Dealing with a Pet Dog’s Death

March 8th, 2011 by Paul Johnson

It’s been more than a year since my dog Rex died. And I still think of him. I think when you have a dog since you were growing up and he dies it can be a very saddening and traumatic effect, even moreso than normal because it is all you know. Our whole family was really shaken up by it too. We knew that our dog had limited time life because he had lymphoma cancer. I cried that day and many other times. Yes as a man, I admit I cried. We tried to fight it, but his cancer was obviously too advanced and we had to put him to sleep when he got severely sick and stopped wanting to eat about 3 weeks after we found out he had lymphoma.

Putting a dog to sleep when he is terminally sick is such a horrible experience. On one hand you know it is the right thing, but you don’t want to be the one to actually do it either. I don’t see how someone could let an animal suffer though and die at their home if they are really sick. In the end I just think an animal doesn’t know what is happening, so if they are terminally ill and suffering you shouldn’t let it continue.

Most people can’t really relate to those who make a big deal out of a dog’s death. Some people just aren’t the animal loving type for whatever reason. I don’t understand it, but some people just seem to never really care for their dogs or want them. For the rest of us dog lovers, it becomes a family member. Every dog is so different and we love them so much they can never be replaced once they die, just like anyone else in our family.

After a couple weeks when we called the vet she asked if we were getting another dog. I thought that was absurd. Here we are mourning over the current one, like as if getting a new dog is gonna replace or get us over the grieving of the one we just lost. Even more than a year later we still haven’t gotten a new dog for a variety of reasons, including it is emotionally draining. I’m not ready to go through the attachment cycle again, I’ll be thinking of Rex too much. I’m sure there will be a time when we are ready, but not yet.

When your dog dies the best thing to do is just take it easy from work for a few days. Take a vacation and mourn their loss. Get support at a Dog Memorial forum and talk to other dog lovers in similiar situations. Realize it won’t be easy and you probably won’t want a new dog for a long while as you grieve. Don’t worry what people think, you lost your dog not them, so they don’t understand.

  1. sharon on March 12th, 2011

    thank ypou for understanding what i am going through after loosing my beloved cat and dog within the year

  2. KAREN on December 31st, 2011

    I lost my dog to cancer on 12/27/11 It was by far one of the hardest decisions to make putting him to sleep the vet said his lymphoma was so advanced within a month he could barely eat or walk I wanted to take him home but the vet said he would probably not make it past the week it was emotional I felt like I was killing my dog at the same time could I let him die at home in pain and what if my kids found him I still do not know if it was the right thing for him I still feel the pain and heartache wondering what if the vet was wrong and it was not terminal but he had tumors growing all over his body guess I will always wonder and hopefully I did what was best for him. Karen 12/31/11