Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Knowing When It's Time to Get A New Puppy After the Loss of A Pet

In 2003, we brought home a white little ball of fur that we named Daisy. She was an American Eskimo and fit into our family of three perfectly. I can remember her running through our yard and she was so tiny that the blades of grass nearly made it impossible to see her. 

Daisy


In December of 2017 I took her to the vet because she had been coughing and it wasn't clearing up. I thought she just had an upper respiratory infection and was just expecting to come home with antibiotics to clear it up. I packed her into the car, went to my son's school and picked him up and then drove to the vets for our appointment. We took her out of the car and walked her the eight feet to the door when she collapsed at my feet. The receptionist yelled, "We have a dog down out here!" I went to my knees and tried to get her to respond but she wasn't responding. The vet ran outside, picked her up from the sidewalk and rushed her to the back. My kids and I were standing in the lobby in shock! I called my husband at work and told him to come to the vets right away because it didn't seem good. After about ten minutes the vet came out and said that Daisy was starting to come around but she suspected that her heart was giving out. She ordered x-rays and blood work to see what was going on. It wasn't good. Daisy was in heart failure at the age of 13. I wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet. I told the vet to do whatever it took to make her better. So she began an IV drug to remove the fluid from Daisy's heart. 

We were at the vets office for about an hour and a half. She finally recovered enough to go home but we had to give her medicine to remove the fluid around her heart and also a blood pressure medicine. The doctor said that Daisy would need to be on the medication for the rest of her life. That was fine with me as long as we had our Daisy. We went home and began Daisy's long road to recovery. The next day I called the vet because Daisy had the runs and I wanted to know if that was a normal effect of the medication. The vet called me back to discuss Daisy's blood work. She told me it wasn't good. Daisy not only was in heart failure but she also was in kidney failure. The medication to help her heart would potentially harm her kidney's. It was a double edge sword. It wasn't until day four that I realized that things were not good. She wasn't eating, she was shivering and just looked like she was ready to give up.  We talked it over as a family and decided the best thing to do was to let Daisy go in peace. It was the hardest decision I've had to make in my entire life. 

How do you say goodbye to a friend, a companion and something you consider as a part of the family? We all cried, pet her and told her we loved her and thank you for being such a good girl. I leaned down and told her I was sorry. Sorry because I couldn't save her and sorry because I felt guilty for deciding to end her life. I couldn't watch her suffer and I know it was the right decision but the guilt was horrible. How do you look at your children and tell them their friend has to leave us? Yes, my kids are 16 and 12 but it was their first long-term pet to pass away. I'll never forget her and miss her to this day. We buried her on our 10 acre property so we can see her and talk to her in the Summer time. She will always be in our hearts. Plus the vet gave us a memorial paw print of hers along with locks of her fur. It was a sweet gesture. 


At the end of March, my husband came to me and told me he was ready for a new puppy. How do you know when you are ready? I know I wasn't ready yet. I'm still grieving for my little fur baby. You can't just replace a companion you had for 13 years. Grief has different stages and everyone moves through those stages differently. While my husband worked through it, I was and still am moving through the stages. I was open to looking at puppies and even consider purchasing a puppy but it had to be the right puppy. I had to get over thinking that I was replacing Daisy because no dog could ever replace her. I had to think of getting the new puppy as adding to our family and Daisy being her angel sister. I don't have to forget Daisy and it is okay to make new memories with our new puppy. It's okay to enjoy the puppy and have fun. That is what Daisy would want for us. 

I began my search and found a German Shepherd puppy that was about an hour out from my home. I drove out with the kids to see and was told she was the last one left. I knew she was supposed to be with us when I looked at her face and held her. She began licking me and wagging her tail. We decided to purchase her and bring her home that day. We've had Lilly for 2 weeks now and I couldn't imagine our lives without her in it. In a way, she is helping me through my grief. She is helping me enjoy having the playfulness and spunk in our house again. Our 12 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd isn't too fond of her yet but she is slowly coming around. After all, dogs grieve too. 

Lilly 

My point is, you will know when it is time to add to your family. Talk it over with the entire family to  see where each member is in their grief and then respect that stage. Don't get a new puppy right away though. It's not fair to the new puppy and it's not fair to yourself or to your family. You have to give yourself and your family time to grieve.  

Have you ever lost a pet? How did you handle the grief and when did you know it was time to add to your family? How do you remember your lost pet? 


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