“I will grieve however long it takes me.”

by Marie
(Iowa, USA)

I was recently told it was time to “get over it”. This is in regards to the passing of my dog five and a half years ago. I was forced to put him to sleep. (The interesting thing is that I wasn’t even thinking about him at the time ) A beautiful purebred Dalmatian. This Dog would lie on my feet while I did dishes or cooked at the stove. He lay on my feet when I was at the computer. We were always happy to see me…be with me and just snuggle up with me.

I lied on the floor and cried with this dog for 2 hours before I could let them give him the shot. Then I laid there another hour holding him and sobbing. I was anxious for the entire time he was sent to the crematorium. I wasn’t settled until I had him back and in an urn. My directions are when I pass away he is to be put in the casket with me.

I look at the 7 stages of grief and I’m just not sure about it. I seem to be stuck in guilt but also lingering in the final phase of acceptance. 18 months ago I rescued a lovely cat. She’s as awesome as she can be. Still, she can never replace my dog. I love her separately from him. I understand that he was sick and I had to put him to sleep. It still hurts so much just to think of him. I was thinking that I was progressing, though it is slowly. When I was able to put his picture back up on my desk I had felt love and not loss. I can reminisce about the good things now. He loved stealing tomatoes. He could unwrap a piece of candy to get to the inside. He would drop dry dog food into the water dish and reach in to get it out. He blew air out his nose when doing this. He was an escape artist. He was smart, loyal and so much more.

I was very sick and couldn’t be out of bed for several weeks. This dog lay with me the entire time. He ate and went outside and returned immediately to me. He was there every possible moment when I was fearful of dying a painful death. He consoled me. Snuggled me. He made the pain bearable. No one can understand my attachment?

Why I should “get over it” is because every year when this time comes around I resent my job. I am reminded on a yearly basis by an event that they forced me to work the day prior. I pleaded with them and they made unkept promises and said whatever it took to force me to work. This, just a few hours before I had to put him to sleep. I try not to let this show in my work but I know it still does. I become distant and quiet during this time.

I told my best friend and husband both about this comment. They were hesitant but they also think it’s been much too long to grieve over a dog. They tried to be gentle but they just don’t understand.

Now I’m telling them all. “I will grieve however long it takes me.” I wish they could understand but they never will. That seems to be the hardest for thing for me in my grief. I am so very alone.

When I saw this page I cried and even now I am in tears. Other people do feel like me. I’m not a mental case because I loved this dog unconditionally. I may always have guilt…he was with me the entire time I was sick but I had to put him to sleep when he became sick. Understanding the reality doesn’t make it hurt less.

I never wrote any of this down before and I can see the therapy in doing this.

I wanted to share my favorite....

by Jimmy Stewart

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.
On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.
He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.
But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.
We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.
And before very long
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.
And there were nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.
And there were nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up at night
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's dead.
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.
Oh, how I wish that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.

Jimmy Stewart recited this poem on the Johnny Carson show.

Comments for “I will grieve however long it takes me.”

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Oct 17, 2016
My 12-yr old soul mate odie
by: Anonymous

I just seen your comments on I will grieve as long as it takes. I am in the same situation to have to put my away 12 yr old dalmation soul mate, who was born on my birthday,he died 3-wks ago. got Ill and was losing lots of weight. skin and bones. coughing for a long time. Theres a never a moment there is always apple in my throat from wanting to cry. Every little memory brings me to tears, specially as our own baby we had our own speech and style to talk with him. since he died seems like part of me is gone. as if I cannot be my normal self anymore. but I my self and those like me, life must go on, but the un-conditional love must pass on. gift from god, love as pure from time of creation must live on, so pass it on to your fellow man and lesson to be nice to all of gods creation taught to us VIA- pooch. I know no one can replace him, but thanks to god above, to let me have him for a while. With lots of tears( GOD BLESS MY ODIE.)

May 29, 2016
by: Marie

Thank you to all that responded. I'm at that time of year again. I still miss him and I always will. People still don't understand but for the most part I've stopped sharing. On the other hand I am much better. Writing my original story helped me very much. Knowing other people like me has helped.

Sep 20, 2014
I get it
by: Rhonda

Marie, I feel your pain. My Tank has been gone over 5 years and it is still so painful. I still cry all the time about him and just can't get over it. I still take 6/26 off every year and thank goodness my work is kind about it.
We will love our babies forever and I know he is in my heaven waiting for me and your sweet boy is too.

Apr 30, 2013
“I will grieve however long it takes me.”
by: Marie

Thank you all for taking your time to reply. After writing this I do feel better. I still miss him and always will. I still have tears.

Sharing has been the most meaningful thing to my heart. Knowing that others can love their pet just as much as I loved mine does help.

Being alone with no one to understand really made it worse. People that loved me and wanted to understand just didn't know how. I was holding it in. I didn't have any place to express it.

If someone told me to get over it today...I have my answer and I won't burst into tears. I'm stronger and it's because of the site.
Thank you all.

Apr 12, 2013
Grieving Marie
by: Diane

You are definitely NOT alone in your grieving on this site. We have all lost our furbabies and feel the terrible pain. Our souls are shattered, our hearts are broken.Time is the only thing that helps, but it will never completely erase the sorrow.You are right in thinking others and especially work do not share our sorrow. I think your place of work treated your pain as if it didn't 'count', and I think that is awfull, the loss of anything that creates such terrible pain should be respected and met with compassion. I loved my Chrissy the same as I love my children. She was with me for 10 years, loved me unconditionally,was my 'baby', and I went across the street to get the mail and did not know she was following me. I cry as I write this because I still 'see' her getting ran over in front of me. I'm afraid I will see this for the rest of my life, the guilt and pain is horrible. No amount of tears will bring her back, no amount of guilt will make me feel better. This was 4 months ago and I still cry almost daily. I DO think of how it is a little better, I'm not crying constantly, I can almost choose when I cry now, if at work I go in to the bathroom. I'm so sorry your family is not more understanding, my husband was almost as upset as I was, he cried for days afterwards, and would call me at work to see how I was doing and cry with me. He had the most beautiful framed picture made for me,it has Chrissy with the Rainbow Bridge poem to the side,and a beautiful rainbow spanning the sky behind her. He also sent me an E-Mail from her, telling me how much she loved me and did not want me to be sad. I cry every time I read it. Under Music and Poetry on this site please look up and print the poem 'I only wanted you' I think it will describe your feelings exactly, it sure did mine.DO NOT think you are grieving too long,everyone is different, I wish I could tell you it will get better, but I KNOW it just changes, it doesn't go away. Grieve as long and in any way you need. Please let me and others like me share your pain, we feel so much pain because we had so much love for someone who gave us unconditional and innocent love. Please take care, I'll pray for you, and bless you for caring so much. RIP beautiful furbaby, wait for your mommy at the Rainbow Bridge!

Apr 12, 2013
Time for Rest
by: Judith in California

Dear Marie, forgive them their ignorance. There is no right or wrong way to grieve or a certain deadline for it. That being said, there is a time to come to peace and acceptance. You loved and cared for your dog all those years and then you loved him enough to show mercy for his sufferng and did what anyone of us has had to do to end that suffering. We love them unconditionally as they love us. We love them so much more than ourselves and we know when it's time to let go. You did the right and merciful thing. You put his suffering before your need for him. God bless you for that. Too many pet owners wait too long to put them down just to
keep them around . They don't thnk about the pain the poor pet is going through.

I had to put down 5 kitties within the last two years and 4 of them all within an eight month period. I will forever miss them and remember the specialness of each one . Sure I felt guilty but when I remember I ended their suffering I accept It was for the best for them and not me.
I pray you come to peace and acceptance to move forward and past this in time.

Apr 12, 2013
"I will grieve however long it takes me."
by: Doreen U.K.

Marie I am sorry for your loss of your most precious dog.
Many people can't understand our level of grief and so they may find it difficult to comfort you and so they tell you that you should "be over it." What you need to do is go see a grief counsellor. You will have the support and the space to be yourself and express your grief and sorrow in a safe and controlled environment where your grief will be respected. You had a strong bond with your dog in the same way I had with my pet Birds. So I know how you feel.
This is the best way forward for you. Your grief will ease to the point that you won't be in this unbearable Pain.
Also keep a journal of your pet and write out all your memories and feeling and let him/her know how much you loved them and what losing them has done to you. You are left so broken hearted and so now you need healing to mend a Broken Heart. You will recover in time but now without help from a grief counsellor. You may be stuck in grief and unable to move forward without this support.

Apr 12, 2013
Your beloved dog...
by: Debi M.

Marie -

I was very moved by your story. Our "children with fur" show us such unconditional love don't they? Losing a pet is one of the hardest things in life and I totally agree with you - grieve however long it takes.

I lost my English Bulldog Chewy a year ago but still think about her every day. God Bless you for being an animal lover and for sharing that great poem.

Comfort and peace to you,

Debi M.

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