Surviving The Loss Of A Pet
About a year ago, I lost the love of my life. No not my significant other, my furbaby. Her name was Cookie. She was a Yorkie-Terrier mix, which means she was all attitude and a whole lot of endless energy and fun. I have owned other pets, but no other pet has impacted my life the way she did.
My dog Cookie came to me at a time in my life when I was losing everything. I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, and had just been ordered by my doctor to stop working. I had not owned any pets for several years because I was always working, but when I stopped I invited one into my life again. Now I had the time to devote to a pet. One day while visiting my sister, I saw 3 of the most gorgeous little pups running around her neighbors yard. They were so friendly! in the loved these dogs and often stopped by to give them toys or treats. The owner didn’t mind, so I visited them too and fell in love. That’s when I got the surprise of a lifetime. He told me that they weren’t puppies but fully grown, and the female was expecting. Immediately I told him I wanted one, so he told me to come back in about 2 months. I waited patiently for my furbaby to be born!
The day I met her, I cried as the owner placed this tiny being in my left hand. She fit perfectly. I cried because I loved her so much and I knew one day she would break my heart. Her mother barked as I wrapped her in her new blanket, and I leaned over to tell her “Don’t worry, she will have a good life with me. I promise to take care of your baby.” She was still so little that I had to bottle feed her, waking up at 3 am just like a real mom would feed her own baby. I should add that I don’t have children due to my chronic illness.
We had 5 amazing years together until she became sick. One day I noticed her having problems digesting her food. Then I noticed a lump so off to the vet we went. He found 2 more lumps on her belly and the look on his face was grim. My heart sank as he gave me the news. She was diagnosed with cancer. He said with her 15 lb weight they could start chemo but most likely it would kill her. I knew what my RA meds did to me, so I didn’t want to put her through that. I cried for about 2 days because I he told me she would live about another year or two. I declined chemo, but agreed to bring her in more often to keep her comfortable. I wanted to make sure she didn’t suffer. I dedicated my time to taking care of her and immediately stopped all dog foods and treats. It turns out she was allergic to the red dye found in most dog treats which also caused her seizures. I cooked for her daily, healthy batches of organic fruits, rice, vegetables and meat. Her digestion improved immediately and the seizures stopped. I supplemented her vitamins and spent a ton of money on Amazon, but I didn’t care. My baby was now terminally ill. I would do anything for her. I can’t tell you the amount of sleepless nights and vet visits but I have no regrets. She was my world.
You see the only time we were ever separated is when I was hospitalized. If I traveled far, she was always by my side. My little road companion loved car trips. Every time I came home my baby was there waiting for me. She slept near me always, and when I was sick she knew. She was the smartest, funniest little dog I had ever met. What a personality, and everyone instantly fell in love with her. What I didn’t realize is that now I was so focused on her health, mine actually improved and I began to go into remission. But life is so unfair, because here I was now finally getting better but my baby’s health was getting worse. As I noticed her health declining, I packed up my belongings and decided go and stay with my mom so I could afford to admit her to the animal hospital when necessary. I took her to the vet to make sure she would survive the 12 hour car ride. He said sure she’s great, she only had a slight ear infection and he gave me some drops and pain killer. Off we went to my moms house. During the trip she began breathing funny. I was so worried I must have drove 100 miles and hour to get her to the vet near my moms house. When we arrived she curled up next to my mom, and my mom said to her “I know you don’t feel good” as she lay her head in her lap. The vet thought she had asthma from breathing in toxins on the road. She gave her a breathing treatment and send us home.
The next night I woke up at about 11 pm and noticed my baby struggling to breath. Back to the 24 hour vet hospital we went. He put her on oxygen and said that she had developed aspiration pneumonia. He did a chest x-ray and we found out that one of her tumours had burst causing her breathing problems. She would not survive. That night I had to make the unselfish choice to end her suffering. I walked into the room seeing her on oxygen, and even though she was still alive the light was already gone out of her eyes. I told her that I loved her very much more than anything. I told her she was the love of my life and I thanked her for being my guardian angel.
I gave the vet the ok to give her the shot and put her to sleep sending her back to God. Then they took her off oxygen and she was put into my arms asleep. I nearly lost my mind as I carried her to the car. We took her home and I put her in my bed, I curled up next to my baby and she looked so peaceful. I had no idea what I would do with her body. I couldn’t bury her, I tried; but there was no way I could put her into the ground and walk away. I had her cremated instead. Even in death that little creature still demanded to be near me.Taking her to be cremated was the next hardest thing to do as I nearly lost my mind.
I thought I would never survive it, and my family became worried for my health. When I got her ashes back they handed them to me in my left hand. It was her complete cycle of life, and i instantly remembered the way her mom’s owner handed her to me when she was born in that same hand in a tiny package. I was overwhelmed with grief and my heart was broken. Cookie taught me so many things about life and because of her I now appreciate all kinds of animals. I still have not gotten another pet because she still has my heart. I’m not ready to give it to a new creature. I felt guilty for a long time, wondering if I really did all I could to save. I recently me a wonderful nurse who put our who experience into perspective. She said “That little dog came into your life to save you, and now her job is done. I don’t think you would have ever gone into remission without her.” How amazing, I never thought of it that way!
How To Cope With The Loss
You will find the courage to go on. My only comfort is knowing that my beloved pet is no longer suffering. People tell me I was a good mom, lol and that she only survived to be 7 and a half because of the way I took good care of her. Here are some ways to cope.
- Remember the love and all of the things they taught you! The funny moments get me through the tough days.
- Make room in your heart for a new furbaby, but only when you are ready! I still am not so its ok if you aren’t too!
- Don’t listen to anyone about how to grieve. Take all of the time that you need. I was told by many people that I should be over this by now. (I think they are heartless)
- Spend time with other peoples pets. It fills helps to fill the void a little. I often see dogs in the park and they come up to me. I pet them and instantly feel better.
- Talk to you beloved lost pet. I still talk to Cookie as if she is still here. I still tell her Love her everyday because I do! I believe their spirit never leaves us. I can often feel her around me the first few months that she passed I often would dream that she is right near me. I would wake up and smell her.
- Remember that your bond is forever and that one day you will see them again. I firmly believe with all my heart that I will see every pet I ever loved on the other side. That is what keeps me going, and that is how I survive the loss.
- Remember you did the best that you could for them. They know when it’s time to say goodbye, and that the love remains forever.
Here She Is! “My Little Love”
If you are reading this and still have your furbaby is still alive, thank your lucky stars! Know that when that day comes to say goodbye you will become super strong to be by their side. I waited for her birth and in the end I waited for her death. Knowing that she died peacefully in my bed is my comfort forever. Thank you for reading this. It has been more than a year before I could even begin to write about “my little love.” I want the world to know what an angel she was, and how pets can save your life. If you like this article or find it helpful, please share it.