Whole Dog Journal's Blog July 10, 2018

The Dogs We Love: Too Little Time Together

Posted at 12:40PM - Comments: (40)

Social media has been an incredible tool for us dog owners. We can share photos, videos, and stories about our beloved companions, and our friends and relatives and even casual acquaintances can get to know our dogs – laughing at their cute or funny antics, commiserating with us over canine behavior we find problematic, or just smiling in recognition of those tiny moments that “dog people” savor: from the quizzical puppy head tilts to the senior dogs sleeping deeply, peacefully entwined with one another.

dog on lawn chair

Linda Case's Chip

But sometimes, our involvement with each other’s dogs means we also feel each other’s pain at the loss of a special canine friend. And if you’ve ever lost a “heart dog” of your own –and who among us haven’t? – the story of a friend’s dog’s death can hit you hard, bringing up echoes of your own canine loss or losses. You know exactly how your friends feel –bereft, hollow, aching –and all you can do is try to say something to let them know you are sorry for their pain.

collie holding a bone

Sarah Richardson's Rhodie

It’s been said before, but every time I have experienced the loss of one of my dogs, or have witnessed someone else’s, I think to myself: That this is the price of all that love we have for our dogs, and all the love and joy we’ve received from our dogs. If it seems too much to bear, well, remember that the amount of pain we are going to feel is directly related to the love. Those “heart dogs” – the companions we love as much as life itself? Well, their loss is going to hurt the most, the deepest, and the longest. Keep it in mind as you hurt; this is the price of all the happiness we had together.

dog looking at camera

Pat Miller's Bonnie

It’s easy to forget as we are enjoying our canine partners, playing, working, swimming, training, sleeping, and eating together. But, given our lifespans and their all-too-short ones, in the back of our minds we know that the price will have to be paid in our lifetimes. It’s a steep price – but also worth the pain.

To all my friends who have lost their beloveds, recently, and in the past year:

Lisa and Brad Waggoner, who just recently lost young Willow

walking a dog

Lisa Waggoner and Willow

Pat and Paul Miller, on the loss of their Bonnie

Linda and Mike Case, who lost their senior dog Chip

Nancy Tucker and her husband Tom, on the loss of Chili

chili the dog

Nancy Tucker's Chili

Sarah Richardson, on the loss of Rhodie

Comments (40)

Many years ago while I was still in college, my family had to put our dog to sleep from cancer. (He was overvaccinated; our vet told us it would cause no harm.) In our grief, we went 7 years without a dog as the though of the pain from losing another was too much for us to bear. Then we adopted another. Never again will I go without a dog in my life for long. My husband and I lost our dogs in 2013 and 2014 to old age illnesses, and five months later we adopted an older dog from a rescue. It's selfish to wallow in sadness while there are other dogs needing homes.

Posted by: Three Dog Mom | July 16, 2018 2:19 PM    Report this comment

I friend of mine just lost her beloved and adored toy dog, so this article is very timely for me.

I have had many dogs through my life--from the cherished childhood dogs of my parents to the dogs my husband and I have--and it never gets easier to say goodbye. Each dog is different, and yet all are deeply loved. The death of each dog is an emotional and spiritual trauma that must be experienced and eventually healed. Truth told, if I think long enough on the death of any one of my dogs, I can still be brought to tears even though decades have passed. The love and innocence of dogs makes each relationship special.

To all readers, writers and contributors of WDJ, a special wish of quiet remembrance of your beloved dogs.

Posted by: Three Dog Mom | July 16, 2018 2:11 PM    Report this comment

Almost 8 yrs. ago, I lost 2 heart dogs within 6 mos. of each other. I was so bereft that I didn't know how I was going to make it from 1 day to the next. Except for 4 months, I had always had a dog in my life and at the time, I was 58 yrs old. There was a Springer Spaniel waiting for me at home when I was born and it continued from there. Dogs were always my family - not pets, not friends but family. Four days after my Daisty unexpectedly died in my arms of a burst brain blood vessel, a friend took me for a ride.....supposedly to get me out of the house. She took me to a nearby town where a small breeder had English Springer Spaniel puppies for sale. No, I said to her.....it was too soon. But I still walked up to the house, spoke with the breeder who brought me to see the parents and the only female left in the litter. Our eyes met and I knew we were suppose to be together. It was hard simultaneously grieving while loving a new and different young pup. Well, it's been almost 8 years and Gracie brings me unbridled joy each and every day! With specialized help, I trained her as my Service Dog so we do everything together. Gracie developed liver disease and I was so afraid that I was going to lose this loving, furry, joy-filled family member. Thank heaven using traditional and non-traditional treatments and having pet health insurance has saved her life and I think, mine also. We are connected on such a deep and profound level. I look at pictures of the dogs with whom I have had the honor of sharing my life and realize that they have all been 'heart dogs.' Some were purebreds, others- mixed breeds, and 2 who had been badly physically and emotionally abused who were transformed into gentle, loving blessings in my life. I dread the day when it will be time for me to help Gracie make her transition...but it's part of the unspoken promise; I will ALWAYS be there for you, to love you, play with you, make sure you have good, healthy food, go for twice daily long walks in different environments, make sure your health needs are attended to, respect your needs and when the time comes when life is a painful burden, I will be there with you, holding you, letting you smell me and I you and loving you as your spirit leaves your painful body while telling you that we will be together again and in our prime. And on that day, I don't know how I will put one foot in front of the other or how I will breathe because my heart will be shattered. And no matter how old you are, it will never have been long enough.

Posted by: clb | July 15, 2018 6:08 PM    Report this comment

I sang "Lavender blue, Dilly dilly" for my mini dachshund, Dilli. I sang, so very appropriately as it turned out, "Time in a Bottle" for my dal Spectre.

Posted by: LtReese96 | July 15, 2018 3:22 AM    Report this comment

Lilmo, your post touched my heart. I feel your pain. DLittle, I had to put my beautiful Spectre, an almost 2-year-old male down for similar reasons. As I explained to him, his "wiring" in his head was wrong. He took a piece of my Dilli Mini Dachshund' ear off- he had just been kissing her a minute before. I will forever feel guilty for putting him down, but there was no choice. I grieve with those who grieve. For those who say "Never again" I think of one thing. "What kind of life would they have had without me?" I gave all of them love, good food, love, treats, love, they slept in my bed, love. Even with Spectre, who lived such a short time, he was loved. What would have happened if I had not taken him? I'm glad it was me that had him because no one could have done more for him and with him. He was learning to play freebie and getting good. I know that some day, I shall play with him and all of them again. I have to have dogs. For me, I can't be without them. They show me, daily, what God's love is. And that is unconditional.

Posted by: LtReese96 | July 15, 2018 3:19 AM    Report this comment

I have lost many fur babies, each so special in their own way. From my sarcastically bent first Cairn Terrier to my most recent, Dilli my mini Dachshund, safely in heaven are they, but I go thru hell here sometimes. I think of the mistakes I have made with them. Blaming one dog for another's mistake, asking "Who chewed this?" like I'm going to get an answer or volunteer. Each dog, full of personality that can't be denied, just waiting for the chance to play or cuddle. I have said before and I'll say it again when I get to heaven, God Himself will have to part the sea of pets for me to get to greet Him. This is not meant as blasphemy, but as knowing my dogs. They never could learn the talent of waiting, no not one. Lord, keep them and my family close, for those are family, too. And You created each one of them. Prayers to all those who mourn their fur babies.

Posted by: LtReese96 | July 15, 2018 3:06 AM    Report this comment

I have lost too many fur kids over the years, but yes, there was one that was my heart dog. JB lived to 16 years old, the last two years presented challenges. It started with weakness in his back legs, trouble getting up, couldn't walk as far.. so I got a harness to help him up and a stroller so that he didn't have to stay home when I took my younger dogs for walks. He eventually needed a wheelchair- which he loved as it allowed him to play in the yard again. My youngest adapted to the old boy's ability and they played together so well. But our special times were in the pool- every day we swam and as his legs weakened we did range of motion exercises. Those times just made the bond that much stronger, and when he let us know that it was time, I thought I was going to die right along with him. I was determined that the two dogs that we still had were going to be it for me- no more.. then about a year later I got a call asking me if I would take in a boy for a few months while his owner recovered from an injury. The day before he was to go back home, she asked if I would like to keep him.. so now there are three. I know that JB sent him.

Posted by: SBS | July 14, 2018 9:47 PM    Report this comment

I very recently lost my wee 10yr old Bella a Pomeranian cross Chihuahua.
Horrific accident it was and everyday i have flash backs of it at different parts which upset me very much. Its been just over 4 months now and it still haunts me. We were so so very close its wrecked me.
She died in my arms on way to vet it was horrible i was hysterical and i still cry if im telling someone about it.
I dont think i can go into detail here its too heartbreaking. I know what its like to loose a faithful 4 footed friend through old age but never before did i know what its like when its an accident. I think because its so sudden and so unexpected it hurts deeper.
And theres always that old guilt..if only I'd have done this or that..carrying the blame not being able to accept it was an accident.
It was all too horrendous.

Posted by: Lilmo | July 14, 2018 7:53 PM    Report this comment

Among the most helpful gifts from friends when my beloved Stuart passed was a picture frame with this inscription below the photo: If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever.

Posted by: Scottmp | July 14, 2018 11:05 AM    Report this comment

I, too have now lost 15 dogs since I began rescuing older, usually sick malamutes. I have had two heart dogs but they area all heart dogs in that short time - well, maybe three.
People ask me how I do it and I just tell them the same thing that Bella and Breeze said. "Every time I lose a dog, a piece of my heart goes with him. As soon as I adopt a new dog, a piece of it comes back."
It never gets any easier. It always tears you heart out. But they go to the rainbow bridge where we will all meet, love and play again.

Posted by: Holly 1 | July 13, 2018 3:45 PM    Report this comment

I see a theme...I sang you are my sunshine as some of you had to my GSP Sammy and thought Id never get over the loss of him. He had a hip replacement at 8 1/2 years old, and was like a pup until he developed brain cancer at 12 years. My husband and I had differing emotions after his death. I was ready to start looking again. He needed more time. At a rest stop on a trip a couple hopped out of a car with a puppy gsp. We talked for a moment and I said is this Lucky? They were perplexed as was my husband. How did I know her name? It was a gsp Id seen online in a rescue in the state we lived in and I remembered that she was in a rescue around the area we were at, about 180 miles from home! I told My husband Id looked at about every one in the state! Shortly after he surprised me with Willie a 5 year old GSP I emailed him a picture of. All I can say is you can have more than one heart dog!

Posted by: Stick | July 13, 2018 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I have had many pets ... dogs, cats, chickens, rats ... I miss them all. It doesn't matter how long they are with you - their passing will always leave a hole in your heart. But when I think of not having another pet, I think of all the millions of animals out there waiting to find a loving home and how millions of them do not .... Loving another animal is how I honor those that I have loved. And I do not fear my own passing as I know I will see them all again and that is my paradise.

Posted by: Bodangle | July 13, 2018 12:05 AM    Report this comment

What a timely post. I lost my heart dog, Raindrop, to lymphoma in early May. We had several dogs while growing up, but none were "my" dog. I had not had a dog in about 20 years while raising three now grown kids. My two oldest no longer live at home, but my son, the youngest, has severe autism with many sensory issues. He and barking dogs do not mix! But I really wanted the companionship and a walking buddy. In 2012, I found Raindrop, a beautiful black chow mix, at our local Humane Society. She was the most zen, laid back dog on the planet. Rarely barked, and so calm, nothing bothered her. She was about 2-3 years old and perfect for our family. She lived for walks with me, we walked around 3000 miles together. She had no health issues until what seemed to be just an eye infection early this year. Her vet ran every blood test available, and nothing was found. She was given antibiotics and steroids for two weeks, and bounced right back - or so we thought. About 10 days before she passed, she seemed to not be feeling herself, and lost some of her appetite. Again, her vet ran tests and even did full x-rays. Again, nothing was found. She seemed to be getting worse, so took her back to the vet. At this point, the vet could feel her glands were very swollen, and sent a needle biopsy off to the lab. She suspected lymphoma, but thought there was time. That was Saturday. Very early on Monday morning, after my husband had left for work, she was sleeping next to my bed and I heard and felt her have a major seizure. She never regained consciousness, and all I could do was pet her and talk to her as she had a second major seizure and passed to the Rainbow Bridge. We got the lymphoma confirmation from the lab two days later. My husband has encouraged me to look for another dog, but I haven't been able to seriously consider it. At this point, I can't help but compare every dog to her and I think it will take some more time.

Posted by: Rainy's Mom | July 12, 2018 11:47 PM    Report this comment

Thank you. Paul and I miss our Bonnie every day. And Lucy, and Scooter, and Missy, and Dubhy and... it's a long list - and it never gets any easier.

Posted by: PPaws | July 12, 2018 6:54 PM    Report this comment

My heart dog is 13 now but in good health, thank God. Hopefully she remain healthy for a few more years. I know Im on borrowed time though because even 13 is old for an Akita.

Posted by: Okami | July 12, 2018 5:21 PM    Report this comment

I can't even write about the dogs I have lost. All I have to offer is a quote sent to me many years ago. I have never forgotten it and send it to all my friends when they suffer a loss: Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Posted by: GiftofGalway | July 12, 2018 3:55 PM    Report this comment

Wow, aren't we dog lovers all alike. The heartbreak and the loss of a loving companion never really leaves you. We have lost two goldens; Carli at age 13 1/2 to cancer plus degenerative spine disease; Liberty at age 10 from hemangiosarcoma. Carli we were sort of prepared for but her passing took me about a year to recover.

Liberty was diagnosed with hemagiosarcoma and five days later...gone from our lives. We are thankful he did not suffer any longer than that. Both my husband and I were so devastated and the hole I felt was enormous. Our daily lives turned upside down; I (we) cried for months. But we missed the love, hugs and playful times in our house. We now have a rescue lab mix, Kody; 3 1/2 years old. We do love him just as much and he makes us laugh.

I have pictures everywhere of Carli, Liberty and Kody; and most importantly at my bedside. And yes, everyday is a gift with our animals!


Posted by: P. Irene | July 12, 2018 3:36 PM    Report this comment

Ive lost quite a few dogs over the years, it never gets any easier. I have just lost a third dog in the last 10 months! It sucks! They were all older and had a pretty great life- it still hurts, you just miss them so! I try to remember not to cry because its over but to smile because it happened! They bring such joy and I wouldnt change it for the world!

Posted by: gideon | July 12, 2018 2:58 PM    Report this comment

My wife and I have lost a number of dogs over the years; all requiring euthanasia. Although all required it, I still HATE having to act like God. Each of the dogs tear my heart out. My wife used to swear that our Lightning and I were soul mates and she felt cheated. Each dog was unique and taught me so many things. They leave way too early. After losing Lightning, it took over 3 years before I would even consider another dog. When we lost Zoe, I had a dear friend urge me to get another. He told me: "You're dog people. Every day you postpone getting another dog is another day without your dog". So our current fur-baby we got a few months after Zoe. She was a "rescue" but has turned out to bring so much joy and love into our family; we can't imagine being without her. That friend has since passed but he and his wife give us a wall plaque after Zoe died that breaks me up even now years later. I don't know who to attribute it to but it reads:

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are."

I still love and miss all our past and current dogs and rarely pass up an opportunity to share the love with canines we meet.

Posted by: gdldqgf | July 12, 2018 2:56 PM    Report this comment

I lost my two dogs last year, the 6 year old to very aggressive lymphoma despite 4 months of chemo, and the older, 13 year old to another kind of cancer, old age, and grief from his loss of his buddy. I had lost two dogs before that at 16 years and 13 yearsthey have all been my heart dogs for their own unique selves. And losing each of them was like having my heart torn out.

I lost my first dog when he was nearly 17, almost 30 years agoand people still talk about him fondly. We should all be that fortunate! I have always thought that the idea that we honour the life and memory of our precious companions by being willing to bring another into our homes and hearts made complete sense. It was explained to me that if you had a wonderful friend that you lost, you wouldnt say, she was so wonderful I never want another friend. You would have had the joy of friendship and want that in your life in another way.

We now have two new girls in our family, one adopted at 8 months and the other at 7 years. They are both different from all previous dogs, but each wonderful in her own way and I am so glad to have them, and willing to risk future pain for the incredible joy today.

Posted by: Alexpal | July 12, 2018 2:23 PM    Report this comment

Oh, my, I do know the deep, devastating grief of losing one of my buddies. That has included many cats, 2 horses, a few cage birds and so many DOGS! Dogs have been important to me since I was a toddler. They were always the friends I never had and my constant companions.
But I want to offer encouragement and hope that these whom you have 'lost' are with the Heavenly Father and, they are waiting at Home in Heaven in the mansion God has prepared for each of His children. God has given me the privilege of seeing a few of my pets who have departed. Most recently, last April the one that I loved more than I had ever loved any other dog went Home to the Lord. He allowed me to see the Glorified being who was keeling on the floor before us as he waited to receive my Navajo. It still broke my heart but I knew where my best buddy was going. Navajo lives and breathes and is running and playing happily while he is waiting for my arrival there. And someday I will be united with ALL of my family, not just the human ones ♥

Posted by: NitaMaroney | July 12, 2018 2:08 PM    Report this comment

Im surprised at myself for being able to read the article and all replies w/o balling my eyes out! I lost my retired adopted Fawn Greyhound who was my heart dog the minute she was brought to our home by the adoption agency! We ended up with 3 greyhound girls at once. We lost our first GH at 11 years the second one at 12 years but my heart GH hung on just shy of her 14 BD! After severe depression and a broken heart one from missing my girls and another from my husband wanting to wait until I retire to get another dog! Well I won we rearranged our work schedule so our 7 week old English Fox Red Lab was never alone for long periods. She is now 22 months and my first puppy she is not my heart dog but I love her, enjoy life with her even though shes really my husbands pup cuz he plays a lot with her. She is very happy living with us old people, we are 66 & 65! I keep pics of all my GH girls on my phone and in an auto rotating picture frame! My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered the loss of their fur babies.

Posted by: SlyBrandy | July 12, 2018 2:05 PM    Report this comment

It is so true!! The pain is horrendous! But the entertainment, devotion, love, fun and joy are all so very worth it!
I lost my Boo 12/15/17. He rescued us a mere 4.5 months prior to his death. And I love that dog as much as my very beloved granddogs! It was harder than losing my parents! God forgive me for that but it was! It was brutal losing my parents, for the record! But I still cry every single day missing that precious baby boy! I hate valley fever!

Posted by: Alison Gilroy | July 12, 2018 1:35 PM    Report this comment

Some people are fortunate enough to have a 'heart dog' once in their lives, some people never experience that ... and some have more than one, or five or It has nothing to do with the dog itself, so much as it does with the person and their relationship with the dog... .

Posted by: KatzDawgs | July 12, 2018 1:35 PM    Report this comment

I am truly a big sap when it comes to dogs. Every dog I have ever had from childhood to current have been/are my heart dogs. I am crying reading these posts, and cry every time someone I know loses their furry child.

Each time I have said goodbye to my best friends, I promised myself I would never get another dog, but, I have jumped right back 'in the saddle', and currently am Mom to two gorgeous, loving, funny Golden girls who are 7 and 2.

My sister gave me a plaque a couple of years ago after I said goodbye to the last furry child we lost. I have it hanging in my laundry/dog shrine room where I have photos of the dogs who have left us, along with their footprint images painted on the walls. (I had the forethought to get their paw print images before they left us and had stencils made and painted on the walls. The plaque reads:

Every time I lose a dog a piece of my heart goes with them, and every time I adopt a new dog, they gift me a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the pieces of my heart will be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are. Anonymous

My condolences and tears for all of you who have lost your heart dogs. They will be waiting for us all at the Rainbow Bridge; imagine how amazing that moment will be.

Posted by: Bella and Breeze's Mom | July 12, 2018 1:19 PM    Report this comment

just reading this wonderful article and all the comments has me in tears. I have gone thru this so many times in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I am a dog mom to 4 of my own and 2 fosters. My oldest GR is Cooper...13..old for a Golden but his mom went at 16. My heart dog is an 8 yr old GR, Emma. I knew she was my heart dog when she arrived in my life at 8 weeks. Thinking of her passing leaves me absolutely crumbled emotionally. At 67 you would think I would outgrow the love....and loss... of a dog, but it only gets stronger with age.

Posted by: samnsara | July 12, 2018 12:56 PM    Report this comment

Sitting here at work, big tears rolling down my face. I know this loss too well. My current pup, however, is truly my "heart dog". I have never been so gooey-eyed in love before. She's a gorgeous Black GSD who turned 2 last week and I have read so many stories about GSD's who die suddenly and YOUNG. It really scares me. I'm 63 and have told my husband, if Star goes before me, I'm goin' with her. ;) But in all seriousness, she is the absolute light and joy of my life. And "pkinpa" I completely understand! I sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her ALL the time. I have my beautiful Black Lab, Shadow's ashes in my bookcase with her photo and collar. Having to have her put down was so hard that I still cry if I think about it. I swore I'd never have another dog either, just to avoid that heart wrenching pain of saying "good bye". But I lasted 4 months before I decided on a GSD and found my beauty at 12 weeks old. I couldn't believe how much I missed that little heartbeat in the house. That unconditional love is something that I need in my life and after all, Dog is God spelled backward. She is my sweetheart and my girl...my joy and the absolute light in my life. I love my husband, but he is NEVER as happy to see me when I come home as my Star is. ;)

Posted by: Proud GSD Owner | July 12, 2018 12:37 PM    Report this comment

I go through this 3-4 times a year. I sit dogs in their homes anywhere from a weekend to 3-5 weeks at a time. I have a core of long term clients and....dogs die. I dont get to know these dogs as intimately as their own people, but while I am there, they are my dogs and each time I lose one I justcant stand it. There are some I cant mention or think of without choking up years after they have gone. I dont see how you, their people, cope. Many people get another dog and they turn out, invariably, to have their own charms and lovable (and, yeah, not-so-lovable) traits, but they are all so different that the previous one cannot be said to be replaced. I have learned so much from all of them.

Posted by: Leafpainter | July 12, 2018 12:36 PM    Report this comment

We have a 12 y.o. poodle/spaniel named Fred. He had 4 herniated discs removed in 2015 but is still very lively and loved. I recommend "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" as excellent reading for the loss of a beloved friend... it is very good at preparing for the loss of a pet. We will still be devastated when Fred passes.

Posted by: gary8408 | July 12, 2018 12:35 PM    Report this comment

Such lovely words to describe the event we know will happen someday but truly dread. I lost my Brussels in April. June 2, I rescued a 7 month old Pug Tzu who is such a joy. But I still find myself shedding tears from time to time when I remember the wonderful 14 years I had with Snickers. We all know folks who have gone through this- and it is never easy.

Posted by: janice duerr | July 12, 2018 12:30 PM    Report this comment

The last couple of years has been very difficult for my husband and I. We lost his PTSD dog after an illness that repeatedly got misdiagnosed. It's devastating waking up to hear your husband sobbing and saying he misses his little girl. Took me a while to get over that guilt because I'm the one who took her to that same vet repeatedly instead of changing. A few months later we adopted a dog that I immediately bonded with and who became my heart dog. Unfortunately, for some reason, though he wasn't agressive with our three female dogs, he brought something into the house that made two of our girls start fighting and each fight got more violent. The third and final battle resulted in our older dog tearing up our dog a few years her junior and a whopping vet bill. The very day that the injured dog was able to be off leash and without a cone, the heart dog attacked my husband for no reason, biting him in the face. This happened after that dog had initiated two periods of loving on my husband a few minutes earlier. This dog was a herding breed who had been surrendered by his previous owner for being too much trouble because he got out all the time. When surrendered he was covered in ticks and was given multiple tick treatments. The day I first say him I noticed he had tremors in his legs. In the four months we had him I noticed he would go from being a loving dog to getting a weird look on his face like he was devil possessed. He had snapped at my husband a couple of times in those four months only because my husband had bent over to pet him. I truly believe that the chemicals from those trick treatments damanged his brain. I ended up having to return him to the rescue organization, which was in the contract, and it absolutely tore my heart out. I fell into a severe depression that lasted 6 months. Thankfully I was delivered from that darkness. I continually prayed for that dog to be healed and to find a new home, but I couldn't drive down the street where the rescue organization was located without bursting into tears. About 8 months later we adopted another dog who seemed to fit right into our pack. He was a senior dog who had had a very rough life. Unfortunately, we weren't aware upon adoption that he had some serious health issues. We did all we could to take care of him, but his health declined rapidly after an acute bout of pancreatitis on top of his Cushing's and heart disease. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge in May, just shy of 10 months after adoption. We also lost our 13 year old black Lab, Emma, last November to cancer. Though these losses have been devastating I know there are too many dogs out there who need loving homes, so we are in the process of adopting another senior female. She'll arrive in 10 days. We were even taking yesterday about adopting a fourth. If it's meant to be, God will make it happen. You can never REPLACE a former dog, each is unique, but we have lots more love to give and focusing on a new dog in need helps heal the void of loss.

Posted by: DLittle | July 12, 2018 12:25 PM    Report this comment

I was just getting ready to share this with Brad and Lisa when I read father down. I think we can all understand our friends' pain and sometimes it helps to know that others understand.

Posted by: Praisedogtraining | July 12, 2018 12:14 PM    Report this comment

Uggh this article cuts to the bone. We just lost our 4 year old rescued Amstaff Boxer cross to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The whole process was less than 5 days. He was a little off and had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease so we figured bring him to the vet hospital just to make sure and the blood work was horrifying. We never ever expected it and the second opinion along with lab results confirmed our greatest fears. Quite frankly it feels like he was kidnapped and we keep searching, hoping, waiting anxiously that he will just show up one of these summer evenings on the porch and that everything will be all right once again. The harsh reality is that he's buried in the backyard under the mighty oak trees like the other old timers before him. I'm constantly wishing we did more with him; yet we did so much, training classes, agility, the hikes, swimming and those late morning snuggles on snow days. I wish there was a way to attach a photo of him because he was an absolute symphony, he literally looked like Falcor the luck dragon from the movie The Never Ending Story. Thank you for sharing your grief and hugs to all of you who can relate to the loss of a best friend.

Posted by: Whorescuedwho | July 12, 2018 12:12 PM    Report this comment

I have neighbors that grieved so heavily that they have never gotten another dog.
I've found for me, that the only healing comes from time and having another dog in the house. I lost my beautiful female GSD last November very suddenly to cancer and the pain is still intense. Sending hugs to all here that know this pain - particularly Scamp's Mom - that's a huge amount of loss in a short time and I really feel for you.

Posted by: Lynnemd | July 12, 2018 11:58 AM    Report this comment

A couple of decades ago, while searching for a way to stop my puppy mill pup from resource guarding everything (including me!), a trainer told me to find a song just for him and sing it to him every day. The song I selected for him was, "You are my Sunshine" to remind me that even in stressful situations I loved this dog. He became my 'once in a lifetime' heart dog and he was my sunshine for 12 wonderful years. To this day (10 years after his death), every time I see a sunbeam in the woods, or the sun shines in my eyes - I talk to my boy, Murdoch, and tell him I love him, and how I am doing. I talk about how lucky I am to have another heart dog in my life, and that I know he is watching over us from the Rainbow Bridge. Each of my current dogs have their own song that I s sing to them every day. I have shared this story with many friends that have lost a beloved pet and they tell me it has helped them in their grief. I like to think my own 'sunshine' is happy I can help others just a little.

Posted by: pkinpa | July 12, 2018 11:54 AM    Report this comment

with tears in eyes as I write this. The time goes too quickly. But as much as that fear of loss haunts me, I keep reminding myself to enjoy the day and not worry into the future and share the love, cuddles and joy.

Posted by: robin r | July 12, 2018 11:27 AM    Report this comment

I lost my heart dog, a male Whippet about 5 years ago. There are several at the bridge but if I was allowed to get one back, it would be him. He was 14 years old and I fell for him when I saw him sleeping on his back in the litter. There was no other pup I would have taken home from the bunch. He was a great teacher dog, to me and the others (fosters and my own) we raised. He never picked a fight but no dog would challenge him after seeing him standing regal. Now, raising two GSDs, I always ask myself when in doubt, "What would Rusty do?" And then I know the answer. I miss him every day. Sometimes I say his name out loud to be closer to him. He is buried on our property and Fox Glove flowers took up residence on his grave ever since. Heal well, all of you who are going through this.

Posted by: Wolfy | July 12, 2018 11:00 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for this as it comes just after my heart dog Toto' s 4th anniversary of his passing(16-at home)😭. Devastated &depressed ....and somehow found myself at the humane society exactly 30 days later. Because Ozzie was waiting for ME to come adopt him. You can have another heart dog I discovered💕❤💕. He helped me recover by rescuing ME

Posted by: loveonaleash | July 12, 2018 10:48 AM    Report this comment

In the last 16 months I lost 3 of my 4 dogs. 2 went in 2 days the week before last christmas, including my 'heart ' dog. She went in less than 5 weeks to bone cancer. I had to remove her picture from the lock screen of my phone because... well, you know... 😢

My last one is twelve & I cannot imagine what it will be like to come home to a place with nothing alive but me...

Thank God my neighbors have dogs they'll let me play with...lol

I dont know if I can go through the loss again & do not expect to get anymore dogs.

But, yes, I wouldnt trade any of the times we had, this last pack or the one before...😊

Great article. Thanks, Nancy!

Posted by: Scamp's mom | July 12, 2018 10:24 AM    Report this comment

Oh how I agree. I grieve with friends that lose their babies. I feel that pain. I haven't had to go through it but once so far but I'm still not over it. My "heart dog" is now 12 yrs old with multiple health issue and I truly am thankful every day that I get to spend with him. My life will be forever changed when he is gone.

Posted by: vmtittle | July 12, 2018 9:55 AM    Report this comment

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