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Need some advice
I am hoping you all will have something helpful to say.
As I posted, we lost Fen yesterday. My daughter and I are just beyond devastated and completely non-functioning in our grief. We have never had a dog before, and so have never lost a furbaby that was so much a member of our family. People have been saying the expected "It happens" and "you need to let it go" and the insensitive "It's just a dog" or (when my in-laws just arrived) "we weren't going to mention it" and the horrible "the only good dog is a dead dog" (the speaker almost ended up dead himself until he realized what he had said and apologized). I know that to many people pets are just that: pets. But Fen was a member of our family! He was my grandpuppy and Jade's baby! We couldn't have loved him more if he were human, so to us, we have lost a beloved family member!! I am assuming that others on here are just as attached and bonded to their animals, and some have lost furbabies before. Does anyone have any advice? What helps? How to avoid punching people who say stupid things? We are both just lost and non-functioning and don't know what to do. We are both in physical pain from crying so much. Is that normal? Are we ever going to stop being so sad?
Wow, I can't even...
I'm so sorry that you have to go through this with people, family members, even...
I'll be honest. If someone, family or not, were to come into my house and say horrible things like the dead dog comment, I'd ask them to leave. Plain and simple. That is completely disrespectful and absolutely heartless to say to someone who is obviously grieving and heartbroken.
Not everybody is going to value pets the same way as we do, however, it's not okay to completely disregard people's feelings with cruel comments such as that. Having gone through the loss of several dogs from either old age or car accidents, I can tell you that it will get easier as time goes on. You will never forget him, however, time will help mend the broken heart and help you move forward. I still get sad thinking of my past dogs, because as you said, they were my family members and they were my best friends. I will never forget them and cherish all the memories I have with them.
If people were to make comments like that to you again, I would give them a good talk and ask them to stop because those comments will never make anyone feel better.
Deepest condolences to you and your daughter. You have all our support and love.
Thanks Nikkitime. Most people have been "nice" but they just don't get why we are SO upset. Even my husband was kind of casual about it, and he loved Fen too.
Additional question: what do we do with all Fen's stuff??? Any suggestions? We could never give it to another dog, and couldn't throw it away, but can't keep it either.
Dogs are family to us, the fact that we are forum members makes that quite obvious. There are many types of people in the world - dog people, animal people, and the rest. Unfortunately, the rest have and always will be in more abundance than us and they are insensitive, uncaring, and completely clueless as to how to deal with us when we lose our precious family members. The fact is that they can't comprehend the intense love and adoration that we, as humans, have for another living being that isn't human and they never will. It's rude, insensitive, and just plain ignorant to make statements like "it's just a ...." because they "think" it will help ease your pain. They just don't get it and probably never will.
I've been an animal lover my entire life and all my pets that I've had the honor of sharing part of my life with - cats, dogs, birds, ducks, parrots, geckos, snakes, mantids, etc - mean the world to me. I've loved and lost many, and it never gets any easier. The hardest for me was my Senegal Parrot, Bacardi. He was 13 years old and I had him since he was only 4 months old. It absolutely destroyed me when he died - I didn't go to work for 3 days, got him cremated and his urn is right next to me on my side table as I type this. Even dog people didn't understand and said "But it's just a BIRD" - not any friends, but customers would say that. My friends and family knew better, and actually understood what this bird meant to me. If anyone had made a comment like that, they would no longer be my friend if I could help it. What I found that helped was to write a letter to the loved one you lost... when you lose them so suddenly and unexpectedly then it helps with the pain and closure. I never got over Bacardi's death... until 5 years later when my boyfriend bought me my Shiba. Kira filled that void in my heart - but I still get teary when I think of him or even read the letter that I wrote him.
I would suggest making a shadowbox with some of his items in it - it would be a great way to commemorate how much you loved him and would be great with the healing process. I STILL have the bird cage and can't bear to get rid of it, I actually considered donating it to a parrot rescue so it would be helping other parrots. You could donate some of his things to a Shiba rescue when you are ready to part with it.
Uncaring and insensitive people should not be a part of your life, especially when you need it most. Again, I'm so so sorry for what happened to Fen. You loved him so much, he was so lucky to have you and I hope that you will be able to heal and channel all that devotion to another one day. Write him a letter, it will be emotional and may take you a while to do it between crying but it will help immensely. I'm sending you positive thoughts, take it day by day and just remember that he will always be in your heart.
Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
The force of your onion cutting is strong. Beautiful post.
Some people call me obsessed and dog crazy. 90% of my free time is devoted to my dogs and people know that. My Facebook is covered with them, my weekends are devoted to training and taking them to places. Half my paycheck goes to spoiling them vs myself. It's kind of a running joke between my friends about how obsessed I can get. But even as a joke, it still gets to me on bad days. I recently got into a fight with my mother about the way I treat my dogs. We're driving down to LA to see her from SF for July 4th and I asked if I could bring the dogs along. She was fine with our smaller dogs but didn't want the large one because of her size, even though I told her that we could board her during the day. One thing led to another and we just duked it out. She asked me why I treated the dogs like humans and why I had to bring them everywhere. She called me selfish and greedy for making HER feel like a bad person for saying no. Told me I was stupid for having that many dogs, all the words to make me feeI like the fool. I shrugged it off and told her I would just talk to her later and left it at that.
It's no use arguing with people that don't share the same passion as you, so the best way I handle it is to just ignore it. I won't waste my breath trying to defend what I love to others that can't comprehend it. I'm sure I'll be the exact same way when I actually have kids, but for now, my dogs get the best of what I have.
As for remembering Fen and his things, I have something similar to a shadowbox where I have my previous dog's collar and a bit of his fur. I have a small chest box with all his old items and an album with all of his pictures. I was younger when he passed so I couldn't make the call to cremate or bury him, but it's something I have planned for my dogs in the future so that they have a place to rest.
The feelings you are having are very normal!!
Moxy, Tang and PJ are my first dogs, but I have had cats that I was very attached to who have passed away.
My three cats passed away over the last 10 years. One died young, the others died older due to medical conditions. I honestly still hold onto a lot of pain for those I lost. My last, Todd, passed away summer of 2011 and I still cry when I think about him. I have a photo of him as a kitten sitting on my desk and all three of their ashes on a shelf in my office (we rented at the time, so we couldn't bury them) I have a ton of pain, but it does get better. What helped was after a few months, we adopted new family member. I think it helps to honor the lost by giving that love to another sweet animal that needs it and would otherwise be without a home. Now is not the time to get a new friend, but when the time comes, that might be a great way to honor Fen.. bring someone home to love and love you back.
As for the rude comments... I had to do my best to ignore them. Todd was very, very ill and at the ER vet here in WA state. I was in NY with my husband at my sister in laws wedding. I spent a ton of time on the phone with the vet and at one point my sister in law said to me "How old is he?" (he was 16 at the time. He lived to 18 and my other cat lived to 20) and so I told her and she said.. "Well, he is just a cat and cats don't live very long anyway." I know it was her day, but I was a mess and across the country, that was the wrong thing to say to me. I was mad, but what could I say or do? I remember the comments, but I have to let them go as well. To some, pets are the world and to others, they are just something that can be dumped at a shelter because they are annoying now.
Cry... that is good and you will start to feel better by letting it out. Be with those that understand your grief. Avoid those that don't. You might have a pet loss group near you. You should see if you do. Talking it out with others might help. Keep a picture up.. you'll be happy you did! and always remember the good times! I have three little hand made urns with a painted picture of my kitties on them. I put their collars and tags on the outside and I have a little plaster heart with a imprint of their paws. Keepsakes will help and gives you something to hold/touch and remember.
Again, I am so, so sorry for the loss of Fen. I really do know what you're going through and I hope with time you will be able to heal. <3
I'm really, really sorry. I'm new to the forum but I did read a couple of your posts about Fen and how much you cared for him; what happened to him hits really close, that's how I lost both of my cats not too long ago.
Like others have said, cry, allow yourself to mourn. As cliche as it sounds, it gets bearable with time, but that doesn't mean you care any less.
I have buried them in a quiet corner of the yard and when I felt ready and less of a wreck I started keeping their pictures on my phone and on my desktop and have a couple printed out. It still makes me emotional but keeping them close like that makes me feel a little better now: I remember the good times and I don't forget about them even if now there's a new friend with me. She did help too.
So sorry to hear about Fen.
I lost my first shiba, Copper, to Anaplasmosis about 4 years ago. He was my baby. My husband and I do not have children, our kids have four legs and fur. He was a one of kind! My best friend, always there for me kind of buddy (in his own shiba way). The kind of dog that left the exact emptiness that you are feeling when he was gone. I will tell you that I did not eat or sleep for about a week after he passed. I could do nothing but cry, and that is all, cry! I didn't know what to do with his stuff either. I was lost. It took everything I had to get out of bed in the morning. I understand what you are going through, and it is very hard.
I can tell you it does get easier as time passes, but it does take time.
I still, after fours years, can be thinking about him and cry. I had a co-worker tell me to go through all of his pictures (at the time I could not bear the thought of doing that), but I did, and it helped! Yes I cried until I could not see the pictures anymore, but I remembered all of the great times that we had together and it helps. The same co-worker made me a DVD of all of his pics, and I still watch it every now and then. I also have a small scrapbook box with his collar, tags, and one of his favorites toys.
At the time I had said that I could never ever have another dog and have to go through that pain again. I was afraid if I got another shiba that I would only think of him. I went over a year and a half without out a dog in my life because of that pain. What I realized though when we finally got our little Mira, is that she did not replace him and she created a whole new spot in my heart. Unfortunately we lost her to kidney failure when she was only 10 months old. I went though the same grief again. Now we have Loki.....and I know that some day I might have to say goodbye to him also, but the smiles and laughter that they bring us every day are worth it. There are still times that I miss Copper and Mira so much that it brings tears to my eyes.
People can be cruel and insensitive. It breaks my heart that someone could even say those things, when they have no idea how much it hurts. People just don't understand how much a persons daily routine revolves around our pets, and when that pet is gone you feel lost and broken. But on the other hand, there are a ton of people in this world and on this forum who are wonderful, kind, and understanding. And those are the people that you want to surround yourself with.
Again I am so sorry for your loss. Stay strong, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Forever in our hearts.
Forever in our hearts.
Thanks everyone. =)
I really appreciate all your words and advice. We picked a wonderful spot for Fen right on the hillside overlooking his meadow. =) He loved going out into the meadow; it was his very favorite place. There is a little stream that runs through it and he would go right down to the water's edge and just jump back and forth over the stream. He also liked to dig in the bank, and he would just dig furiously until he was covered in dirt and sand. =) The creek and the meadow flood every winter when the lake rises, but the hillside doesn't so we figured it was just the perfect place.
I am doing better. Still very sad, of course, but functional. My daughter is just a wreck, but it's understandable because he had lived with us for so long and she had just gotten him back.
MiraFoxi - I remember reading your posts about your Mira and I was so sad. She was such a beautiful girl!
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am starting to be functional today. Jade not so much. Thank you for sharing the poem! I had seen that once before a long time ago and was looking for it for Jade, so it's amazing that you posted it.
I never was a dog person; I am a cat person. Cats flock to me and we just have this special rapport, so I didn't think there was any chance that a dumb, slobbery, canine could work its way into my heart, but Fen did. SO much - I could not have loved him any more had he been my human grandbaby. I didn't think that I would ever want a dog of my own, but I know that I will get another eventually and honestly I can't imagine anything but a Shiba. I have met a few in person, and have experienced so many of their quirks through all of you on here, and of course Fen was just amazing!!! I know that, in time, I will make room in my heart for another Shiba.
Yesterday I was confronted by several other insensitive jerks while trying to do a couple hours of work. You would have all been very proud of me . . . I didn't remove any of their body parts! I might have gone for their heart, but after comments like "Well hey, at least you didn't just have to spend $700 to take one to the vet" and "Just get another dog and give it the same name - they are all clones" it's obvious that they don't have a heart, so why bother. (My response to the first comment was that I would happily spend 10 times that amount just for one more day with Fen. The speaker looked appropriately embarrassed and didn't say another word).
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Before our little Shiba, Bella - who is the absolute love of our lives (even though she is only just a year old)! My husband and I had the most beautiful cat - Cleocatra - she died of cancer 4 years ago - we have no kids and she was the center of our universe. I cried for 3 months straight - was a complete mess! I will never forget the day I threw away her litter box - I thought my heart would break in two... What I know now, is that her loss taught me about grief. And how to manage am important loss. My mom passed away 2 months ago, from cancer just like my beautiful Cleo, and I believe that little animal showed me the way. I now have Beautiful Bella, who is helping me thru this loss - she is the kindest, sweetest little girl and puts me in a loving spirit (just like my mom) whenever she is near. Animals open our hearts and teach/ remind us every day of joy and living in the moment. I am so thankful for my little Shiba:) and I wish you all the best.
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