More troubles on my mind …

8. I’m scared of losing my dog. He is pushing 16 years old. I’ve had him since he was 3 months old and he has seen me through a lot of rough times. He has a lot of ailments now. The only one that I know of that is life-threatening is his heart murmur. He was diagnosed with it many years ago. But, then in 2002, I was grieving a big break-up and crying all of the time and he started hiding under the desk in the spare room whenever I would cry. I’ve heard that animals go and hide when they are ready to die. So, I got worried about him and I took him to the doctor. I couldn’t bear to lose Doo as well yet. The doc said the heart murmur had gotten serious. I took my pooch to a specialist who said that they’d have to put him on expensive drugs with bad side effects and give him ultrasounds every six months. I debated about this and decided against it. I promised myself (and Doo) that I would not try to drag out his time here simply because I was afraid of letting him go and that I would focus on giving him the best quality of life I could while he is here.

I also consulted an animal psychic. (Go ahead, roll your eyes, but I don’t care. I was desperate for some sort of emotional understanding of how to proceed.) She told me that Doo is very devoted to me and worries about me. He wants to be there for me but my grieving was getting to be too much for him. (If you just look at it metaphorically, his heart was breaking for my broken heart.) He needed just fun time. She also said that it wasn’t his time to go yet. That he would stay with me until I was OK and would be taken care of. His time was coming but, when it did, he would just go and I wouldn’t have to make any agonizing decisions about whether or not to keep him alive. Knowing that his happiness was dependent on my happines, I made a point of pulling myself out of my funk faster than I would if left to my own devices. Like in childhood, a lot of mental health is due to the love of a dog. (Honestly, when it comes right down to it, my dogs are a big reason why I have made it this far. I feel incredible gratitude and love for them.)

But now I’m being taken care of now by a wonderful man who is really devoted to me. He is really good to me. Way better than any relationship I’ve ever had. Way better than I would have even expected or dared directly asked for. You can see where I’m going with this …. Right now, he and I live in separate homes and that means time with him often means time away from Doo. I’m really afraid of coming home one morning and finding that Doo died alone in his sleep. Every time I leave the house, I look at him and wonder if it will be the last time I see him again. I really want Doo to be happy all the way to the end. I want him to know how important he is to me and how much I care about him and how sorry I am that I haven’t always given him the attention and devotion that he has given me. Every morning I wake up at home, the first thing I do is stare at him to see if he is still breathing. I’ve been doing this for years now. But somehow it seems more of a worry now. The other morning I woke up and pulled him to me and curled up around him and laid my hand on his chest and felt his heart. It went boom …. boom boom boom … … … boom boom … boom … …. boom boom boom boom. Very irregular. Very scary. And very amazing that he has survived so long and with such a great attitude and energy level with such a funky ticker.

For the list of today’s complaints 7 through 1, click here


7 thoughts on “More troubles on my mind …

  1. I understand your fear, but please remember that Doo is an old, old man and you’ve had sixteen wonderful years together. It’s one of the great tragedies of our lives that we live so much longer then our furry companions, but our lives are so much richer for their being a part of it.

    *hugs*, if you want them.

    • Thanks a bunch. I know you get it. And I really appreciate your perspective. What you say is so true. And knowing it only makes the pain more poignant. But I wouldn’t trade it in. Not at all.

  2. Ooooh, puppy. I hate that pets ever have to die, it’s just so hard. I don’t think you’re crazy for having gone toapet psychic, I’ve thought about it to find out what Murphy’s life was like in the 2 years before I got her.

    Certainly you’ve given Doo a long, happy life and he loves you medly and knows you love him. Obviously no one can know how he will go when it’s time… Maybe in order to take care of your own feelings, you want to spend more nights at home for a while?

    Regardless, I’m sorry you have to go through this. *hugs*

  3. I get the strong feeling that Doo will be with you after he goes.
    He’ll be able to leap and run and bound along with you, wherever you go.

    That’s so hard, though. It’s really painful to let go of a best friend.


  4. Know that he truly does know how much he means to you, and never faults you for any time not spent with him. Endless good vibes going to the both of you! Coming to the physical end of a relationship like this is so devastating. I kept having to remind myself (and still do sometimes, even though she is gone) that when the time came for my little old ladybug cat Heidi to walk her path separate for me, that it would be time of celebration for her. They are never away from us, when they live in our hearts.

  5. I hear you. πŸ™‚

    When I got Jamaica (pictured in the icon), I’d just moved out on my own, was struggling with depression and I needed a good reason to get up in the morning and not to commit suicide.

    I got my black and white kitty Muskoka as a second anchor and to keep Jamaica company.

    The two of them became akin to my babies and in ‘parenting’ them, I ended up reparenting myself. That in and of itself was an amazing gift.

    Since cats live up to 20 years, I figure that if I’m lucky, I have another 15 years with them.

    2 years ago, my then roomie lost Jamaica (he’d come back from a long shift, this was prior to his laser eye surgery so his eyesight was bad and she used to be quick to bolt out the door). I was beside myself with grief. Ended up doing a ritual one night as Montreal was wracked by the warm tailend of a hurricane that had come up from the States. I put my heart on a great cosmic scale and put the feather of truth on the other side of the balance and told everything and everyone that was watching in the sudden stillness of my mindseye that I needed Jamaica back since she helped me work on my heart. I found her the very next day while putting up posters on telephone poles, I’d skipped several apartment buildings and decided to affix one the glass door of one that struck my fancy. Jams was in the lobby and recognized me, I rang pretty much every doorbell until someone let me in. I’m glad she’d been a bit overweight when I lost her because she’d shed a lot of weight in the 12 days that she’d been lost. Her heart melting purr as I carried her home was wonderful – and since then, she hasn’t been so keen to bolt out the front door.

    Companion animals, like people, come into our lives when the time is right and leave when the time is right. Like people, their influence upon our psyche lasts even past the Veil. I will be sad for my moggies when they pass away, but if they are in great, chronic pain I will ask if they want to be released and I will take them to the vet to send them on their way. It won’t be easy, but I will hold them as its done. But I will also be happy and grateful for all of the good times that we’ve had together and that they get to scout out whats past the Veil before me.

    As a kid I used to take care of many cats, dogs and even a pair of African Grey Parrots in my neighbourhood. When I was 16, my friends M & B had to go on an important trip around Christmas. They entrusted care of M’s 22 yr old cat Chi to me, as well as the phone number of the vet that would euthanize her if I deemed that she wasn’t able to bear the pain anymore. By this point her eyesight was gone, her liver failed, we were handfeeding her trying to get her to eat… and all the while like a little Buddhist monk she purred all the way through the holidays until M & B got back from their trip. For good measure, she lasted for 3 weeks more before she let M (who’d had her since she was 16 or so years old) know that it was time to let her go.

    For the next year and a half, we’d see Chi out of the corner of our eyes at their place. Calm, purring, happy and watching over us.

    From the sounds of it, Doo wants to stay with you as long as possible and still has 1-2 years left. When the time comes, you will make the right decision if need be. It is true that Doo will never completely leave you, for the parts of your mind that thought about, talked to and loved Doo are a mixture of the two of you.

    {hugs} if you’d like one πŸ™‚

  6. You call it a complaint, but it reads like a celebration. So much gratitude!

    Barry Neil Kaufman wrote that unhappiness is a regret about the past or a worry about the future; that happiness is in the now. (Or something like that.) I can see that in your post: fears in the past and for the future, but this incredible sense of gratitude for what you have, what you still share.

    I see your physical reality of separation from Doo mirrored in your emotional separation. Because of your relationship, you’re away from Doo more. You’ve also anticipated for years that, when you were okay, and you had someone else to love you and accept your love, that you’d be ready to let go of Doo, and then Doo would be ready to go. As you’re hesitant to be away physically, are you finding that you’re hesitant to stop needing Doo, emotionally, spiritually? (That’s really a question, not a judgment disguised as a question.) Would that be a way to honor Doo and what he’s given you, and show that you care? If you were ready to let go without pain, would that mean that you didn’t care?

    I’ve had animals who “stuck around” after passing the veil. Like others describe here, I’d see them out of the corner of my eye, or hear the jingle-mouse in the next room although no one was there to pounce on it. But Cinnamon, my dachshund, stayed with me until just before my son was born. She was quite old and arthritic and wouldn’t have tolerated a baby well, and we both knew it. So when she was sure I was okay, she got to that point where there were no more good days. I held her as she went away. And that was that. I immediately felt that she was gone, like a breeze. But it wasn’t a big hole. Just a tremendous sense of the completeness, fullness, and rightness of things unfolding just as they were. And of course, a tidal wave of gratitude for all that she’d given me all through jr. high, high school and college.

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