New Children's Book offers Help after Loss of a Pet

I’ve been lucky enough to welcome many amazing pets into my life over the years, and each one has left a lasting and distinct impression. Pets are more than just companions; they’re a part of the family, and as they grow with us, we form an unbreakable bond. Sadly, pets can’t stay with us forever, and losing a pet can often seem impossibly difficult. Even for adults, grief can be overwhelming. For children, the process can also be profoundly confusing.

Knowing this, Dr. Corey Gut, a veterinarian in Bloomfield Hills, has recently published a book that she hopes will help families, and especially children, cope with the loss of a pet. The children’s book is called Being Brave for Bailey, and Dr. Corey is hoping to get it into schools and libraries across the U.S. so that all families can benefit from this important grieving tool. You can help her with this mission by visiting the link below:

  • Being Brave for Bailey

Recently, I was excited to be given the opportunity to interview Dr. Corey about the book, and her inspirational cause. Here’s what she had had to say.

Q. What was your inspiration for the book?
Euthanasia and death are very frightening and confusing for young children. Many times, the loss of a pet is a child’s first experience with death. As a veterinarian, families have asked me countless times over the years for resources and advice on how to broach the topic of pet loss with their children. Since I couldn’t find anything available to help these families, I decided to write the book Being Brave for Bailey. I had recently diagnosed my sister’s dog, Bailey, with liver cancer and my sister was one of those clients looking to me to provide guidance with my young niece. The book tells the story of Bailey, a dog who is getting old and has become ill and the family needs to make the difficult decision to euthanize Bailey so he doesn’t hurt or suffer anymore. After reading the book, the parents have an entryway to discuss their own pet and some of the things that may be happening and decisions that may need to be made.

Q. Who do you think could be helped by this book?
My focus for the book is children aged 3-10. I wrote the book under guidance from an elementary school counselor and licensed children’s therapist, to help introduce the loss of a pet to elementary aged children in a gentle, non-threatening manner. However, the most surprising aspect of this experience so far is the number of adults that have come forward and shared with me how much this book has helped them too. At any age, we question decisions that need to be made and there is never a good age, or a good time to have to say goodbye to a part of one’s family. It’s always hard. It’s supposed to be.

Q. What are your goals with the book?
Eventually, I want the book to be available to families all over the world. My initial focus is getting the book into elementary schools and libraries across the United States. I have launched a donation program where people can donate a book and inscribe it with a personalized message. Many families find it comforting to donate books in memory of a pet who has passed (“In Memory of Sadie Collins”). Others donate books in memory of grandparents, friends and animal lovers who have passed away. Some have donated books from their current pets (“Donated by Skippy Myers”). Regardless, the book is inscribed and shipped to schools and libraries and is a permanent way to commemorate someone you have loved and lost. Recently, I have also had people donate the book with a quote as the inscription, and companies typically will simply have their company name and website as the donation inscription (“Donated by Deporre Veterinary Hospital”). I would love to have the book in 3,000 schools and libraries by the end of the year. It’s currently in close to 600.

Q. What kind of feedback have you gotten about the book?
The feedback has been absolutely heartwarming. I have received so many wonderful emails and letters from librarians, families, fellow veterinarians and counselors thanking me for the book and for providing a tool for this purpose. I have saved every single one and re-read them often! The reviews have also been amazing. I am so proud that Being Brave for Bailey has received all 5-star reviews on Google, Amazon, and other search engines and phenomenal accolades from the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine, the Reader’s Favorite Award, and many more. It has been an awesome experience!

Q. What advice would you give to families dealing with grief and the loss of a pet?
It’s always difficult. The greater the love, the greater the loss. Pets have a way of loving us unconditionally and leaving a huge heartache when they’re gone. As far as children are concerned, I believe that including children in the process is extremely helpful. Death is very frightening and children feel a complete loss of control. But if you are able to include them, in small ways, in some of the decisions surrounding the loss (“Should we bury Fido with his favorite blanket, or his bone?”) and also afterward, by doing activities together to commemorate the pet - planting a tree in the pet’s memory, or making a shadow box or scrapbook together, it provides children with a sense of control and helps them learn about an inevitable part of life in the process.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Grief Resources, Support Groups & Counseling

If you’re coping with the loss of a beloved pet, whether it’s recent or happened some time ago, you are not alone in your grief. Reaching out and finding support to help you better understand the loss that you’re experiencing and knowing that your feelings are perfectly normal and valid can go a long way to help you through this difficult time of bereavement. The resources that we’ve put together are here to acknowledge you as a person in mourning and honor your feelings. And as time goes on they will help you down the path to finding meaning and healing along the way.

Support Groups

Pet Loss Support Groups can provide a safe and non-judgmental place for family members to go to be able to share their feelings and experiences whether it be before or after the loss of their beloved pet. Support groups are a place where family members will meet others who understand what they are going through as many times your own family and friends may not completely understand your grief. Many groups welcome children as well.

To find a Pet Loss Support Group in your area, contact your local veterinarian for recommendations or find them online on your veterinary hospital’s website or by searching for groups in your area.

The following links have lists of numerous Pet Loss Support Groups by state, support webinars and much more:

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement - Every other week online support chatroom, every other Thursday evening.

Everlife Memorials - Nationwide Pet Loss Support Group Listing.

The links above are not a comprehensive list and do not include every support group in every state.

Pet Loss Counseling

Sometimes one on one assistance can be the best way to help you when grieving the loss of your beloved companion. Click HERE to see a state-by-state listing of counselors across the country. *This is not a comprehensive list and does not include every counselor in every state. If you’re unable to locate a counselor in your area, speak with your veterinarian, as they may have some good suggestions for you.

Distance Therapy

Not all counseling needs to be away from your home. Distance therapy is available and can be just as helpful. Click HERE for the website that was created by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC. She has been a hospice counselor for 17 years. Marty is a registered nurse with a Master’s in Advanced Psychiatric Mental-Health Nursing, was awarded the Fellow in Thanatology (advanced certification for professionals in the fields of grief, loss and transition) and is a Distance Credentialed Counselor. Her website is designed to help those who are anticipating or mourning the loss of their loved ones, regardless of species! The website includes discussion groups, healing courses, resources and a blog to help you find comfort.

Universities that Offer Counseling

There may be a University nearby that has its own veterinary hospital and licensed clinical social worker on site. This is a rapidly growing field and the veterinary community has made some very important strides to support their clients and fellow animal advocates. These counselors are available to the families of patients at the Universities hospital and many also counsel members in the community. They offer a lot of great resources on their sites as well.

Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital- Argus Institute: Counselors are on site for pet owners and staff as well as clients referred to the institute for pet loss support. They also have a pet loss support group. The site has listings for local resources including other support groups and counselors in the area and national resource listings as well.

Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine- Best Friend Gone Project: Offers assistance to those who have lost or anticipate the loss of their pet. Counselors are on site for private counseling including in-office and telephone counseling to the University hospital patient’s families and also members of the community and beyond (by appointment).

The University of Tennessee Knoxville: Their Veterinary Social Work Service offers individual, family or couple grief support sessions to clients as well as community members. They also have a pet loss support group.

Additional Helpful Websites for Grieving Pet Families:

Grief Healing – Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC (Distance Credentialed Counselor). The site offers a wide variety of grief healing related articles, a blog, discussion group and healing courses, including support for children.

7 Self-Care Essentials While Grieving the Death of a Pet

Research shows us that grieving the death of our companion animals can be just as painful, if not more than, grieving the loss of a family member or friend. There are helpful steps to take immediately after your pet's passing, and also key self-care strategies that can help someone process through their grief experience.

Grieving is a highly personalized, individualistic experience that is influenced by culture and social groups. The process in which you might experience the pain of losing your pet might look immensely different from even a direct family member living in the same house.

Below are seven helpful steps one can take to provide some nurture during an extremely emotionally painful and exhausting time. Our grief is an expression of the love we have felt, the pain of loss and the process of having to reintegrate our life into what it will look like with the “absence” of our pet. I place “absence” in quotes as many believe it is only a physical loss, as our pets will always remain in our hearts and their influence upon our lives will last forever. Please note the list is not in any particular order of importance, and everyone has to process within their own timeframe.

1. Set aside the time to grieve in your own way and release your emotions

We live in a very busy time, where there are always 20 things on the “to-do” list and the ability to only get five things done in a day. It is a time of constant distraction and people moving very quickly. Those experiencing grief can feel angry that life hasn’t slowed down on the outside, due to the painful feelings on the inside. You need time to grieve and to experience your emotions, fully. Give yourself the time to feel, experience, and let the emotions you are experiencing release at regular intervals along your journey through grief and on a daily basis in the beginning. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuffing your emotions which can cause more pain down the road.

2. Reflect upon the life shared between yourself and your beloved pet

Active reflection can be hard, even without experience in the pain of grief. Take time to reflect either through writing, storytelling, or whatever form of expression brings you comfort. I typically encourage my clients to start a memory journey and reflect upon the life shared. It can be easy to want to immediately write down the pain of grief, especially in the beginning. However when you are taking the time to purposely reflect in this manner, try to focus on what positive memories were shared. This allows your body to experience a different emotion and helps bring you from pain into gratitude for the time spent together over time. Make sure to not use this method to avoid experiencing pain, we must experience both within the grief process.

3. Make sure you continue to meet your basic needs

One of the most frequent complaints in the immediate phase of grief, or acute phase, is the complete loss of appetite. Sleep is also commonly very disturbed as our mind can be rapidly attempting to process through the experience. Guilt plays a role in this as well. Try, as best you can, to continue eating. Try, as well, to fill yourself with nutritious foods. Grieving is a lot of hard work, and can be taxing on the body. Fill yourself with nutrients to help your body process. Try to maintain a sleep schedule, go to bed on a routine and focus on your chosen calming practice while doing so.

4. Choose a calming practice and use it frequently

As we said earlier, it can be incredibly frustrating and painful that the outside world doesn’t slow down. We aren’t typically allowed days off from work to grieve the death of our pet and are even only federally mandated to receive three days from our employer for direct, human, family members. Choosing a calming practice such as meditation, active focus on breathing, mindful eating, or releasing our body tension can help as our anxieties that may increase during social obligations while we are still experiencing our grief.

5. Maintain routines with your living animals as best you can

Animals thrive on routines and structure. While you’re grieving, your living pets are also experiencing the loss and absence of your pet and their companion. Dogs experience grief and can search for their pack member. Cats may hide or spend more time alone, changing behavior while they process alongside you. Horses may run the fenceline for some time and whinny, trying to receive a return call from their mate. Try to maintain walking routines and feeding schedules as not to disrupt their process or your own. Routines allow us a sense of structure and familiarity, although the first few times can be painful, these immediate triggers can reduce over time.

6. Memorialize the memory and love of your pet

Saying “see you later” to ones we love can be a crucial step in moving through the grief experience. Sometimes, we don’t get to say “goodbye” before the passing of our pets. Not having a form of closure in this process can leave some feeling as though they have a hole in their hearts. Memorializing the memory of your beloved pet can be a good way of ascertaining some form of closure. Some people choose to write a letter, some have funerals and services, some people create shadow boxes with their dog or cat tags and collars and imprint of their paw. Others decide that they will find a favorite space or memory from their pet’s life and spend some time there. There is never a wrong way to memorialize the beautiful experiences and life that was shared.

7. Don’t hesitate to seek support from understanding friends or relatives

Although grief is a highly individualistic experience, we grieve within communities. Entire communities can even grieve within their own way. It’s important to recognize when you need support during your grief process. Such support could look like calling an understanding friend and going on your first walk together after the death of your animal or getting a cup of coffee. It may also look like seeking support from a helping professional to process through the pain and anxieties of losing your pet. There are also many online communities through social media and forums such as Max’s Healing Hearts Community which allows a safe space to express your grief, seek peer support, and share in the memory of your beloved pet.

Great article

Thank you Adam, this is a timely article for me in my personal life and profession. I deal with a lot of loss in the shelter and also lost my 15 year old dog this year. It is hard to accept it but moving forward was so necessary for my well being.

Thank you

Thank you for this. I will be saying goodbye to my dog (Flossy) in the coming days due to severe health issues associated with old age. I am having such a hard time. I am single, no children, 34, live alone. She is, in every sense of the word, my family. I don't know how people function when consumed by this kind of pain. I hope I can hold onto some of your suggestions while I find my way through that darkness. Thank you,

Loss of your dog

I recently had to put my cat to sleep (3 days ago) and am really broken up. I read your comment about your dog, and hope you are doing okay. My animals mean the world to me, so as a single person, I understand how painful it is to lose such a close companion.

Forever grieving

It has been 36 years since my dog went missing due to my sister who had to move out of her house and the real estate agent I presumed let him out as it was about to be rented out to new owners and wr could not find not find a new owner for him due to his age I used to visit him at my sisters place as my mother and I had to move into an apartment in Sydney Australia

He was my dog initially and as I grew up gay in the 70s and 80s he was my only friend

He kept me company on my lonely weekends from school

Therapists don’t take this issue with a pet seriously

I can never get over the mystery of losing him and I imagine him looking for food and water and shelter on cold nights
I carry the pain with me always as it’s a mystery I will never know what happened to my soul mate
I am Forever in pain
Thank you for reading this.

I am so sorry for your loss and pain

Thank you for sharing your story.

Thank you

Thank you very much for your support !

Sending support

Hey Tony, Your comment really struck me, and I know it's been several months since you left it, I have no idea if you will get or read this reply. I am so sorry that you had this happen, that your childhood companion and constant supporter through hard times was let down so badly, and so were you. It must be so awful to have his imagined fear/hunger etc on your mind often, and I can totally connect with the way that you have not yet been able to process this enormous loss. Never having an answer to the many, many questions that you have sounds really really hard. Have you done anything symbolic to recognise the end of that relationship? As i imagine that having no real conclusion might have left a real and jagged tear in your heart rather than a proper ending which would have given you an endpoint from where to start laying down the beginning of life without him? Having incomplete stories and unknowns for the people and pets that we love leaves so many unanswered questions and no chance of a proper goodbye, is heartbreaking. When my dad died it was very sudden, he had not been I'll, he died from a blood clot in his heart and lungs, not being able to say the things I wanted to has massively complicated the process of kinda, not "dealing with" but making sense of the loss of him. We had a memorial for him though, and I wrote him a letter with a lot of the things that were on my mind and heart and read it out there. It didnt change my sense of loss, but it gave me a more tangible platform to start working forwards from in some ways, sounds like a small plaster overva huge wound, I'm sure, but it did help in some small way. I truly hope that you find some peace and a sense of closure from your loss. L xx

Sudden death of my 9 year old dog

I am grieved and cannot stop crying over my baby.She was Jack Russell/shitzu wired hair.She was loved,carried for and pampered.She had a grade two heart murmur from birth.She got her regular checkups.I put her outside yesterday early morning.When I took her water out she was laying sideways with her eyes opened.I picked her up and she was limp.9.5 years old.Help me understand what I did wrong ,I am so lost without her❤️❤️

Our dog died yesterday

Our dog tragically and unexpectedly died yesterday. We're devastated and have hardly slept or eaten in the last 36 hours. It's clear there will be a hole in our hearts for some time.

Thank you for this article.

So Sorry

Steven I am so very sorry for your sudden tragic loss. My heart goes out to you & your family. It is NEVER easy to lose our furry child planned or unplanned. May you find peace in all the wonderful warm memories.

A sensitive treatment of pet owner grief

Thank you, Adam, for an even-handed explanation of the process of grieving for any animal, especially the comment that they always live in our hearts. I especially appreciated the fact that your post concerned grief for any pet, not just dogs and cats. As a zookeeper and animal trainer, in addition to being a farmer and an endangered species biologist, I have witnessed many beloved animals passing from this realm to the next. The ones whose passing has affected me the most has been the death of my own precious goat companions. This is a form of complicated grief, for most people would say, 'what is your problem, it was just a goat'. In parallel, I have a friend who is currently laid low by the unexpected death of a pet rat. As a rat rescuer, she is fortunate to have the loving support group of rat fanciers people who get it. But usually, for the parents of non-traditional pets, the grieving process can be complicated by society's refusal to acknowledge a meaningful loss, in my case of a 'livestock' animal, in my friend's case of the loss of a pet that many people might consider 'vermin'. This cultural isolation in grief adds an element of embarrassment and awkwardness that compounds the grief of the bereaved. Affirmation of the depth of one's suffering is difficult for friends and family that would consider eating that same animal's flesh or putting out poison to rid your domicile of them (although most people do get that there is a huge difference between a wild Norway rat and a heavily domesticated hooded rat). There is a disconnect in people's heart-felt sympathies for one's loss. They feel awkward as well, not sure how to respond. Therefore, thank you for a professional and species neutral treatment of this difficult subject.

Saying Goodbye To Leo

In July of '17. Leo (my cat), at 9 years old, was diagnosed with Diabetes. Medication effect was varying. But stuck it out for a year. After a year had passed. Leo was not responding well at all to the meds. This past July, after an appointment with my vet. Blood tests revealed his organs were functioning at 100%. Good News . However, glucose levels ran the gambit. But, never brought the level down to normal. Also, a pain evaluation of "0" was appraised. Again . Good News . Leo passed on 12-Oct-2018. During the last 3 months, I began to observe "quality of life". On a day to day level, he was eating well. But, then the lethargy increased and hind leg coordination began to deteriorate. On 6-Oct-2018. I decided it was time to take a position. Leo's "quality of life" was poor. And since he was with me for 10 years, of the worst years of my life. Of which 9 of 10 years I was living alone. I made the decision to lay Leo to rest. Although, I was giving it my all. In reality, I was not really giving him 100% "quality of life". I also decided, I was staying with him till the end. Without hesitation, I opted to stay through the whole process. I felt, he was with me for the lousiest 10 years of my life. That I would indeed be with him till the end of his . A friend of mine told me to search "dealing with the loss of a pet". And I came across this article and comment section that followed. What was really touching, when going through these comments. Was the age range (as I'm 55) of those who had a tight bond with their friend and companion. As of 10:30 am tomorrow, it'll only be 48 hours of separation. But, was touched by the above testimonials. And in some cases, a lot longer span of time separated. Of how they really become as beloved as humans. And for many, more so. And what's so amazing when sharing your life with a pet. They don't care whether you're a "saint or sinner". The love you give. Is returned in full. And the saying "in your life, you'll have few friends, and many acquaintances". It really hits home. That your pet and companion, will always fall into the "friends" category. Unbiased, relentless, always there for you. Love and Dedication, is always returned. Thanks for reading . and Farewell Leo, You Will Never Be Forgotten .

Lost my sidekick

We just had to put our oldest beagle
This decision, was by far the most difficult decision I have yet to make. But the guilt and anxiety I felt the next day was overwhelming. I questioned over and over if I had done the right thing. Day 2 , has been much better but I have waves of grief, as does my wife. His chair, his bowl, his bed, anything is triggering. We have two other dogs, another beagle, Buddy, who has been with Sonny for 7-1/2 years, and our girl Casey, an American Staff, We have kept everything as normal as possible, but they are looking for Sonny. Where is their comrade??
I know things will get better, but it is hitting me much harder than I though it would. I have had almost a year to prepare for this, but still.
He was always by my side, through business road trips, walks, hikes, watching TV together, or simply lying on my chest while he slept. I miss the little bugger so much.

My 16yo baby girl

Thank you for this article, it's very helpful.
Also helpful to read the comments and see that other ppl love their pets as much as I love mine.
My bb girl had cancer 6 years ago, after 2 surgeries to remove her tits she was fine. Then two months ago she collapsed, I took her to the emergency clinic and it turned out she had a tumor on her spleen, because of her age the doctors kept pushing for me to put her to sleep, But I didn't want to, I wanted to fight until the end, she had emergency surgery and came out ok, then they sent the tumor to the lab and it came back malignant, the doctors gave her 6-12 weeks. (it's been two months) she's very weak, shaking, But I don't have the heart or balls to euthanase her. I'm single and no kids, so I love her like my child, I am so attached to her, it has been the worst two months of my life and the greatest pain I've ever felt. I am afraid when she goes that I'll be a mess. I can't even enjoy her last days with me cause I'm so worried about her passing, every time she moves I panick thinking she's dying.
I am saving this article for when the time comes, I think it'll help me.
Thanks again
And I am sorry that all of you had to go through this immense pain

We lost our cat days ago and she hasn't come back

Our cat was the love of our lives. She was 10 years old, we adopted her from a shelter 10 years ago when our children were only 2, and 3. They grew up with this cat. Especially my 12 year old daughter was very close to her.

She was the smartest cat ever. I swear you could talk to her and she would understand you. We've hired a pet detective, who will come out today and help us in the search process, but we live in a small neighborhood in a mostly rural town. Our house is in the neighborhood, but backs up to farmland.

I am sincerely scared about her well being, with a million things running through my mind. She was older, she was eating less, but seemed healthy etc. She got out on January 1st when my husband was bringing in the groceries. We thought she just zoomed past him and out the door. We didn't notice she was missing until a few hours later. She usually comes home at night, or at least by the next day.

It's been 5 days though, and even with us calling, leaving her litter box out, or a shirt out etc. still no sign of her. It has me greatly stressed and depressed with all the thoughts running through my mind, "did she go away to die? Did someone nice pick her up, did someone with bad intentions pick her up, did coyotes in the woods get her?" We have lots of strays we see run through here all the time, but no sign of her. I am beyond depressed, and don't know how to handle all the thoughts that are running through my mind.

I lost my best friend today =(

I had to put my 16 year beautiful baby down today. It hurts. I've had him for 16 years and he's been by my side since I was 12. I'm going through waves of intense agony followed by a couple of hours of "I did the right thing" and "he's no longer suffering and in a better place". I spent the last couple of hours just looking of pictures and videos of him and I was doing fine until I got to the end and realized their would never be anymore and I'm just loosing it. Sorry, I just needed a place to vent and here I am. I'm sorry for anyone else who's feeling this way.

Diana, we too lost our 16

Diana, we too lost our 16 year-old Beagle this morning. The pain is excruciating and I wish it would stop.

Lost beloved pet

Back in October my mom had to make the decision to put our 13yo Pit/Boxer mix Fiona down, as she had cancer for a 3rd time, and her insides kept filling up with fluid and she wouldn't make it, and that was after she slipped off the back porch and fractured her spine.. We got her pawprints and a nose print, some fur clippings, and we have all of her stuff in a tub, but I still can't get over losing her as we had her since 2013.. We have a 19yo Jack Russell/Beagle mix as well & everyday I'm worried about him dying..

Kandi crossing 17yrs

I'm writing and sharing that within de past 36hrs my lil sis (toy poodle) Kandi pass onto another world. I do have numerous photos/vids of her, but I rather not look at them now. I will like to keep our recent memories on replay until that day come where captured images of us together are comforting and cuddly to my spirit. Is this a sign of grieving or unhealthy procrastination please help and thanks

What I wouldn't give. for one more cuddle

I'm up in the middle of the night reading these posts trying to make sense of my grief. My sweet girl passed 12 days ago. I find my grief is two fold. I am grieving how she left us and the actual grief that this is final. She was almost 12 1/2, an American Pit Bull Terrier. She had salivary gland cancer three years ago, and kicked it. gone. Then she was diagnosed with Lymphoma about 7 months ago. Never showed a day of illness, I just started to notice bumps under her skin, that were like moveable marbles. After about $5K in diagnostics, it was Lymphoma. We worked with an oncologist and had put her on a daily chemo (chlorambucil) and prednisone.

Never got sick in the 7 months on it, she was full of life and quality of life was good. We had her checked, measured and blood work done every four weeks. The last one was two weeks before this horrific day, and all looked great.

I left that morning, she ate and did her business as usual. My husband stayed home that day because he was up late after a bad day the day before at the office. Apparently, she threw up shortly after I left (the vomit was undigested) which would be around 6am ish and he didn't think that was a big deal, so he laid back down, said he looked in on her around 8am and 9am and she was appeared to be asleep in her dog bed in the other room. not until he called me at work at quarter til 1, stating he heard her labored breathing and tried to get her up to take her out, usually you say "lets go outside" and she springs into action, but she is not moving, unresponsive but breathing.

Within minutes I met him on the road, jumped in the car and headed to the closest ER Vet. She had a temp of 107, which I'm assuming put her in this state of unresponsiveness. Their first task was to get her fluids and bring her temp down. They did so but informed us that they can only do so much at this ER and she would need to be transported to a more expansive one but didn't want to release her until they got a better blood pressure. Meanwhile after 2 hours there, they said she is starting to show signs of blood clotting and fluid in her abdomen and we needed to move her ASAP. We did and got to our normal ER VET (which I carry the guilt of not going sooner or originally) but I didn't know if an extra 5 or 10 minutes would have meant her life so we went to the closer ER. I carry this guilt the most. Why didn't my husband call me when he first saw the vomit, I would have come home or at least told him to keep his eye on her. Why did that day go so wrong? She never came out of the coma like state, heart still pumping, still breathing but a blank stare with no response. At the second ER, things appeared to start to shut down, she pooed and it was full of blood, her abdomen was full of fluid. We were told it was grave and even if they could find what was wrong, she would most likely never fully come back as herself. I guessed what that meant and we allowed them to take her. Did we do the right thing? What could have taken her to this state? Did she suffer? This kills me.
Every day I kept a close watch on her, even had a camera in the room she stayed, so I could periodically check in on her, but I didn't check that day, her Daddy was home and just didn't. I even took a flashlight out at night to check her poo to make sure all looked well. I pretty much lived to make her happy, which honestly made me happy. I have never felt pain like this in my life. I took off work now for seven days, I can't concentrate and even care for myself, can't eat, and the thought of bathing makes me sick.

My husband cried and grieved a lot the first few days, but has since accepted it, and is back to work and functioning well.

What's wrong with me? I ache for her, the love of my life, my everything. I can't seem to get out of this grief.

The recent passing of my beloved cat, Monkey

I lost my beloved cat 22 days ago. She was only 11-years-old. My wife and I returned from an overnight trip and found her lifeless body on our couch. We both thought she was sleeping. Unfortunately, our worst fears were confirmed.

Although we have two other wonderful felines, the loss of Monkey has been devastating for me. I had a special connection with her. She made me laugh and her kind spirit always lit up a room. I try to maintain a brave front around others, but the moment I am alone I become inconsolable. I cry incessantly and cannot get her out of my mind. I have fantastic memories, but the guilt of not being with her when she passed is overwhelming. It is especially tough because she showed no signs of illness or distress.

I am 60-years-old and don't understand how a cat's death has had such a strong impact of me. I remember mourning the loss of our family dog 40 years ago, but it didn't consume me. Any suggestions on how I can move on from this feeling of despair would be appreciated. This is new territory for me and the void I feel from losing my pal is indescribable.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has shared. Reading through the comments/stories, I know pets die everyday, but I don't know many people who have been through this. My 15 y.o. dog had to be put down yesterday. He had been dealing with a heart condition that caused a variety of ailments. Medication bought him another 6 good months, but he was gradually growing worse. He was at the vet every week for a month as he took the turn, but he got worse, not better. At the last appointment, both the vet and cardiologist that had been treating him recommended putting him to sleep. As hard as it was, his life quality was getting bad and there was nowhere else to go but worse. I held him in my arms as they administered the final shots, he died peacefully with me telling him repeatedly how much I love him. It's been a day and a half--the pain is difficult to bear. I have a wife and a 6-month old daughter who bring me so much joy, but I had this dog before I had anything and he was such a good and loyal companion. He was there when my career went in the toilet, he was there when I was struggling to rebuild it, and he was there when I came back better than ever. So many people were fair-weather friends, this dog showed me what loyalty really means.

I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone in my grief and I hope someone else reads this and knows they aren't alone either. We all have to go on, but the immediate aftermath is just really painful. I'm embracing it and just hoping it gets less painful as time passes.

People whom have never had a pet that was so much more cannot relate to these comments. I lost my little dog Oreo on January 1. Here’s the thing, I am single, no friends , none. Oreo was the best thing in my life. We were inseparable. The joy in any thing has gone for me, I cannot even enjoy just a simple walk anymore because she is not with me. I should be getting past such pain now, it’s been almost 4 months. And yet I cannot seem to let her go. In the car, at home, walking, it’s so painful. This can’t be healthy or normal I know. So for those whom are shattered by the loss of their pet like myself, your not alone, I am living with the heart break every day.

For all your losses

I'm so sorry. I'm in the midst of seeing my 13 1/2 year old Aussie, Adain, on his way. It will be a few days, or a few weeks. He is a great dog, and a better friend. I will miss him terribly, but I also know that he's a part of me. He has made me a better person. I've already decided that when he's gone, when I can no longer hold him in my arms but can still and always hold him in my heart, that he'll live on in Adain's Garden. Not an actual garden, but a plot of emotional ground I'll tend in his honor, paying forward a debt I can never repay my boy.

Thank you for writing this, Adam.

Thanks Adam, I would like to

Thanks Adam, I would like to say that now that sometime has passed it’s easier now , that I’m over the loss of Oreo. But I can’t say that, having Oreo was simply the happiest time in my life. I accepted that I will never have that kind of joy again , so I go on. I of course understand everything has a certain lifespan, and maybe it’s because of my personal situation of being alone most of my life that it’s that much harder. However I appreciate that you took the time to write a reply and I am sorry that Aussie is close to his passing. The love of a dog is so unconditional it’s truly heartbreaking but you sound like your doing well so god bless.

Lost my sweetie 9/16/19

she had congestive heart failure. been struggling the past 8 mos, knowing this was coming. love her so much. she was the best thing that ever happened to me.
came here to help me to cope. feel for everybody on this site.

I ,along with many others here, am grieving over my beloved baby dog of 15 1/2. I was not expecting such a quick end to my time with him. He was slowing down, but still happy and had a devotion to me that has left me sick with grief. He was with me 5 years before my husband could leave his job and move here.
I was never alone and knew that our walks and talks together were times he listened and chose which direction he wanted to go. I tried to give him choices and talked to him like a child.
My husband does not understand my grief. I am 4 days past loosing him. I have no appetite or desire to go out or walk. Every time I get to the door I miss him. His toys are here. His bed. He slept at my feet every night on my bed.
I have grown children and my entire retirement schedule has been built about his care, his medication times. Preparing food and always saving him my last bite. My entire routine must change, and it is hard to find how to move on. A pet is a forever child. They are true companions who love you, and ask for nothing but your love back.
I read a book about “Do our Pets go to Heaven”. It has helped me understand how God made animals before man. He created them because they gave him pleasure and we are to care for them.
I truly believe as God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, I will see him in my eternal home. When all things are made new, and there will be no more pain. he will be waiting for me along with all my family that has passed.
Many may not believe in this, but I believe through my love he will resurrect with me in eternity.
Thank you for letting me share, and express that I held Zac until his final heartbeat ceased and his vet assured me he was gone. I have his paw prints and more photos than I could put in any album. They will not replace his warm spot next to me, but I hope will give me smiles again someday in the future. My heart aches too much now, but I know he will be with me again someday.
Sincere thoughts of love to all who know how I feel. Prayers for you and for your loss.

Missing my sweet boy

Thank you so much for writing this. Your words are a comfort and your suggestions are sound. I had to say goodbye to my sweet cat Simon yesterday. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He lived to be very old--he was 19 and had spent 17 of those years with me. Even though his health had been declining, it was still a shock when it became clear that it was his time. The grief is intense and comes in waves. It is visceral. A loss of a loved one is powerful whether it is another human or an animal friend. I love him so much and will carry his memory with me always. But this is devastating. I have another little cat who is a few years younger and she is clearly bewildered. I have been trying to give her extra attention. Like so many others mentioned, it is hard seeing reminders everywhere and keeping to the same routine. But it's important. Like some others, I also don't have any human children my kitties are my children and I had to lay my baby to rest yesterday. I feel for everyone who has posted here. Wishing you all love, comfort, and peace.

Said goodbye to my lovely boy

Thank you so much for this and your other articles, I have read many and joined a Facebook group due to them.
Your words have really helped me cope with the loss of my beautiful dog a few days ago.
He had been in and out of the vets for the past few months, and it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but I know it was the right one.
I know time will help, and like one of the other posts I read, I too have gone through photos and thought back over our life together. I miss him so much.. and now have a greater understanding of what the loss of a dear animal does to a person.

The Loss of my best friend

November 16, 2019 was the day I said see u later to my best friend Rupert James Devou. It's now July 16, 2020. As I write this I hope you all know what it's like to lose your pets. I did not until that very day. I've been in tears for 8 months as of today and I'm lost. I feel like I am never going to be happy again. I'm at the point in my life where I just want to say 'fuck this'. Putting Rupert to sleep was one of the difficult decisions I had to make. Not waking up to him, not hearing his cry at the back door, not hearing him when he's hungry. I don't even know what to do with myself. I never though for a long time would I be grieving over my cat. I never thought he would get sick like this. He was my world. He knew me. He understood who I was. I hope you all get some peace. Remember our animals are in a better place now. Thanks for reading.

Saying Bye to Bella

Yesterday, my family and I had to say goodbye to our precious girl, Bella. She had severe kidney failure and just lost her spark in her last few weeks. I needed this article. I've been scouring the internet trying to find ways to make peace with her death. If it was up to me, she'd go on living forever as we all grow older. I wanted her healthy and happy, always. She was so sick at the end, but we held her close in her final minutes. I spent the whole day with her yesterday, taking a reprieve from work. I'm lighting a candle today at 4 PM EST in her memory. That was the time of her last vet appointment yesterday. Missing my girl very much.

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