I lost my dog, Chocolate, over a year ago to cancer. It was really hard for me: I lost her six months after I lost my Dad. Most people say their pet is their baby. Well, in this case, she was my sister. My family adopted her when she was 8 months and I was 5.
When we first met her, she was so scared she peed herself, but of course, when we brought her home we couldn't get her to sit still for what felt like the first 5 hours! Once she got used to our routine she calmed down a lot, but she'd still have her moments :).
After I lost my Dad, I noticed she got really depressed. She didn't want to go for walks or eat as much. I knew he was her favorite, but I didn't know it could get that bad.
About two months later, she went blind. My mum and I just thought it was her age, but when she was laying down and refused to get up, even for her favorite meat, we knew something was wrong.
We took her to the vet and they referred us to a clinic a couple towns over. At first the vet said she was improving. She even snapped at one of the nurses (which was considered good news), but when the vet did scans of her body and then told us she had cancer all over, I didn't want to believe it. She'd been my best friend for so many years. I didn't want to lose her, ever!
I was there when she was put to sleep and so were all the nurses and other vets from that clinic. I realized how lucky she was to have people that truly cared about her around her when she passed. I know some animals don't get that. I knew I've wanted to be a vet since I was little, but at that moment I knew I wanted to be there for the animals that were dying just as much as for the ones that were living.
Later on, when I wasn't grieving as much (I still miss Chocolate a lot, but I've accepted it), I started volunteering at the city shelter (and I still do) where I adopted another dog, Slinky, just recently. I believe Slinky chose me. She's a Chihuahua mix (Chocolate was a Rottweiler), but sometimes I feel like I am comparing Slinky to Chocolate or I am trying to replace Chocolate. I know no dog will be able to fill those shoes, not that i would want them to.
I just find myself saying or thinking something like, "Chocolate used to do that" or "That reminds me of Chocolate." I even find myself doing that with dogs at the shelter. I don't want to keep doing this; I know each dog is different and that there is no need to compare and contrast, but I still find myself doing this. Do you know of anything that might help?
P.S. Feeling guilty about other aspects of pet ownership is common, as well. If you need help with your cat and dog relationship problems, check out our Woof and Meow series at the Best of All Things Dog Blog. You'll also find this link just under out header at the top.
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