I lost my dog to cancer and it f*ckin sucks

So I am married, 42 years old, and my 2 “kids” are my Siberan Huskies, Emma and Tulip. Tulip was a rescue, and the rescue named her that. I wouldnt have chosen that name for her, but everyone seems to really find it “different”. So we stayed with it. That, and the fact that she was already answering to it.

I lost Emma to cardiac lymphoma, which you can read about here, if you care to:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=800354

I did not grow up with dogs. Emma was my first loss. She was only 5.5 years old, and I didn’t think I would be saying goodbye to her for at least another 8 years or so. 2025 would have been perfect. But not June 15th, 2016. She was still a baby in my eyes.

As my wife has been juggling work and school (first certified surgical technologist, second nursing school), the dogs, or the girls, were my escape. Not bars. Not strip joints. Not poker nights with the guys. It was me and my two girls. Walks, dogparks, nature reserves, etc.

And now that cancer has taken one away from me, I feel like I have lost my child to cancer. I don’t mean disrespect to parents with human kids, or parents that have lost human kids to cancer. I do realize that in your eyes, there IS a difference.

But man, she WAS my kid.

And this fr*cken sucks.

Her lifespan was 12-14 years. As a logical adult, I most likely wouldnt be having a pity party if she was near that age. But she wasn’t.

So tell me, pet lovers…How do you do it? How do you deal with this grief? How do you deal with losing your best friend???

Someone told me that getting a new one right away helps you get thru it. But if I rescued someone right now, I would just see it as Emma’s replacement and forever link that new dog to Emma’s death.

I should mention that even though I am in my 40’s, I really have not experienced any personal losses. My parents and siblings are still alive. I had a half brother die of melanoma. I liked him. I wasn’t close to him. I cried one day for him, the day he passed away at home on his couch. My grandparents are gone, but I was just a young high-schooler that didn’t appreciate that kind of loss at the time.

Have I just been living the pampered life until now? Have any of you felt this kind of unbearable grief from the loss of a pet? If you haven’t, have you ever been privy to someone who has? And did you feel for them? Or think they were crazy nuts?

Cuz when Emma died, a piece of me died with her. No matter how many times I tell myself she was “just a dog”, I find myself crying that she “was not just a dog”.

She was one of my best friends.

As in the other thread, I am sorry you lost your pal. I know 100% what you mean - my big harlequin Dane was part of me, and there’s still a hole that even a great new puppy may never fill.

Either you get it, or you don’t. I do.

Omar, I could have written that OP with only a couple slight differences. I am sorry for your loss; mine has been two Border Collies. It’s been a year for the one and four years for the other. You just keep on keepin’ on.

There are lots of dogs out there to rescue and doing so is by no means a dishonor to your girl(s). Consider it. You will know when the time is right.

Older dogs are just as lovable as puppies and puppies have no trouble finding homes.

Rescue dogs try harder. :wink:

Deep breaths help.

Omar, I lost my first dog after having her only 65 days. I let her off of the leash to chase a squirrel and she got hit by a car. I had hysterics right there and felt horrible guilt.

Two weeks later I got another dog, from the local animal shelter. Sure, I was trying to replace the first one, and logically I knew that can’t be done.

But I told myself that the way to honor the memory of the first dog was to help another. I don’t know if I really believed it, but I missed terribly that welcoming feeling a dog gives when you get home. Maybe I was selfish.

Now I can’t imagine life without my Nathan. I’ve had him for nearly six years and he’s still my baby.

For me getting another dog worked. I don’t know how it would be for you, all I can say is let your heart lead you. Trite words, I know.

I’m so sorry for your loss. However we lost the ones we love it still hurts.

I’m sorry. I think the relationship between a dog and a person is far more intense than most people-people relationships. Let yourself grieve and ignore anyone who tells you “it was just a dog.” or punch them in the nose.

In time another dog can help heal that hole in your heart. My baby is 10 years and only 13 months ago I had a cancerous tumor removed from his chest. I think I caught it early but it’s like a ticking time bomb. I know it can come back at anytime.

I am sorry for your loss and yes it hurts very badly. Give yourself time to grieve then get another dog that needs a home.

I’m sorry about Emma. It isn’t fair when you lose a dog before its time. My family always had a dog or two, when I was young, but that doesn’t make losing them easier. Each dog was an important individual. In time, the pain won’t be as raw. Allow yourself to feel what you feel and get a different dog on your own timetable, if that’s what feels right.

Omar, I feel sad for your loss.

I truly understand how attached you can get to a dog, especially a Siberian Husky!
I would suggest considering rescuing another Siberian. They are dogs that need special owners, owners that understand they are Siberian Huskies.

I have had at different times both a malamute mix and a Siberian Husky. They are great companion dogs! when I got my first malamute mix, I did everything I could to find out about northern breed dogs, which led me to become interested in the Iditarod.

My two boys were about seven and nine when I first became interested in the Iditarod. I shared my interest with them and they also became interested. The group I am with also has in school activities that my kids shared with their teachers.

Feel free to contact me via private message if you would like more information.

Again I am very sorry for your loss, good thoughts sent in your direction.

I lost my girl dog to cancer about five months ago and am still struggling with it. I think of her every day, and don’t know when I’ll be ready to “replace” her.

I have kids also, and it doesn’t faze me in the least if you think of a dog as your child. We always called Lil our kid too.

I’m sorry you have to suffer this. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me as well. Life is never going to be the same, but it will go on and you can make it. ((Omar))

RIght now, we have two puppies: the Dane puppy, and his playmate The Big Puppy (our 16yo boy).

People who don’t regard dogs as part of the family shouldn’t have them. (Very slight exception made for genuine working dogs, which tend to be regarded as family by those who use them anyway.)

It’s a secret. You can’t talk about this out loud, because non-dog owners will think you should be locked up. But the truth is -

Dogs are angels. They were given to us to help humanity. In fact, it was domesticating dogs that made our species into something more than just another bunch of Homos.

One of the things dogs are here to help us with is learning how to face the death of our loved ones. Everything in life dies. Dogs die first to show us how it’s done and also to teach us how to go on when our beloved leaves us behind.

It hurts but remember - your dog hasn’t stopped loving you and you haven’t stopped loving her. Love is greater than death. Death can’t stop it.

Endless love that transcends death - that’s your dog’s gift to you.

Yep. When I lost my Golden (the sudden one), I told people at work about it, people I liked and thought I’d bonded with, and got that wary, “Oh…okay…uh, sorry” response from most of them.

After lunch, there was a card and a rose in a vase on my desk… from the loudmouthed, dykey, scary systems programmer I’d hardly ever exchanged a word with. We went to lunch a few times after that, mostly talking about dogs.

Quoted in full for truth.

Dogs are the only creature that love you more than they love themselves.

Oh Omar, that sucks man. Dog cancer is the worst. You just feel so hopeless.

I lost my baby Dolly in 2014 and she was in fact my baby girl. We lived by ourselves in our own home, she was the family’s first grandpuppy, she was my life. I was devastated as she was dying and devastated after. It took me about two weeks to stop randomly crying all the time. I thought I would never get over her death.

I gave myself a month to grieve and clean the house top to bottom, to get ready for a new dog. Some of Dolly’s stuff I kept but mostly I gave it to the local shelter.

A month later I did find my new dog, my Morgan. And two months after that she got a brother, Grady. Both rescues (Dolly was from a breeder), both smaller (50 lbs each, Dolly was 80-90 lbs), and the first time in my life that I’ve had two dogs.

I love my two new kids and they absolutely without a doubt have helped me get over Dolly’s death. Not get over Dolly herself, but over her death. I can think fondly of Dolly now without crying. I can compare the new dogs to her with no issue. I can apply all of the things I learned while raising Dolly to these new two squirts.

If you have that much love in your heart for a dog, the only thing that can fill that hole is another dog. Give yourself time to grieve…you will know when you are ready.

So so sorry for your loss. You’re right, it was way too soon. My heart goes out to you. Peace.

How do you deal with the grief? Like losing any family member. Time.

I had a dog who died suddenly and unexpectedly, and it was a shock for the whole family. The next day I was at the grocery store and I ran into a coworker who I was not particularly close to. She said the polite “How are you?” and I said, “My dog died,” and burst into tears. In the grocery store. Suddenly, unexpectedly, and untypically. So she hugged me. But kind of awkwardly.

Keep in mind that your pets will always be in your heart, and get another one if and when you feel ready.

Merneith said it really well.

Not a dog, but a horse. I had Bob for 26 years and put him down 2.5 years ago. I STILL grieve. I STILL cry. I STILL miss him. But now I smile through the tears. I did not buy another horse, but did start riding a few months ago and am thinking about shareboarding. At first I thought getting back into horses would be disloyal to his memory, but he and I had a long talk and he’s cool with it. He said he will send me another horse when the time is right.

Omar, you will always have an Emma size hole in your heart. There is no timeline for grief. It passes when it passes. There will always be those who do not understand the importance of an animal, but there will always be those like us who know all about it.

It took about 2 years after losing a great dog before I stopped crying at random moments about it. Now, about 10 years later, I STILL miss her.

My dog passed away a little over four years now. She was 14–old for a dog, but it hurt like hell, and it did for a long time. I felt guilty that I was away on vacation when she passed and she was being watched by my parents.

One thing that helped me some was a regularly scheduled meeting at the local animal shelter for people who were grieving lost pets. I knew I wanted another dog right away. My house is way too quiet with its soul gone. I also knew I wanted the same breed. I wasn’t trying to replace my dog, but she was such a joy that it was as much to honor her memory as anything else. Now, a few years later, I still think of her frequently and light a candle on her grave (in my backyard) on milestones. But the fond memories are brighter than her loss these days and I’m just thankful we got to spend 14 years together.

My new dog has been my near constant companion for almost four years now. I can tell you that it is possible to love again, and it is possible to do so without feeling like you’re being disrespectful to the one you lost.

I have a friend whose mom recommended one of those pet grief groups to me. Thankfully I didn’t need it but I guess it did help her when she lost her dog (I think maybe a year before me).

Omar, I am so sorry for you loss. I too am grieving a lost beloved pet. My cat Sarah had to be put down on Sunday. My partner woke me up in the morning because Sarah was having difficulty walking. We took her straight to the vet, I was kidding myself and thinking that she could be given some pain killers and a vitamin shot and recover.

The vet diagnosed her with end stage renal failure, there was nothing we could do the choices were to take her home and let her live out her last days in pain, or euthanise her. We chose euthanasia as I believe that it was the kindest choice.

The vet put a cannula in her arm with a long tube attached, I held Sarah in my lap and told her how much I loved her and how perfect she was as she took her last breath. It was a heart wrenching honour to be able to do that for my “little bear”.

I am stuck at home with pneumonia at the moment and although I still have 2 dogs, 1 cat and a rabbit the hole she has left is huge. I keep thinking i can her her little miaows and turn around to see nothing in the corner where she used to sit. I adopted Sarah from the pound 16 years ago when i was 21 years old, she was my best friend through so many ups and downs. I will miss her forever.

I am coping by talking about her, thinking about her and crying about her. This is normal and healthy and I believe it honours the love that I have for her.

Be kind to yourself Omar, grieve the way you need to, you will feel better, it will take a while but you will. Trust yourself to know when you are ready to have other dog in your life.

Thank you, for following me over to this thread.

It’s been a rough and bumpy ride. :frowning: