It is no coincidence that I read "Lilibeth's" message about the Three most important days...I have been through a lot in dealing with my Chelsea's health during the last few years, ranging from mast cell cancer to impacted intestine surgery and lastly, at thirteen years and two months, cancer of the spleen that had spread and proved fatal. I have always received support from all of you, especially if you remember the story of AMY at the New York A.S.P.C.A. Chelsea passed during surgery which was my decision to preserve her dignity on November 29th, 2001. This has been the most difficult and painful time in my entire life. I can't stop crying and grieving for the true love of my life. Chelsea gave me so much and taught me so much...with her spirit and personality...she touched all who knew her. I received about 150 calls, donations to the Trooper Fund at the A.S.P.C.A., and cards, remembering the joy Chelsea brought to everyone. I am having a terrible time coping with the grief of losing my best friend after being together for thirteen years and two months. I have been so blessed...but I feel as though I am no longer whole without my dear Chelsea..Yes, in time, I will probably get another WEstie...but now I need to grieve. I remember reading about Opie and his Mom's grief. Your wonderful club has helped me through some difficult times and I want to thank all of you for your kindness, love and prayers for Chelsea...How do I cope? Right now, I am numb...and so lonely without her...any suggestions would be welcomed...Thank you, Leslie
February 05, 2002 at 20:48
I am so sorry about your loss. After having Magic in our family for almost two years, we are already so in love that I can't even imagine the bond that you had after 13 years.
Please post on the board any time you want to talk, and there will always be someone here to listen.
February 05, 2002 at 21:02
Dear Leslie -- I am sooooo sorry to hear you are still grieving so deeply for your beloved Chelsea -- although it's not been that long since her death but it has been about 9 weeks or so. Was she your only dog? If so, that is where the void lies -- you are lonely beyond compare!
Most all of us have been in your shoes . . . I lost my first westie after only 4 years of having her with us -- even though she was older, it almost destroyed my husband and me to have her put to sleep. She was SO precious and brought so much joy to our lives -- I grieved for about 6 weeks -- just brokenhearted -- then I said to my husband, "What do you think about --" and before I could finish the sentence, he said "YES!" We got a westie puppy. And I must say, I got Pattie as an older adult and a puppy was NOTHING like Pattie -- AND there were times when I pushed Dixie aside and "blamed" her for not being Pattie! But once we got over the "terrible twos" -- Dixie is the best thing that could have happened to us to help us cope with losing our best friend.
ALSO, I lost my ten year old collie, Peaches Saturday. Very suddenly -- she just died. I just posted on the message board today about my new foster dog, a westie named Wesley -- he is about one year old. Last night I was laughing at his antics and feeling good and then I began to feel guilty for feeling happy because I felt I still should feel bad because of Peaches' death. But, ironically, today a dear friend sent me a newsletter regarding pet grief -- and it said that in most cases the best way to deal with the death of a pet is to get another one quickly! They acknowledged that it sounded outrageous, but it really did help with the healing process AND you will be giving a dog a wonderful home -- not betraying your love from Chelsea (or Peaches).
I truly believe Chelsea would not want you to grief yourself sick over her . . . after all, you had to have loved her beyond compare -- so why not give that love to another animal who needs it so desparately?
Reading your post just makes me ache for your hurting -- I hope this helps and I am going to email you that article about pet grief tomorrow!
Until then, please know that I will be thinking of you -- I hope something that I said will help you cope with losing your angel. If not, please do know that time will heal your broken heart.
Warmest Westie Wishes, Georgia
Lynda and the Minkies
February 05, 2002 at 22:49
Concentrate on all the fun you guys had together Leslie...that should bring a huge smile to your face. Think how happy she was thanks to you for her thirteen years too...a very loved dog. I hope you feel happier soon. I cannot imagine how devastated you feel right now. Opie's mum just got a new dog but not a Westie this time. XXX.
February 05, 2002 at 22:50
There are no words to take the grief away. When the vet made the call in August of last year that said, no hope for Misty, we could only ask for a few more days to say goodbye. When the time came to take her back to the vets, I knew that because she had been my husbands best friend I could not let him be the one to sigh the papers. But as we were walking to the vets I was not sure I could do this, but Misty turned to me and licked my hand, turned and walked into the vets with her head held high. Misty will never be forgotten, but she is at rest, and I know she would not want my husband to stop loving the part of life that made him happy, and that's what our four legged friends are, Life. So remember your best friend with love, but give another friend a chance to make you smile.
February 06, 2002 at 01:56
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, most people have gone through what you are going through now. There seems to be so many westies and cairns out there needing a loving heart like yours, would you consider another doggie to help you to move on?
February 06, 2002 at 05:01
I can only imagine the grief you are going through......With Taffy at the age of 12.....and having gone through all the health issues she has been through......I know what we do to have a good life for them........I also know that when the time comes for her to go to Rainbow Bridge....to join new and old friends.....there will be special friends there like .....Misty, Zoey, Chelsea and so many others.....I also know it will be one of the saddest days of my life.........
Hugs, Carolyn and Taffy
February 06, 2002 at 05:40
Leslie, I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our 15 year old Westie, Snuggles, about 3 years ago. My husband and I were both devastated. She died very unexpectedly. I didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye to her. I think that I thought she would live forever. She was my shadow. I can’t believe this, but I am starting to cry as I write this. I felt like I had lost a part of myself. Especially in the last few years of her life, she was by my side constantly. Memories of her were in every room of the house. I just walked around lost and cried constantly. I know that everyone is different in how they grieve. For me, I wanted another dog right away. I was on the computer searching for puppies immediately. I had to wait a few months before I found a breeder who had some. We jumped at the opportunity to get Smidgen and Skeeter. I don’t think that the healing processing really started for me until I got them. My husband says that it took me awhile to bond with them…they were the puppies from h***. Maybe, I was scared to get that attached again. Snuggles would have adored them!! She loved everybody and every animal in the world. Smidgen is much like her. I will never forget Snuggles or our other dog, Widgit, who passed on. For me, I always have to have a dog or dogs in my life. I am so sorry for your pain. I think that you would be surprised how much joy another pup would bring back to your life. It isn’t disloyal either. Actually, wanting another dog is a tribute to the love your other pup brought into your life. Chelsea would want you to be happy, not sad.
Daisy and Sissy
February 06, 2002 at 05:49
We have all been there. When you lose a pet that touches your heart so deeply it will take a long time to get to where you can smile at the memories. When I had our Mindy put down it left an empty place inside me that is there to this day. I couldn't even think about another dog for two years. It took us almost a year to find Daisy. I keep Mindy's photo on the wall in the family room. It doesn't hurt as much when I look at it. I think about the funny things she did and I can smile now. I made her a memorial page that helped a lot. I think the grief is worse when you are the one that has to make the decision that it's time. I think that there is always that feeling of what if? Just remember, you gave your little one a wonderful gift, that is to go gently, to a place with no more suffering. That takes real love.
Lynda and the Minkies
February 06, 2002 at 06:26
How sad Becky. I wasn't aware you had Westie before Smidgen and Skeeter... XXX.
February 06, 2002 at 06:49
I'm so sorry about how you are feeling. Try and concentrate on the good times and know Chelesa had a wonderful life. She wouldn't want you to be too sad.. What the others have said is very good advice. And remember there is some little Westie coming soon for you to make new memories with and give a wonderful life too.
February 06, 2002 at 06:52
Leslie- We all understand the sorrow you are feeling. When I lost my Daisy, I was devastated. But I was comforted knowing that she did not suffer and that I was able to do that for her. You will never forget Chelsea but in time your grief wil subside.
Just think of the wonderful times you had with Chelsea. Imagine her playing with all that have gone over the bridge before her.
There is a support group at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. I know people who have gone and it has helped them.
We are all here for you.
February 06, 2002 at 06:54
Oh Leslie, it breaks my heart to hear of your sadness. So many of us have been where you are and know the pain.
I decided to have my 15yr. old Peke-a-Poo Mandy put to sleep last year in February. It was an agonizing decision....I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep and I cried almost non-stop. I had to leave work several times because I would just break down.
After it was over, I felt such peace over my decision, but also felt such a void. How was I going to live (I was single) by myself without her. She'd been by my side for 15 yrs. She was my child and everyone thought of her that way. Take your time to grieve, but understand that there comes a time that you must make the choice to move on. That doesn't mean that you won't think about Chelsea all the time, but now I can think about Mandy and smile. You will get to that point in time.
The thing that helped me was having a new puppy in the house. Nick was such a handful, but it gave me a new life to nurture and care for. I wasn't trying to replace Mandy, because she could never be replaced, but I was moving on. I needed to have that and it was so good for me.
Everyone deals with their grief in their own way. The sadness and grief can be turned into something postive. God never shuts a door where he doesn't open a window somewhere else. God Bless you !!
February 06, 2002 at 07:10
Every time I read these, I remeber my last 2 Scotties who were my babies. When I lost each of them, first Duffy and them Champ!, I was a mess. Each time, I went and got another within a month to fill the void. When I lost Champ!, I found Beala and she has kept the house happy and full. Chelsea would want you to get another furbabie to give your love too. She knows you will never forget her, but she also wants you to be happy. When you're ready, you'll find the right one. Ed
February 06, 2002 at 07:25
Yes, we have all been there! When I lost my Cocker, Lucy, I couldn't believe how quiet my house was! I never dreamed I would have another dog 2 months later, but I couldn't stand being without a dog! I know this isn't the right thing for everyone, and I didn't think it was the right thing for me! I continued to grieve Lucy for many many months, but at the same time I was grieving Lucy, I was loving Booker to pieces! Maybe just spending time with a friend's dog or volunteering at a shelter would be an idea to ponder....I think you need some dog company!! You will grieve Chelsea for a long time, but she would also want you to share your love with another doggie!!
February 06, 2002 at 07:29
After losing our 18 year old mix breed, two days later we found Gracie and brought her into our fold. Life has never been the same. Truthfully... it has NEVER been the same. We still speak of our old gal and miss her terribly and I have come to realize not everyone understands the loss of a pet... and that is okay - but surround yourself with those who do. It is very important not to wipe out the years together with one day - the day of her death. Noted author, James Herriott wrote that he always suggested a new little one after such a loss... I took that advice and have not been sorry for it in the least. Since Gracie's arrival, which by the way, her registered name is: Jamison's Saving Grace, I have come full circle... we've gone from one dog to four and of course the rescue work.
It is okay to grieve - its important to grieve, but it is also important to celebrate life.
The following is my very favorite poem, and I have it framed with a photo of Cindar - our old gal...
I hope you find comfort in the following poem and peace in the following days, weeks, months and years...
Goodbye My Friend
They will not go quietly, the dogs who've shared our lives. In subtle ways they let us know their spirit still survives. Old habits still make us think we hear a barking at the door. Or step back when we drop a tasty morsel on the floor. Our feet still go around the place the food dish used to be, And, sometimes, coming home at night, we miss them terribly. And although time may bring new friends and a new food dish to fill. That one place in our hearts belongs to them... ...and always will.
Written by: Linda Barnes
February 06, 2002 at 08:40
Just take your time, Leslie. You have a right to grieve. Our family has been blessed with some spectacular dogs. And the death of each one brought tremendous pain. Eventually the pain goes away, but it goes away at its own pace. When Pepper, my first dog, died, I thought I'd never get over it. Then Nick and Nora came and gradually, they wormed their way into my heart -- especially Nora. Then Nora's kidneys failed and she had to be euthanized. She was 15 and we got her as a puppy. I will never forget cradling her in my lap as she snored from the sedatives she was on. But there was no way to fix her and she was in horrible shape. It was the hardest right decision I've ever made. Oddly enough, as Nora was going downhill, I found a yorkie-mix who had been thrown away at a park. Bugs' presence made Nora's death a little more bearable. Nine months later, I had to have Bugs euthanized. The mastectomy that removed the cancer nobody bothered to treat couldn't stop the inevitable. Cancer spread to her lungs, bones, brain, etc. But we sure had a stellar nine months before I lost her. And I felt her loss just a strongly as I felt Nora's and Pepper's. It was a long time (about two years) before I was ready to get my own dog again. My mother and I begruddlingly share a peke mix. And I now have Earth Dogge Mulligan, a Humane Society rescued cairn.
If things don't start to improve for you soon, please consider professional help. A member of your family has died. You have a right to grieve. But you also have a right to live. If you find you can't seem to get through this, please look for outside help.
Also, why not write down some of your favorite Chelsea stories? Write a book if you want to. After a while, you'll spend so much time reveling in her life and celebrating her life that your focus shifts from missing her to celebrating her. We did that when Nick was euthanized. (He had a heart attack in my lap on the way to emergency vets.) My father and Nick had a deeper relationship than most people do with one another. It helped him to remember and focus on the good times. Give it a try.
I hope you feel better soon. I understand how you feel, and I'm so very sorry for your loss.
February 06, 2002 at 10:08
I am so sorry to here about your loss, to be truthful I never want to go through it, I never want to be the one to take Bobby in. We had a chow before Bobby who had to be put to sleep at the age of 12, it was a very bad time for us, it was 6 years before we had Bobby and my dad wasn't very keen at first because of the loss of his beloved chow. I hope you come to terms with your loss and even though you will never forget Chelsea but if you have a pup they will NEVER take her place.
February 06, 2002 at 11:00
I do feel for you.All of us have at one time or another have gone through losing, Please think of getting another dog, sooner rather than later. You will never replace your beloved Chelsea but you can still give so much love to another. Love Sheils xxxx
February 06, 2002 at 11:21
I am so sorry for your loss. Yes many of us have been there and each has his own way in dealing with this loss. I can say I never truly got over the loss of my last 3 boys, there is a void in my heart where they once filled it. Sometimes I hear a song or read a poem that reminds me of them and it will bring me to tears, but I have gone on. I now have a cairn and a westie and a cat. I got my cairn right before my last dog died (over 9 years ago) and just got my westie this year. I must admit I planned these last 2 dogs in preparation for the loss of one. I feel it makes it less difficult when you already have an established furbaby with you when the time comes to loose one. But I do agree if you don't already have another there at the time it is best to go out and get another as soon as possible. You will find it helps so much to help you heal, even though this one can never replace the one you lost, it will become just as special in its own way. Perhaps an older rescue would be good for you at this point. You will be helping one in need and in turn it will be helping you. Think about it.
Robyn (FergieScruffy's mom)
February 06, 2002 at 11:50
Leslie, I am so sorry for your loss. I have read the preceding postings through tears, as I'm sure have many others. I waited for about a year after losing Luke, my beloved Labrador, to welcome another dog into my life. My Fergie has brought me much joy. When she was 5, we added Scruffy to our family, and we are so glad we did. In retrospect, I think I may have waited too long before opening my heart to another fur-baby. Luke is still the dog of my life, but I have found my heart has room for these 2 other little rascals, too. We never forget the ones we love. I hope you feel better soon. xoxox Robyn, Fergie, and Scruffy
February 06, 2002 at 12:04
I wasn't aware you had Snuggles before Skeeter and Smidgen! We have more in common than I knew! We have both been through the UNBEARABLE pain of the loss of a "family member" -- and a westie at that!
February 06, 2002 at 15:53
I am sorry to hear of your loss, and I can understand how it feels, even after several weeks, months, and even years. The love given and received will never leave your mind and your heart, and will remain as a warm memory. But at times, it will come back as a lonesome feeling, bringing back lots of tears.
I love Marin so much, and she is the only one I have. Someday, I must go through what you have gone through, and we can never be "ready" to face this until it really comes.