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Fur-family memories


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I’m starting this thread as a place for me (and maybe others) to share stories and memories of their past and present furry, family members. I realized today that after approx 3 weeks, I’m still grieving. I figured since I wasn’t breaking down in tears and had started to put away his things that I was fine. Apparently not, because today has felt like I’m starting at day one again.

After over 14yrs of my first-ever dog being a part of my life, I made the decision that it was time to put him down due to multiple deteriorating health issues. I simply wasn’t prepared for the grief, guilt and emptiness that followed. I thought I was, but it’s by far one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. There’s no such thing as bereavement benefits after the loss of a beloved pet, and some scoff at the thought, I suppose. But those first few days were devastating.

Obviously I’m biased, but he was, indeed, the best dog anyone could’ve asked for. Super-easy to train, intelligent, affectionate, playful and always full of energy. He loved people (not other dogs so much), he adapted to many environments very easily (we moved with him 7 times) and we didn’t have any behavioural or health problems with him at all for over 12yrs.

We adopted/rescued him while in South Korea. He couldn’t stand properly and his ribs were sticking out. I picked him up and was hooked. I fell in love.

I’m an animal person. I’m one of the many who openly admit to loving animals more than most people. I always had some sort of furry friend growing up, but due to allergies within the household at the time we couldn’t have any larger animals. As soon as I moved out I got a cat, followed by 2 more at different times. Eventually, I found Pepper. My life has never felt complete without some sort of animal to share my space with.

But...after all of this...even aside from the plethora of intense, unexpected emotions, what has surprised me the most is this. I don’t know if I can ever do it again. I don’t ever want to feel the way I did in those moments, nor the days which followed. My closest friend told me that perhaps the reason it’s been so hard on me was because his passing wasn’t as described in so many articles, which talk about euthanizing their dog. It was not peaceful or calm for him. The first injection, out of the series of 3, sent him into a panicked, crying and shaking state as I’ve never seen or heard before. I contemplated asking them to stop—I’d pay for that injection and just bring him back home, let it wear off, and maybe soon he’d pass peacefully on his own. But I knew that keeping him alive would have been for me. Selfish. So we went through with it. And I’m still not at peace with it. I don’t know how long is too long to grieve...for me, I guess it hasn’t been long enough though. I miss him.

Thanks for reading.


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Thanks for sharing and I have to tell you that it does get better with time even though reading your post felt like a punch in the gut that brought back painful memories for me even now, fifteen years later.

We had a Sheltie that we raised from puppyhood until she was just over fourteen and experiencing major health problems at the end. Like you we took her to the vet where, mercifully, she passed quickly and peacefully which nonetheless didn't help me out very much. She was more my wife's dog then mine so I really couldn't understand why her death hit me as hard as it did. I'd once seen someone who made a plaster paw print of their pet and had always planned to do that some day. As expected that day never came but I spent the next two days trying to make one out of prints she had left in the snow outside. (It doesn't work incidentally--the plaster melts the snow as any idiot can tell you--I tried anyway)

It took me a fairly long while to get over her loss. We did decide to keep two small pictures of her in our bedroom from happier times and now whenever I see them I have happy thoughts of her.

We never did get another dog. (I do have a strange habit of talking to stuffed teddy bears, however) It's not because we were concerned about another loss. We just put the issue off for a while and by that time our lives had gone in another direction which made having a pet impractical and somewhat unfair to the pet. My wife had three dogs prior to the one we had together and was always able to deal with the transition and loved each one in turn so I know that's an option and I think to a large extent that can help.

Let me finish off by saying it certainly took me longer than three weeks. It was several months before I started to get straightened out but I did come around with time although, as I said above, your post brought it all back again so don't be surprised if it does for you too from time to time.

I don't want to sound too cliche-ish here but time does heal all wounds. Give yourself time.

Growing up we had an english Springer spaniel, got her about 2 months before my little brother was born. Apparently she had a tendency towards mothering because he was her pup in her eyes lol

Many good times of her "mothering" my little brother, have to admit though it made the family wrestling a little tough cause she would always defend him.. against anyone. Trained her to follow all sorts of commands, hunt, fetch etc. Just an amazing dog all around, many good memories.

I am not really a dog guy, my wife swears I'm just an untrained dog hater and deep down I'm a dog lover. After we lost her, I never wanted another one.. now though.. maybe. Never really grieved for her either, I remember one time she went toe to toe with a cougar to defend my little brother and I really should honor her memory more albeit I dont.

A good dog really is part of the family, I am sorry for your loss my friend. May hap one day you find yourself rescuing another lost pup who needs it.

This hits close, really close to home. Just this past Friday I had to take my cat, Nabob, to the vet and have him put to sleep. I had him for 11+ years, he was a rescued feral kitten who adopted me. A little over a year ago he had rapid weight loss due to elevated white blood cell count.  With daily meds and a prescribed diet he put weight back on.  He went from 5 pounds to 12 pounds.  Then he recently lost weight again, down to 4 pounds. Hardest thing I had to do, have him put to sleep.  It was the humane thing to do, had I kept him alive he'd start suffering and I couldn't bear to see him suffer
But right now it's lonely here.  My apartment is empty.  No one greeting me at the door when I come home, waking me up at 4am because he wants to move to the living room to sleep but wants company, demanding food every time I go into the kitchen (even if his food dish was full) and so on.  For such a little cat he left a big imprint on me, and as sappy as it sounds, I'm left with a big hole in my heart.  I know the pain will pass in time but right now I'm grieving and will grieve for the foreseeable future. But I'll always remember Nabob, a special unique person and cat



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TBN, thanks for starting the thread.  Probably not a one of us here who wouldn’t willingly accept another chapter of furry family member, fully knowing that there will always be a tough goodbye at some point, and that even if that goodbye is one of the toughest (helping them move on), you’d do it again...and again...and again.  When our furry family members, with lifespans sadly much shorter than ours, fill our lives with such pure, innocent joy and love, we know that Tennyson was right: “Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

Too many little ones come and gone to list right now, but have done it over and over, and will continue to do so, to be made a better person through sharing my life with fur babies.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my second career as a stay at home cat dad.  :nod:

I never had a stable enough work schedule in the CAF to take care of a pet. Now that I have the chance, I couldn't be happier. We love our little guy and he is spoiled! I think he knows when I'm having a bad day, and he encourages me to stay out of trouble.

For a short while there I really couldn’t imagine putting myself into a situation where I could potentially end up feeling as devastated as I was when we put our first dog down after over 14yrs. I was utterly heartbroken.

But the past couple of weeks have seen a tugging at my heart, and my 9yr old saying that he would put his own money towards a new dog if it was too expensive broke me down. He missed our dog as much as we did.

I looked at rescues, but unfortunately there weren’t any in my area at the time who were good with children and also who would’ve flourished in the type of environment we could provide. So I settled on this little guy and surprised my son with him. He cried...and so did I.

I still have little triggers here and there, and I still miss Pepper. But the family has healed enough now to be able to love another. We’ve been experiencing some rough times, so this is also a welcomed distraction.


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He's a sweetie!
Beautiful pup!

I just read this thread and can relate. We had to put one of our dogs down a couple of years ago due to a sickness that quickly overtook her at the age of six. Holding her paw as the vet ended her life is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I still get teary when I think about it. Whether it was right or not, and through a bit of a weird circumstance we ended up with a new dog less than three days later...full of guilt. It was an extremely sad yet confusingly happy time with a dog that brings us a ridiculous amount of joy to this day. We are never changing breeds again after this guy.

I'm glad you got a new dog. As a dog lover, I understand the immense pain that comes with losing a companion that we all know full well has a shorter natural lifespan than us. Yet in my opinion,  the joy and fulfillment they offer is too much to deny oneself even knowing they will eventually and inevitably leave a void. That said, I understand those who don't want to experience that type of loss again. I know I'm dreading what will one day come.

I'm sorry for your loss yet happy for your gain. All the best with your new dog!

This is #62, "Sean". He's  a Heinz 57 ram, a bit of Dorper, Isle De France and I don't know what else. He follows my dog and I like a little puppy. Very people friendly, lies down for tummy rubs, he's one of those animals you might  see on The Dodo. I will post pics of animals from time to time, if you are in the Okanagan and interested in one, let me know!!


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Cloud Cover said:
This is #62, "Sean". He's  a Heinz 57 ram, a bit of Dorper, Isle De France and I don't know what else. He follows my dog and I like a little puppy. Very people friendly, lies down for tummy rubs, he's one of those animals you might  see on The Dodo. I will post pics of animals from time to time, if you are in the Okanagan and interested in one, let me know!!

Aw, he’s cute! I hope any animals needing homes find good ones.

The photo reminded me of a short video-gone-viral of a dog who ran away and the next morning the owner video-tapes his dog returning from across a large field, with not only another dog in tow...but a goat. All 3 of them jump up in the guy’s truck.