Am I Being a Jerk?

Updated on January 10, 2011
J.P. asks from Meridian, ID
41 answers

Sorry for the length.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a total animal person. I have always had a pet my entire life, and last year I lost my 14.5 year old cat. She had been the first that was ALL mine, and she truly was mine, even though she warmed up to my husband towards the end.

My husband brought his dog into our relationship, and she was his through and through. She was okay with me, would obey me, but we just never bonded the same. He had her for a total of 10 years, and we've been together 7 of those years. After losing my cat, we knew that Tally would be next. She was 13, had a bunch of tumors, including one in the muscle of a back leg that atrophied the muscle. She had some bad days in Oct/Nov, and we weren't sure that she was going to make it through each month. She made it till last week, and stopped eating (this is a dog that usually doesn't stop until she hits the bowl), and woke up hurting so much on Christmas. We had talked about not waiting too long and making the dog suffer. We also knew that the weather was causing some of her discomfort. Really, we waited because my husband needed to accept it and make the decision. We put her down on Monday afternoon. I worked from home so that she wasn't alone and then my husband took most of the day off too.

We went to work on Tuesday. I was really distracted and sad, but my husband left work about 1, saying that he didn't feel well. He had spend most of his day sending out emails telling family and friends about the dog, and writing a two page obituary. He went to bed before either child was down, and didn't go to work yesterday except to get his laptop. Yesterday he was pretty much a shell of himself around the kids, my son cried when we left for daycare (not usual), and he seemed to act out a bit more. My husband went to sleep right after the kids went down, while I stayed up and took care of everything else that had to be done.

I had told him that I didn't think he was sick, that he had depression. He said, of course he was depressed.

This morning, he again didn't go into work, and my son was screaming for him and acting out as we left for daycare. I told my husband that his depression is doing this to our son. He asked if I was trying to make him feel worse. I said no, but you need to realize that your actions aren't just affecting you, but everyone around you, and that you need to do something.

This is 3 days now. I don't remember mourning this extreme when my cat died last year, when my great uncle and my aunt died within a week of each other earlier this year, or when many other pets or family members passed.

I even told him that on Tuesday I had been feeling bad for myself until I found out that a coworker, who had been expecting his very first granddaughter, lost her after two days. He had a similar story of a car accident fatality, and said how lucky we are. Yes, I am sad, but I just want to scream at him - Snap out of it! It was a dog! - I miss my husband, I miss the father of my children!

I had PPD after my daughter was born, so I know how depression feels. I knew that it was affecting my family and I did what I had to do to get through it. I know that there is normal depression and then the kind that needs help. I just don't know what is normal for the grieving process of a pet. Like I said, I love animals, but this seems a bit extreme to me. If it was just the two of us, I might deal with this better, but being a single parent of two kids while he wanders around aimlessly and I have to answer my son's questions about what's wrong with daddy is too much.

Also, he has said that he doesn't want another pet until a couple years down the road. We both had the pet that was our baby, even when we married, but they had to take a backseat to the kids. He doesn't want another dog until he can devote that same pre-kid time to it (seems to me that that won't happen till the kids move out). I haven't been able to communicate to him, that the pet relationship is different now that we have kids, and that the kids can help give some of that love and attention to the dog.

Update and responses: I added the thing about the "new" dog, just because that is usually the answer you get when you lose a pet - get another one. I know that that is not the answer and that he needs to come around to it on his own. We planned to wait at least 6 months when we lost my cat. The house was so empty, we only waited two weeks.

Please don't think I would ever yell at my husband to snap out of is just what I WANT to do. I have talked to him about the dog, about his sadness, but most of the time I am with him, he is sleeping or I am juggling the two kids. I am also sad but getting through the day. I'm not complaining (to him), but picking up the slack, and am fine with saying, screw the housework, but I don't think it is fair to a 2.5 year old. I tell him daddy is sad (the whole explanation), he gives dad a hug and then wants to play with him, not sit and mope. I think it would be easier if he was on a trip and then my son wouldn't have to understand why dad is sitting right there ignoring him.

I'm not that concerned about work. I think he has some sick time, it is more what that represents (not functioning), than the fact that he isn't going to work.

I think that the comment about men handling this differently is right on. I posted about a "man cold" a while ago, and I am feeling something similar here. I'm not saying that he has to bounce back immediately, and can't be sad for a long time to come, but I do think that he needs to be able to function, and yes, to some degree, suck it up....just like I am having to do. Thank you to those that gave me an "estimate" on how much longer to let him go on like this.

And like I posted above, I understand that there is a difference between normal depression, and then when help is needed. I'm not saying that he needs to be medicated or go to a doctor yet. I am trying to understand when that point is. When I got help, I was told that there is the normal, acceptable depression for various events, and then there is the disproportionate depression. I am trying to find that line.

I just reread my post and see where the depression comment is a bit out of context. My husband was claiming that he was coming down with something, and thought he was sick. I was trying to help him realize that I didn't think he was sick, that it was the physical manifestation of his grief.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I know that not everyone was going to see it my way, and I did ask the question, so I'm not trying to take the "Yes"es personally. :) I would like to say that I have NOT asked my husband to get a new dog. For the last 4 years we have known what breed of dog our "next" would be. I wanted to get it before this one passed (like in the last few years, not immediately before), he didn't. Also, my son DOES know that the dog died, he has said goodbye, and tells us that he is sad and misses her too....."Are you happy now?" (I love 2.5!)

No, I am not a single parent, but when I travel for work (next week), he is, and I need to know that he will be able to take care of the children. I was not trivializing being a single parent, but was trying to relate it to being lonely in a room full of people.

I think that I am feeling some resentment too. Last week, I was really sick. My daughter also got sick (with something else) on Wednesday. I still took the kids to daycare in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon, took care of them in the evening, and took care of my daughter when she had to stay home sick. My husband got to go about his day as if nothing has changed. I love taking care of my kids and have no problem with that, but it makes me so much longer to get healthy when I am doing everything all day, and the baby stops sleeping through the night too.

Maybe I'm just frustrated that I haven't had my own time to grieve. Whatever my own issues are, the main take away I got from all you lovely mamas is that I need to work on my patience. And that is never bad advice.

Thank you.

Okay, well, I don't know if it was the comment I made, or if he was just ready, but he seemed to pull himself out of it that day to a place where we could at least talk, and he could function. We are still grieving, and continue to laugh and cry about various things, but being able to get a word in edge-wise, and let him know that I understand what he is going through was helpful. We also realized that while he lost a grandpa at 12, he has all 3 of this other grandparents alive, and this is only his 3rd dog, while I have lost 3 of my grandparents, 8 pets, and various other loved ones. I think I have a bit more practice (plus the whole guy/girl thing :) ).

I appreciate all the comments that everyone left, and the stories that you shared, they really helped.

Featured Answers



answers from Augusta on

I lost my 8 yr old sheltie in september and I cried hard for a week and I still get sad and miss him badly at night.
a dog is never just a dog.
I think you need to sit down with him and gently tell him that he's being distant and that you can help him better cope with it if he was less distant to you and the kids.
sorry but he will never just get over it. it will take time and it's only been 3 days give him a break.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We had a black lab that died while hubby was deployed. For three days I wasn't able to tell him. His grief didn't really hit until after he got home and there was no Brutus to snuggle up with. Yes he loves us and cherished the children but Brutus was his dog before we got married and was his first companion. He was 12.
He still did his daily duties, went to work, we made love, he bathed the children,. But there was a sadness for a while, maybe a couple weeks or so.
My hubby still can't let a black lab go by him without petting it.

Let hubby grieve. GIve him time. It's only been 3 days. Next week you can be hard on him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Ah see I just read this THEN read the what happened, First thinking maybe a jerk then understanding, No you are not being a jerk you are frustrated you have to leave town you husband is unresponsive TOTally understand now. He needs to snap out of it

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think 3 days after the death of a pet is too soon to call it "depression." Yes, he is upset, misses the dog and is sad.

O. thing I've noticed is that men are not as good at "sucking it up" and continuing to "march along" as women are.

Men are not good at multi-tasking--even with their emotions.

Right now he is "being sad" and while I do agree that missing work for more than O. day is a bit extreme, hopefully he will float to the surface and bounce back to normal in another week or so.

Personally, I'd let him take the lead as far as timing for another pet. A new O. never "replaces" the old O. but it IS a great distraction! When is his birthday? ...........doggie gift?

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answers from Columbus on

Yes, I think you're being a jerk. I think it was pretty crappy of you to share a story with your husband of someone losing a grandchild, It was telling him that he doesn't have a right to be upset so get over it. You can't compare your husband being upset and withdrawn from the family for three days to you being a single parent. Obviously you've never been a single parent. Your husband is grieving, not depressed. My husband has battled depression his whole life. When he starts to get depressed, he lays in bed a lot and reads. I am there for him completely and always check on him to see how he's doing and if he needs anything. Me being supportive and loving is what helps him get through it. It might be a little hard on me for a couple days not having my husband help out with our three kids (and I'm pregnant) but when he hurts, I hurt. I want him to deal with his emotions the way he needs to, not my way.

And I don't know why you can explain to your son that Daddy is sad b/c the dog died. There's a life lesson for your son right there. I'm sure your husband will want a new pet sooner than he's thinking now. Of course he is going to think 72 hours after losing his dog that he won't want a new one for a long time.

I'm not meaning to sound harsh here. It just sounds to me that you have a great husband and you aren't being supportive of him. Some husbands don't help out with the kids at all so if Dad is away for a couple days, it would just be another day to the kids, they wouldn't even notice. Now please go give your husband a hug!! :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, you're being a jerk -- it's only been two days, not two months.

For the first three days after the death of my beloved bird this year I was bereft, and it took a good month till I could even bear to visit the aviary. For the first two days I cried uncontrollably. And I am NOT a depressive-type person. Ten months later, I still mourn her. And I didn't feel that bad when we lost our dog a few years ago. My husband was a bit of a jerk about it because he thought the same way you do. It wasn't "depression," it was normal grief for a big loss.

You need to give him more time. Everyone grieves differently. Tell your hubby you're sorry and comfort him. Tell your son daddy is sad because Fido died. That's the explanation. And you are looking to replace the dog too soon. Wait a month. Sorry, but you are really being inconsiderate.

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answers from Cincinnati on

My husband is like this with animals, too. He mourned his fish dying, for crying out loud. When his dog died, he was bereft. I don't know if it's a man thing, or what.

But I do think you need to cut your husband a break. It's only been a few days, not a few weeks, and you're already talking about getting another pet? It's way too soon! Talk to him seriously about his grief, instead of with the eye-rolling and blame, and if this continues, offer to help him get some grief counseling. Grieving is about the survivors, not the deceased, and remembering this may help you be more understanding. And please don't bring up getting another pet right now. Your husband is in mourning. He may change his mind next year about when he wants another dog, but right now, the thought of it is painful for him.

Hopefully, he will pull himself out of this on his own in a little while. If he doesn't, ask him to get some therapy to help him cope with his loss. Do not make yourself the bad guy, though, because grief is a more difficult emotion to handle than anger, and you don't want him to convert his to anger and then direct that anger at you. Give him a little longer to get himself together. Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think you're mistaking ordinary grief for depression... and it's scaring you because of your experience with PPD.

In my experience debilitating grief usually only lasts a few days, and then can severely impact a person for a couple weeks to several years. The loss of a child, for example, one could expect months to years of normal grief. The loss of a beloved pet, a few weeks of severely impacting grief is *totally* in the normal range.

Many people feel free to grieve over pets in a way that they do not feel free to grieve for people. Happens to soldiers all the time. They get "used" to losing people... but the family dog dies and they fall to pieces.

Give him some time. If, after about 2 weeks he's not coming out of it, take him to the doctor. But kindness kills grief far faster than condemnation.

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answers from Austin on

So your husband was with his dog longer than you?

Yes, you are being a little heartless. I understand completely what you are saying, but you are forgetting, each one of us is different from another. Your husband may be a butch manly man, but in his heart, his dog was his first baby. There are lots of memories that the dog represented and that part of his life is now gone forever. He is mourning the loss of his very best friend that has been with him longer than even you have been with him.

Explain to your children that their daddy is very, very sad, because puppy is now gone. they need to be soft and gentle, because dads heart is hurting. NO OTHER pet can just take the place of his dog. Give him time. He will get there.

This is not a rejection of you or the children, it is a mourning for his beloved friend.

He sounds a lot like my husband. He is so terrified that our cat is going to die, she is now 14 years old and when our daughter is up at college he uses the cat as his substitute for our daughter.. Drives me nuts, but that is the way he is.. My husband always says a silent prayer when he sees a dead animal on the road. He just has great empathy for them.

If this continues for more than a week, he needs to see his doctor, just to have a quick check up and the doc can document this episode..

I am sending you patience.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yes, it is a dog, but it was his longest relationship, even longer than you. Don't nag him. Yes, he needs to go back to work and get back into his normal routine. It will serve him better than sitting around thinking about it all the time. I mourned my dog for a long time. Of course, I did get another dog the next month and it did help me get through the memories and make new ones. Guys are different about new... They seem to think it's 'replacing' a friend. So don't try to force a dog on him. He will come around to the idea on his own.

What you can do for now is try to take up the slack this week and not complain. Be a good partner and support him. Try to get him back to work. He doesn't need to lose his job over this. If he is saying he's sick and he has missed a few days of work, tell him you will set up a doctor's appt for him. That normally gets them to go back to work if they aren't really sick.

Good luck with this... Everyone mourns differently.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I didn't read ALL of the previous responses you have received, but the ones I did read, did not mention many tangible ways to help your husband through this. Yes, missing this many days of work is a little extreme. But men are funny sometimes about things like this. Most men suck it up and go to work when there is something weighing on their minds or whatever... but losing a faithful friend like his dog of 13 (?) years is another thing altogether.

Our dog (6 yrs old) became REALLY ill this past spring and we thought we would lose her or have to put her down. My husband stayed at home (even skipped church and an after church event) so that she would not be alone at home. Partly he didn't want the kids coming home to find our beloved dog dead, but also he just didn't want to leave her ALONE. He babied and nursed her more than I would EVER have guessed. And this was not his dog from before we were married. This is our dog we got when our daughter was 3 yrs old. He has never been particularly bonded/close to her, not like it's his hunting dog or anything like that at all. He bawled himself to sleep one night during the week we thought we would lose her, and HE was astonished at how deeply he felt her impending loss. This is a man who pooh-poohed other people's stories about losing pets.

Your husband will have to get on with life at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, but you need to help him get there. Yes support him, give him time and space, etc. But also, ASK him and make suggestions about ways to help him deal with this. Did you guys do anything special as a memorial for the dog? Do you have any photos of the dog with your hubby or the kids that you could frame and put out somewhere? Did you keep her leash/collar so that you could put it in a shadow box or just store it somewhere safe? These are tangible things you could do to move forward. Men aren't known for sentimentality regarding objects... so he might not think of any of these things. So ask him if he would like to put out a picture of the dog (if you have one). Get out old photos that have the dog in them and let him flip through them. Make a dog photo album and ask your husband to help you choose which photos to include and organize them.

Often we just need something to do that will help us process the emotional loss. With a dog, there aren't as many things to do... there is no funeral. There is no choosing funeral attire or photos for the display or family gathering. These are all ways the families process their grief after the loss of a family member. Sounds like your dog qualifies as a family member, so go through the motions (modified to fit your situation) and help him through the grief process.

I don't think he is depressed, just still deep in grief, and perhaps stalled at the first stage.

Very sorry for the loss of your dog.

I don't think you taking on the "sole" care of the kids for a few days is too much to ask. One poster said "what would he do if he was a single parent, he would have to suck it up and deal"(or something to that effect)... but that is the beauty of having a loving spouse and NOT being a single parent. He has you. So do what needs doing and let him grieve. Your kids may have to be told a few times that Daddy is still very sad and mourning the dog. They are kids, things have to be repeated. It isn't because they don't get it, it's because they forget or want a different response. How many times do you have to tell them "no" when they ask for ice-cream for dinner or whatever? They want the answer to be different so they ask again... it doesn't mean that they don't understand.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

I think you need to be more understanding. Yes, it was just a dog but it was his family before he married you. Some people react differently to losing a loved one and that can include a pet. Our dog died last January very suddenly and both my husband and I were very distraught over it for at least two weeks probably longer before we started to move on. We still have our moments a year later when we miss her and grieve over her. I think you are being insensitive. We both still managed to take care of our child and he probably will be able to as well. We just were not our happy selves.

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answers from New York on

I see both of your points of view. Many years ago I had an ex-boyfriend who lost his dog of 12-13 years. He was sad for weeks, crying, withdrawn, the whole thing. He was sadder at the loss of his dog than over our own breakup, and that hurt my feelings back then.

However, I learned to understand that everyone grieves differently, and that it is unfair to judge how a person is grieving since I cannot possibly walk in that person's shoes. You just don't know the nuances of the bond your husband had with his dog, although you had some idea. And, while it is tough on you to have to handle how his feelings are affecting everyone around him, I would try my best to handle the situation as gracefully as you can bear, and let him grieve until he is ready to open up again.

IMO I would not place a time limit on his grief -- I would hope that, after about a month or so, he will come back around. In the meantime, you can help him along by reminding him you are there for him if he needs to talk or just let some emotions out.

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answers from New York on

No you are not being a jerk. While grief is personal and each person deals in his or her own way, an adult recognizes his/her existing responsibilities and ensures that they carry on despite that grief. A friend lost her son after a short but fierce battle with leukemia. That was 6 months ago. She and the father of her children were out having a family Christmas dinner recently with their surviving child. This family, father, mother and daughter/sister, get that they must be there for each other, despite their incomprehensible loss. Perhaps you can ask your husband to find ways to deal with his grief that include the family so that he can benefit from your loving support and you and the kids can benefit from his. You say he sent emails, made phone calls, wrote an obit (two pages!?!?!). So now maybe he can invite the kids and you to create a memory album of the dog with photos, stories, favorite foods and treats (pix only not the real thing LOL!). He's got to find a way to re-enter the atmosphere of your family. Sit down with him and have a frank talk about HOW to make that happen. Baby steps. I wish you and your family all the best on your journey through this grieving time. (On my own journey too).

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answers from Davenport on

Yeah, I think you are being a jerk. Your husband has lost a living being with whom he has had a relationship for over a decade. He will never be able to see, touch, hug, talk to, receive love from this being ever again. Ever. It is gone. That sometimes takes more than three days to "get over." You shouldn't compare your grieving over your cat with his grieving over his are different people who react differently. If his grieving is seriously hampering your life in a month's time then you should gently talk to your husband and tell him that he might need some professional help dealing with his feelings of loss.

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answers from Portland on

Gosh, I really don't like to ever call anyone a 'jerk', but you don't seem very emotionally sensitive and a bit self-focused on this. Your husband lost a relationship, a close attachment, of 10 years. NO ONE who is close to anyone or any close pet can skip grieving to 'suck it up' and if they do, it will manifest in ways that are not good. The fact that your husband started grieving before the death demonstrates the meaning of that relationship (thus, 2 page obituary). It doesn't matter who thinks the attachment is legitimate for this response or not because factually speaking, this is a great loss for him. It is only the 3rd day? If you were saying all of this after a month or two, okay. But day 3? A bit selfish.

Also about your son...he's probably very impacted by dads grieving, but has it occurred to you HE might be sad and confused about the loss of the dog? Kids are impacted by grieving too so I might recommend finding a way to have a family ceremony of some kind so everyone can express (age appropriate) feelings around the loss. It will help your son process his feelings and afford him the ability to make sense out of why dad is acting different. This is an opportunity to teach your son about grieving loss...if you do have future pets and your son experiences loss, he'll have this time to draw from on how to lean on others for support and grieve in a healthy way (sucking it up is not healthy). Just thinking this loss has greater meaning and future impact for your son so you have an opportunity to model good things here. Also modeling how to support others in grieving is good for him I think.

This isn't depression...this is grieving and there are many stages that take awhile. It might take your husband a few months to complete the grieving process or longer. I'm not saying he'll miss a ton of work, but for now, he's too sad to work. He's overcome with grief and it probably doesn't help to feel alone in that grief...even if you don't say to him what you expressed here, people generally know when their loved ones understand or don't understand.

If you were going through an extreme heartbreak, wouldn't you want your husband to take over for awhile to give you time to grieve? Would pressure to hurry up in the healing process help you or become a negative thing stacked on top of what you were experiencing? The reason why being supportive emotionally is such a wonderful thing is because it helps the process of recovery and resiliency.

It's okay for you to recognize your limitations so maybe have a friend or family member help you out. This may "just be" a pet, but your family is experiencing the loss of a family member with impact right now, so having help so you aren't overwhelmed while your husband is grieving will help you not feel so tempted to wish him to hurry up or "suck it up".

I feel for your husband and I do understand where you are coming from, but I sort of think you need to suck it up and be the partner to your husband you would want him to be for you. If you don't, this could impact your relationship because your husband will have issues about your ability to be there for him and this will manifest over time. So do your relationship and your husband a favor and, this time, you be the one to suck it up. It doesn't sound like you are as emotionally impacted so it sounds like you are in a better position to do this...but do ask for help from others because no one should be alone to deal with everything.

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answers from Atlanta on

You're not being a jerk. Sit down with him and *gently* explain that you know he's upset and you know how it feels, but we have to get on with our lives -especially when small children are in the picture. I had to put my 18 year old cat down -who was my baby and my love my entire single adult life -one week before my first child was born. I was a wreck. However, after a day or so of weeping and crying, I made every effort to change my mindset because I didn't want all that depression and hurt seeping into my baby. He was so close to due, I just felt like he could really feel those vibes, so I kind of made myself snap out of it. Tell your husband that you gave the dog a great life, and that in the back of our minds, unless we're very old or sick ourselves, we know when we get a pet that we're ultimately going to have to deal with its death. Try not to downplay his feelings, but remind him that his job will not understand bereavement absence over a dog and his small child is more important. Don't mention getting another pet right now. He's right to not want to rush into that. Give that one some time and in 6 months or so, he'll probably feel differently. It may take a year though. It took me a good year before I even wanted to be around a cat.

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answers from Redding on

I don't think you're being a jerk.
I'm a total animal lover too and believe me, we've lost our share of beloved pets. Just within days of each other we lost a dog and cat. We'd had them since way before my son was ever born and he took it pretty hard. It was sad, to say the least. But, this is part of life and pets don't live as long as people do. It doesn't make it any less sad, but I can kind of see where you are coming from.
I have friends whose dog was getting old. They kept saying he wouldn't make it another year and they even got another dog so they'd be prepared.
She even told me she knew in her heart she should have him put down, but she just couldn't bear to do it. Well, the poor thing who couldn't even move around and had quit eating finally passed away and I'd known the dog for years so I was sad about it too for sure.
She took a full week off of work and made her husband take time off too because she just couldn't cope with being home alone. I suggested that maybe going to work would be good for her to get her mind off of things, but she wouldn't hear of it. Everyone grieves in their own way, but I couldn't help feeling that she was going a bit over the top about it. She took a week for "berievement" over her dog. And then she went back to work but they sent her home because she wouldn't stop crying about it in front of customers. She had a really good job at a bank and they offered to pay for counseling because they thought maybe she had depression or something and she was offended and wouldn't take it. They let her go. Over a dog that was old and she knew for a long time was in failing health.
A woman I work with just lost her own mother and other than taking some time during the day here and there to make arrangements hasn't missed a day of work at all. She's broken up and has her moments where she excuses herself to cry in the bathroom or something. She will take Monday off because that's the day of the service.
Going off the deep end over an animal just doesn't make sense to me.
Please, no one send me hate mail about's just my opinion. I swear I understand how much a pet is a part of our lives and that companionship is so important and we grieve. Of course we do! I've been there myself.

You've been sick, your daughter's been sick, your dog just died and your husband can't work. Hmmm. There's a country song in there somewhere.
(No offense! Trying to bring you some levity).
Maybe after a few days off of work and the New Year beginning, he will get back to normal for you. Hopefully you and the kids will be feeling better and things will settle down.
I just wanted to say I don't think you're being a jerk.
I hope things get better soon.

Best wishes!

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answers from St. Cloud on

If you were the one grieving over the dog, everyone here would tell you to snap out of it, get over your self and put your family first. BUT.....since it's your husband, everyone thinks you are being a jerk for wanting him to still be involved with his family while dealing with grief.

Yes, he is grieving and that's okay.....but he still has a family that loves him.

You are not being a jerk.

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answers from St. Louis on

I would give him so more time. I dont think you are being a jerk, its stressful taking care of everything yourself, but he really does need more time. Give him a couple weeks, I bet in time it will get better. Sorry for your loss. :(

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answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think you are being a jerk at all. I can see him grieving for a while but his level of grief is odd to me, he needs to go to work. I think he needs to snap out of it. He needs to be a father and husband and start living his life again.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I feel bad for both of you loosing pets. Anyhow its ok that your husband was sad but now he has to pick himself up and get on with life.

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answers from Minneapolis on

3 days is a bit soon. JUst go along with his program for a week. If you do not see him getting better in the next few days, then I would address it. Do not look for him just to pop back to routine. Right now just do what you have to do. Pretend he is on a business trip and mommy has to do everything. Slip him a note that says "I too mourn and feel for the lost of Lucy, but when you go back to work in a few days, takd this framed picture with you to know she is still with US in spirit". That way you are helping in a way, supporting in a way and making a point. I do want to say I am a person that feels an animal is an animal and when they reach the end of their life cycle, then that is the circle of the life cycle; BUT I do think I would let him grieve a bit longer. If you "attack" his grief it will just make the anger/grief feelings pair and it turn into something else. Sorry for the lost to your family.

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answers from Harrisburg on

There is something more emotional going on beside just losing the dog. There is an attachment issue either with the dog or the history behind the dog. The dog provided something that he probably cannot explain and so losing the dog he feels he has lost a part of himself. It is going to take time in any loss to "get over" the attachment. I am sure in time your husband will come around. You are anxious for him to "get over" it because life goes on for your family and you need him to step in and continue living.

I would suggest you give it about a couple weeks since there is a reminder every day that he is not able to connect with the dog he used to have. See if you can as his wife provide more loving and intimacy, communication and support and ask him if there is something you guys can do together that would help him fill the void. I doubt he needs a counselor right now, just some time. If he doesn't bounce back in about a month or so, then I would start considering counseling for what is really beneath his depression.

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answers from Dallas on

Maybe your husband really was sick since you and your daughter were a few days later. Hope the situation gets better!

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answers from Modesto on

A good, male friend of ours lost his beloved pooch last year. He was a mess for about a full week. I'm sure he'll be fine soon enough. Just try to ignore it and he'll get past it. We are all different when it comes to grieving, that's for sure.
Patience is a virtue.

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answers from Reno on

Are you being a jerk? I'm sure your husband thinks so, but I'm not sure I agree. I think men handle these things differently than women do. And perhaps you just handle the "circle of life" concept (death) better than your husband does.

I haven't faced this with my husband (although I will soon as we do have an ailing dog) but the guy who teaches across the hall from me went through this at the beginning of the school year. He lost his beloved dog and was in a total funk for two weeks. His students came to me wondering what was wrong and I had to explain things. THAT was fun...not! But, after those two weeks, he snapped out of it and returned to his normal, energetic upbeat self.

I think it's ok to tell him that his funk is affecting the family and he needs to manage it better. He needs to be aware of this. Yes, he's hurting but that's not an excuse or permission to inflict his hurt on the rest of you. He can grieve when your son is away at day care or asleep. As you said, he has to be able to function. A mature adult would recognize this and act accordingly. Sounds to me like he's acting very immaturely.

Oh! Just had this thought...I know he spent lots of time writing an obituary and email family and friends, but perhaps you could suggest that you, he and your son have a family funeral in the backyard for his dog. Plant a flower or a tree or set a memorial stone (something he and your son could make together). This funeral-of-sorts would mark the end of his public grieving. All future grieving would have to be done during won't-impact-the-family time. This would show your son that it's ok to grieve but that life does go on. It would also give your husband a "deadline" for your quiet tolerance of his behavior. Maybe he just needs the ritual? Again, just a thought.

Good luck!

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answers from New York on

I am a huge dog lover too - just adore ours even when he ruins a carpet etc. But I think your husband is pushing it by not even going to work. Fortunately it's New Year's so a holiday. Have you tried a ceremony for the dog at all? Something that maybe can draw a line in the sand that now it's time to go forward? That may help and then I'd give him another 2 days and after that, say enough. Easier said than done but there may be books on this topic too...

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answers from Atlanta on

Well, your hubby has had the dog for a long time, and has had a relationship with it even before he had a relationship with you. It has been his faithful companion and has given him unconditional love and friendship. I have heard of people who are broken when they lose a pet, and perhaps your hubby doesn't really know how to express his sadness, other than to internalize it and perhaps feel sorry for himself because of the loss. Perhaps you can try to show your support for him by being a little more patient and suggesting that he get some help, maybe by calling the Help Line that might be available through your insurance (assuming ...).

That said, although I've had pets myself ranging from cats, snakes, dogs, to turtles, chickens and rabbits, I've never understood how people get so worked up when they lost a pet. My son and I had to make the decision to put one of our dogs down last year and although it was a tough call, and it was hard knowing that she wouldn't be around anymore, it wasn't like I was losing a human friend or relative. Like you said, it's a dog.

And at the risk of raising a hellstorm I'd like to say I don't understand why people are still so ticked off at Michael Vick even now after he's served the time. Seems to me that people get more upset about that than they do about children being abducted, molested and murdered, or just mistreated by some strung out parent. Why is that?

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answers from Austin on

I have to say I'm with you. You may be a little harsh but you have small children. I had to put my dog down a few years ago that I had for 16 years. I bawled like a baby but I also had a small child that needed my attention. I still cried off and on when my son wasn't around but I was still a parent for my child. He's completely checking out. Yes, I agree that everyone grieves differently but what would happen if he was a single parent and was grieving this way. His children would be completely neglected. Maybe you need to sit him down one night and talk with him. Ask him if his dog would want him to neglect his children or would he want him to play with them like the dog enjoyed doing. Tell him it's still ok to grieve but he needs to set aside time to do so AFTER he has helped with the children. It was almost a year before we got another dog and I swear it's the same dog. Same breed, same weight and body build, even same manurism just different color. I'm sure he needs some time on getting another dog and it's ok to grieve the loss of his friend but he also has responsibilities as a father. There are ways of doing both.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't think you are being a jerk. I just think you deal with grief differently then your husband. To him, the dog was part of the family-exactly like a family member-not just a dog as you put it. I think you need to have a heart to heart with him and ask him how you can help him get through his grief and support him. Tell him what you need from him and what the kids need from him. You may not get it, but at least you will have put it out there where he has a chance to respond and see what your talking about. Thats what I would do. As far as another pet, don't get one until you both are completely healed. This was a huge loss and grief takes a while to process. You can't put a limit or a number or time frame to your husband's grief-but you can ask him to help you in other ways so you don't feel like a single parent or that you are doing this all alone. One thing that helped me get through the multiple losses that I have had in my life is to schedule a time each day where I can grieve- I can cry, read, write, yell or whatever I need to do to release that grief. It really helps because when the feelings of sadness come up, I remember that ok, at X time I can deal with this feeling--- then I set the feeling aside til then and process it when X time comes. That way he can be a fully functioning father, husband and provider but still get what he needs too. Good luck to you and your family. I am truely sorry for your loss.




answers from Chicago on

Hey mama, I'm a little late in responding but I just had to offer my support to you. Like one of the other posters said, I am just going to guess about some of the responses you've already received :)

First, let me say that I completely understand what you and your husband and going through. The pain of losing a very loved pet hurts for a long time. For years, for the rest of your life. I absolutely get it, and have experienced it 4 times myself.

With that said, I think you're completely reasonable for wanting some help and support at home. Yes, it's a very hard thing to get through, but your children need their daddy and you need your husband. It's definitely okay to point out the disproportionate efforts in child-rearing-- that's not comparing a laundry list of duties, that's saying, Hey, we had these kids together, now pull it together and pitch in!

I understand that he is still reeling from the hurt of losing the dog you both loved. But your frustrations are still well-justified. I've seen a lot of man-coddling going on lately, on various posts, and I just don't get it! "My husband is cheating on me, should I leave him? No girl, you just need to be more affectionate, it's your fault he strayed!" Lol, sorry, I love my husband and I understand men truly are different (with colds, grief, etc) but enough is enough sometimes.

Best wishes, and I'm glad to see that things are getting better for both of you!




answers from New York on

Sorry to tell you but I am with your husband. Last year we had to put down
our beautiful springer spaniel. My husband and I were basket cases for
two weeks. We cried so much. Did not want to do anything. Yes we too
did an obituary for our beautiful Callie. Also ordered a granite stone with
her picture and "Rainbow Bridge." I still go back and read her obit and
cry. We loved her so much. She brought so much joy to our life. So now
you will think we are nuts too. She was a very important part of our family.
We will never forget her. Tell your husband we understand how he feels.


answers from Los Angeles on

Whew! You wrote a lot. I'm not going to bother reading the responses because I can figure out the sort of "support" you got from some people already. I just want to say that I'm pretty sure I'd be feeling the same way you are. Hoping your husband pulls it together and realizes that the dog's memory is not being slighted if he still lives life and is involved with his children.




answers from Norfolk on

Taking (vacation/sick) days off from work for a dogs death (and it was expected - it's not like it was run over by a car) seems a bit much, but I've heard of some people taking a few days for a pets death so it's not unhead of. The week between Christmas and New Years is usually fairly slow at most work places so it's a great time to take off.
On the other hand, you can't set the time table on someone else grieving process. It's only been a few days.
I think you are both grieving in your own fashion and neither of you are having a lot of empathy over the others feelings.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with the kids, hire a sitter or have a relative have them for a few hours and take a break.



answers from Norfolk on

I think you need to talk to your husband more about the dog. It sounds like he's going through a mourning process and the more he talks about it, the better off he will be, and the better off you and your family will be. The time to talk about how the pet-owner relationship is different from the parent-child relationship is probably not now. Maybe in a few weeks. Talk to your husband about your happy memories of the dog, tell him "I know how much you loved him. He felt like part of the family." Involve your kids in the discussion if you can. I love my cats, and I would be sad if they died. Yes, we know it's not the same; and yes, we know it's perhaps slightly disproportionate to be this upset about the dog--but it's not like you can get him to change his feelings of sadness. You can, however, help him through what is a tough time. Telling him to snap out of it probably won't help. Talking probably will.



answers from Boise on

Hello workinmom! Happy New year.

Stress can wreak a lot of havoc on our body. It depletes our cortisol, which is our stress hormone from the adrenal gland that helps us "cope" with life.
You'll notice when people get HIGH, HIGH stress from trauma or death of loved ones they get chronic back pain. That is because a person's cortisol is depleted. Low cortisol will affect the knees, hips and low back. Over-depression can also be caused by low cortisol.
Low cortisol, when it is very low, will give you a feeling of having the flu. (Dizzy, nausea, shakey, low body temp,aches and pains, depression, confusion)
It is possible he already had low functioning adrenals before the death and they are now too low to even function.

Some vitamin b liquid complex under the tounge can help support the nervous system.
LICORICE ROOT can help keep the cortisol he does make in his circulation longer. You can get liquid or powder. I buy the powder and mix in in milk (the high sodium content is benificial). However it should not be used longer than a few weeks without a saliva cortisol test and checking blood pressure. This herb increases blood pressure and should be used with caution. It should be taken as 1/4 t or less disolved in a liquid: at 8am, noon, and 3-4 pm. Do not take later than 4pm or you wont sleep well. Another option is to go get some 1% hydrocortisone cream from the store, the kind for skin rashes. Put a 1/8 t on his skin and rub in. Take note if he feels better after these helps. Again don't take it too late in the day.

Both LOW cortisol and HiGH cortisol can cause depression- they affect the thyroid. If ONGOING depression is an issue in the future, the adrenals and thyroid should be looked at by an endocrinologist.

Good luck and be well,




answers from San Francisco on

Can you use this as a learning opportunity for your son? Maybe you can do extra little things for your husband in the next few days, like bring him his coffee, give him hugs (group hugs), etc....

I don't think you should tell him he's depressed. As he says, he knows it and there is a reason. He doesn't seem to have the composure a lot of people would in this situation but maybe if his feelings are validated he can snap out of it a bit. From what you've said I might feel like you didn't understand if I were in his shoes.

You son is at the age where he will ask questions and probably repeat them over and over. In a situation like this it makes it extra hard. I hope someone is answering your sons questions, it probably woudl be best coming from your husband but I hope someone is.

His dog may have been his "Snoopy". Oh Boy, can you imagine when that day comes for Charlie Brown? I had a Golden Retriever I got right after my Mom passed away. She was my first dog and when she passed away it seemed like I lost not only the best dog I've ever had, but also a connection to my Mom. That said, I don't think I showed this around my daughter as your husband has and hopefully that will change.

Now isn't a good time to talk about getting another dog. That is a decision for another day unless someone is on the doorstep with a puppy. When the time is right for your family, I think you will know it.



answers from Dallas on

Hi. Didnt read all the post, but NOPE... you are NOT being a jerk. All of us have to learn how to move past a pet dying. The adults have to be adults to help our kids when or if faced with this issue down the road. If it was family member of friend, different story. Hang in there.



answers from Chicago on

You're always going to get a big range of opinions on here - guess that's why it's good to ask, and it seems like you have an open mind for other opinions, so that's really great too.

One thing I wanted to mentioned taking the kids to daycare, picking them up again, doing everything in the evening, watching your daughter when she was home sick. I work full time and do all of those things every day (well thank goodness not the sick part every day). It's just the way our schedules work. Don't ever try to start comparing how much/what you do to your husband...not just with childcare, but housework or anything. When you begin to run a laundry list of who does more, everyone loses. Most everyone thinks their contributions are equal, if not more valuable than their partner's. Your work should for sure be appreciated and valued, but not thrown in his face as a way of telling him he's not doing enough. You have to value and appreciate what he's doing too...then he might be inspired to do more. ;) And give him a lot of slack right now...his first baby just died, that's really sad.



answers from New York on

This is so tough...I understand totally how u must feel resentful. There is disproportionate depression, but the thing is we all grieve differently. i am a total animal person too, and so I know how badly I would feel if one of my pets died. But I also understand your frustration. Sheesh. Maybe give him a chance to talk it out with you or someone he feels close to. I guess it all depends on how long this goes on or has gone on. Give it a little time, and then maybe try to get out and do some stuff to take his mind off it, get him out of his funk that he's in, sort of break the cycle.
Hang in there...

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