee

    Thanks for this article, altho i dont think it will help me get on the other side of my loss. I keep crying and i feel so weak i cant get thru simple tasks. I have 2 other dogs but losing zoey was unexpected. I was doing all i could for her but somehow i failed her. She was diagnosed diabetic 5 months ago. Her blood glucose was over 600. I should have been testing her forn4 months but cpuldnt being myself to make her bleed. Finally, after glucose curves at the vets kept showing high readings (between 300 and 400) and it seemed as if she was insulin resistant, i finally got over that concern and started testing her. Had i been doing this all along, maybe i could have controlled her blood glucose better. But after 5 months she was refusing food. Then we noticed the yellowing of the skin. After bloodwork was done we found super high liver enzymes. In the 1400s! So, the following day i had her euthanized to keep her from suffering thru liver failure. I am just sick. I have thrown up, cant seem to quit crying and my heart aches. I am so weak i cant even stand to do my dishes. I cant eat. Cant cook. And im alone. How can i help myself? She was euthanized on tuesday and this is thursday. Thanks.

    Reply
  30. Rebas zendi

    I just my beloved dog Harrison, he was 11 years old , my daughter adapted him from shelter 9 years ago , and since them he became part of our family. Harrison was very lover , and he loved by any one who new him . Harrison was very healthy and very energetic until couple days before he got sick in stomach, that where we took him to the vet emergency clinic, and put IV on him , but he couldn’t make it , so next day when we went to see him , doctor told us that Harrison couldn’t make it and unfortunately passed away . I am so sad and heartbroken by his death , and his death still make me crying, can’t forget it . Thank for your beautiful advice, it made me much more better.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      I am so sorry to read about Harrison, what a wonderful family member!

      Reply
  31. Cindy Namiak

    I lost both of my beloved cats within 2 hours of each other on 8/16/21. Stripes Leilani my 9 yr. old Tabby/Persian was battling autoimmune disease, I was praying her medical treatments would help her, I was to take her that morning @ 9:00 for her appt. At 7:00 I gave her her meds and was feeding my beautiful Black Angora Rain Lily her breakfast. I quickly showered and went into my bedroom and screamed at the top of my lungs …my Rain Lily was dead on the floor. I tried to give her CPR but she was gone. I held her in my arms and wailed….this was a nightmare. My sister came over to comfort me, we still had to take Stripes to the vet. I wrapped Rain in her favorite blanket and put her in a linen covered box. Once at the vet we received the worst possible news, Stripes red blood cell count dropped even further to 10…I had to let her go…my heart was shattered again..
    I cried all the way home….when I returned home I put Stripes in the same box with Rain and wrapped their arms around each other with a rosary and an angel pin. My sister helped me bury them under the honeysuckle bush in my back yard. My vet surmised Rain threw a blood clot, saying that cats are bonded together very much like people and often pass shortly after one dies. Of course none of that comforts me, I am a grown woman and my heart is shredded …I have lost both my fiancee and Mother in the past 4 yrs but they were a constant source of love for the past 9 yrs. This pain is primal and raw….the depression and loss I feel for them and the guilt, the what if, what did I miss…I will carry their love in my heart forever. Our fur babies and the love we share with them is pure. God Bless every who has suffered the loss of their beloved companion.

    Reply
  32. Shai

    We recently just lost our sweet girl. She was a 15 year old chihuahua.

    I got her when I was just 14 years old. 5 years ago I moved to Germany for schooling and she stayed behind with my mom. I would visit every 4 months and I cherished every moment with her. A couple days ago she started coughing really bad and my mom rushed her to the emergency vet.
    She was diagnosed with advanced heart failure and my mom had to put her to sleep all alone. It was a nightmare. I feel so hopeless and torn to pieces that I wasn’t there with her during her last moments. She was my little soulmate and she meant so much to me.
    I feel completely empty and it’s hard to accept that she is actually gone.

    I also don’t feel that people around me take my loss seriously and and act as if I should just move on with life as if her loss wasn’t significant.

    Reply
  33. Sarah

    I lost my cat of 9 years yesterday, due to illness. She was in for an emergency operation but never came home. She helped me through so many things and most of all my abusive relationship for 9 years. I have finally found happiness with my new partner of 18 months and we now have a 6 month old daughter. I just wish she could have had longer to spend in our new happy life as a family. I will miss her dearly, I have never felt pain like this. Everything is a constant reminder.

    Reply
  34. Allyson Smith

    Thank you for writing/sharing this post. I lost my pup (12 yrs old) today. I had no idea how debilitating and all consuming grief can be. I have lost pets before and I did grieve but because of the busy life I led when raising my family it never felt quite like this. Now I live alone
    And the grief is monstrous. Earlier today I felt so empty it was hard to breathe. This article gave me a little more perspective and I’m so appreciative.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      We are so sorry for your loss Allyson– yes, the grief is REAL.

      Reply
  35. Bridget

    On 28th February our sweet little tabby puss Louley was attacked by a dog whilst the owner watched then walked away. I found my sweet girl screaming in the hedge next door. Her back was broken, she had been shaken and she later died from a bleed on the brain at the vets. There is nothing in the UK law that can be done to the dog owner, because cats do not have any protection. I have never known grief like it. Shortly afterwards, I developed heart rhythm problems which are ongoing and still being investigated, I know my heart was broken. No one is recognising the link between the two, and I’m so so tired. I have no fight left in me. I will never forget her screaming, I relive it every time I leave our house.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      I am just so sorry, Bridget. that is absolutely terrible, and I am So incredibly sorry you are dealing with this.

      Reply
  36. Tammy

    I lost my beloved Ginger August 28th. She was 17 1/2 years old. A shitzu chihuahua mix. She was my little angel. I am still completely heart broken. I feel so extremely sad and depressed. I work from home so she has been by my side for her entire life. She Went everywhere with me. No matter what I do..remember all the good and fun times makes me sadder and miss her even more. I feel lost, lonely, depressed and physically ill. Still cry. I know she had a great life with me but I miss her so much. My life feels empty. I miss her big button eyes always keeping an eye on me. I miss carrying her in my arms. I miss her in my bed. In my truck. Right beside me always. I am struggling hard to move on. Nothing is working. Nothing makes me smile anymore…

    Reply
  37. Nandini Singh

    Today I lost my Kitten. She was 5 months old. I was nurturing her when she was 2 days old. Her mother died after giving birth to her. I was very close to their mother. I cried a lot everytime I see her photo I cry. Now, when I come up with her loss. This happened. My baby my lil Lily leave me all alone. How shellfish she was. She didn’t even think of me . How will I survive. Without her. We play together, sleep together. Last night I showed her sky, bat, stars. We were so happy.
    Now, I can’t Stop grieving. I m so lost. I want her back. I just want to hug her for one last time.

    Reply
  38. Ellen

    I lost my dog, my handsome boy Ernie, 10 days ago and I am shattered. I cannot stop crying. He was 11 and 3/4 years old and I thought for sure he’d be around for at least a few more years. He was slowing down a little, but was not acting ill until 2 days prior to his death. He had a huge tumor on his spleen and internal bleeding. The doctors told us it was the worst case scenario-and so we had to let him go. He was my everything, my best friend, my soulmate -pup. I am so upset with myself that I didn’t see this coming- I always told him I would take good care of him. I feel so alone and its so quiet now in my house…he was like a child to me. He was the best pup anyone could ask for. I do feel so lucky to have had him in my life. It comforts me reading all the comments and knowing that I am not usual for grieving him so hard. I hope in time it will get better. Rest in peace my baby boy -mommy will always love you.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Ellen, I am so glad you had Ernie in your life. the grief is real. We are all thinking of you.

      Reply
  39. Babs

    I just lost my sweet boy (Orange Tabby) after 19 years. I miss him so much, I can’t stop crying and everything reminds me of him. I feel a range of emotions from guilt to loneliness even though I still have another cat still living. I feel bad for him, he is constantly looking for his beloved friend.. which makes me even sadder..

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Babs- It is so hard- I am just so sorry.

      Reply
  40. Sue

    We lost our German Shepard to bone cancer April 16, 2021, she was 7 years old. We suffered another devastating loss this past Monday our Siberian Husky Ava was being treated for what seemed to be an upset tummy, she wasn’t eating for a few days, only drinking. X-rays and bloodwork didn’t raise any red flags with our Vet and Sunday she seemed to be perking up and acting more like her sweet silly Husky self. Monday morning she collapsed and we knew there was nothing we could do, she was in distress and died within minutes. She had just had her 8th birthday a few weeks prior. We are so extremely heartbroken, it’s just unimaginable pain. I’m very sorry for everyone’s loss, our fur babies mean the world to us. I’m thankful for the years we had but just in shock over both babies passing. Thanks for the article and to others for sharing your stories.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      Sue, we are so sorry to hear this – – – – – – – it is truly SO difficult to lose these animals who are our beloved family members. We hope that your awesome dog family memories will carry you for a bit to make it even a tiny bit easier, although we know it is so very hard — and we are just so sorry.

      Reply
  41. mendy mia

    One of the best and my favorite blog ever. Aala stuff and best quality.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      thank you! We hope it helps so many people as they grieve their loss of their pets.

      Reply
  42. Skylar Lee

    Thank you for this article… my dog died a day after my birthday & ive been one denial for some time & wind up hysterically crying at random… this article helped me out & I appreciate things like this 🙂

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      I am so sorry for your loss. Our dogs mean so much to us and not having them with us is so very difficult. So many people on this thread agree with your feelings- we are just SO very sorry.

      Reply
  43. Michelle

    I had to put my 18 yr old mini daschund Sheba down Sept. 25th. Hardest thing I’ve ever done and the first time and last time I ever want to experience this. I’m so greatful we had 18 great years, but I never want to have to go through this again. The pain is agonizing.. I’m sure with time, like everything else, it will get easier, but it will never be the same without her.. She was a great dog and I will cherish the memories with/of her and call it quits with getting another one. I could never top her. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you who have left a bit of your stories on here. I’m so sorry for your losses. Be kind to yourselves and know you’re not alone even though it feels like you are. Losing a pet is no different than losing a human member of your family. They ARE family and in many cases, better than some of the human family members. They love unconditionally!❤

    Reply
  44. Erick

    This article is exactly what I needed to read. My beautiful boy Mugsy just passed 2 days ago and I’m devastated. He was 1 month shy of his 9 birthday which is long for bulldogs, but I felt like he was special and would live longer. I’ve been crying non stop and see all that you listed as symptoms I’ve been feeling. I feel like I let him down because he choked on his food while I was in another room speaking with family. I’ve blamed everything and everyone I could think of for his loss. Im glad I have small children and my wife that has been nothing less then a saint. She took of work and has been by my side. My kids think I’m a big tough guy and never seen me cry like this before, I hope they learn that it’s ok to cry and grieve. Even in his passing he keeps healing my soul and making me better and I will never forget him, but I just can’t stop crying and praying he shows up one day and this has all been a nightmare. Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  45. Lisa

    I just lost my soul dog and my therapy dog Sadie 5 days ago. I rescued her at 4 months old, and she passed at 12 and a half years from sudden spleen enlargement and bleeding in to her abdomen. She was my everything, and I am crushed. I cry constantly, I can not eat or sleep. This is excruciating.

    Reply
  46. Karen MacWatters

    I have spent Thanksgiving Day alone grieving the loss of my 18 yr old kitty Lucy, whom I euthanized two days ago. While she was riddled with medical issues and I feel I did the right thing, I was not prepared for how she fought the injection of the sedative while in my arms. In addition to the grief of losing her, I feel an overwhelming sense of horror that her final moments were so scary and painful. It’s over for her, but somehow I’m not finding much solace in knowing that. I’m hoping in time I can find a way to reconcile it in my head.
    Thanks for the article, and to all of you for commenting. It makes me feel less alone in a world where not all understand the intensity of this form of grief.
    Love to all of you that have lost.

    Reply
  47. Bill Prash

    Thank you for addressing what I’m feeling. Our one-year-old puppy was hit by a car when I was gone for an hour. I didn’t realize how much she meant to me until she was gone. She showed me she loved me many times a day. I gave her kisses and rubbed her tummy. I didn’t realize how much I would miss her. She was so perfect for us in so many ways, playing with the other dogs, rough-housing with our Grandson. I am depressed. I’m a 61 year-old Judge and things aren’t supposed to affect me. Certainly not the death of just a silly dog.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      I am so sorry for your loss- dogs are living breathing beings, so not just silly dogs 🙂 and they touch our human hearts in such a special way- and we are forever changed – and always for the better.

      Reply
  48. Judy

    I just lost my dearest friend, a 12 year-old black Labrador mix. Rainbow had a huge tumour in her stomach that invaded her liver. I never knew about it even though l had geriatric blood tests done and yearly vaccinations. I never thought of having her get an x-ray, which l regret now. Perhaps something could have been done years ago. Looking back, there were signs of her being in pain that l overlooked but l just thought about how great each day was with her in my life and how much fun we had. Oh how l miss her. I live alone and l can’t see myself with another dog. She was and will always be in my heart. Her name is Rainbow, my sweetie, that l miss so much.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      it sounds as though rainbow had so much fun with you also, Judy- I am sorry for your loss.

      Reply
  49. Frances Fasano

    Thank you for this article. I’m trying to get my hands on anything I can read about grieving for a pet and guilt. My 9 year old Yorkie Zoey was put down after an emergency episode on 12/31/21..while we were on vacation visiting family with her. She was an emotional support pet for my daughter and our family is devastated. My dog had multiple illnesses for the past 3 years..some very serious and we were doing everything we could to keep her going this last year when tumors were found inoperable behind her eyes. She was given 2-4 months and we had her another year. However GI issues she deals with had recently gotten worse and we always suspected a collapsing trachea..and while in Florida she had an episode of gasping for breath (likely due to collapsing trachea) which she could not recover from even with oxygen and medication. She was gasping for air in the animal hospital while in an oxygen chamber and we had no choice but to put her down so she would not suffer unnecessarily. The week before she had a great time..even up to that last day. The event came on suddenly and she did suffer for a few hours, but we were with her in the end. I try to console myself with the fact that her other medical issues were all coming to a head and we honestly were prepared to lose her just not like that and it was TOO SOON..I thought we’d definitely have at least a few more months if not more. Life is cruel..but maybe my baby freed us because we were very tied to her and really could not leave her. Her medical issues needed our constant attention just to keep her going. I am heartbroken over the loss..and guilty that I should have been paying more attention to that collapsed trachea before it actually suffocated her.😢

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      To your sweet Zoey- it is always too soon, and I am so sorry for your loss.

      Reply
  50. Lisa

    I lost J.J. this past Monday. He was 7 yo border collie. He was the light of my life. It was unexpected. Cancer. There really wasn’t any other choice. The vet misdiagnosed it as pancreitis or IBC. I loved him so much. I took him to the emergency vet twice in three days.. the last day, he couldn’t stand up. When the vet called and said I had some hard choices, I knew. I was in a parking lot of Costco. It was so unexpected. Up till then, I thought it was a chronic illness. There wasn’t any warning. I dropped to my knees when I told the vet to go ahead and euthanize JJ.. I couldn’t go back and say goodbye. It was beyond me. Now, I can’t seem to stop crying. I have never grieved over a pet like this. JJ was with me all the time. I don’t know how to move on. Everywhere I look I see him. I hear him. What can I do? I am devastated. I can’t stop grieving. I just wish I had more time with him. I just don’t know what to do with me now.

    Reply
  51. Michael Wise

    We put our Westie, Bacon, down two days ago. He was four months short of his
    13th birthday. He had gone downhill very quickly with a spinal lesion – during the
    last week he was paralyzed from waist down. Loss of use of his back legs, urination and defecation. It was heartbreaking, and we had to make the right choice for him. He was a cornerstone of our family – a treasure to our three kids for over twelve years. I know it was the right thing to do, but I have an eighteen pound hole in my heart. It’s going to be awhile for me to handle this loss. Lots of happy heartfelt memories.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      cheers to those memories- it is so hard to lose a member of the family….what a treasure Bacon was to you all.

      Reply
  52. Christine Booras

    Thank you for this article. On December 31, 2021 we had to say goodbye to our precious Aussie, Valkyrie. She was 15 yrs old so had a long life but it was still so difficult. In February we also had to help her 14 yr old “brother” Nova, a border collie/Catahoula mix, over the Rainbow Bridge due to bone cancer & then in April we had to do the same for her feline brother, Stripey, who developed a sudden & unexpected fatal condition. Additionally, I take care of a colony of ferals at a strip mall & 5 have gone missing, one by one, and now only one is left & we wonder each day if we will see him again. I recently saw a coyote on trail cam footage. 2021 was a heartbreaking & brutal year of way too many animal losses & it truly has taken my breath away. The 4 cats I now have at home are all acting so different & depressed. My sadness is more than likely affecting them too so my goal is to bring them even more love & attention with hopes they hang in there & we all heal together. Having love & compassion for animals is truly a double edged sword but focusing on the good times is the key. And though it’s painful to see others with similar feelings, it is comforting to know that I’m not alone.

    Reply
  53. Cindy

    My baby, Felda Mae, was diagnosed with advanced chronic kidney failure in early September, 2021. We tried everything to get her to eat the prescribed diet. She refused all of it and we decided to let her eat whatever sounded good to her.
    We took her to the park, for car rides, played when she was able and went for walks until she couldn’t. I gave her everything I had in me to make sure she knew she was loved and precious. My best friend. On December 27, it was obvious that it was time to take her to the vet which I had been dreading ever since her diagnosis.
    She was alert, even though very sick, which made me feel even more horrible, because I was afraid she was experiencing anxiety and confusion. We told her she was okay, to go to a Jesus and Grandpa and that we loved her so very much. And it was over.
    I am in so much pain, yet feel numb and robotic in my functioning.
    How will I ever get through this life without her?
    I would never want her to continue to suffer, I just wish I had my baby back.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      You did the most amazing thing that we are gifted as humans to be able to do for our animals- you did not allow her to suffer. It is so hard, and I am so sorry for your loss.

      Reply
    • yvonne Duran

      I just had to put my Sonny Poodle Boy to sleep today. He had a bad, abusive and neglected life before he came to us. He was about 14 years old. We loved him and baby’d him so much. He was my cuddler and woke me up each morning with such happiness. He was my sunshine. He stopped eating last Monday and after all of the bloodwork, X-ray and overnight hospital stay, I brought him home, hoping he would perk up when he was with us. He didn’t. He was suffering so much and I had no other choice. He was the cutest, sweetest poodle. I am crying and I feel pain of missing him. Coming home without him is lonely and sad. These fur babies are such a blessing but oh the pain at the end is unbearable. I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything but I hope the healing and peace comes soon.

      Reply
      • Brynna Connor MD

        we hope the healing and peace comes for you, Yvonne- and we are so sorry for your loss, what a nice life you gave Sonny!

        Reply
  54. Vidisha

    The article and more so the comments offer me so much solace right now. It’s not been even 24 hours yet that I lost my 13 year old brother, Snowy. He meant the world to me, and now without him everything seems empty. I know my pain is not one of its kind, but it’s crushing me. I’m scared of his memories eventually fading and just a few being left. I’m also a little angry that my family seems to be getting over this loss so quickly and they’re trying to move forward which I feel I can’t so soon. I need more time to mourn my little brother. I want to cry a lot more even though i know it won’t bring him back

    Reply
  55. A L

    Our dear sweet orange tabby Julius (yes, as in Orange Julius) was put down yesterday. Our young daughter who is 9 years old is very sad as are we. Julius found us and we were so lucky to have such a beautiful kind and compassionate friend in our fluffy orang kitty cat. He was such a comfort to my husband during lockdown and literally attended all his work meetings with him (on Zoom). He was intuitive and loved being near us or better, on us. He was in our family for over 13 years. This morning is really hard because he used to wake me up with his purrs. He had been declining quite rapidly and was extremely thin due to eating problems and an abdominal mass. The kind vet who helped us put him down helped us to recognize that she supported our decision to not keep drawing out his life and to end his suffering. We are weeping for you sweet kitty. We will miss him so much. Our other kitties are here to help and keep us on track. Thank you for reading.

    Reply
  56. Ryan

    Our baby just passed away 2 days ago. He was in my arms. I have been asleep since then. It is too difficult to be awake. Everything reminds me of him. Guilt is the main feeling I keep having though. The last days he was alive really bother me. Do dogs remember their entire life or just focus on the current? I hate that his last few days were in pain, loosing mobility, and my partner and I crying so much. We did the best we could do for him though and laid with him and fed him ice chips. We took turns so he was never alone. He had never liked being alone; he was always around us. He was only 3 1/2 years old. There are more things that make me feel guilty, mostly little things, so I am trying not to focus on those. He did have a good life and he was always such a happy spirit and the sweetest dog I have ever known. Everyone that he had met commented on how sweet he was. He had been there through so much with us and had gotten my partner and I through some of the most difficult times in our lives as both of us had to cope with the loss of loved ones. When my partner’s father passed away, he went with us to Texas and was the light in a dark time. He didn’t know what was going on of course and was his happy self and was a distraction from everything going on and created many good memories with us during the time. He must have known that we were sad and stressed at the time and was there for us. When my Grandmother passed away, him just being here helped me and like always, he gave me a reason to get up each day and to be happy. Taking care of him gave me a purpose and he was such a bright and happy soul. He really was the light of our lives. I told him that many times before he passed. I hate to sound so depressing, it is just how I feel right now. We buried him in our backyard with many of his favorite toys. His name was Nero. He was the perfect dog. My partner and I had raised him from being a pup and he had the best qualities. I feel like the way you treat your animals is the way they become. We treated him basically like a person and both of us were always amazed at how smart he was. He will always be in our hearts

    Reply
    • Ryan

      Sorry I found my original comment and I would like to add /update to it. As more time goes on, I have been struggling with regret, pain, and guilt tremendously. I never treated my dog badly but I have high anxiety and was always on him, which I can see was a bit overbearing. Not like in a mean or scolding way I would just stop him or correct him with gestures or just by touching him sometimes (he knew me very well) but it was maybe too much. I had to remind myself that he was not a person sometimes. also, my partner and I seemed to argue more often I think towards the end and he really did not like this. He would always hide right away and be very upset and scared even if my partners tone would slightly change where it wasn’t an argument..maybe he was telling a story or hurt himself working on the car.. Nero would take it very personally and hide as if he were in trouble. But we never yelled at him or physically punished him his entire life .. but it seemed as if he always thought it was directed at him.. of course the right thing to do would be to not do this around him but we did and it makes me feel so horrible. I mean I can’t believe we even argued when he was sick in the end. He didn’t deserve any of that stress especially in the end. Shame on both of us for this. I just am trying really hard to cope or get over this kind of stuff. I also feel like I disconnected myself in the end and was on auto drive… Even so emotionally. This also kills me. It was so hard to deal with.. it just happened. Of course I was there for him but until the very end ifeel like I was not being myself. My partner was though. He’s good at that and making things happy. I just also hope we weren’t too much overall in the end like talking to him so much and trying to calm him down at times. I mean he couldn’t move anymore and I know he hated that and it was scary for him. He looked up at me with a look in his eyes and I knew exactly what he was saying. He wanted me to help him and make things better. This was also so so so very hard… Knowing that he was dying and wasn’t going to get better these last days. There was no hope or future for him and at the time I honestly was hoping that he wasn’t going to have to suffer for too long or be in pain… But then I didnt want him to leave us and felt like I was waiting for him to pass but of course I didn’t want any of this and I didn’t like to think I was even thinking that way. It was very confusing and now I am left with so many negative emotions. I feel sick thinking about any of this. My poor sweet baby who always was so happy and full of life. It all went bye so quickly I don’t think I have fully accepted that he’s gone yet. I still feel like he’s going to be there when I wake up or when I drop food or come inside or go to bed. The whole thing baffles me now. I mean I know what happened but it’s just… I don’t know the right word but it’s like it’s over and he’s gone and he’s not going to come back and I have to accept this but it doesn’t feel right or real. I can’t make changes that I wanted to anymore and think he still has a long life that we have so much time to do things.. holidays birthdays.. a camping trip we always wanted to take him on. I guess I feel like it’s not fair. I can’t believe he’s gone.. literally. Also of course there’s the what ifs… And I should haves in the end. I just accepted what they found but I didn’t ask any questions .. it was like it was known that he either had to be put to sleep or die naturslly because he had already pretty much started the process of not eating and was loosing mobility. But why didn’t I ask questions ? The ones I have now? I feel like I didn’t try to save him. Ok thats enough of my sorrow. I am not a negative person and it’s not like me to sound like this but I feel like I need to hear some real advice. I hope I was not too much I don’t want to make others depressed or have a negative outcome to readers. Hopefully it can help others who might relate.. but if someone would prefer not to post this part publically, please send me a personal response to my email. I just want to add that Nero had a very good life and we loved him with all of our hearts. He was spoiled with many stuffed animals he loved and was so appreciative of every one. He would be so happy and show us how much he loved it all day.. walk around so proud. He was not neglected or abused and I know he had a good life these are just things that bother me as a person and I feel like I could have done better. I just have can’t stop thinking about these things now and I am heartbroken. Thank you so very much for listening to me i know there are support lines but I doubt I will actually do that so I am having my therapy session here (just kidding) and don’t worry I am going to be ok overall and I know this. Ive had anxiety my entire life and am used to myself by now lol. It helps to vent though and to maybe get some advice to help cope and deal with these things rather than dwell on them or just let time pass and hold onto the feelings or thoughts and just let them feel like less but still be there. Thank you again. -Ryan

      Reply
      • Brynna Connor MD

        this is so hard- really, hardest thing when our pets leave us- we are so sorry for your loss – the void is immeasurable

        Reply
  57. Jess

    Thank you for writing this. It helps me feel less alone. I lost my baby and best friend, Oxford, almost a week ago. My grief has been agonizing. It was very unexpected and he suffered at the end. The vet had been giving him a clean bill of health at every check up which was every few months as he was in regularly for skin infections. For a while he had been struggling with yeast infections in his skin and the smell was very strong. Yeast infections cause them to get oily and leave behind lots of pungent residue. For this reason, while I was still petting him and spending time with him, I wasn’t holding or cuddling with him as much. The day before he passed we bought $75 shampoo to help (he was already on medication for the yeast infection) and we had him scheduled for a dog dermatologist. I wanted him to not suffer the skin infections for his sake, and I was also looking forward to our regular cuddles again. The next day he died of advanced heart disease, something the vets hadn’t screened for, and therefore had gone undiscovered. Seeing him suffer at the end haunts me. And not having cuddled as much at the end haunts me more. I can’t believe I will never kiss his little head again or hear his little feet tread across my floors. I ache for him and dread living even one more hour without him. I have lost humans in my life, but I’ve never grieved so severely as I have for the loss of my fur baby. I pray I will be with him again one day. I can’t accept any other possibility.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      WE are so sorry- the loss is so much. thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  58. Chris

    I’m late to the comments but have purposefully searched the Internet for this kind of article. Tonight me and my parents put down our Jack Russell of 17 years. It took place in the house and I feel traumatised by the experience even though he had a very peacefull death surrounded by love. I’m struggling to see how I can get over this grief. I loved him so much. Tonight’s events are replaying over and over in my head. I hope in time I can move forward and look back at his death as a sad but beautifull moment in life. My heart goes out to everyone who goes through this. I’ve lost family members but without doubt this is the most intense grief I have felt in my life. Such a bittersweet experience is pet ownership I don’t think I can go through this ever again.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      WE are so sorry- and yes, you think you cannot go through with it again, but you love your animals so… time will tell and in the meantime, take care of yourself and your family.

      Reply
  59. Louis Chianese

    I rescued a bunny that was abandoned in a house.
    I cannot describe how much I loved her. It was amazing to me that a bunny could show love back as much as she did.
    She would sit with me for hours, as I would play with her, and love her. She would even give me kisses when I held her.
    I have had many animals throughout my life, and I loved them dearly.
    I had to put my little bunny down a few days ago, because she had cancer.
    Most people might think that you could not love an animal like a bunny that much. I miss my little girl so much that I think that I’m going to lose my mind…..
    I sure hope this gets better.

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      it will get better- what a nice life you gave her.

      Reply
  60. RYAN BELLOTTI

    Thank you

    Reply
  61. Krissy Satz

    My sweet bestie, Koda, was peacefully sent over the rainbow bridge last night. He was the best dog I have ever known. We chose to have it done in our home so he could be in his bed surrounded by everyone who loved him. There is a huge cold void in my heart today that I can’t even express in words. We had Koda Bear for almost 14 years… he was a beautiful Boxer with the most soulful eyes…. I can’t bear his absence…..

    Reply
    • Brynna Connor MD

      awwwww, Sweet Koda- such a void- we are thinking of you!

      Reply
  62. Gregg

    Thank you for this article. It’s been nearly two years and I still feel like I lost half of my soul. I haven’t been the same since.

    Reply
  63. Tina Ackler

    How do you stop the heartache of losing a pet? It’s only been 48 hours. Our healthy happy playful 6 year old cat Bella was found dead by our bed. We’ve only been out of the house 4 hours and she was perfectly fine. She showed no symptoms. No breathing problems, no vomiting, no diarrhea, no weight loss nothing. My husband and I are CPR instructors we panicked and tried CPR and rescue breathing with no response. Her pupils were fixed and dilated but she felt warm.Bella loved to talk to us her little chirps when we asked how she was and when we walked in the room. She did a happy skip and jump when she saw us. She had a Marilyn Monroe beauty mark on her face, tuxedo cat beautiful Bella.I am a Paramedic and can typically hold it together but the death of Bella has put a hole in my heart. I don’t feel like eating, drinking, working and if I sit still long enough I replay it all in my head. My husband and I are taking this extremely hard.I can’t look at her pictures and had my husband hide all of her toys. I’ve been a medic for 21 years and worked overseas. I’ve dealt with people dying but this is different. I can’t get the thought of seeing her lifeless body when she was perfectly fine hours ago.
    We have 3 other cats and the thought of going through this again destroys me. We are going to have a necropsy (autopsy for animals) done tomorrow. I just need to know why.

    Thank you for sharing your article. It helps knowing I’m not alone

    Reply
  64. Patricia Smith

    I lost my little sweet Skipper on New Years Day. I miss him so much. I dont feel whole without him.

    Reply
  65. Bee

    My 96-year-old mother just called, sobbing, to tell me that her adored Bengal rescue kitty, Daisy, died after being caught in her neighbor’s automatic garage door. The kind neighbor, also a cat lover, immediately drove Daisy (and Mom) to the vet, who sedated her in prep for surgery…but she died on the table. Daisy was the sweetest, smartest, most companionable cat I ever knew (and I have owned many!) My mother lives alone, and this cheerful little pet was truly her friend. So, Dr. Connor, your mention of “broken heart syndrome” struck home; at her age, I truly wonder if this will be the psychological/emotional trauma that will be the end for Mom. Another pet is NOT the answer, at her age (she is vehement about that). I really thought Daisy (who was only eight) would outlive Mom. It’s certainly what Mom herself thought. She is devastated. And I have no idea what to do.

    Reply

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