When Your Pets Passed Away, How Did You Cope?

My 14 year old Shih Tzu died peacefully tonight at the vet.

My wife, her family and myself all knew the end was nearing about 2 years ago as the little guy accumulated health problems but he just kept going.

I've had dogs before but unfortunately never for their entire lives. But tonight was the time I finally experienced the first hand pain of losing a dear friend.

My wife and I are understandably reeling right now and as we have two younger Shih Tzus, I know I'm going to have to experience this again in the future.

For those of you who have also lost pets, how did you cope?

If it's not too painful for you, I'd love to hear your experiences. Or even memories of your time together or the things you did to help you get through these periods.

Comments

  • +2

    Get new pet.
    Applies to the wife as well if someone will ask

  • +21

    You just have to remind yourself that they are no longer suffering, and that your pain will reduce over time.

    I'd wait at least a few months before considering getting a new one.

    • +2

      I'd wait at least a few months before considering getting a new one.

      +1 to that. Don't make the same mistake we did. We lost our cat a couple of years ago, the best I've ever had, quite unexpectedly, one day he was fine, next - could barely move, a week later he was gone. Wife was very upset and pushed to get a pair of new cats within days thinking that it'll relieve the pain. Well, it didn't 😞, and still took months to recover.

  • +8

    i just grieve, over time the pain fades, but it never goes away entirely. eventually you'll start going periods of time without thinking about it, and those periods of time will become longer and longer, until eventually they just pop into your mind every now and then, you feel sad, but life goes on.

  • +1

    Humour helps when you're going through a Shih Time.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my cat 10 years ago and felt empty for a week. Then I got a new cat and she helped me through the pain.

  • +9

    Sorry for your loss. For me, the only thing that helped ease the pain was time. That was it. I was a total mess and for about 3 weeks broke down crying several times a day.
    It was phases of intense regret (I should've spoiled him more, taken him for checkups more often, shouldn't have left him alone at home, WHY oh WHY did I choose to leave the room when he was being put to sleep etc.), seeking consolation (reading about grief and pet loss syndrome etc.), and simply wallowing in sadness. I'm still very sad, but time dulls the pain so you can cherish the good memories.

    It was a heartwrenching experience but I learned so much - I'm a lot more conscious that my furry friend is not going to be around forever, and I should give them all the love and affection I possibly can while they're still here. And for me, getting a new rescue pet (after several months, once I'd stopped being such a mess) felt like I had saved a homeless animal's life in honour of the one that had passed, and I absolutely spoiled him to make up for my prior regrets. Nothing will replace your other buddy, but as long as you won't think of it like a replacement or start comparing, it can be a good thing.

    • ugh, I've only had my little shit for 6 months and I can't bare to think of how it'll break me into a million little pieces when he passes one day.

  • +4

    Im amazed everyone is just saying get another animal…

    Just be there for your wife and spend some time together, when my wifes Ragdoll died I did up a small collage of photos of us and the cat it's still nice to look at it and remembering all the good times and memories, it's going to hurt for a while that's no lie but just be there for each other and your other two dogs and to know the dog isn't suffering anymore.

    • Im amazed everyone is just saying get another animal…

      There's one post about that and it was clearly a joke. and JV said "wait at least a few months".

      Hardly "everyone".

  • +1

    We have a lot of pets (currently 4 dogs, 3 cats) and unfortunately have had to say good bye to a lot of pets. They are all buried on our property with a plaque.

    We have an area in our house with a picture of each passed pet. It's nice to catch a glimpse of them every so often and recall the good times.

    Time does heal the hurt eventually. Remember that they may be physically gone but the memories live on forever. Not a week goes by that my wife and I don't mention the best dog we ever had (yellow Labrador) in some sort of conversation and she passed away 3 years ago aged 16.

  • +1

    I am so sorry for your loss
    Cry. Grieve. But remember the good times. Would the little guy want you to be sad?
    He would want you to remember when you first met. The first time I made a mess inside (I was a naughty little boy)
    Remember our first walk? Did I try and run away. Ah, what good times we had growing up together.
    Please think of me every now and then, and be happy when you remember, OK.

  • Went to the zoo the other day. Only had 1 dog. It was a Shih Tzu.

    • +2

      I think you are lion

  • +1

    Thanks all for the kind words.

    I've got a few empty photo frames in my place that finally need some pictures in them. So I'll be getting some photos printed out of my little one shortly to remember him by.

    I'm kinda glad I'm WFH today as well.

  • +1

    We're emotional creatures. It's normal to experience grief and pain, etc at the loss of something that's dear to us. I'd be very concerned if someone was in your situation and said that they felt absolutely nothing.

  • +1

    In the preceding weeks before it was time to say goodbye I took lots of pictures and a couple of canvas prints from the deals below.

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/699523
    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/705720

  • +1

    Done both, adopted another dog a day after putting beloved dog down, and waiting months and months until we thought we were ready after losing another. Those months coming home to a pet free house missing how my dog would greet me, were utterly harrowing. Adopting close after didn’t end up feeling like a betrayal like I thought, in fact in another perspective, your dog only ever wanted you to be happy (and food of course) so presumably they’d be fine with it.

  • I had one hit by a car. I wrote about him in my high school assignment.

  • +1

    I'm truly sorry for your loss.
    I have always found comfort in knowing that we (myself and my furry companion/s) were so blessed to have had eachother in our lives, and the unbearable pain experienced upon their passing is completely worth it just to have experienced such love for them.
    I have a 16 year old, who is in relatively good health, but I know she is a mortal with her time running out.
    I would highly recommend to take an ink print of their paws before being cremated/buried. You could put the print in a frame, or keep somewhere private.
    Be gentle on yourselves. You just have to let yourself ride the wave. But know you will never forget them, and one day when they come into your thoughts, you will remember them with a smile instead of tears. It just takes time.

    • The paw print is a good idea but it's too late for that now. I did do it with my two younger ones though.

      I just spent today collecting all his old photos and videos and saving it to one folder. I'll give it to my inlaws shortly. I was also just at their house then, collecting all of my little's guy stuff. I think it's kinda cathartic that my two younger ones can wear their old bro's clothes. I even kept his food bowl. Makes me feel a lot better now.

  • +1

    They are family and the best ones at that. Sorry for your loss, I lost one of mine over 10 years ago and to this day if her name is mentioned I feel a lump in my throat and glazed eyes for a moment. They are a huge loss but as they say
    time heals all wounds but we'll never forgot our best friends.

    Mourn the same as a human family. Cherish the great life you has together.

    In time when ready start a new connection with a new pet..

  • +1

    Cried heaps, still do. Lost 2 this year alone, one died due to pituitary tumour, 48 hours and she was gone. Vet can't do anything. Second one, I had to put down and this hit me harder than I thought. Still get sad when people ask about my fur babies and I had to explain what happened. They are family and it's okay to feel sad and mourn, grieve, cry. You gave it a good life, remember that! :)

    Cremated both of them and made glass memorials, so worth it.

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