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Mid-life Anxiety & Guilt over Death of my Dog

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Peggy 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #300821

    Ruth
    Participant

    I’m 46, an introvert, not in a relationship, no children, ageing parents, menopause looming and 7 weeks ago my darling dog Monty died. It has affected me more than I ever thought it could; mainly because he was so ill and waiting for the vet to put him to sleep I was on the floor trying to comfort him as he was distressed and in pain and he walked over and just buried his head in my chest for a few moments and then went to my mum and put his head in her hands as though to say goodbye. To feel his heart stop has destroyed me. I rescued him and only had 7 years (we think he was 13) with him but know he had a wonderful, loving happy life with us but I am distraught that I got his last day with us so wrong. This has all heightened the realisation I’m slowly losing everything I love and will be on my own. I have gone headlong into depression and absolute fear of the future. Does/has anybody else feel like this (of any age) and what did you do about it?

    #300845

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ruth:

    I am sorry for your loss of Monty. I am glad he had good seven years with you and I am sure you will miss him for a long time. I don’t have a dog myself but the neighbor’s dog is here every day, his name is Hunter and he is about 13. My sister had dogs for decades, her heart was broken for many months following Miki’s death. As a matter of fact as I type this, I happen to look at a photo of Miki in a family picture.

    “This has all heightened the realization I’m slowly losing everything I love and will be on my own”- it is a terrible yet realistic realization, one that is true to us all, slowly- or quickly- losing everything, all that we own, our youth, eventually our health and our own lives. It is a tough realization that is difficult to hold long in awareness, isn’t it?

    anita

    #300921

    Peggy
    Participant

    Hi Ruth,

    I am so sorry that the death of your dog has affected you so deeply.  You shared 7 years of your life with him and gave him a wonderful time.  I think you are being a bit hard on yourself to say that you got his last day wrong.  You were with him at the end and he was aware of that.  It couldn’t have been easy to see him suffering but you must realise that this was not your fault.  You gave him as much comfort as you could.

    Unfortunately, loss through death is all part of the cycle of life and there is not much anyone can do about that.  This acute loss has reminded you of your own (or your parents) mortality.  Give yourself time to grieve, remember the good times you shared, be kind to yourself, silently send your love to your dog and one day, who knows, you may be able to offer another rescue dog a good home.

    I am a bit concerned that you are envisaging a future where you are all on your own.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Pluck up[ the courage to meet new people by joining groups and/or volunteering at a local charity shop.  Would you be interested in helping children with their reading at a local school – are these opportunities available in your area?  Join an art club (if you are so inclined) or learn to play a musical instrument.  Don’t let being introverted stop you – everyone is good at something – find your passion (if you haven’t already done so) and indulge it.

    Live one day at a time and give up worrying about the future.  Life is full of opportunities.  Have a free makeover in your local beauty store, try a new hairstyle, wear a different colour, cook a vegetarian/italian/chinese meal, arrange some flowers, spray your bedlinen with lavender, listen to some relaxing music, sleep under the stars, visit an art gallery, have a massage, take up tai chi, learn a foreign language, say hello to a stranger, pay someone a compliment.

    Above all, be grateful for this life that you have and resolve to make the most of it every step of the way.

    Peggy

     

     

    #301265

    John Ferrari
    Participant

    Hi Ruth,

    I am in a similar life space and had to put down, as they say, my sweet Lab a few weeks ago.. Its agonizing and painful. I immediately went into guilt. Her life was a battle in a lot of ways as I’m thinking your experience was. What I read on line saved me from complete self loathing and I am able to cope better. But many people outlined how our job (especially for a rescue) as a dog owner was the very health and welfare of these domestic friends. Perhaps we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the good jobs that we so willingly do. Irregardless the pet passes – did we feed it right, pick the best vet. Walk it or play enough. Obviously there is any combination that might have made the friend stick around longer. Or one combination. More money less denials – you get the idea. I have to doubt my pet would have agreed. But knowing she didn’t really want to die makes it impossible to avoid guilt. So guilt or not- right or wrong- celebrate the good times. The guilt will just aggravate all the other issues.

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