Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I brought a new puppy, and didn´t realize I wasn´t done grieveing my old dog

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice I brought a new puppy, and didn´t realize I wasn´t done grieveing my old dog

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  • #822295 Reply

    Hi all, I´m a long time lurker, writing for the first time. Please excuse any mistakes I make since english isn´t my native language.

    This is long, but I really felt the need to put my emotions out there because they´ve been so overwhelming lately, and you´ve all been so compasionate when Wendy lost Simone, I thought I´d find some comfort here.

    My dog, Nami, died last april. We´d gone out of town to visit family, and while we were there, she died for no apparent reason, very suddenly.
    The next day my house was burglarized so the obvious conclusion is that my dog had been poisoned, to allow the burglars to enter. And the saddest part is, it wasn´t even necesary. My brother took her for the weekend. The dog wasn´t going to be there when the assholes came back to rob me.
    To make it worst, the last time I saw my dog I was in a hurry because the cab was waiting at the door, so I just shoved her into he backyard and just closed the door on her, didn´t even hugged her goodbye. And I feel so guilty and horrible about it. And also feel very guilty because in her last months, I was overwhelmed with work, I was struggling with a new job, I was very stressed, and I wasn´t paying as much attention to her, and I regret that so much, so so much. I can´t stop crying . I felt annoyed all the time, and it wasn´t her fault at all, she just wanted to be there, and I pushed her away. I knew I was wrong,so I´d go back and hug her or played with her for a few minutes, but the next day I was again worrying about my own stuff. I remember being in the cab and thinking I´d make it up to her when I came back, but didn´t get the chance.
    I adored my dog, I raised her since she was a puppy, and when I moved out on my own, she came with me. We grew together, and learned a lot about companionship and love and responsibility. She was always there for me, when I was happy, or sad or worried. She was always there, sharing every emotion with me, somehow I always felt she understood me, every time. When I was happy, she made me happier, and when I was sad, she helped me feel better.
    Then, all of a sudden she was gone .
    Months went by, and I started feeling better, I didn´t feel sad when I thought about her anymore, remembering her made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside.
    I thought I was ready for a new pet, my daughter asked for a puppy every other day, and I liked the idea more and more every day.
    So we brought a new puppy home. She´s tiny and cute and funny. And all I feel when I see her is ovewhelming sadness for my Nami. I miss her terribly. And I never in a million years saw it coming. All of a suden it feels like Nami died yesterday. I feel pain, a knot in my throat, I can´t eat, and tears just keep flowing, it´s like a damn waterfall. Feels like I never grieved in the first place. The pain and sadness and longing I feel now, is heartwrenching. I don´t remember feeling this awful back in april, and that´s probably the issue. I clearly wasn´t done grieving.
    Out of nowehere, I get these waves of sadness and just can´t stop crying, and the poor new puppy… I feel so horrible because she´s so awesome, and all I can think when I see her is that I´m not able to love her . I want to connect with her, and enjoy her, but I just get so sad.
    This was supossed to be over. I was supposed to be happy about the new pup.
    I don´feel anybody around me understands what I´m going through. I don´t understand why, 10 months later I feel like my heart is shattering. I feel weak, and my head hurts all the time.
    I just hope Nami knew how much I loved her, and still love her. I wish I could tell her I´m sorry for the way I treated her that last day.
    I want to go back to remembering her with smiles and laughter insted of this soul-ripping sadness.
    The craziest thing is, I´m crying about my old dog, and the puppy licks my tears. I read somewhere that it helps to tell the new puppy about the old dog, so I tried and I do feel a bit better.

    If anyone can help me, tell me of ways to deal with this pain ,and be a good person to my new pup, I´d very much appreciate it.

    #822301 Reply

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this! Can you find a therapist or counselor to talk this over with? It seems to me like your grief is being amplified by feelings of guilt and shame that run deeper than just being busy and occasionally being annoyed by the dog. Everyone gets annoyed by their dogs! Everyone shoves them in the yard when we’re running late without saying a proper goodbye. It sounds like you gave Nami a loving home. She was cared for and lucky to have you. I suggest talking with a counselor or trusted friend about why your default reaction was to punish yourself for something that was completely not your fault. Don’t pressure yourself to bond with the new dog right away. Just provide it a safe, happy home, and don’t try to force that same connection. I think you’ll find it’s easier to do when you start being kinder to yourself about all of this.

    #822303 Reply

    Yeah, please see if you can talk with a grief counselor. Would you have coverage for some therapy via your insurance or employer? It sounds like not just grief but also trauma.

    At first I was thinking could you re-home the puppy, since she’s still so young and would be able to find a good home. But I’m not sure if you can do that with your daughter involved and it being her pet. I think you’re going to need to work through the grief.

    #822304 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    First, I am so sorry about the loss of your dog. Please let go of the guilt you feel about your old dog passing and how rushed you were and work and all of it. It wasn’t your fault she died, and I can tell that you loved her very, very much. If it comes through so clearly to me in an online post, then over the course of the many years you had together, it was obvious to her that she was loved.

    Second, I feel you. My dog is getting older and it’s going to be time to say goodbye long before I am ready to do so and (because I have another dog that needs socialization), I have thought about how I would feel to get a new dog fairly soon after my current one passes (I don’t want to do that before because I wouldn’t be able to fairly divide my time between a new dog and a needy aging dog).

    I think it’s important to recognize that the new dog isn’t the old dog and it isn’t a replacement for your old dog. Loving the new puppy doesn’t take away from the love you had for your old dog. It just means that you are making room in your heart for a new dog. And that’s okay. You don’t have to feel bad or guilty because you got a new puppy and you’re not betraying your old dog by loving the new puppy. Just let it happen naturally. And, please, let go of the guilt.

    #822308 Reply

    Just wanted to add, 1) what happened was not your fault, you’re going to need to figure out how to let this all go, and 2) for now, just decide to take the best care of the puppy that you can, and don’t beat yourself up about how you feel or don’t feel about her.

    #822310 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    I really just want to give this LW a hug.

    #822314 Reply

    I’m so sorry your going through this! I’m sure the fact that your dog was just gone suddenly made it that much worse. But, it wasn’t your fault. At all. I know it’s likely easier to tell yourself that than to feel it which is why everyone is also recommending therapy or grief counselor.

    Hugs to you.

    #822321 Reply

    Yes on grief counseling (or just general counseling). Focus upon your child. it has to be a little scary to see your mother crying much of the time.

    #822324 Reply

    I can somewhat relate as we got a new kitten suuuuuper quickly after my last cat died, literally only a few days later. My then fiance now husband wanted a kitten and I thought why wait? It turned out it was too soon for me and I didn’t bond with her straight away. Those first few weeks were hard but once I was ready I was so fortunate because there was a happy little creature in front of me that was ready and willing to be loved. I think talking to someone will definitely help you LW but in the meantime just keep letting that lovely little pup live in your house and enjoy your daughter’s cuddles, she’ll be there when you’re ready.

    #822333 Reply

    Certainly talk to someone to sort through your feelings (formal counselor or no).

    As an aside, when I first got my cat (my first pet as an adult) he was very different than the cat I grew up with, and I had a hard time at first because he wasn’t what I “expected” out of a cat. And my childhood cat wasn’t even dead, he was still alive and well with my parents at the time. Eventually I got to know and appreciate my new cat on his own terms, for his own personality.

    Your puppy isn’t a replacement for Nami, she never could be. So don’t try to compare, just let this dog be this dog. In time, you will come to know this dog and love it too.

    #822402 Reply

    Thank you all so much for your caring responses.
    You helped me so much with your kind words.
    I´d read in forums that dow owners shouldn´t feel guilty , etc, but it didn´t really sink in until you guys told me that. Because it wasn´t a general phrase about a random dog and a random owner. You told ME specifically to let go, and that my dog most likely knew I lover her.
    I followed your advice and went to see a friend who´s also a counselor and asked her to be completely honest with me, and if she thought I´d need extra help, she´d refer me to a collegue.
    So we spoke for several hours, and what she told me was basically the same you told me. To let go of the guilt.
    But she also helped me realize why I should let go.

    She asked me “When you have an argument with your husband, do you stop loving him?” – “No, of course not.”- “Do you think he thinks you stoped loving him becaue you argued?” – “No, of course not, he know I still love him, even when we disagree”. – “How about me? Would you think I´d stop loving you if we had a fall out? Or think I´d think you didn´t love me anymore?” – “no, of course not, you´d knew I still love you”. And so on, she asked me again and again. Until she finally said the obvious : “Then why would you think Nami would have felt any different? Wasn´t she smart?” – “Yes, she was very smart”- “Then she knew very well you loved her”.

    After that she told me to speak with my husband, because he can´t understand what I feel if I don´t tell him. It is very different to say “I miss Nami” than explain the whole range of emotions.
    So I did that too. And he understood me and told me that nobody loved Nami more then I.
    And it helped too.
    Another thing my friend told me was :”Your dog had a happy life with you. Don´t belive me, don´t belive your husband, go and find evidence. You have photos and videos, you celebrated her birthdays for christ sake! Go through them and remember how good it all was, focus on that”
    And at this point, she made me laugh.
    I did that, and yes, of course it was good.
    After that, I took Ron´s advice and focused on my kid ( by the way, I tried very hard to not cry in front of her. I wen´t out of the house with any excuse, “I´m going to buy whatever” or took bike rides).
    What I saw was a happy kid with a cute new puppy, playing, and laughing and being happy with eachother. It also made me smile and I realized the pup is already being loved, so I don´t need to worry about the way I feel about her right now (I´m warming up to her at my own pace). And I am taking good care of her, and I like doing it. It feels so much better already. Several of you told me this, and you were right. It was good to actually see it 🙂

    And another thing my friend told me was that this puppy did me a great deal of good, because thanks to her I was able to really let y sadness show, and go through it. It was there all bottled up, and it´s a good thing , even thought it hurts a lot, to go through it and process it.
    It would have shown in a nastier way eventually and unexpectedly if I didn´t do this.
    So I don´t feel so sad anymore. I´m not done, I know that it´ll take some more time, but I don´t feel like crying my eyes out anymore.
    I do smile again when I think about Nami, and I also smile when I see my new pup playing with my daughter.
    I´m getting there.
    You all helped me so much, so so much.
    It seemd like the obvious way to go, but I needed someone to tell me.
    So I thank you all for telling me such kind words, and help me deal with this, and open up to my husband and let him in in my feelings. I thought after posting and getting such warm responses from people who don´t even know me ,it can only be good to let my husband help me out. (I´m not that good asking for help. I need to work on that).
    You are amazing. Thank you!

    #822408 Reply

    That’s good progress!

    It made me think about how my dog lashes out at us a lot now because (I assume) there’s some discomfort from his arthritis which we manage with meds. It only lasts a moment or two, but it’s like he wants to kill us. Then he forgets about it. We still know he loves us. And he knows we love him even if we yell at him sometimes. That bond of love doesn’t get broken because of some temporary irritability or whatever.

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