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I started writing down my thoughts and somehow it morphedinto essay form. Even if this has zerovalue to anyone else, it has helped me to write it down.
Yesterday, we euthanized Blue. Blue was a shelter dog. The feeling that “no one understand” and Ishouldn’t even talk about it, is strong. If you think it’s hard to find someone who “gets it” when you lose oneof your own pets, just try explain about a shelter pet. Anyway, Blue was at the shelter for threeyears. She came in a very sick, youngdog, and never got a lot better, although the shelter staff valiantly attemptedto figure out what was wrong with her. The details of Blue’s illness don’t matter now. It suffices to say that, unhappily, herillness kept her from being adoptable of even able to be in a foster home. Although I did have Blue at my house the lastweek and a half of her life, a fact I will be forever grateful for. Now we are feeling the great void. I am noticing that my grief always has fourdistinct segments.



Tier 1: At the time. The appointment has been made. I know it is right and all steps have beentaken that should be. Still, I have afeeling of panic. “Let’s try one morething… or one more thing again.” But Iknow all reasonable hope is gone and it must be done. So, I spend some time with my pet. We sit still and I talk and she listens. There is no meal to be fed, as she stoppedeating hours or even days ago. I don’tdo the meds because they won’t matter now. Which makes me want to cry. But,if you’re like me, you will shed no tears in her presence. She won’t leave this world knowing how sad Iam, or thinking I won’t be able to function when she’s gone. I tell her it’s time to go, a bit earlyactually, because I can’t take the waiting any longer. Later, I’ll wish I’d waited till the lastpossible minute. I put her in the carfor the last time. I sing “our song” toher as I drive, even though my voice is cracking. Then the deed is done. I’m surprised at how quickly and easily itwent. And even though I’m glad for it,it’s disturbing that your whole life can end in such a peaceful manner. Then it’s time to go home…without her.



Tier 2: The tearsthat I held back before, fall now on the long ride home. I enter an empty home. How can it even be a real home without her thereto greet me?? I have other pets, andthey will be my lifeline, but right now, it doesn’t seem to matter. I wonder whether to put away her “stuff” i.e.toys, bowl, collar. Will it hurt more toleave it all out, a constant reminder? Or the finality of putting them away? Because then you know for sure that your friend isn’t coming back. I am so restless. I don’t know what to do. I go outside, I wander back in, over andover. I call friends and then don’t wantto speak to them. My world is upsidedown.



Tier 3: Then startstier 3, the next day. It’s the hardest,as it begins to sink in. Generally, I goto work because I have to (although blessed are the appointments that occur onFriday). And I’ve wandered around thehouse as much as I can, and it’s not doing any good anyway. Halfway, I break into tears, but try to puton a stoic face before entering the building. It’s now time to meet and greet the sympathizers and also the realfriends. There aren’t any “just a dog”comments; people are more sensitive now days. But it’s an eternal truth that not all are animal people and many don’tknow what to say. I hear reallyheartfelt wishes for me, as well as the generic “Sorry for your loss” and a few“I totally understand because I once had a goldfish…” stories. But I know they mean well and I feelmarginally better, until…time to go home. And the first few times you walk into your empty house and she isn’tthere are the saddest moments of your life so far. Even if you’ve been through it before. The guilt will set in too. Invariably, you will find something to feelguilty about. Something done or leftundone, even unknowingly. There will besomething, even if you must rack your brain to find it.



Tier 4: For me, itusually starts about a week later, but it is different for everyone. Other topics and concerns come up in myworld, and I suddenly realize I haven’t thought about her for a few minutes, oreven an hour, which at first seems like disloyalty. Heidi died a year and a half ago and I havenever yet gone an entire day without a thought of her and I doubt I ever will. But it isn’t constant anymore. And I can smile and tell funny stories abouther. At some point, you will assess yourloss and what your pet meant to you, what she taught you. Healing will come when you are ready, and youmust be open to it

I started writing down my thoughts and somehow it morphedinto essay form. Even if this has zerovalue to anyone else, it has helped me to write it down.
Yesterday, we euthanized Blue. Blue was a shelter dog. The feeling that “no one understand” and Ishouldn’t even talk about it, is strong. If you think it’s hard to find someone who “gets it” when you lose oneof your own pets, just try explain about a shelter pet. Anyway, Blue was at the shelter for threeyears. She came in a very sick, youngdog, and never got a lot better, although the shelter staff valiantly attemptedto figure out what was wrong with her. The details of Blue’s illness don’t matter now. It suffices to say that, unhappily, herillness kept her from being adoptable of even able to be in a foster home. Although I did have Blue at my house the lastweek and a half of her life, a fact I will be forever grateful for. Now we are feeling the great void. I am noticing that my grief always has fourdistinct segments.
Tier 1: At the time. The appointment has been made. I know it is right and all steps have beentaken that should be. Still, I have afeeling of panic. “Let’s try one morething… or one more thing again.” But Iknow all reasonable hope is gone and it must be done. So, I spend some time with my pet. We sit still and I talk and she listens. There is no meal to be fed, as she stoppedeating hours or even days ago. I don’tdo the meds because they won’t matter now. Which makes me want to cry. But,if you’re like me, you will shed no tears in her presence. She won’t leave this world knowing how sad Iam, or thinking I won’t be able to function when she’s gone. I tell her it’s time to go, a bit earlyactually, because I can’t take the waiting any longer. Later, I’ll wish I’d waited till the lastpossible minute. I put her in the carfor the last time. I sing “our song” toher as I drive, even though my voice is cracking. Then the deed is done. I’m surprised at how quickly and easily itwent. And even though I’m glad for it,it’s disturbing that your whole life can end in such a peaceful manner. Then it’s time to go home…without her.
Tier 2: The tearsthat I held back before, fall now on the long ride home. I enter an empty home. How can it even be a real home without her thereto greet me?? I have other pets, andthey will be my lifeline, but right now, it doesn’t seem to matter. I wonder whether to put away her “stuff” i.e.toys, bowl, collar. Will it hurt more toleave it all out, a constant reminder? Or the finality of putting them away? Because then you know for sure that your friend isn’t coming back. I am so restless. I don’t know what to do. I go outside, I wander back in, over andover. I call friends and then don’t wantto speak to them. My world is upsidedown.
Tier 3: Then startstier 3, the next day. It’s the hardest,as it begins to sink in. Generally, I goto work because I have to (although blessed are the appointments that occur onFriday). And I’ve wandered around thehouse as much as I can, and it’s not doing any good anyway. Halfway, I break into tears, but try to puton a stoic face before entering the building. It’s now time to meet and greet the sympathizers and also the realfriends. There aren’t any “just a dog”comments; people are more sensitive now days. But it’s an eternal truth that not all are animal people and many don’tknow what to say. I hear reallyheartfelt wishes for me, as well as the generic “Sorry for your loss” and a few“I totally understand because I once had a goldfish…” stories. But I know they mean well and I feelmarginally better, until…time to go home. And the first few times you walk into your empty house and she isn’tthere are the saddest moments of your life so far. Even if you’ve been through it before. The guilt will set in too. Invariably, you will find something to feelguilty about. Something done or leftundone, even unknowingly. There will besomething, even if you must rack your brain to find it.
Tier 4: For me, itusually starts about a week later, but it is different for everyone. Other topics and concerns come up in myworld, and I suddenly realize I haven’t thought about her for a few minutes, oreven an hour, which at first seems like disloyalty. Heidi died a year and a half ago and I havenever yet gone an entire day without a thought of her and I doubt I ever will. But it isn’t constant anymore. And I can smile and tell funny stories abouther. At some point, you will assess yourloss and what your pet meant to you, what she taught you. Healing will come when you are ready, and youmust be open to it
 

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I'm so sorry for the loss of your Blue. It absolutely doesn't matter if Blue was a shelter dog or a show dog. What matters is that you loved her and she loved you!

I can relate to your four tiers of grief as we lost our GSD Barkley in April at only 7 years old from Degerative Myelopathy.

It is wonderful that you gave Blue a home and love until the end of her life!
 

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You did a great thing most people wouldn't do for a dog. Several of mine over the years have been from the land of broken toys, all have been great dogs to me, would never have done it differently. God bless you.
 

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So sorry for your loss--thank you for sharing your grief.

Do you have any pictures, stories of Blue? Maybe you're not ready to share that, and that is fine too.

'only a shelter dog' has no meaning to me.
All of my dogs have been rescues, one an 8 yr old inheritance (okay, she doesn't count--I WANTED her to be mine),
another from the Humane Society (doesn't count, he was GORGEOUS and young and friendly),
another from Animal Control (doesn't count, she was pure-bred six-months probably working lines started puppy),
and Sonic, current, a street dog, that is lively and smart and young and healthy and gorgeous...

and I give you all these details, because, as you see, I am not the one who would have rescued Blue, I am the one who would have left him behind. You did something wonderful, you gave Blue, a dog that many, myself included, would have overlooked, and gave him a home and love and care. Those days, those comforts, count so much for your dearly beloved Blue. He needed you and you where there for him. That fact will never fade and never change.
 

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Beautifully written.
It can be very cathartic to put one's emotions down on paper. And you're wrong, it helped me to read what you wrote...and I imagine it will others, too.

I went through all the same emotional tiers as you when I lost Malachi in Jan. Whether it's a loss you have some iota of time to prepare for or if it's sudden, the emotions are the same. It hurts just the same.

Thank you for sharing ♡
 
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