The awful void - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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The awful void

The house is so empty without Jasmine here. I've had a nonstop steady stream of dog companions for 20 years now. There were three who all were with me at once: Tyler, a shepherd/lab mix (1989 - 2003); Morgan (1996 - 2007); and Jasmine (1998 - 2009). While my ex had a sweetheart Golden Retriever who was in on the early crew, and my husband had a cocker spaniel who joined the gang for a short period (she was old), for me it was these three dogs that were central forces, a central group, in my life.

With the core three now gone with Jasmine's passing on Friday, I feel like an era in my life is over, my German shepherd days. This is the first time I come home and don't have another dog here that understands. I have Scout, my WGSD who is in his own world. There is not that connection that helped me through the grief and loss with the others because he is the Rainman of the dog world.

The poor guy is not eating, but he is not wanting to spend time with me, either. I have taken him on long, long walks the last couple of days. I've given him his sedatives. He is hiding in closets, as usual, being his Rainman self.

Jasmine's departure leaves such a void. I can't stand it. There is this huge empty space. I don't want to get another dog anytime soon, and I'm not sure I would get another GSD (which will be like holding back a drug addict from partaking in drugs). I told myself that I wanted to see what life is like without them after my last one leaves me. I want to try to be able to travel without guilt and that gnawing agonizing worry over whether they are ok or not. I want to try to see what it's like to go on day trips without ... well, you know, all the worry. I just want to try that for a few years before getting my next one. I told myself my next dog would be a mixed breed shelter dog.

But I don't know if I will ever get used to this emptiness and the "freedom" I will have to travel guilt-free, or the "freedom" from GSDs' all-too-short lives and the illnesses and painful conditions that strike this wonderful and incredible breed.

There is nothing like a German Shepherd Dog, or even a dog with shepherd in it. There is nothing like the emptiness you feel when one leaves you.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 11:17 AM
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Re: The awful void

I have tears in my eyes as I read this because I understand all too well the mixed feelings.

Not wanting to go through it...their too short lives, yet not being able to live without them.

For me, the pain of the emptiness was too much. We got our two girls soon after the passing of our second GSD and right before our Black Lab went to the bridge.

At first I worried that it would be too soon...would I be dishonoring the love and memories of my old girls? Would I expect my new girls to take the places of my old girls?

What I decided was that, instead of dishonoring the memories of my old girls, I was paying tribute to them...I loved them so much that I couldn't bear to be without others of their kind. And while it was a little weird at first that Nikki and Lucy had a few of the same habits as my other girls, they're still so different, personality wise.

My sincere condolences on your loss. Give yourself time, and I'm sure that the right answer as to what to do will come, probably when you least expect it.

Sarge *Rescue dog* 11/14/96 - 11/14/08
Samantha - 7/9/95 - 3/10/09
Amy *Rescue dog* - 4/1/96 - 6/2/09

****Rest Well, My Sweeties****


Lucy & Nikki - *Rescue dogs* Born 6/11/08

Adopted us: 3/31/09
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 11:23 AM
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Re: The awful void

My sincere condolences for your loss.

You are not alone in feeling that terrible void. When I had to let my Lizzy go last October, I felt it for 3 months until I couldn't take it any more. During that time, I was so lost!! Even my two cats could not fill the void, altho they did help in the worst of times. I soon found myself looking around at other GSD's saying I was 'just looking'. Now I have two wondeful GSD's that I could not imagine life without.

I hope that time will help with your grieving, and help to heal. I hope to can also find a way to fill the void and celebrate what life has to offer.

Nadia - GSD -DOB 12-29-07
Zisso - GSD- DOB 9-16-07
Pepe & Kiki`my sweet kitties

Zisso is my heart~Nadia is my Love~My kitties bring me everything in between~Together they bring me Joy!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 11:34 AM
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Re: The awful void

I think that once they awake this overwhelming love in you, that love doesn't belong to you or come from you, but comes from God.

My prayer for you is to get another GSD to love and to be loved by as soon as possible..

Tanya

Xargos Vom Haus Tyson (born Sep., 27, 2008)
LoveBug, a brown-with-white Siberian cat, the kindest cat on earth (born Oct.27,2007)
Tiger, a red Siberian cat (born Aug.8,2008) -- Lovebug's best friend
Pumpkin, an outdoor cat
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 12:17 PM
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Re: The awful void

I am so sorry to hear about your loss!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 12:46 PM
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Re: The awful void

Im so sorry about Jasmine. I did not want to get out o bed when I lost Sashi. I felt lost without him.
It is awful. People are right, it just takes time. I cant believe tho it has been almost a yr now since he has been gone
it is so painful. to you

Sashi
ALWAYS REMEMBERED
Sept 1, 1999- Aug 11, 2008

Neek
Our special needs Rescue
adopted 09-March
4 yr old
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 12:55 PM
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Re: The awful void

I am so very sorry for your pain. There is a soul-sick feeling, a longing, a gnawing emptyness that we all know who have loved and lost a special dog. And shepherds are about as special as they come. Take all the healing time you need. You are doing the best for Scout that you can. He needs what you are able to provide for him, at whatever level he is able to connect with. He is lucky to have you caring for his needs. Someday when the memories of Jasmine come with less pain, and instead a warm feeling full of love, you may feel ready to welcome a furry warm therapist to share your life and love and laughter again. Or, it may even be sooner, as you are yet healing, that a cold nose pushes it's insistant way into your heart. However it goes for you, you are in my prayers for peace and comfort during this difficult time for you.

Patti
Frauchen von:

Grimm van den Heuvel, aka "The Doofinator"
My strong-minded, very loving boy
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 01:32 PM
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Re: The awful void

Jazz,

You used words I have used to myself when I lost Lucy last Christmas--"the end of an era." It marks the loss of a beloved soul in our lives and is a sad milestone of our own lives changing in ways we'd prefer it didn't, never to be the same--the unknown lays ahead. It's scary.

Losing a souldog does leave a terrible void, one we TRY to prepare for but can't possibly. Let's face it, our day is broken up in to "dog hours" and earmarked by things we do with and for our dog--the sweet wake-up licks, feeding, playing, grooming, walking, naptime snuggles, belly rubs, the goodnight rituals we all have..........and when they are sick we become extra vigilant.

They in turn are our companion, our intimate keeper of secrets, the one we talk to without judgement, the eyes we turn to look in when we need to feel that blanket of love and trust that their gaze casts over us, they are our babies and our protectors at the same time, our brother, sister, child, our exercise buddy, our quiet comforter in hard times.

When they go---we have to redefine our day, and our role in life. We no longer have those roles that our dogs give us, the void is so very deep and we define ourselves in so many ways as "my dog's mom" or something similar.

And with the Rainman--I applaud you for not shunning him, as it's easy to do in grief, especially with a more emotionally shut down dog. He does need you now, even though tending to him might be yet another reminder of the contrast between he and Jasmine.

When Lucy died from the same thing....I could barely function. She was part of me, I half expected that I would go with her, as we were inseparable.

And it marked the end of the Lucy and Aik era--a wonderful time in my "doggie life" of two great friends, fric and frac. I realized last summer, sitting with them by a lake, watching their exuberant joy in swimming, that I no longer wanted to pursue dating relationships, that I wanted for nothing in my life--I had the perfect little family right there. I wanted it to stay that way forever. Even then, the cancer was probably growing in Lucy and life was about to change.

You do have hard times ahead, but sometimes it helps to reframe our thinking--as hard as it is and it won't come soon. It's such a cliche, but we were gifted to have dogs like this, they are also teachers and we can take what they taught us about life, kindness, forgiveness and joy and keep that in our hearts and use it out in the world.

We can feel bad for people who will say "she was just a dog" and know that their lives are forever void of the incredible love and connection we are able to have with a dog.

You will adapt--and it does take time. And you will find your own ways to honor her, memorialize her, and celebrate her as well as mourn for her. I "talk" out loud to Lucy every day--it comforts me. I ask her for help in difficult situations and **** if I don't feel like she has been an angel on my shoulder.

If you have spiritual beliefs about where our dogs go--embrace them.

As for you---one day at a time. Sleep, eat ice cream, wear pajamas or watch late night tv--whatever it takes. Be kind and gentle to yourself, you have endured a terrible loss.

And take one day at a time--you don't have to make ANY decisions, now, tomorrow or the next day--or month. You can adjust to the idea of Jasmine being gone and regroup.

I chose to foster a dog after Lucy left, I knew I was not ready for another and frankly, my heart was shut down. I fear I may never love a dog like I love her. Even Aik, my sweet rock of love, is a simple soul who adores me, but the connection is very different.

Fostering helped me feel like I was doing something good in Lucy's name, cheating death one way when I could not cheat it the way I wanted. And it gave me a reason to get out of bed. My little foster taught me that a soul can endure years of neglect and joylessness, and still be happy and wagging to get up in the morning. That helped me. When she left, I was sad, but felt like I'd healed a bit.

6 months later, I have a pup. I got her from Lucy's breeder. She does not make me miss Lucy any less, but she is a loving, fun little girl and silly goofiness is back in my life.

I too, wondered if I should be dogless--for the same reasons you did. It is a very personal decision.

When I looked at my life and thought about what had brought me the greatest joy--it was my german shepherds.

But....you have to make NO decisions. You can do both--when the time comes, you CAN travel, do those things. If your heart comes to a time when it is open to the love of a dog--of whatever breed, you will know.

You will know.

Do nothing in haste--the one thing you have now is the ability to take time out from big decisions.

I am rambling now, but I do understand this pain all too well.

One last thing--I have gotten comfort from some online dog loss support groups--it is helpful for some folks.

I raise a glass to Jasmine today, and your love story with her.

Be well,

Jennifer

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 #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 04:34 PM
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Re: The awful void

I am so sorry to hear about your beloved Jasmine. I lost my heart dog to a courageous battle with cancer in March and I still cry daily. Every time I think about getting another dog, I cry because I miss her so much and I know no other dog could ever begin to fill her paws. I wanted to go when she died and I still have that same feeling. My life has forever changed, but we must go on as you well know. Everyone says that time heals all wounds but I don't believe it. I hurt as bad as the day my dog died, but the "edge" is gone. In other words I have fallen into acceptance but the deep pain is still there. I live alone and all I have are my dogs, so when one left it truly broke my heart. As difficult as it is for me to think about getting another dog, I know I have to. I have to because I know deep down that it will help me heal. It won't replace my dog, but my energy will be focused on that instead of the pain and emptiness. Peace be with you during this terrible time.
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