Dina 2001 - 2009 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Dina 2001 - 2009

Dina. 2001 – 2009.

I lost my best friend and my family’s guardian this weekend and wanted to write about Dina. I’m not a wordsmith so please excuse the random text. I do want to say thank you for providing a place I can do this – there seems to be little acceptance in society for loss of a family pet and its effect on us all. We lost part of our family, I have seen my children & wife morn a friend and cry a river, I can’t shift they empty feeling and the feeling of loss yet few understand how ‘just a dog’ could upset us this much. Dina was not ‘just a dog’ – she was part of our family and we miss her. Her pictures are here. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...6&id=688413103

The day we picked Dina up from the breeder we had no idea of the journey that was in store – no idea that this small bundle of fluff would change our lives forever.

Dina passed away this weekend, she was only 7. She was not her usual energetic self on Saturday morning and decided to take her to see the vet. I should have known it was serious when she walked into the surgery instead of bounding in, bounding on the reception desk and demanding a hug from the nurse (that was always given).

From a pup Dina was extremely energetic – which caught us, inexperienced owners, off guard and without knowledge of how to control this. Several dog training classes later we were still no further on and Dina was leading us a merry dance with all the puppy energy she had. Dina’s temperament was superb; she was confident, friendly, loving and fun - just a ball of energy.

We stumbled across an ex-police dog trainer – Tony - who within minuets of meeting Dina told us we had a very special dog and needed to channel her energy – she was born to work. He advised to look into SARDA (Search and Rescue) work and he helped us begin. Dina approached this challenge as she did everything, whole hearted and with a smile. She was tracking within a couple of weeks and air scent within a month. She had it cracked and exactly as Tony had said, she taught me how to do this.

For the next couple of years we had many adventures and she loved the work side of life but she loved home life more. Our children were 2 & 3 years old when Dina arrived and she walked them through the next 7 years of their lives teaching them how to really play, how to forgive, patience, how to love and how to fall asleep on her as if she was a massive pillow. She listened to all their stories and never judged; she sat through all their tears and understood: She became their guardian and they always came first, we knew the length she would go to protect them and in return they loved her unconditionally and she knew that everyday (although some days I’m sure she would have swapped the noise for a quiet house!)

The vet knew by looking at her something was very wrong on Saturday – he wanted to complete some X-rays so we agreed to sedate her. The process was going to take an hour and he asked me to come back later.

We never saw Dina aggressive or annoyed – she would alert and bark but never aggressive. It was not in her nature to be aggressive. She must have been disappointed at me when I let her down at times but never showed it – if she missed a walk because I was working or being lazy it was not a problem. If the kids did not want to play – there was always tomorrow. If we ignored her for our busy lives she would always be patient and wait for us to come around. She taught us more than we will ever know. She never let me down, ever. She knew I would let her down often; she seemed to understand I’m human and one of my faults.

As I went back into the surgery I knew by the look the nurse gave me things were not good. Dina was well known and loved in the surgery. The vet called me in and slowly put the x-rays up on the light. Her stomach had twisted over night and there was a tumor present. She was in a lot of pain and would not survive 24 hours nor would survive surgery. As he uttered the words ‘it’s best to put her to sleep’ I broke, I slowly walked away from the table and cried like I have not cried in many years. I’m a 38 year old 15 stone guy and I was weakened to my knees. I went through all the stages of grief in record time. I asked a thousand questions – what were options? What are the chances of surgery? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Did he have it wrong? All the answers were there and there really was only one option. We spoke for half an hour and then agreed.

I could never see her suffer – that was never an option and I had to do what was best for her - but while making that decision I felt I had let her down. She trusted me and it was my responsibility to make sure she was safe and now I could do nothing. The emotions that you go through are not to be underestimated and I think it’s important you make the right decisions for you as well at this time. I decided to hold Dina as she died – this is very emotional but now as time has passed I’m glad I did as I know she died peacefully, not in pain and with some comfort of a friend being there. Even then, she taught me something – and gave me strength.

Coming home and telling my wife and the children was incredibly tough but we cried together and then swapped stories about her... The kids love talking about her and cry and laugh as they do. They have printed out 60 odd pictures of her and making a collage and them added photo’s to face book - each photo generates a story – even in parting from us Dina manages to create a family bond. I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions since and questions many things. Today I went back to the Vets and walked through everything again – as I had convinced myself I had made some mistake along the way – things were clearer today and I’m glad I went back to talk to him. I know most people reading this have been through exactly the same situation and for that I’m truly sorry – its something very difficult to deal with.

I really hope that when people lose a loved pet that they are allowed to grieve and not be distracted or embarrassed by the ‘it’s just a dog’ mentality that can be experienced – you’re grieving a friend, a loyal loved friend.

The house is strange and the loss is felt within. Our other dog – Ella - is lost – she does not understand only knows Dina is not here. I have lost animals and dogs before - but never felt a loss like this. I’m trying to work out if it’s because she helped raise our kids or maybe because she was always watching out for us – I can’t explain – but I do know she was special, she was our friend, our family and will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Sleep well Dina.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 11:41 PM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I first want to say welcome to the board. How horrible that you have been brought here under these circumstances, though. I am so truly sorry for your loss. Your story about Dina was probably one of the most moving I have ever read. I would like to tell you that time makes it better, but I dont know that it does since I still cry for a dog I had a few years back.

Again, I am so very sorry.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 12:11 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

How very sad. What a heartfelt and poignant post. Dina was a lucky girl to find your family. You loved her well and she was meant to be yours.

The loss is devastating. And so suddenly---it's like being pushed to the brink of a cliff--it literally takes your breath away.

I post on a pet loss group for people who have lost their dogs to cancer---I lost my beloved heart dog Lucy to cancer this past Christmas.

I can tell you honestly that you are NORMAL to have such grief and that you are in a lot of company. The bond we have with our dogs, and that soul-connecting bond we have with a few very special dogs--is nearly indescribable. And as such, it's hard for others who have not experienced it to understand the loss or the depth of grief.

Your grief shows that you had this amazing connection and that you have a depth of love and compassion and ability to connect with your pet that few get to experience. As horrific as the loss is, I think many of us would not trade it in, even though we know that there is inevitable heartbreak.

When you lose a heardog, you lose a wellspring of love, fun, companinship, comfort, well-being, camaraderie, feelings of esteem, family, understanding. The loss is huge on so many levels that it hits like an emotional steamroller.

If people don't understand your loss, that is THEIR loss and they have missed out on a priceless gift. You don't owe anybody an explanation of your grief. Grief is indeed a process and there is no timeline you have to adhere to. You find comfort where and how you can---you may not feel like putting Dina's things away for a long time or might do it right away--there is NO right or wrong--only what you are up to doing.

Dogs love us better in many ways than people can. They give and give and their love fills the house in ways we don't even know at times until they are gone.

They play so many roles in our lives and we in theirs. Our days are marked by "doggie" events and rituals---getting up for morning snuggles, wagging at mealtime, walks, going out, belly rub time, playtime, quiet hug time, greeting us at the door, watching over our homes, their quiet breathing and snores at night. They are a piece of the fabric of our homes, being and consciousness. And the void they leave when they go is huge.

But they also leave us gifts....as you so wonderfully saw. They teach us about simple pleasures, about cherishing the moment, about not missing a chance to show someone we love them. They teach us patience and kindness and forgiveness.

These are gifts they leave with us if we choose to recognize them. Lucy was ill with cancer for three months and recieved chemo and surgery. She never missed a chance to enjoy her day, whether it be a large or small joy. Every moment was crystalline with love and knowing how much we meant to each other.

That love is what warms me still on nights when I'm missing her. Dina's love will sustain you too---as will the lessons she taught. There will come a time where in the midst of tears, you may smile a smile of remembrance. Those moments grow as our grief evolves and allows us to remember that our dogs' lives were NOT defined by their sad illness or death. Their lives were so much more and their legacy comes from that.

I don't know what your sprititual beliefs are. I tend to believe that such pure goodness that is DOG does not disappear upon the death of their bodies. Their spirit, which is not diminished by sickness or pain, I believe must transcend physical death. But that is me. I like to think she is now my guardian from another place and I wish to honor Lucy's life by trying to do good in her name--even just a little every day.

Everyone finds their ways to cope, and it can take time to find those ways. Give yourself and your family permission to grieve YOUR way, not what anybody else tells you you should do. Folks who say "it was just a dog" or "isn't it time to move on" do not and will not get it. Be polite and know that they have missed out on a great gift--the love of a dog.

IN case you doubt the power of the man/dog love and the legions of people who share the depth of your grief, let me share with you an epitaph on a gravestone near where I live in Massachusetts. It is one of four dog graves with beautiful engraved epitaphs among the whole family. In fact--the dogs' graves are more elaborate, the engravings more personal than that of the people.

Of the four epitaphs, this is my favorite. It is about a dog named Pilot who died in 1899--so you see,t his bond goes WAY back:

And don't you worry old Comrade
And don't be afraid to die
For in that fairer country
I will find you by and by
And I will stand by you old fellow
And our love will surely win
For never a heaven shall harbor me
Where they don't let Pilot in.

The fact that there are tons of websites and books honoring and validating the loss of a beloved dog is testament to the fact that what you are going through is normal---horrible, but there is nothing wrong with experiencing this depth of pain.

You are in for a rough road, but there is hope and there is healing and there is a time when slowly, the grief finds a place in your heart and you can slowly find smiles and laughter again.

I wish you peace, and to your family too.

Jennifer and Christmas Angel Lucy


Aik vom Haus Gold "The Rock" Age 11

Zuzu--gsd DOB 4-21-09. Naughty n' nice

Lucy, Black GSD 2/1997-12-25-2008.
" T'was Heaven with you Here."

Dweezil, WGSD. RIP, 13
Moon, WGSD. RIP , 12
Shining found treasures both.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 02:25 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

So sad to hear of your loss. It waas a month ago today that Poohbear went to the rainbow bridge and I'm still trying to deal with it. Dina must have been so special. Really unfortunate to have such a short time. She was so honored to have you as a furparent.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 02:38 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I'm deeply sorry. It is horrible and also normal to feel this bad. I lost my baby a couple of months ago and people were like ''hey whats wrong with ya? it is a dog''. This makes me to attack them. They aren't dogs, They are our lives at some point. You go to the breeder and pick them, and raise them as how a mother raises her baby. Some people can't and won't get this. I just don't care about their ideas. I'm so sorry again. I know how horrible it feels as many folks in here. I'm sure someday you guys will be together. Accept my condolances (i use it for dogs also, sorry folks). Beautiful Girl Dina.


My Kenzo 07/2007-11/2008 RIP My Baby Boy

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 05:31 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I am crying, what a touching story of rememberance for what sounds like an incredible dog.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 06:44 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your love for Dina shines through your tears. You were both blessed to have had each other.
I lost my Palla a few years back and I still cry somtimes when I think of her.
My heart goes out to you.
R.I.P. Dina

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Badger,Miss Crabtree & Shafford, the kitty krew
Waiting at the bridge;Palla,Tucker,Chance, Brandy and Lacy. I'll miss you to the end of eternity, and love you twice as long.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 07:37 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I <u>would</u> call you a wordsmith. That was a very moving tribute to Dina and I could picture her sweet nature from your description. I am sorry your family has lost her too soon. Dogs don't live long enough anyway and to lose a special family member much sooner than expected is even harder.

Sincere condolences on your loss.

Sweet dreams, Dina.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 10:30 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

Im so sorry for your loss . Dina was beautiful and you be sad as long as you want, it bothers me how insensitive people are. I know how you feel, I lost my big boy Sashi last Aug and went into deep depression, i still miss him. I put some of his fur in a bag and it is in my treasure chest stuff, ofcourse you are heartbroken over Dina, she was part of your family and its awful to lose them.
*****hugs for you*******
and R.I.P sweet Dina, you were loved and will never be forgotten.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-24-2009, 10:49 AM
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Re: Dina 2001 - 2009

I'm so sorry for your loss. Dina was a gorgeous dog and I'm sure you gave her a GREAT life. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. May she rest in peace.

Carolina Johnson

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