In Need of Emotional Support for the Loss of My Beloved Pet, Lucky.

Updated on July 21, 2008
K.H. asks from Scotch Plains, NJ
33 answers

This past Thursday, 17 July, one of the most precious loves of my life, my little 9 year old Bichon named Lucky was attacked and killed in the park by a very large dog. My grief is intense and I can hardly make it throughout the day and throughout the nighttime because of my intense emotional pain. When my 5 year old granddaughter asked me last night where Lucky was, I told her Lucky went to Heaven. After my daughter and son-in-law took my GD home, I became overwhelmingly depressed again. In a way, I feel a sense of guilt over my baby's loss, which makes it even harder for me to cope. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions as to what I can do to help my healing? I would appreciate any help, suggestions and ideas that come my way. Thank You.

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T.C.

answers from New York on

Losing a pet is very hard for they are part of the family, I know this might sound cruel at the moment but one thing that really helps you get over the loss of a dog is getting another one. I hope this helps you some what.

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S.B.

answers from Syracuse on

I'm so sorry that you are feeling so sad. Here is a thought that I believe in..every soul, be it animal or human, knows how much time it will spend here. It chooses the people who they want to spend this time with..Lucky chose you. Lucky knew that in the time that he would be alive on this earth, that you would love him the most and enough for a full lifetime. Animals don't fear death, so there is no need to worry. Lucky is at peace now. Love never dies. You did a good job at loving Lucky.
I think you chose a good name for him too...he really was Lucky.

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S.H.

answers from Albany on

You NEED to learn to do EFT. That's short for Emotional Freedom Technique. Go to www.emofree.com. There are directions and thousands of pages of testimonials. Youtube also has some videos about it. You will wipe out your grief almost instantly. These things can haunt us for years or even forever if we don't do EFT.

EFT works for minor and very serious issues. It will allow you to think about the situation but without that horrible mental anguish and even physical pain. If you feel too bad to learn something new now, go to a local practitioner. You can learn it for free on the website though. It's one of the best things I ever came across and has helped me immensely to deal with grief.

I'm really sorry for Lucky and you. I have a little dog myself that is a big part of my life. I know when she eventually goes, that I will get a new dog immediately, probably a rescue this time. Of course it's not the same but we have enough love in us to love a new dog and it will keep you busy too.

Keep us posted!

S. Hoehner
www.sharethecause.com/detoxqueen

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M.K.

answers from New York on

I would suggest seeing a doctor for the depression, and the sue the family of the attack dog,
they have an obligation,and so do you, so get your marching shoes back on and for Lucky's sake and the sake of other wildlife, get people to take responsibility and leassh their WILD doggs.

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J.F.

answers from Buffalo on

I'm a vet tech at an animal hospital and helping owner's cope with the loss of a pet is the hardest part of my job. Personally we had to put my 14 year old puppy to sleep just over a week ago and it was the hardest thing i've experienced.

I love the poem Rainbow Bridge, as someone else pointed out too. There is also a WONDERFUL book called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant that has helped many people I know. It's a children's book but i think its simplicity helps adults also.
Nothing will help 100%, just like the loss of any other family member, there is greiving and sadness. If you feel that it is too intense, there are many support groups or hotlines to help. I apologize that i don't have the list here with me of reputable places, but if you are in need of more info, just let me know and i can get the phone numbers from work.
There are many other things you can also do to memorialize your pet. I like to have photos around as a memory. A friend of mine had the ashes back from her cat and got a necklace online that holds a small amount of the ashes so she always has her baby with her. Maybe a bit weird to some but it helps her. I like the suggestion of naming a star after your pet, i never thought of that...

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M.M.

answers from New York on

The loss of a pet is HUGE (and really not understood by those who are not animal lovers). The way that Lucky died left you no time to prepare, and the fact that you were present and saw what happened surely must have left you in shock. Give yourself some time--this wound is just too fresh. There are pet bereavement support groups in many areas as well as online. I'd encourage you to join one to help you with this.

My heart is with you.

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A.A.

answers from New York on

Dear K., I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of Lucky, and particularly in such a violent fashion. My heart goes out to you. I have 2 bichons, 5 parrots and a cat, and I know just how devastating such a loss can be. You must feel very overwhelmed with grief right now.

I am also a psychotherapist, which may be an advantage or a disadvantage in this case. Personally, and because I am so involved with and invested in my animals, I think what you are feeling at the moment is probably appropriate, or commensurate with the love you felt, and feel, for Lucky. There is no "right" way to grieve, and despite the wonderful writings of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, no predictable path to how the grief process will play itself out. I think at times like this, you simply have to give yourself permission to miss Lucky and the joy she brought to your life. It leaves such a hole.

I think the sense of guilt you feel, however, is compounding your grief and probably making it almost intolerable. It is hard not to feel responsible for a life in our care, but as I think most of us realize, we really do not have a lot of control over what happens in our lives. It would be wonderful if we could all protect our loved ones from hurt and harm, but sadly, we cannot. Some things truly are out of our control. LIfe is filled with "if onlys," but they never get us anywhere or undo what has been done. "If onlys," like guilt, are a waste of precious time, energy, and effort. It's a very normal response to the situation, but it will not help you move forward with your life, and it will not bring Lucky back. You are not responsible for the actions of another dog. I know that all SOUNDS very good, but what can you actually DO about it?

Without knowing you it's hard to say exactly, but one of the things you can do is that every time you start to feel guilty and blame yourself for what happened to Lucky, you can make yourself stop, think about what you are actually saying to yourself and then give yourself all the reasons why that is not really correct. You need to remind yourself that you cannot control everything and that you could not have stopped what happened. Self talk can be very helpful in keeping your thoughts from running away with you. It keeps you grounded in the present, and a dose of reality is often useful in counteracting the very emotional thoughts that must be flooding you right now. At a time of such immense grief and emotion, it is all too easy to get lost in your feelings and be unable to get back out. You can just get swallowed up by the emotion. It is as if your brain has been hijacked by these overwhelming feelings that make it difficult to get through the day, not to mention the long nights.

There are some very good books about dealing with the loss of a pet, and I'm sure there are some excellent websites that have ideas. Some people find that creating rituals to honor their loved one helps. Discovering ways to honor Lucky, when you are ready, may help you better manage your grief, or perhaps becoming an activist to alert people to the dangers that small dogs face from much larger, sometimes dangerous, dogs, could be useful to you as well.

In the end, whether animal or person, the same strategies seem to work; time, faith, staying connected with friends and family and finding ways to put your grief to work for the good of others. I think it is also important to remember that love never dies, and that although Lucky is no longer with you, she is not gone from your life. Never underestimate the power of love. I have no doubt that Lucky loved you as much as you loved her, and her life was enriched by the love and care you lavished upon her. It helps, I think, to remember that.

In reaching out to others, you are taking the first steps toward healing. Your feelings of despair will lessen with time, but not your joy for having shared your life with Lucky.

Again, I am so sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. I wish there was more I could do to help. You are in my thoughts.
A.

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T.M.

answers from Utica on

You are very normal for a pet lover. My chocolate (Manx) died from cancer. I had to put him down. I felt so guilty for having to make that decision, but Choc had gone from 35 lbs to under 10 in a very short period of time. like a few weeks. It just devoured him. He was my life. If he went out of the apartment I was in, I was sick with grief until I found him. I had sworn off anymore cats in my life. A friend of mine found a fero cat and her kittens and had homes for all the kittens. The local animal shelter told her they would spay the momma cat free if she could find her a home. So even though I did not want another cat, i took her home and gave her a home. Her name became Molly. She was a joy, I found the best medicine was to get a rescue animal. If my Choc could have spoken, he would have told me he wanted that. He was also a rescue. You are not replacing your baby, you are rescuing another animal from cruelty or uncertain death. On June 10th I had to put my Choc down. I still miss his antics today, the the march goes on we now have another rescue cat and a rescue dog. Kim Kitty and Neeko. God Bless you.

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K.E.

answers from New York on

I am so sorry for your loss, and I understand why you feel guilty. Were you able to find out who the owner of the attacking dog was? Maybe something can be done about the dog being vicious. Also, I googled "pet loss therapy" and came up with quite a few hits...since I don't know where you are, I don't want to suggest anything just yet, but there were at least two links to web pages that mentioned online or on-the-phone therapy that I saw...maybe something like that could help.

Hang in there,
K.

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L.B.

answers from New York on

I'm so sorry for your loss. I grieved the loss of our dogs as much as that of any human. It's been years now, but at the time our vet offered a bereavment support group. Talking to other people with the same experience sometimes helps.

Good luck.

Lisa

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J.P.

answers from Buffalo on

Dear Kimberly,
I am so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been. I was devistated when I lost my cat of 13 years last year. It takes so much time because they were always there. So it's hard not to be reminded of them. You should not feel guilt in anyway. There was nothing you could have done, I'm sure. There is nothing wrong with going to speak to a professional about your greif. That and time will prob. be the only way to over come it. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

i

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W.O.

answers from New York on

Dear K.,
I can understand your pain and loss, and sympathize with you. As a believer in our Creator, you must understand that He has a plan for each creature on earth. As a devoted family, we have lost 2 dogs, 3 cats, great-grandmothers, and my father; and all deaths have been graciously accepted as an act of God. If those who die know that they have been loved in life, the transition is easier for all. We have accepted death because we Loved in life.
For example, my daughter's best friend when was small, was my grandmother - her great-grandmother. No matter what the situation, I could take her to Mom-Mom and she was calm and submissive. They would have tea parties and play doctor. Suddenly Mom-Mom died, and come to find out, my daughter felt it was her fault; she had made her great-grandmother play too much. I explained to her that her great-grandmother had lived so long because of her; she had extended her life. It gave a young girl a new look on life.
So, in other words, never be depressed on forces of life; Except and embrace them. Always concentrate on the positive.

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L.A.

answers from New York on

Dear K.,
I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you are going thru... I have dealt with my share of fur baby losses. Give your self time to grief.... then throw yourself into your family and grandchildren and know that the cliche about time healing wounds is true. I wish you the best during this difficult time. Stay strong. L.

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B.A.

answers from New York on

I am so sorry to hear about your friends passing. I wish that I had words or advice to ease your grief. I can only send my prayers and sympathies. I have had pets my whole life and it was very hard for me when each one passed. I know that pain can be as much as when any family member passes away.
I'm sure that you know that we are all spirit beings and animals are too. Lucky's spirit is never far from you and is around you and watching over you and your family now.
I wish you all the best.
B.

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A.G.

answers from New York on

I am so sorry for your loss. It is really hard to lose a beloved "furry child" and the trauma of how Lucky died is worse. Don't blame yourself and let yourself grieve. God promises that He will care for all his creatures! God loves all His creation. One thing that has helped me this past year through a miscarriage and my furry family's death had been knowing that they all are in the care of God. I still miss them all and would love to hold my baby, dog, and horse but since I can't knowing that the Creater himself cares for all he has created has to be enough. We still grieve though. You may or may not want to get a new furry baby to love (never replace) or try getting a journal and write to Lucky and tell Lucky how much you love and miss her. Also try voluntering (when your ready) at an animal shelter and share the love for Lucky with less fortunate animals. Just be warned if you do that you may come home with a furry baby or 2 or more ;). God Bless and Keep You now and always. A.

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W.H.

answers from New York on

I am so sorry for your loss. we lost our family dog one year ago this month. My daughter was almost 4yr and my son 18mos at the time. I cried every day and night. Then on days that I held it together was the days that my daughter would ask about him, when is he coming back, why did he have to go, I miss him . . . Then I would lose it again. We told my daughter that he was very sick and it was time for him to go to heaven where he will feel no pain and be reunited w/ his first owner (my uncle). We have a book of pictures of our dog that we look thru all the time and talk about the "good times" He was 16yrs so we have many pictures. My daughter loves to hear stories about our dog before she was born. She still tells people that we used to have a dog but now he's in heaven. She's ok w/ it now, and so am I. (I only cry once in awhile, or tear up a little like now when I am typing about everything)
You may want to try your library and see what books they have on the subject. Best wishes

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K.A.

answers from New York on

First of all, you sound like an amazing person. I went through a very sad loss of pet 3 years ago. My cat Reefer ( I named him when I was in high school) was 19. He was my best friend, and loved my son, who was 4 mos old when my cat passed. Reefer would lick my tears when I would cry as a teenager, moved to California with me, and was with me through every change from adolescence to adulthood. One month after buying my first home with my new family, he wandered into my neighbor's yard (was always a house cat, but I was so excited to give him a home with a yard that I let him out to explore) Well, they put him to sleep because he was old.I know your pain and it will get much better. Rescue an animal from a shelter to do good in your lost pet's honour. that helped me.

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L.K.

answers from New York on

First I am so sorry for your loss. We had a boxer that was almost 9 years old when he died in front of my two boys and myself this past March. We had come home and my hub was down in the basement, the dog walked down the hall and his legs gave out. My youngest son (12) screamed and ran to him as my older son (17) and I did. He then got up walked into my older son's room walked around in circles and collapsed again. We watched as he stopped breathing. I had called my husband to come upstairs quick, and that was when he died. This was very devestating to us. A friend of mine sent me this and thought of you as I read your request. I hope this poem will help you.
http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm
Oh, and we just got a miniature long haired dachsund last Wednesday who will be 2 next month. We absolutely love him, and he loves us. We won't ever forget our boxer and we still saved some of his toys and his collar. God Bless!

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S.K.

answers from Albany on

I am so sorry for your loss. Even though I don't know you, or Lucky, I feel your pain. I, too, have experienced intense pain after the loss of a pet. I have lost two dogs in the past unexpectedly. One had a blood disorder and passed away at the vets. office at 2 am. The other had heart problems and one day couldn't stand up. We had a few different vets at the office examine him, and we also had lots of tests and heart scans done. In the end, we were told that he couldn't be helped and we needed to end his suffering. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone!
I can't imagine how hard it must be to have another dog take the life of one of my "kids". I wish I had some advice to help you through. But, in my experience, it just takes time. Personally, I never "got over it". And I still cry when I think about them. But, it does get easier to get through a day after some time has passed. Know that people are thinking of you, and take care of yourself.
Sincerely,
S. K

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C.B.

answers from New York on

Hi K.,

I am so sorry to hear your story. I have had a Bichon as well, who ones was attacked by a german sheppard and a second time by an Akita. Luckely he made is through these ordeals. After that I was very cautious to let him near large dogs.
The best advise I can give you is to get another dog, to get your mind of this hurt.

I am as well a vegetarian and Environmentalist and love all kinds of animals. Currently I have 2 Cockatiels.

C.
http://C..healthyhometour.com

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E.K.

answers from New York on

When I was in high school our yorkie was attacked and killed by the neighbors dog. It was awful, he that wasn't MY dog. HOWEVER, this June 13th I had to put MY wonderful big girl Jolie to sleep. It was the most painful and difficult decision I've ever had to make but I was able to hold her while she died. And it was a kind choice for her. The quality of her life had really been slipping but I was in total denial about it. And I was so caught up in my 18 month old's life that it was hard for me to really give Jolie all my attention anymore, which was awful for both of us. I'm still not over it and I don't know that I ever will be. She was a rescue and the light of my life and my best friend. She was 18. In her honor I am in the process of organizing "Jolie's Walk for Kibble Challenge". My goal is to get mom's walking and get kibble donated for every mile they walk. If you want to be involved I can give you more info. For you, all I can say is take it one day at a time. Share with people about how wonderful Lucky was, her adorable quirky things that she did, and how much you will miss her. I had Jolie cremated and plan to plant a tree with her ashes when I have a yard. Sending you love and warm thoughts. E.

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J.H.

answers from Syracuse on

I'm so sorry for your loss...it's devastating to lose a pet, but even more so by such a vicious attack. My heart goes out to you.

I would suggest going to a counselor...if you are religious, go seek out a priest, pastor, rabbi, etc...

I personally feel talking about your feelings is one of the best ways to begin the healing process...

You sound like a really neat person - my best wishes to you for peace and healing.

J.

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A.G.

answers from Rochester on

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet... a member of your family. As far as suggestions for healing: do you scrapbook? Maybe making a scrapbook of pictures/items of Lucky would help you in the process. What about volunteering at an animal shelter or donating on behalf of Lucky? Unfortunately, you need time to heal. That is the hardest part...

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A.M.

answers from New York on

I am a vegetarian and kind of a hippie too! I am there with you sweetie! I have brought my 14 year old mutt to the vet not once but twice to be "put down". My vet keeps saving him. I'm glad he's still around but I have been through the heartache of losing him twice now. I don not know what your religious beliefs are but I believe ALL animals have a soul. They have shorter lives because God wants them first. (Who wouldn't? :) ) They were placed on this earth first also! You will see Lucky again. I just know it. What a reunion it will be! Until then, do something special. Make a scrap book or keep a poetry journal. It will help. I promise! Please keep me posted on how you are doing, sister animal lover!
Love, A.
[email protected]____.com

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M.B.

answers from Rochester on

Plan a memorial service for your beloved little pet. Make it as elaborate as you need to: picture collage, flowers, personal effects, anything that reminds you of your friend. Write out some memories of your friend, and invite friends of Lucky and family.

Hope you are feeling better, and my sorrows for your loss,
M.

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R.L.

answers from New York on

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss! It is truly one of the hardest things to go through. Our pets are so innocent and pure and just love us unconditionally. My suggestion is to perform a ritual to help yourself have an outlet for your grief, and to memorialize and honor Lucky. For example, when my husband lost his 21 year old cat, we got together with his parents and buried him beside his favorite tree. We looked relocated his favorite rock to sun himself to mark the spot and so he's always have that. We all said thing we remembered and loved about him and then shared a nice meal together. After, we gathered all things from around the house. We chose to take his collar with the bell. Everything else was thrown away. We put his collar around our bedroom door knob, so when we open and close it we hear his little bell and it smile as his memory. All our best wishes getting through this.

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N.D.

answers from New York on

What a horrible thing to experience. I hope the owner of that dog was prosecuted. Here is one of my favorite poems to help you with your loss.
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

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A.G.

answers from New York on

Hi K.:

I can only imagine your overwhelming feeling of saddness and helplessness. I like you am a animal lover, I have at the moment a 50 gallon fish tank, two boston terriers and a cornsnake. I love all creatures as well as you. At this point, my best advise to you is to adopt a pet, go to PetSmart or a shelter, there are so many abandoned pets that would just love to have a mom like you, they need love, attention, affection and a nice home -- there it's set, go right now, you will feel that you have done a good deed as well as trying to fill the void that you now feel for your lovely lost Lucky. It is unfortunate, but I'm sure Lucky does not want you to feel sad - or lonely or depressed, so honor Lucky memory by replacing Lucky with an adopted pet that needs a home. I've lost many pets, but yours was a tragedy, it's nature to feel the way you do. Do not blame yourself for what happened, it was an accident, your lucky you didn't get hurt as well. Lucky would feel better knowing that you have honored his memory by adopting a pet that could very well be hutanized if you don't hurry and adopted it. So go -- right now and adopt a pet in Lucky memory. I sincerely feel sorry for your lost, Aida.

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A.P.

answers from New York on

I'm so sorry you lost your dear buddy. I'm afraid I don't have any advice, but I've lost pets (though not as tragically), so I know a little of what you're going through. Give yourself time and permission to grieve.

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T.K.

answers from New York on

You may want to consider Bach Flower remedies. These are natural flower tinctures (a series of 38 different flowers) that help with emotional "injuries" such as you are describing.

Each flower is effective for different specific issues. Gentian is one that helps with grief. They can also be combined. They are completely safe and typically very effective.

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L.S.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi!
My heart goes out to you. Unfortunately we just have to experience the pain and sorrow of our loved one's death. I am still reminded of my cat's death that happened on President's Day and I am still sad about it. I have taken one of her pictures and framed it and put it near where I sit daily. I have also gotten 2 new cats that were rescued from certain death. One was found by a dumpster and pregnant; the other was rescued from the SPCA. Both have turned out to be excellent for me emotionally. I wish you well, and I hope my note helps you.
L.

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R.C.

answers from New York on

Sorry for your loss....I know it's not easy...

You need to allow yourself to mourn and feel the things you are feeling in order to heal and this will take time.

What helped me alot was I placed a picture of my dog, her favorite toy and tags on my coffee table with a candle which I lit and I would sit on the sofa for awhile everytime I began crying or found myself walking around the house just missing her so much. I would look at her picture, toy and tags and thought about things like her puppyhood along and all the things I enjoyed with her over the years....sometimes I'd end up laughing at the silly things she used to do.
I also went to WWW.FreeNameAStar.Com and had a star named in memory of her.
Time has passed and it's a lot easier now but I still have my moments of missing her....She was a big part of my life for 15 years and for me she'll always be here in spirit.

Sending you healing hugs........

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B.R.

answers from Albany on

I'm so sorry to hear about the tragic death of your dog, Lucky. It was probably horrifying for you to witness that.

One of our cats was killed about 3 years ago by a large dog. I still feel terribly guilty about it because I let the cat out. I should have let him back in, but didn't because I was taking a nap. At one point I thought I heard pet noise (we have several cats so there is a lot of squabbling), but it didn't last long, so I thought everyone was o.k. I was horrified to see his body laying so still in the yard. Our other cats were traumatized, too, because they witnessed it. This was a very strong and self-sufficient cat; I thought he was invincible.

I'm sure you have experience grief and trauma in the past, so you know how to cope. Here are some suggestions, which you might have already thought of. Talking about it is helpful. And if you are open to the idea, talking to a good and true pet psychic can be helpful (but expensive). Seeing a psychotherapist is useful, too. There are homeopathic remedies that are useful for people suffering your symptoms. Check at your local natural food grocery store.

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