Heartbroken...don't know if I can do this again - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 09-23-2012, 01:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Heartbroken...don't know if I can do this again

I wasn't sure if this was the right section to post this but wasn't sure where would be right so I am putting it here. Actually I wasn't even sure if I should post it at all, I haven't talked about this but I wanted to get it out.
I almost lost Bianca ~3 weeks ago to internal bleeding, she had emergency surgery, they found growths on her spleen (which was removed) and liver and after biopsies she was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma (if anyone hasn't read the thread and wants to here's the link: Bianca is having spleen/mass removal surgery tonight ). She is recovered from surgery and doing pretty well at the moment. When I found out, I was devastated... Bianca is only 8 years old, and I've only had her for about 3 and a half years; I never expected to be dealing with something like this so soon and I've been having a lot of trouble dealing with it.

I lost my two senior dogs to cancer in 2008, within 3 months of each other, and I got Bianca a few months later after losing my heart dog Ginger my Golden Retriever. The experience of losing them both was very hard, I basically did hospice care for Pooch my Rat Terrier mix who had lung cancer, he could not do chemo due to a heart murmur, and then about 2 months later I found out what our vet had thought was a skin infection Ginger had turned out to be cutaneous lymphoma. She went downhill very fast. They were both much older than Bianca though, 14 and 12, it seems so unfair for her to have this happen so young...
I am mentioning this to give an idea of where I was coming from when I found out Bianca's diagnosis... I had a lot of trouble accepting it and wasn't sure I could handle going through this again so soon. I also just lost my 17+ year old cat in April, after having done a lot of "nursing" care with her for a long time (she had kidney disease but then at the end we think she developed heart failure.)

One of the things I started thinking about, is the reason I wrote this post: I don't know if I can keep doing this. I don't know if I can get another dog after Bianca and go through this heartbreak again... If I do, I am not sure about getting another GSD again... GSDs were always my favorites and I had wanted one for many years, and Bianca was finally that GSD I had always wanted...although she was not exactly what I had been expecting to get, I was happy... I expected I would have more Shepherds after her. Even though I knew that GSDs were prone to cancer and other health problems, I guess the reality of it, and reading all the other stories of people who went through hemangiosarcoma with their GSDs is getting to me.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think all of us have gone through this at some point. Try not to think about it too much, because your feelings and thoughts may change with time.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've put down 7 dogs, 4 cats, and a parrot, and it doesn't get any easier with time. As much as it hurts to do this, I can't imagine my life without a dog or two in it.

The best thing to do if and when you choose to get another one, is to get a pup from a reputable breeder to increase your chance of getting a long term healthy dog.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The losses are hard, but the memories are wonderful. They all came into your life for a reason
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here's the thing about dogs: the joy and tears basically exist on a great, cosmic scale.

You get the joy piling up on one side of the scale throughout their lives, and it's wonderful. Then all at once, at the end of their lives, you get all the tears on the other side. Then the scale starts to tip.

It sounds like you've had a lot of tears, for a number of animals, lately. That's so hard. It's so fresh, and so painful. The joy feels like it was long ago, and so very, very far away.

If you can find it in your heart to go and dig through that old, stale pile of joy that accumulated in the past and remember it, it's so precious and wonderful. I've had my heart ripped out by this very disease you are now fighting, and as bad as the end was, my joy-pile still outweighs my sadness-pile for that dog by huge margin.

I was fostering a young pup when my old girl passed away, and I ended up keeping that pup because she brought me back from the darkness of the grief. She started piling the joy back on the good side of my scale. I am so grateful she came into our life when she did. I hope there is a new four-legged angel to ease your pain someday too.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Here is the thing, it is heartbreaking and horrible that we outlive our best friends. However the question you have to ask yourself is can you live without them? I see where someone recommends a breeder to give yourself a better chance of having longer with them. I don't know if that would really make a difference. I had 3 dogs from the same breeder. One died young due to a tick illness, one got DM at 9 and we lost him last November. The third one is still going strong at 10. Same genetics but a huge range of lifespan. For me saving a rescue makes me feel good so that is the way I'm going for now. I know I'm not going to have near enough time with them so I just try to enjoy every min I can and I've learned to take a ton of pictures.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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life and death. that is the cycle. i'll
never be without because of it.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with all of the above, espec Elaine, I have never lived "without" a dog(s) in my life, no matter how heartbreaking illness/death are, I just can't see me without atleast one.

I've never had an animal with cancer, which I imagine can be totally devastating especially when they are in their younger/prime years.

While it's 'killed' me to lose the 4 gsd's I've had in adulthood (and many when I was younger at home),,having other dogs at the same time, has always given me strength to go on and they always bring a smile back to my face.

Having had the pleasure of them in my life outweighs the loss thats bittersweet.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think the pain in my life allows me to celebrate moments of joy at a much deeper level. I believe is part of our destiny. I can't imagine life without the joy brought by my four legged friends.

I don't know that GSDs are any worse than any other breed. I think that all dogs are showling the results of growing amounts of toxins than we are because they live such a relatively short life.

It doesn't make it any easier I know. Hang in there and enjoy your remaining time together.
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