When your best friend is gone

  1. Please forgive me for this posting, but right now I just need to talk. For over 16+ years I was blessed with the unconditional love and companionship of Cookie, whom we have lovingly called Gramma Cookie the past few years because of her age and I guess as a term of respect. Cookie was an 8 pound Terrier that could melt your heart with just one little kiss. She has been with me during the most painful times in my life and during the happiest. About 2 weeks ago, it became obvious to me that prolonging her life was for my benefit, not hers. She had not been able to see or hear for about 2 years now. But she was adjusted and we catered to her, making sure the other furry kids in our house gave her the proper treatment and respect. I took special care to provide for all her needs and gave her every medication the doctor said would benefit her tiny little body. But one day I looked into her tired eyes and saw her pain, and I could tell she was growing weary, that life itself was to much of a battle to fight anymore. So, with a heart aching more than it ever has before, on Friday morning I administered to her a very strong tranquilizer and she went to sleep. I took her to the vet's office and together we sent her across the Rainbow Bridge. On the surface, this sounds so well controlled but to be honest, I cannot stop the pain or tears that are falling. I feel like my best friend has died and it was my fault. I have cried until my eyes look like I have been beaten. I want to go somewhere and hide from the world but everyone keeps saying life must go on. Many of you will say, it was just a dog, but she was the second child I could not have. We shared the most wondeful conversations and she never betrayed my confidences. She loved me when I was successful and just as much when I made bad decisions. She never judged me, she just loved me, always. Please understand, I have a wonderful family and two other furry babies, but I just cannot get past this agonizing pain inside my heart that makes me want to retreat from the world. How do I move on, how do I let go. I feel such guilt for having done this to her, even though I know her pain is gone. I'm so afraid she thought I did this because I didn't want to be burdened with the constant care she needed, but I would gladly have cared for her forever if only she hadn't been in pain. I am a nurse, it is my job to take care of the sick, but I feel as though I murdered her. My family say they are concerned for me. I have done nothing for three days but take medicine to make me sleep, because if I don't sleep, I cry. I have to go to work tomorrow, I don't know if I can. My doctor put me on Xanax but it really doesn't help, just makes me sleepy. My other two furry babies are hovering over me, I know they also feel the pain of her absence. I know that someone on this board has had to have been through this, please tell me, how do I get past this feeling of guilt and the horrible pain I feel because she is gone???
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   tiger
    i am so sorry for your loss duckie. i have not been through it yet with my babies but i know that when the time comes, i will know, just as you did, and i will not let them suffer. you cannot let yourself feel guilty for doing the right thing.i have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. it will take you time to get over the loss of a dear friend i'm sure but you must bounce back and remember those that are still with you. also know that gramma cookie is now in heaven watching over you and thanking you for letting her go without suffering. god bless. janet
  4. by   kaycee
    Gosh I do know how you feel. I had to have my beloved Beau put to sleep over 10 yrs ago and to this day I still miss him. I took him by myself crying the whole way. I held him in my arms when he took his last breath. I sat with him for the longest time before I could let go. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. He was there when I was single. He was there when I got married. He was there with the birth of my two kids. He was my protector, my confidant, my baby who always gave me unconditional love.
    I felt very guilty for a long time but I did finally realize as you will in time that he was in a better place. No more pain, able to run free again. I have another baby now who is 10 yrs old. A big old black lab who has never replaced Beau but has filled her own place in my heart. I hate to think of the time when I may have to make that decision again, but I will if I know it is best for her, because I would never want her to suffer.
    I am so sorry for your loss and it's not just a dog, it's your best and most loyal friend and it will take time.
    My heart goes out to you. Reach out to your other furry babies they need you now.
    Take care and God Bless!

    Lynne

    P.S. My name on this board is my dog. Kaycee!
    Last edit by kaycee on Nov 12, '01
  5. by   Jenny P
    Dear Duckie, I had Shirley for 18 years and in her last year she lost 1/3 of her weight. She was a long haired grey and white cat who I named after a nursing supervisor who was just as nosy as the cat. I became allergic to her when I was pregnant with my son (she was about 3) and she had to live next door at my hubby's Aunts (we were in a double bungalow-same house, common entry, but divided living spaces). She was still MY cat and considered herself as my property. She let the Aunts think she was theirs, but as soon as I was around, she sat with me. As she aged, she became more and more frail, and we had many trips to the vet in her last 2 years. Finally, we all agreed she was suffering. My daughter and I took her in to the vet, and her heart rate and breathing had already started to slow down. The vet told us that we could wait and she would die naturally on her own. My daughter and I decided to put her to sleep instead, and my daughter held her while the vet injected Shirley. My daughter was in 6th grade at the time, and it was very peaceful for all of us to be there and end Shirley's suffering the way we did.

    She is now buried in our backyard (we moved at the time that she died), and we put up some fencing around her grave and planted catnip on it. A friend told me how he had made a cement gravestone for his dog in his back yard, and we have thought about it but decided against it, because we feel that this way she can "hear the birds and smell the catnip" even though she's been gone for several years.

    You helped you dear dog cross over from this life to the next; you didn't murder him; he is now in doggie heaven and will be out of pain. If you can make a little meditation area for him (I know it isn't legal to bury pets in backyards, but we did it anyway) or for you to be to remember him it may make this a little easier on you right now. Remember the good times you had with him. He was special, but let your other pets help get you through this time. And share your grief with others. It will get better.

    Jenny
  6. by   debbyed
    I love my pets as much as my children and greive for them as well. Over the years I have had to put 4 "to sleep" because of either failing health or in one case extreme injury. It always leaves a hole.

    What I usually do is shortly there after I go to the local humane society or shelter to see if there is an unloved pet there who needs this extra love I have. Always one special dog or cat has stood out from the rest asking that I take them home.

    You never forget the old friends and you can never replace them...but there are many many new friends out there waiting for that one special person.
  7. by   night owl
    Duckie,

    I am so sorry for your loss and have prayed for you and Grandma Cookie. God is taking care of Cookie now and I'm sure that she is very happy with him. He'll take good care of her until the day you can be reunited with her. So think of it as only a temporary loss. That thought always helps me through the hard times after a death of a loved one. Someday you'll be with her again...

    I have had to take a few pets to the vet to relieve their suffering and it NEVER gets any easier. The last time, I had to take my cat Smokey. Actually it was my son's cat. Smokey was 4 years old, my son was 8. When the vet told us that we could try dialysis, but his prognosis was very poor and it would be very expensive (over $4,000) to do on a pet with a very poor prognosis. He left the room to give me some time to think about it. My son looked up at me with his tear-filled eyes and said "Mommy, you can do alot of over time!" I started to cry with him and hugged him tightly. I told him that even with the dialysis he was sure to pass away because he was so sick(and near death).
    It was time to let Smokey go to God because he'll be happy there. God will make him feel a whole lot better. Then one day when we go to stay with God, we'll be able to see Smokey again. He'll be waiting for us with God in heaven. He really wasn't over joyed with that answer, but his concern was that he wanted Smokey to feel better even if it ment "letting him go" to heaven to be with God. We missed him very much and time is what we needed to help heal the pain of our loss. That was 8 years ago and we still talk about Smokey and what a little BRAT (spoiled rotten) he was. He still misses him, but not like 8 years ago on that rainy Saturday morning.
    You'll get through this kid, but it's going to take some time for you to heal from the pain of this loss. Go ahead and cry and cry 'til you can't cry anymore, but remember your other babies need your love...Go give them a great BIG hug. You did the right thing for Cookie and she's at peace now with God.
    Here's a good web site you might want to visit: www.pet-loss.net.
    It may help you out. Take care of yourself...You are #1!!!
    ~Michele~
  8. by   hoolahan
    {{{{{{Duckie}}}}}}

    I haven't seen you post in a long time, so sorry it has to be so sad for you.

    I have also been through this, and it is hard. I was glad the day after , that the vet had kept telling me it was for the best. I thought so at the time, but wasn't convinced of that the next day.

    Were you able to bring her home to bury her? We buried all our angels in the back yard. I planted bulbs over their graves in the shaped of their names "J" for Julie, "G" for Ginger, a ballerina tulip over the russian hampster (russian ballerina connection there) and a tiger lily plant over the cat. I have noticed that pet smart has some beautiful "headstones" that say nice things like "Our Beloved Pet", but I can't use them now b/c of the bulbs.

    Try to think of all the good times. Put a nice picture of her in a frame. It will get easier in time. You are lucky to have some other furry friends who are there to comfort you. Now that I have my Shelby, I would just die without her, so I know how you feel. Take a look at my Pet Tribute page, the link is in my signature.

    {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}
  9. by   fulwood
    I just wanted to say that you have my sympathies. I am single, have no family (raised in orphanage for most of childhood) and dogs have played role in my life that my own family was unable to. I currently have 15 year old cocker spaniel that has CHF and she is on medications. I take her to cardiologist every 2 months and my first question is I always ask him "is she suffering" in any capacity... So far so good as meds are helping and she eats well, still likes to chase bubbles etc. but I know we are both living on borrowed time. I am not looking forward to the day at all but will do it. I had another cocker few years back and I wish I had put him to sleep sooner - I kept him alive too long. As matter of fact when vet put my dog to sleep he gave dog tranquilizer to calm him and that actually killed him - didn't need the additional shot. I hate myself for that. I plan on having my 15 year old cocker be put to sleep at my house and then buried in back yard. I don't know what I would have done in or with my life without the companionship of my dogs. Take as long as you need to grieve and I'm terribly sorry.
  10. by   duckie
    I cannot tell you how much your words mean to me right now. I'm trying so hard to be brave but find the tears just come out at the oddest times. I have to say I am very lucky to have a very caring and understanding supervisor at work. She told me to take the extra day off and never hesitated to let me come home early the nights I could so I could spend time with her while I still had her with me. I know Gramma Cookie is dancing in a field of flowing wild flowers, free of pain and happy to be released from her agony. For those of you that have posted, can you please help me understand something. I gave her a very strong sedative while she was at home, as going to the vet terrified her so much and I wanted the last memories for her to be curled up with me on the couch, in my arms. But it didn't happen that way and now this is the part that is tearing my heart out. My husband held her as I gave her the sedative that was diluted in water and in a syringe. She only weighed 8 pounds so it took about 3-4 minutes before she started acting really different and then all of a sudden she screamed a blood curdling scream that wakes me up at night in my dreams. Withing less than a minute she collapsed and went to a deep sleep but was still breathing. We took her to the vets and they gave her the final injection. I am trying hard to deal with that scream. It was so loud, my other dog, whom we had put upstairs, started howling, which she never does. I am tortured as to what that scream meant. I am so afraid it was a "how could you do this to me" scream. My husband seems to think that she was feeling numbness take over and that it scared her. He swears it lasted only a second but to me it seemed forever. If I could only get past this, I think I could start to deal with the loss but this is haunting me all the time. Please tell me what you think. I don't mean to be whiny or a burden on this web sight but you have all been so supportive to so many and just this once can you please help me find some peace. I promise I will not be a burden to you on a regular basis, but my mind is tortured and I really need a friend right now. Most folks just don't understand this pain, if they've never loved a furry baby. When you loose a person, everyone gathers around you to hold you up but if it's a critter, they seem to just act like it's no big deal. Perhaps I have lived a sheltered life but I have never known a pain that has torn my heart so deeply. Thank you for listening.
  11. by   duckie
    Originally posted by hoolahan
    {{{{{{Duckie}}}}}}

    I haven't seen you post in a long time, so sorry it has to be so sad for you.

    I have also been through this, and it is hard. I was glad the day after , that the vet had kept telling me it was for the best. I thought so at the time, but wasn't convinced of that the next day.

    Were you able to bring her home to bury her? We buried all our angels in the back yard. I planted bulbs over their graves in the shaped of their names "J" for Julie, "G" for Ginger, a ballerina tulip over the russian hampster (russian ballerina connection there) and a tiger lily plant over the cat. I have noticed that pet smart has some beautiful "headstones" that say nice things like "Our Beloved Pet", but I can't use them now b/c of the bulbs.

    Try to think of all the good times. Put a nice picture of her in a frame. It will get easier in time. You are lucky to have some other furry friends who are there to comfort you. Now that I have my Shelby, I would just die without her, so I know how you feel. Take a look at my Pet Tribute page, the link is in my signature.

    {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}
    I chose to have her cremated and when I die, her ashes will be combined with mine. I am also making a memory book and have a memorial for my wall that I am going to order. I collected all her favorite toys, including her baby that she loved for over ten years and they are all in a special box. You know it's very odd but one of my other babies, a 4 year old Jack Russell, has taken to acting just like she did. Cookie followed me everywhere and now Candi is doing the same thing. It seems she now feels it is her job to take care of Mommy. At first I wanted to push her away but then I realized, maybe she needs me too, as much as I really need her. I know the other girls miss Gramma too. I don't think there is a more precious or unconditional love than from a dog. They are truly gifts from God.
  12. by   CC NRSE
    duckie,
    my heart and prayers go out to you. i have three fur babies of my own and understand how much they can mean to you. just know that cookie is out of pain now. you did the most unselfish act of love by giving her that freedom.

    you will be in my prayers.....

    april
  13. by   canoehead
    What a terrible thing to have to think about Duckie. I am so sorry, but I don't think you did anything wrong, and I can't imagine that Cookie could even think that you would do anything to hurt her, or anything without the very best of intentions. Remember all the time you must have had to do things that she didn't like, or that hurt but only took a minute, and she must have trusted you, and quietly waited until you were finished knowing that you were making it better. That's why I don't buy her protesting, or screaming at you.

    I think she was trying so hard to be with you, knowing that she was dying, but still loving her human masters that her fear of being taken away overcame her for a moment. Remember though that afterwards she quieted, and trusted inyou even up to the end. The scream sounds like the type of response she would have had if a stranger had grabbed her from your arms, but in reality she looked around and there you were, still holding her, and reassuring her even inher final moments. So when she died she was enveloped in peace and love from her human caregivers, and yet feeling the peace and love from God, and knowing that she was safe on both sides she found the strength to take that final step.

    My heart is with you, Duckie, but Cookie had faith in you all her life, why would she suddenly doubt your love. But she could have had a fear of the unknown...but remember that people say they feel a great peace as they finally accept and make the transition.

    And she would never want to hurt you like this... find the strength to trust her love for you.
  14. by   Jenny P
    Duckie, I think your husband is right about Gramma Cookie feeling the numbness taking over and not being sure what was happening.
    Our dog, Tootsie (a 10# Schitz-poo we got at the pound) injured her back several years ago and needed sedation after she came home from the vet hospital for about a month. She would take the pill (wrapped in cheese) without a problem, but would cry (yelp? it was a strange sound) just before she'd fall asleep. I don't think she ever figured out that the pill and cheese were connected to the sedation, but she definitely voaclized about being groggy and out of it. She has an intense fear of being groomed (she was badly cut up and hurt by the first groomer we ever took her to), and at one point we tried to use some sedation before taking her in to the groomer (NOT the same one!). She became very agitated and again yelped and yowled so we ended up not having her groomed that day. That was the last time we've ever tried to sedate her. Maybe smller dogs are more aware of the feeling of the meds working.
    As far as Candy's behavior, it could be that she knows that she is now responsible for you, or it could be that she is just very worried about you now. Give her hugs and cuddles now; you both need it.

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